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Stig of the Brain dump

Really enjoyed the thumb pots experiments, though frustrated about the lack of time to experiment with them. What I seem to like is the opportunity to sculpt the clay. Haven't really tried to use tools . Tried a small experiment, smoothing the pot whilst wearing plastic gloves. This seems to avoid some of the drying of the pot which (might) happen when sculpting with my hands. Add to that the opportunist to use glaze colours to decorate the pots and I think these may well be something I want to do more of.

Types of clay

Ok - it's official. I don't like Crank Clay! Not sure if the clay we were using was a bit wetter than it should be (I tried drying it on a batten) but either way I just don't like it. It's too weak and wobbly to be used for the Saggar's we were trying to make. Not helped by the lack of available time nor space for drying the Saggars or the 90+ thumb pots that we were all supposed to make. Hmm - these complaints reflect that I don't like having to work under a time pressure. I recall saying on the first day that I'd rather spend 10 hours making 1 thing than make ten things in ten hours.

But, it is giving me a better appreciation about the types of clay and their differences. I looked on the Scarva website and saw their descriptions of different clays, which emphasised the subtlety in clay types:

PF700: For some time now we have been asked by our customers to develop a superior, white, porcelain-like clay which is more reliable and easier to work with than a porcelain body.

PF560: A strong fine-grained plastic clay formulated from the purest of white ball clays. This superior body has very smooth throwing characteristics. It has been developed for the professional production potter and with good thermal shock properties is excellent for domestic ware.

PF680: Black Smooth contains a fine grog which gives a close texture to the body and a fine surface to finished pieces. This smooth finish should appeal to hand builders or sculptors who produce tile and relief panels or ceramic murals. PF680 has been formulated to fire between 1080 - 1260ºC.

Pointing at the porcelain

My interest in Porcelain grows. I do like it's strength and purity.

Reading on that "Fired porcelain can become very hard and translucent, its melted surface becoming so smooth and shiny that a glaze is not needed." is very interesting, and perhaps explains why my glazed items {glazed porcelain} don't work well.

Where I have the opportunity I will continue to use Porcelain when I get the opportunity.

Artist's studio

Interested in following up this idea, In Cambridge area there are (at least)

Cambridge Artworks - in Green’s Road where a workshop was converted into the studios Artworks occupies today.

Cambridge Art Salon Chesterton based art space, 1 Thrifts Walk

There are a number more, and they seem to thrive. Would be worth trying to visit these some of these when I get the chance.

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