Plaster Residency at Guldagergaard, Denmark

At the beginning of March I packed my bags and hopped on a plane to Scandinavia for the first time. I flew into Copenhagen, looking down on snowy, fragmented islands gradually massing together to form land. It looked flat, and it was cold.

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Beautiful Nina Hole Sculpture, wood fired in situ, outside the farmhouse.

I arrived at Guldagergaard international ceramics research centre, pronounced Gool-ay-ago, by train and bus and foot, welcomed into a mildly chaotic world of 40 hour long wood-firings, unbridled artistic expression, huge amounts of expertise and a fantastic community of learning, sharing, warm people.

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Wonderful work in progress on genius NZ sculptor, Jim Cooper‘s desk.

A tiny world inhabited only by ceramicists, where you don’t have to explain or excuse yourself. There is just acceptance. It’s a magical place…and there are sculptures and objects from the tiniest porcelain chair model to the most enormous tiled archway, just bursting from every corner of the place.  I feel so inspired here.

I came to Guldagergaard because I want to expand my practice to incorporate my own-design slip ware. So, I signed up to do an Intensive Plaster workshop week in March, taught by the wonderful Harriet Caslin, and now I am back to complete a month’s residency for the rest of April, working with the skills I learnt.

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My coffee pot design, an elegant mid-century modern style tall form.

I’m currently working very hard on a project to produce my own coffee set – a tall coffee pot, a slender jug and an angular cup. The first stage is scale drawing on paper, the second stage turning a positive form on the lathe, then adding components such as spout or handle or surface detail, the third stage casting a mould – the negative; the final stage pouring slip into the mould to form a porcelain positive to fire and use. Currently I am turning on the lathe, hand carving and adapting using precisely scored and folded acetate areas, to fit my design drawings. It’s a lengthy process, and I’m not sure what the outcome will be… The photos below show plaster being mixed; the coffee pot ‘stock’ on the lathe during the initial stages of turning; the finished coffee pot form waiting to be carved and fitted out; the jug model with grooves carved in and acetate being fitted; the coffee cup form on the lathe, ready to be cut off.

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I’m also indulging my long held desire to work with stained porcelain, casting a small kitchen ware range using found objects in a pastel palette, and using marbling on two elegant hand turned designs that I did during the workshop week – a tall beaker vase and a wide, conical serving bowl.

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Marbled yellow slip, just poured into handmade tall beaker mould.

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Sodapop jugs and containers in a pastel colour palette.

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Marbled and plain slips, all drying and waiting for first firing to test colours.

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Marbled tall beakers waiting to be fired – the colours will become more vibrant after the second high firing, although hopefully still subtle.

 

 

 

Volcanic Yellow

I’ve been inspired for a while to try and create a sulphurous yellow glaze as I am a bit mad for yellow at the moment. I’ve also been working hard at throwing porcelain for my illustrated range – but felt it was time to try something a little different that relies simply on the surface effects and colour of the vessels in relation to the thrown shapes and the qualities of the material.

I completed a small body of work using some new glazes before going on sabbatical earlier this year and felt really pleased with how they came out of the kiln:

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Volcanic Yellow collection in the studio.

I took the pots to Frome artisan market this month, selling out before I’d even had a chance to take any proper product shots! I must admit I was quite surprised at the level of positivity to them. Here are a few shots of them before they went:

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Volcanic Yellow on display a the Frome Independent market.

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Logo-ed base of Volcanic Yellow mug

I’m really looking forward to getting back into the studio now and developing this range further – I’ve already thrown a new shape of jug to play with. Shown below, they are just now drying out ready for bisque firing. Maybe it will be part of the new Volcanic Yellow range, or maybe an illustrated piece, I will be test-firing a few different ideas:

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South Bristol Arts Trail

Really looking forward to this event on Sat 16th – Sun17th May! Our venue is going to be absolutely amazing… As the Crow Flies will be taking over the kitchen space with ceramics, illustration and home wares. Fuller maps will be exhibiting their utterly unique and brilliant map artworks of Bristol and beyond in the print room. Esther Curtis designs will be creating a lovely ambience with her beautiful graphics at the front of the house where you may be lucky enough to get a mini massage treatment from our lovely hostess Sam Lacey… all in all it’s going to be a complete sensory experience.

big mugs loAbove: As the Crow Flies illustrated bone china mugs © As the Crow Flies.

gareth mapAbove: a tiny snippet of the incredibly intricate Bristol Map, as featured on the BBC © Fuller Maps. Below: graphic illustration © Esther Curtis.

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We’ll be showing at 17 Ashton Gate Terrace, Southville, BS3 1TA so come along and find us. Follow the links below to find out about the other artists at the venue:

Sam Lacey – holistic massage therapist: 

www.relaxrestorerevive.com
https://www.facebook.com/RelaxRestoreRevive

 

Fuller Maps original artworks:

Fuller Maps

Esther Curtis design:

http://esthercurtisdesign.blogspot.co.uk

Find out more about the trail here: http://www.southbankbristolarts.co.uk/

British Craft Trade Fair

Exciting news! As the Crow Flies will be attending the British Craft Trade Fair this April with a stand in the Newcomers’ Gallery. Here’s a screengrab of As the Crow Flies’ online catalogue page:

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It’ll be the first trade-specific event ATCF has been to, so lots of development work is underway… Some new designs in the pipeline as well as research going into laser-cutting some original ATCF illustrations to bring a new dimension to the slab built porcelain range.

Looking forward to this event so much!

Farnborough International Airshow

As the Crow Flies had a bit of an outing with some very different winged beasts last week, occupying a stand at the Farnborough International Airshow in Surrey. Really excited to take along a new product made especially for the show – the Flight mug, featuring a plethora of birds, balloons and biplanes. Glad it went down well with the punters at Farnborough too!

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Summer Market Season 2014

Come along to a summer fair and meet the artist, see all the lovely As the Crow Flies ceramics and home wares for yourself! Find out where:

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Dragonflies and Thistles

Had the pleasure of going home to Fife for a week last month and took up a load of wares and commissions to show and sell to friends and family. Aside from the excitement of our triple birthday (me, my dad and my brother-in-law share the same date and traditionally blow out our candles together, something I wouldn’t miss for the world), it was great to share what I’ve been doing over the past 6 months with everyone.

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Markets this season…

stroud

It is, dare I say it, only about 6 weeks until Christmas…. An immensely busy time for makers all over, and it wouldn’t be worth it without getting out into the world to sell our products.   Continue reading

Doily ware – handbuilt porcelain

I’m really getting a positive response from people on  my handbuilt porcelain ware.  I use ‘slab-building’ for this (although you could hardly call the sheets of porcelain that I roll out as ‘slabs!’) and press moulding for the bowls.  The techniques, with really thin fine porcelain produce slightly warped pieces – all uniquely shaped but with a strong design which ties them together. The imprinted design, using a vintage lace doily which is first bisque-fired, is hand painted using a variety of oxides and underglazes before firing again with a transparent glaze to create a really vibrant colourful piece… The range is expanding; it’s gone from jugs through teapot stands all the way to limited edition jewel caskets!

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IMG_2563doily mugs

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Beautiful new porcelain ware

Well, I never thought I’d do this, but I’m adding another new string to the bow – to get around the problem of creating greater intricacy on my illustrated pieces I have started to produce hand-applied transfer ware in my studio.  It’s a revelation to have perfect reproductions (or at least when the firings work…!) of my drawings and paintings on porcelain. It works on both stock porcelain and handthrown ware, I have found. So, it can have a more handcrafted feel incorporating hand painting and throwing or a more conventional feel which has its own appeal.

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