Glaze fired work

As always I am excited to open the kiln after a glaze firing, it feels like Christmas even if I don’t have any work in the kiln myself! I did have a few “tester” pieces, and here is a before-after view so you can see how much the glaze changes during the firing. The tile is testing how the individual colours react when laid over white glaze as compared to when they are on the bisque fired clay surface – they spread quite a LOT into the white glaze. The terracotta bowl is showing how different the colours look on terracotta as opposed to grey clay of the tile – they take on a deeper tone, some really glow whereas others are so much darker that some of the colour is lost. It also shows how the glazes “run” on a vertical surface – not very much but some more than others. My next test I think will be something similar but mixing different colours on the vertical surface, especially white as the glazes really run on the white tile!

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Another before and after shot showing a loaded kiln shelf. All the “marbled” pieces had transparent glaze on them to give that impermeable finish – I will show the marbling technique in another blog post so stay tuned! 🙂

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What I was REALLY looking forward to from this firing was the ceramic tiles painted by artist Lorraine Whelan. She had done a tester tile before Christmas to see how the colours would look on these commercial tiles (left over from tiling a bathroom) and when she was happy with the results she proceeded to use the glazes to paint floral images. Here is one emerging from the kiln, looks excellent!

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Laid out on the table with the other finished pieces.

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A closer look. I am really impressed with how well these turned out, I am sure that Lorraine is delighted as well. Can’t wait to see more paintings!

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James Hayes

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Happy New Year 2018!

The start of a new year has heralded the start of a new ceramics class at Signal – Tuesday afternoons – and it is already fully subscribed! There are three classes running, if you are interested in the classes do call and ask to be put on the waiting list as places do become available from time to time. Also it was from the waiting list that we were able to create the third weekly class.

Yesterday the students were particularly prolific so I just had to share this photo of their work. They were taking turns working on the wheels (two available) practicing throwing techniques and the quality is improving in leaps and bounds. Not pictured is the many practice pots that were recycled back into the bags of clay – I always tell my students that practice is the most important aspect and that they shouldn’t get precious about any one particular pot. I encourage them to work the clay to destruction just to learn the limits of the medium, something I learned from my teachers at art school.

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With all this work being created I have to make space on the shelves, so I have been loading the kiln with glazed pieces ready for their final firing.

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I have been making some glaze testers to include in the glaze firing. This is to show how the glazes we have in stock will look on the grey clay and the terracotta, how the colours look when they are on bare clay or overlapping the white glaze. With the terracotta bowl I am hoping we will get an indication as to which glazes have a tendency to run more than others. Interesting and unexpected effects can crop up from the combination of glazes, so I will continue with the experiments.

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James Hayes