Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More work waiting to go in the kiln

It is piling up around the place waiting for firing in the next 6 weeks or so!  This will all come out shiny and pretty.  For an idea compare the spiny paper weight that has been fired and glazed in the top image with the unfired and glazed one in the bottom image.  The other day the wind got all the 'post -it- notes' and scattered them to the four corners of the shed! It really was a nightmare trying to match up all the notes with the work.  Hope I got it right or I could have a few disasters in the kiln!

When your number is up.....

Lately I have been pondering the purpose of it all.  With so much uncertainty in the world at present (Christchurch and Japan earthquakes...Libya etc etc) and the fact we live on the side of a volcano it makes sense at this time to reflect on life. This wonky bowl will fire black and white.  It has numbers scratched in the under glaze. It will have a scraffito effect when fired. On the legs I have used old school rubber stamps of the numbers to 100.... the ones we used before photocopiers... and got ink all over our fingers when we stamped the grid in the maths books. (now my age is showing!)  The numbers on the legs are not clear in the photo but will fire well I think.
When will my number be up?  Who knows but I am guessing I just have to get on with life and enjoy it.
Hey! I also think there is something sort of wacky about how the bowl will be fired with flame in a gas kiln and that we live on a volcano........

A few more wonky bowls.

A few more bowls in various stages of creation. The under glaze is never true to colour till it is fired.. so it will change dramatically.
The top bowls will be left- lime green, cornflower blue legs with black spots. right-black body with white inside and white legs.
The bottom bowls will be dipped in bright cobalt blue, low fire Alkaline glaze.
Twenty wonky bowls done.  Eighty to go!

The painting corner.

Lining the studio continues.  Soon we will paint the walls all white and polish the concrete floors.  It has come along way from the farm shed.  We (My husband and his Dad...awesome men) have taken out roller doors, put in new windows, lighting, gardens etc. It has become a light and airy place to work.  I have set up camp in one corner to start painting again.  The shed is bigger than the house.  An elephant would have room to rattle around inside it!  There is the pottery studio part and the print making part and the sewing part and the printing part.  I have even parked up the caravan inside to work on over winter AND still have stacks of room!  How lucky am I?  Now I just need to create!  HOWEVER  the farmlet is in 'do up' phase... so there is always something to do urgently here.

Baby, light my fire!

Sshhhh!  It's a secret!  This is my new kiln and I am scared of it.  It is gas.  I am living in fear and excitement about the first firing.  Luckily I have a very skilled potter and friend down the road who will help me start the critter up for the first time.  Thank goodness for Suzanne. It is very definitely not a programme and walk away job!  But that is exciting....?

The girl in the hat.

Another little dry point print.  I have been combining media lately and especially enjoying sewing over drawings and prints.

Kina and other dead and decaying stuff.

Lately there have been bucket loads of Kina on the beach....The studio has become quite 'ripe' with smell of them and the crabs legs I have been bringing home from the beach. (The seagulls get the bodies).  My oldest daughter asked me why I have this thing about bringing home beach debris/dead stuff.  Good question as I am always one for self-reflection and navel gazing! (Too much so).  But I really don't know the answer to that one. So I will just continue to bring them home.  The patterns in Kina are so satisfying.


Well...the new kiln is in and ready to go....just need to get the gas regulator.  These little chaps have been waiting a while to reach the end of their creation process.  They will fire black and white with strong reds and browns. The process of firing and glazing never ceases to amaze me.  I love how you can 'under glaze' (like is on these guys) and the colours change so much in the firing process.

wonky isn't perfect and neither are we!

Still working on the '100 wonky bowls'.  (Could be for a while actually). This one was a very sandy clay and blue and white glaze.  Initially I didn't like the way the glaze pulled out from the clay body during firing to expose the clay.  But now I like it.

Kaitake ranges-Davies track

This is the view from the hill behind our house.  Actually it is an old volcano that last erupted 500,000 years ago.  In the holidays the girls and I climbed the track that leaves at our gate and goes to the Trig station at the top.  It was a way harder walk than I expected but we had a great time.  Fully recommend it! Our farmlet is at the bottom of the ridge and from our place it drops steeply down to the sea.  The bush on the way up was fantastic...all something from a Harry Potter movie.  Great place for some future sketching.

Doodle bowls

To teach myself to be a better potter, I am making 100 wonky bowls.  They are decorated in different ways and it is giving me the chance to experiment with decoration techniques and clay bodies whilst keeping the form essentially the same.  The idea from these came from two places.  The Asian restaurant in town called the 'noodle bowl'.  I liked the sound of it...and from some doodle drawings I made once during a staff meeting.......I plan to go back to a few old diaries and school planning books and hunt out other doodles.  I like the unplanned, unconscious sprawling nature of them. I wonder if out there in the world is someone who has a job working with analysing peoples doodle drawings!

The Gardener

Funny how you look back on work and think 'OH MY GOODNESS!'.  This painting is one of those.  The handling of the face seems clumsy now...But I still relate to the symbolism it contains.  I painted it about 12 years ago.  It is of me holding flowers in the garden just after my Dad died of cancer.  The painting itself is very large.  About 1 metre by 2 metres. It was more of a contemplation about life and how life 'morph's' and changes in subtle ways over our life time.  The sunflowers were reminiscent of my time with my first husband.  I have strong memories of riding through central Turkey on mopeds amongst vast fields of sunflowers.  I remember feeling a sense of freedom and promise that I could achieve whatever I wanted with my life.  The Necklace was given to me by my second husband.  I loved the way it felt on my skin....wire and cold stones.  I liked how it encircled me and sat near my throat...symbolising how he was giving me 'voice' to be who I wanted to be.  The foxgloves are a beautiful flower but contain deadly poisons all is not pretty below the surface in the garden.
Dad struggled all his life with trusting in his creativity and I think in the end his lack of faith in himself consumed him.  The foxgloves symbolize to me that double edged sword of can be a very positive trait or a negative trait.

pigtails woodcut

I have been sorting out things around the studio and came across this woodcut.  It reminded me of a series of 20 woodcuts that I did, that didn't really do it for me...but after a while I painted over parts of them and really liked the effect of the shiny ink showing through the acrylic paint.  In some places I painted thickly and in others I just did a wash over the image.  The chunky paint and the subtle textures haven't shown up in the photo.  I ended up framing six of these prints in a row, in one frame, and have been very pleased with how it looks.  The prints are a range of colours and some look happy and others moody.  They remind me of the range of moods and 'dramas' that I encounter in the playground when I am on duty at lunchtime.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Emelia and the Hula Hoop

This is still one of the favourite paintings I have done.  The photo is pre-digital and as a result this is not a fantastic reproduction.  In real life the colours are very intense.  It is of Emelia (Millie) and her little flappy plaits doing the 'Hula' hoop which was very popular in the late 1990's.  The grass bit at the bottom is not part of the painting.... rather just where I had to take the photo for light at the time with the old SLR..outside and against the white wall.  I have always been really pleased this painting has not sold.  I love the detail and the technical bits that are lost in the reproduction.  I like to lie in bed and  run my eyes over it. It satisfies me.  

The southern Alps....

Just found this photo from last year. I was flying back from Queenstown and the pilot was doing all sorts of detours to show us stuff... glaciers..... mountain passes ... and peaks....  (we were ahead of time).  I was struck by the enormity of the southern alps and the rugged beauty of the South Island.  Often we don't notice the beauty in our own back yard.