It's been two weeks since the last pottery class and I was so looking forward to be back. We delayed going last week in order to avoid Manx Grand Prix traffic so it seems like ages since we've met up. This time around, we were shown how to make pitchers but I think it's generally been a class consensus that we work on whatever we'd like. So far I've only had the chance to make two mugs and a spoon-rest so I wanted to make a few smaller things this time around. But I needed to get cracking since next week is our last class, and we'll be glazing everything we've made on that day.
Faye was a bit late for class and I was just wondering if she'd forgotten us when she showed up with a little orphan in tow. Her studio is at the back of a barn on her family's property, which is a working sheep farm. Lambs are generally born in early spring so at 6-weeks old he's definitely late! And being that he was lost and alone in the pastures for some time, he's also very tiny for his age. His poor mother died due to complications of the birth and he only survived by weaning himself on to grass very early on. Now that he's been found, Faye has been trying to feed him milk in the hope that he'll grow bigger and stronger. Poor little guy, I hope he makes it! His fleece is so soft and he's just the most darling little thing.
In the last couple of classes we've had, one of the girls has been using textured wallpaper to imprint a pattern into her clay. Though I thought it was interesting I wasn't planning on trying it myself until randomly finding a roll of textured wallpaper last week. I was down at the local amenity site hunting for demi-johns and there it was, with a lovely Victorian inspired pattern. During last night's class I cut one of the pattered stripes from the roll and used it as a simple, but I think elegant, pattern at the base of a vase.
I also wanted to make a few small objects as well after seeing a friend make some medallions in the last class. Rummaging around in one of my kitchen drawers I found a few cookie cutters and had the idea of using them to make Christmas ornaments. Using leftover bits of clay I simply stamped out a couple angels and a bell and as an afterthought made a small spiral pendant as well. I wanted the design of the ornaments to be simple but I did press the imprint of some leaves into the bell for an abstract texture.
Though we spent most of last night's class working with clay, we also had the chance to glaze one of our pieces so that next week we could all have examples of what the final colours will look like. We're limited to Faye's own colour palette which includes blue, green and violet and dark brown. I chose blue for my experimental glaze since it's the thickest and might hide some of the flaws in my highly patterned spoon-rest. This was the first clay I worked with and it's been highly experimented on with patterns of flowers, lace and shells - in other words, it's a mess. But I sandpapered some of the sharp bits down and I hope that it'll be nicer to look at after it has a smooth, shiny surface.
Glazing involves gripping your pre-fired ceramic in tongs and lowering it into a bucket of glaze for about six seconds and then lifting it out to dry matte, which only takes a minute or so. I was the only person who chose blue so also had the joy of mixing the glaze up in the bucket. It was like sticking your hand and arm into a bucket of thick, wet mud and stirring it around for ages. Quite relaxing actually...
After the glaze dried, I was instructed to smooth the holes left by the tongs and then chip away any glaze from the bottom surface where the ceramic will touch the kiln floor. It came off easily and in flakes, which fell back down into the bucket where it can be used again. It was dark by the time we left the class and I'm sure that every one of us went home looking forward to next week and seeing what their piece looks like - I certainly am.