Sunday, 28 February 2016

Glazes: from Stoneware to Midfire

I have been firing to cone 6 (1220o C) ever since my student days. Opening the stoneware firing kiln and  finding my "elegant" (thin) lids warped like frisbee left in a hot car was the deciding moment.
I have tested most of the local stoneware clays and discovered that they are vitrified at cone 6 - so why not? Colours are better, there is less wear and tear on the kiln and less stress for the clay.
But a few months ago I have got a challenge: Lower the firing temperatures for the Belmont Potters Group.
The Group has been talking about it on and off for years, but it could not quite make the decision to "jump" into it.
The biggest stumbling stone: What shall we do with all the Stoneware glazes?
So first thing that we did was to fire all available glazes to the cone 6 (1220oC)

And discovered that they are not very exciting, but there are a few we can keep:

We chose some complimentary glazes from my files (bottom row):

(I have to apologize for the quality of the images. My phone really does not give them justice)
...and mixed them up.

And than comes the exciting part:

By testing each glaze on top and under each glaze (superimposing) we have a complete range of choices:

yes, all of that:

On the closer inspection, the kiln was slightly underfired, so they all went back again, 10 degrees higher.
I'm going to the Belmont Potters now, to see how did the second firing go. And I will take a camera with me.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


A new class in Belmont starting soon, few places still available :

Tresillian Arts Centre class is fully booked and you need to enrol early to get a spot next term:

21 Tyrell St Nedlands WA 6009 PO Box 9 Nedlands WA 6909 T 9389 1977 E Coordinator: Rachel Birighitti E

First 2 weeks in March I am looking forward to the workshops with 8 Perth schools as part of the Sculpture by the Sea program

And I will be holding couple of adult workshops in the lovely new ceramic studio at Heathcote cultural precinct (details to be announced), as well as 2 children holidays session on the 12.April.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

residency at Heathcote

On the 1st of February, I have started 3 months residency at Heathcote cultural precinct.
I am honoured to be the first artist in residence in the newly acquired quarters of the old Heathcote hospital - Admin building.
The building is a home to the residency, 5 artist studios occupied by: Nigel Laxton, Lia McKnight, Stephen Armitstead, Anna Campbell and Susan Radaich and 3 workshop studios just waiting for classes or workshops. For more information on the facilities, click HERE
Why would I forsake my beautiful studio in order to travel half way across the town and lag all the tools and materials with me?
Very good question. I guess "just because I can" is not really an adequate answer. 
It is an experiment; I want to see how will the change of environment influence my work. 
There is an irresistible lure of trying to establish (or at least support) a new ceramic hub.
And there is something very fitting in working on site towards the exhibition.

Week 1:
Getting to know the space. Moving in.


It is so empty and bare..
But the view is mesmerising:

Week 2:
I need to establish a routine, and let people know when I'm here. Invite visitors.
I feel that big part of the residency is being available to the public.

And start working with clay....

Week 3, day 1:
Hey, its working. I have at least a visitor a day. And I'm establishing a working routine. 
The draw back is that there is no kiln, so I'm taking everything that I make back to the Lesmurdie studio for drying, firing and glazing. And lots of tools have to travel with me as I also work in the Lesmurdie studio and I don't have 2 of everything.

No, don't worry, I will not subject you to a daily account of my travels.
There is no internet connection in the Heathcote studio, and by the time I get back home I barely have energy to respond to the most pressing emails.

If you are in Perth, I'm looking forward to your visit :)

Monday, 1 February 2016


Today the last 12 pieces for the Sculpture by the Sea are coming out of the glaze kiln. YEY!!! I am almost at the finishing line, with a month to spare. A record!

I am also working on a new project, and every flat surface in the studio is occupied with porcelain circles:

I am making 365 of them ( + spares).

They are loosely based on this microscopic image of radiolaria (marine plankton), symbolising water drops:

I will tell you more about it closer to the installation date. Being an installation, I won't be able to work out some of the details until the actual setting up on site and I find that quite uncomfortable.

I guess it is called "pushing personal boundaries".

Speaking of pushing personal boundaries,
Tomorrow I will be starting the 3 months residency at Heathcote Museum and Gallery in City of Melville (Perth).

But that is the story for the next blog....