Saturday 25 June 2011

Photo Shoot - Small Vases

Recently I’ve been making a series of ‘one off’ vases - mostly ‘bud’ or ‘stem’ vases suitable for small table settings and little sprigs of wild flowers about the house. These are hand-thrown on the wheel in stoneware clay and measure about 10cm/12cm high. It’s actually been really enjoyable to throw ‘one off’ individual shapes for a change instead of repeating the same form in one throwing session. And so far I’ve been pleased with the results coming out of the kiln. I’ve kept the shapes simple (tubular or bottle-like) and mostly I’ve been using quite plain glazes to keep the pieces fresh looking. I’m hoping these will do well at my Open Studio (which is coming up very soon in July by the way!)

So yesterday I decided I needed to do a ‘lifestyle’ photo shoot to show off these pots ‘in action’. Luckily I have in my back garden a few pretty flowers: so I picked some lavender, some yellow cotton-lavender and a single bottlebrush bloom to use for dressing the vases. I also happened to have a couple of pears left in my fruit bowl and together with a wicker basket and some pieces of linen I went about trying to do some ‘mood’ shots. In the end I took about 400 photos, which means I should have plenty of images now for showing off these little vases! Here are just a few of those pictures - and also below I’ve added a picture of me on a day of throwing them…

Friday 10 June 2011

UK Handmade Tutorial

Just a quick blog today to mention that I had a tutorial published on UK Handmade site this week! It’s a tutorial for making my ceramic heart decorations which you can see in the picture above. I’ve been making these little decorations for a couple of years now. At first I made them especially for Valentine’s Day, but they proved popular all year round and so I often make small batches for my Folksy Shop or for sale at shows and at my local Arts Centre - where they do quite well as little gifts for visitors.

I chose these hearts because I wanted to do something that was easy enough for beginners and people new to ceramics to try out – although I think the tutorial also demonstrates just how many stages are involved in even the most simple of ceramic ideas! (Pottery is always more complicated than it looks.) But I hope people enjoy the tutorial and maybe find inspiration for making their own designs in ceramics and in other media too.

I had good fun doing this tutorial actually. In fact ‘the making of’ the tutorial could be a whole DVD extra in itself! I decided the best way to illustrate this Make was to show photos of me making ‘in action’. This required positioning my tripod at a precarious angle to get in close enough and then using the ten-second time-delay on my camera. So imagine lots of running backwards and forwards around a table cleaning my hands each time and checking the camera for focus, battery life and to make sure everything was in frame. Add to this the fact that I was in my un-heated studio back in January and that might explain why my hands look absolutely freezing! Oh the glamorous life of a potter…

Anyway, just to say many thanks again to Charlotte Hupfield at UK Handmade. And here’s a link to my Make and here’s a link to the hearts in my shop.