Sarah McLeary

Ceramics and Architecture

doing the work

My head’s mostly full of contract law and professional indemnity insurance at the moment, until my Part III exams at the end of the month, but I did go a bit mad a few weeks ago and decided it is impossible to read all those books without some respite. I’ve been in the workshop quite a lot, as we will be moving out of the current set up in Portobello before Christmas, and are currently looking for a new place to call ‘pottery home’.

I’ve been searching for the Holy Grail; a flat tile. The key is all in the drying, the slower you can dry the tiles the more evenly and flatly they will dry. This isn’t so easy when I’m only able to be in the workshop part time, and can’t turn the tiles every two hours as you are meant to.

Making the tiles thicker certainly helps prevent warping, and a secret combination of scores on the bottom – developed over a 12 month period – means I’ve nearly got a flat tile that can dry without further manipulation. It’s a good job I’m getting somewhere with this, the pile of warped tiles in my flat was going to be enough to use as ballast for the Price of Wales.

There were a couple of casualties from the bisque firing, probably due to either not enough wedging of the clay leaving air bubbles, or the tile wasn’t dry enough and the water turns to steam which blasts off the top. Not to worry, plenty more where that came from!

This is another wedding plate I made, slightly different from the first, but using the same body and glaze.

This is a variation on the blue glaze, as I love the way that the blue breaks over the detail, but it’s quite inconsistent in colour. The green variation still has inconsistency, but all the shades of green/black are very beautiful, whereas the blue can go a dry brown colour which really isn’t very nice!

I like this plate a lot, I poured the glaze over the surface and you can see where I held it on the right side.

I know the form is quite… let’s be kind and say primitive shall we? This was one of the first things I threw ‘successfully’. It’s a crude wee thing, thick walled, but in the green glaze it really shines up quite well I think. It’s technically terrible; the base is not consolidated, the sides are not even, the top is asymmetrical and the whole thing looks as if it could fall over. It holds about a thimble-full of liquid, not much use for anything, but I’m pretty proud of it, mainly because I mixed the glaze myself and it’s a good example of the different effects it produces.

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2010 by in pottery.
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