Studio visit from made by Mrs M

Last week I had a visit from fabulous textile designer and blogger Kate Marsden, aka made by Mrs M. She and I are both going to be taking part in Carshalton Artists Open Studios in June/July and Kate is going to be exploring the studios of several artists before it all kicks off, starting with mine. You can read the article here

http://www.madebymrsm.co.uk/blog/2017/4/24/studio-tour-kathryn-sherriff

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Working at the wheel in my studio that is by a railway embankment, that’s the Victoria train going past

 

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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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…