Thursday, 30 August 2012

Any one for hors d'oeuvres ?

It has been a busy week....well that's an understatement!!!!

                                     It started with a bit of raku....5 firings this week
                                                    not all great but some good bits

                                        I wanted to create a group of work that would be affordable 
                                               along side the bigger more substantial works
                                                    in our exhibition in October (see below)

                                                      Most of my work is quite expensive
                                             as it requires me to go and forage for materials
                                                       long hard hours of forming by hand,
                                                   weaving basketry, carving and embroidery.


                                            So  I have been working on having a selection of
                                    hors d'oeuvre dishes, side salad bowls and condiment bowls

                                    Some will be raku and some will be high fired in porcelain
                                 with glass that I found in out back NSW melted in the bottoms

                                                   I have very sore hands today boo hoo
                               after throwing a bag of Keans Buff Raku and a bag of white raku
                                                              this clay is rough stuff!
                              But working with the porcelain afterwards was like velvet mmmmmm
                                    Think I'll go put my feet up and have a glass of red.
                                                      Next week will be all about firing.

                             Go check out the   Mud Colony to see what other potters are up to.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!

Well I thought today I would have a try of doing a bisque in my new little raku kiln.
Beautiful day, not too windy , no rain, perfect. 

I had lots of nice little gems that I have been busy making but not enough to do them in the big kiln and I am aware that Spring is around the corner so any raku work needs to be done pronto.

Stephan Jakob had shown us how to do a bisque in the raku kiln workshop only a few weeks ago.

I should have been able to do it..... So why not have a go?

I packed the kiln

Forget the fact that I had just peeked at what he was doing with the bisque in the workshop....
Well  I was so busy thinking about the glaze firing I was doing at the same time....

I read the bisque instructions Stephan had given us but the trouble with written instructions is that they may not fit with what is happening in reallity.

I know I know....why didn't I watch more carefully???
Well maybe it is old age causing my multitasking skills to become a little less on the ball.

But it's all about building up the knowledge through experience .....isn't it?

You see I should have probably spent an hour and a half warming the kiln today as it is not a hot day and there is a cool wind about but the instructions said half an hour so I stuck to it.

When I put the kindling in to crank it up, almost straight away, pop....

PoP.......... pOp........ POP....... pop...PPPppppOpppPPPP ........oooooooPoP....... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It sounded like a popcorn machine! EEEEEK

Yes I lost every one!

Guess I will just use them in the bottom of my plant pots :(

Tomorrow I'll try a raku glaze fire ... surely it has to be better than todays effort.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

It's cold......I think I'll light the fire ;)

            With the weather on my side this week I decided that it would probably
 be my best and last chance, before Spring, to do the pit firing I have been working towards.

                                Having just had trees removed and others pruned last week
                                      the stage was set for this old gals fire dance.

                          OOooh I do love a nice fire and a toasting of my lovingly made pots.
                                 I confess I was a little excited and glassy eyed as I watched
                                           the flames dancing around and licking the pots.


As an experiment I decided to place a piece of chicken wire in the base of the pit to aid ventilation
                                           I don't think I will bother with it next time

I filled the pit with a concoction of sawdust , pine needles, coffee grounds, 
salt and other bits and pieces

I wrapped the pots as nice little bundles

                                                          Some with banana skins

                                                   added some salt bush from Wilcannia


                                               piled up the wood and away she blew!

Lucky I have understanding neighbours!
Thanks Janelle and Michael xxx

                                               NB : hose at the ready on the grass behind

                                                                and then they cooked

                               Though there where a few pops and cracks !@#$%^&*()_!!!!!!!
                                                              But no major losses

                                            then I closed up the pit to roast over night

                                           just a peek to see how it was going in the evening

                                                     a little smoke still puffing in the morning

                                                              next evening........ ta da!

                                                                             all out 

                         Quite happy considering it is the first pit fire I have done on my own.
         I think next time (next winter) I will make the pit deeper, a bit smaller and with fewer pots.

     I ended up with some salt deposits on one pot which may mean it didn't get hot enough in parts.
                                 Any thoughts on how important it is to clean off the salt deposits?

