Out of the kiln

Yesterday I had a lovely surprise… I was doing some voluntary work in the office over at Denmark Farm when Joanna turned up with the little sculptures we had made in her paper porcelain workshops back in October.

I’m really delighted with the results. One of them never even got home to be photographed: I immediately gave it to Mara (who, amongst other things, organises the courses at Denmark Farm) because she admired it when we opened the box. She is going to hang it on her Christmas tree. I have recipients in mind for several of the others, but I am going to keep a few for myself, as I am delighted by the way they have come out.

Just as a reminder, this is what they looked like as they were made:

And here are my creations after glazing:

Not bad for a first attempt, I think!

Naturally artistic

Joanna

Joanna: a happy teacher!

Regular readers of this blog will know that, whilst I’m very creative, mostly I make things that are useful. It may come as a surprise, therefore, to read a second post from me this week about creating something just for the sake of it. Over the years, I have been to a variety of courses that have taught me creative skills: crochet, wet felting (both of which I love) and basketry (which, it turns out, I really don’t like; it being simply fighting with twigs for me). However, a few weeks ago I went on a course to do something that I would describe as pure art. It was entitled Nature into Art – Porcelain Paper Clay Micro-Sculptures.

Now this was something completely new for me. I don’t think I’ve touched anything resembling clay for about 15 years and I’ve certainly not ever attempted sculpture with it. The thing that appealed was that this course took small natural objects for inspiration: seeds, flowers, fungi. Also, I’d met Joanna Bond, the tutor, on another course that we both attended as participants and her description of these sculptures really intrigued me. So, I booked a place.

One of my unglazed creations

One of my unglazed creations

I forgot to take my camera for the first session when we did the sculpting (hence no blog post, but you can read Joanna’s description of the day here – the photo opposite comes from that post). We made some forms inspired by nature – like my interpretation of star anise that you see pictured – plus we also made small ‘plaques’ into which we pressed grasses, to produce impressions. Today we were colouring and glazing our creations and I did take my camera. Firing had transformed the grey objects that we made, into beautiful white sculptures that already looked like works of art:

Some of our fired work

Some of our fired work

The first step was to add some colour, using various pigments:

And then to dip each object into the glaze… at which point all the colour disappeared. The glaze will become transparent when fired again and the beauty of each object revealed once more. One final embellishment for one of my sculptures was to put some tiny pieces of glass into the cavities; this will melt when fired and add pools of colour in the hollows.

Packed up and ready to be taken to be fired

Packed up and ready to be taken to be fired

So, fingers crossed it will work and I’ll have some lovely sculptures and pendants inspired by nature.

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