Making my porcelain plates for “Dish”

Shortly after Christmas I was catching up with Lotte Inch who then invited me to make some plates for an exhibition called Dish, that will be running at Lotte Inch Gallery from 9th March to 6th May 2017 – co-curated by chef Tom Kerridge.

Until recently I would have struggled to throw wider forms, especially when trying to wire through the bases without warping or wiring straight through. However, before Christmas, some very kind friends (thanks Jeremy and Sharon!) had showed me an article from Ceramics Monthly on how to use canvas bats to solve my problem. This was my opportunity to put it to the test properly.

The plates are now ready for the show and this blog is a short record of my making process that I hope might be useful for other potters …

First, here’s that page from Ceramics Monthly article that proved so useful and some snaps of how I followed the technique, with wider forms such as plates and bowls. I throw the form on a canvas bat on my wheel, then I can safely wire through under the canvas.  Then I wait for it to dry until the rims are leather hard, flip it over onto another bat, peel off the canvas and then turn it the right way up onto a dry bat for the base to firm up …

Once the bases have all dried to leather hard, I put them back on the wheel and turn in the foot rings. For particularly wide dishes, I turn in two foot rings to support the dish during firing, stopping it from slumping in the middle during firing …

The dishes are then biscuit fired and ready for glazing …

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For this project, I wanted to try something  different with the glazing but still using my standard palette of grey, black and azure. So first I tried some glaze tests using a group of small pots. The first picture below shows those tests and I ended up using the ‘double dip’ method shown on the two on the far right side of the photo. The next pictures show the before and after glaze firing, with the transformation of the glaze and the shrinkage. During the glaze fire, I applied a silica hydrate to the bases to stop them sticking to the kiln shelf and allowing them to freely move and shrink without warping. So that meant they needed a good wash afterwards to remove the sandy residue …

Here’s the finished set of plates, most of which have been packed up and sent to Lotte Inch Gallery …

 

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Winter 2016 Shows

It’s been a while since I last posted basically because I’ve been working at the wheel throwing pots for new gallery shows this Winter. The first show started a few weeks ago at Forge 2, a gallery and shop set in the old village forge of Culworth, near the Oxfordshire borders. The photograph of my ceramics below was taken by Anna Considine for Forge 2.


This was followed by a delivery to MAKE 2016 Contemporary Crafts Exhibition at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey on the edge of Dartmoor. This is an invited exhibition of 50 designer-makers from across the UK. The image below, taken by Bill Mudge, was used by Devon Guild for their advert in Ceramic Review magazine …


So, along with Lotte Inch Gallery in York and MINE Gallery in Carshalton I’ve kind of almost got the four corners and the centre of England covered, if I can just find somewhere in East Anglia now! 

All the galleries are fully geared up for Christmas now and we’ve begun restocking my online Etsy shop too. 

Shades of Black & White at Lotte Inch Gallery

Well it’s really not very often that my name appears alongside David Hockney and Salvador Dali! … but it does in the forthcoming Shades of Black & White Exhibition at the Lotte Inch Gallery in York, starting on Friday 2nd September and running until 15th October.

After a busy August in the studio, my boxes of porcelain pottery were packed and dispatched to York last week (examples in the picture below). There are some great people exhibiting across a range of media apart from ceramics and it’s a real privilege for me to be invited back again.

The pottery highlights for me look like being the extraordinary miniature hand thrown pots from Yuta Segawa and beautiful ceramics from Kyra Cane. Here’s an extract from the press release …

True to form at Lotte Inch Gallery, the artists in the exhibition comprise a selection of much celebrated names alongside emerging artists and makers. Those showcased in this new show include: Anthony GrossColin SelfDavid HockneyDerrick Greaves,Florence Boyd,Jean Arp,Jonathan Bonner,Kathryn SherriffKyra Cane,Peter Coates, Shefford Smith, Salvador Dali,Tom Phillips & Yuta Segawa.