                                               Now to do a scrub up and add some basketry
                                        so that they are just right to go into our exhibition
                                                                        in our blood

                Don't forget to check out my website Sadhana Peterson for more of my work

                  and also the Mud Colony for more ceramic stories from around the world

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Time for a change.....

                                                      Still cold up here in the mornings

                                                            But Spring is in the air

Flowers blooming

                                                                    Hens are laying

                                     I am planning to do a pit firing and a raku firing
                                          while it is still cold over the next week or two.
                         So I have been throwing condiment  bowls and small serving dishes
                                                             getting ready for a bisque.

                                             We live in a bushy  area that is bush fire prone.
                                         So I get nervous  about doing wood firings.
                                                   There are a lot of trees on our block
                                                       We moved here 15 years ago
                                           and those trees  have  all been doing a good job of growing.
                                                   Sadly it has come to a point of choosing
                                                       which will stay and which will go.

                                        This week we had a lilli pilli taken out and this old pear tree :(


                                 The good side of it is that the garden now has light and space
                                                                  and still lots of trees


                                 My aim is to make a garden that my grandchildren can play in.
                                      I am also trying to create a space that I can run classes in
                                    and hopefully in the long run be able to do wood firings safely.


                                I now have a handsome pile of wood for my dream wood firing kiln.....
                                                      But in reality building it is still a bit down the track .....
                                                          but a dream is a good place to start.

Check out other potters stories  at  The Mud Colony

Also find out about in our blood our next Donaldson family exhibition in Sydney


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Building a little raku rocket

                             Last weekend I went to a fabulous raku kiln building workshop
                                          with Stefan Jakob and organised by the CSG.

                                                       What a great experience!

What a patient man Stefan is.
It would have been quite understandable if he had been totally frustrated
by us all trying to get our heads around building his (very clever) little kiln design.
Instead he just explained it as many times as he needed.

If you are a keen potter this is a workshop not to miss.
It is a great little kiln to add to the studio.

                                                         We met on Saturday at 9am

                           Stefan talked us through and demonstrated what we would be building


                                  Then we paired up so as to help each other hold and drill ect.
                                           I teamed up with this lovely lady  Irene Charnas
                         who I later found out lives a few doors down from my son ... small world

                                                       we measured our IKEA bins

                                                                          cut holes

                                                              drilled and fitted grates

                                                               drilled and fitted flues

Here I am sporting my name tag ..... complete with the phonetic spelling
(for all those who do a double take when they see my unusual name)

It is not 'SAD  HANA', please!
I am a very happy and optimistic person
SAD is not my middle name or my first name ;~P

It is pronounced 'SARD - a - na'
the A in "Sadh" is long and soft and it is said like an "AR" sound
and the H is silent..... easy....  Sardana = Sadhana :)


So back to kiln building....

          insulated the inside..........made tongs...........and presto.................a cute little raku kit

On Sunday we set all our shiny new kilns out ready to fire


Stefan demonstrated how he uses his glazes

                               Once we had glazed and loaded our work we launched our little rockets
                                           (Do you remember the puppet Mr Squiggle ?
                                      These little kilns remind me of Mr Squiggle's rocket .)

                                                                  reduction materials at the ready

                                                           The chimney changed colour ,
                   the fuel pile got smaller (it only took a milk crate of sticks to fire it to 1,000 degrees).
                   I can see that my back yard will get nicely cleaned up :)

             Within the hour the pots were cooked and thrown into the sawdust and dunked in water


                                                      Lots of people had great results

                                                              Here are my three...
                              quite happy but would like to aim for more colour next time.

                                                    Once we had finished and packed up
                        this mark on the gravel was the only evidence of our exciting weekend.

                               So now I am back to the studio to keep working for our exhibition                                                                          in our blood

  The kiln is glaze firing as we speak.

  Just got a nice delivery of raku clay and glaze materials yesterday...
  Been drawing tooo......
  Need to make more paper....
  Then some printing, collage and stitch.......
  OH....and also still more basketry to do.....
  EEEEEEeeek I must get off this computer!
  It's all systems GOooooooo!

                Don't forget to check out the Mud Colony for other exciting muddy adventures