Showcasing ceramics from ‘of the moment’ maker Yuta Segawa, whose mini pots have taken the ceramic world by storm, alongside stunning works by potter Kyra Cane, drawings from monochrome-mad Shefford Smith and prints from the likes of celebrated artists Colin Self, David Hockney & Anthony Gross, the exhibition will offer up a comprehensive range of styles, media and scales, uniting once again, two-dimensional and three-dimensional art forms in a suitably monochromatic Gallery setting.

 

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Porcelain Vases for Lotte Inch “Shades of Black & White” Exhibition

A Flying Visit to York

Last weekend I finally managed to board the train from Kings Cross to York for a one night stayover with my family. The main missions were to visit the Lotte Inch Gallery where my work has been showing and the fairly newly opened Centre of Ceramics Art (CoCA) nearly next door to Lotte. We also managed to fall in love with York; with just so much character, history, atmosphere and brilliant shopping & restaurants too (!) making our short stay feel frustratingly rushed. We can’t wait to get back there again.

Lotte Inch Gallery was positively buzzing with visitors on the Saturday who were also enjoying the York Open Studios trail that Lotte had helped to organise with Kiosk. The gallery is warm and welcoming in a quirky, timber beamed Tudor building with beautifully curated works in the Life Stills exhibition currently showing. 

I converted some of my recent gallery sales 🙂 into a pair of lovely James and Tilla Waters ceramic beakers from the gallery and then we wandered off to pay a visit to Kiosk, on recommendation from Lotte, for a most excellent pot of tea while also picking up a small Jono Smart vessel with a Sue Pryke ceramic spoon to add to my own collection. Kiosk is a very friendly, relaxed cafe on Fossgate that also stocks very high quality British Studio Ceramics. They’ve had a tough time though and had only just reopened the week before our visit, after being submerged during the flooding of York over Christmas. 

CoCA was everything I had hoped it would be. All of my studio pottery idols were represented there including Lucy Rie, Chris Keenan, Julian Stair, Edmund de Waal, Louisa Taylor and Grayson Perry. The space itself is magnificent as is the central installation Manifest of 10,000 bowls by Clare Twomey. I do hope my photographs below help to convey at least some of that…

Ceramic Art London 2016

On Friday morning I took a break from the wheel to head to Central St Martins near Kings Cross in London, a fabulous new venue for Ceramic Art London. Many of my favourite potters and ceramic artists show here each year along with new faces. I love talking to them and most are very friendly and more than happy to swap tips and ideas.

Below is a small selection of photos from the morning, followed by links to the artists …

Ali Tomlin Ceramics 

Jill Shaddock Ceramics

Jae Jun Lee Ceramics

Sue Pryke

Alison Gautrey Ceramics

IKUKO Iwamoto 

Kate Schuricht

Jin Eui Kim 

All ready for Life Stills at Lotte Inch Gallery

Hot on the heels of the 20 in 15 exhibition, is Life Stills at Lotte Inch Gallery in the heart of York. The show runs from 16th March to 28th May. I’m especially delighted to be exhibiting alongside studio potters James and Tilla Waters whose work I admire – I drink many cups of tea from one of their beautiful mugs every day. It promises to be a great exhibition of drawing, painting, printmaking and ceramics and a great excuse to visit York very soon. Exhibition information below along with a little taster of the pieces that have been packed and ready for dispatch today…

  
  

Mudge at Mine in March

Just over a year after first meeting photographer (and musician) Bill Mudge at the Frost Fair, the exhibition of his 20 in 15 – The Lives of Artists photography project opened at the Mine Gallery in Carshalton last night. The gallery has been completely changed around in the last week with photographs of the working lives of 20 creative people and organisations on every wall, including many examples of their work – including new works fresh my own kiln this week, a beautiful print by illustrator Alex Foster and an amazing galvanised wire sculpture of a hare from world-renowned sculptor Kendra Haste.  The show runs until March 27th – some photos below. 

And taking centre stage is the phabulous photobook of the project that was created after a successful round of crowdfunding on Kickstarter and launched yesterday at the gallery! The book is now available to buy in the Mine Gallery and also online here: 20 in 15: The Lives of Artists by Bill Mudge. After being the first to back the Kickstarter project, my family is now proud owners of the first two copies of the book and a beautiful enlarged print of my studio (the last image below) that has just gone to the framers today     🙂