Sunday, 30 December 2012

New ideas to try in the New Year

Over the holidays between bad films and biscuits I've been experimenting with home made decals (ceramic transfers). This is an old stoneware test tile, the added decals and gold lustre give it the look of the  Antikythera mechanism. One of the less credible, but more imaginative  theories about the mechanism's origin is that it was left behind by time travellers, Steampunk time travellers perhaps?   

This is a detail from a small slipware dish designed specifically for the decals. 

And finished at last here is the Space Scout Tea Pot. So I'm off for a cuppa with which to wish everyone a happy, peaceful and creative New Year.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Gill is busy, Stefan and Archy are in charge and have created a Seasonal Greetings Tableau.


Gill is busy at the moment, we're not sure what she's up to but it involves a lot of huffing and puffing. 

So Archy and I are in charge and we've had a good rummage round her work room and found some new bits and pieces that might give a clue as to what she's busy with. Or maybe not. 

Anyhows, we've made a seasonal tableau which we send to you all with our best wishes for a  happy holiday and we all hope to see you in the New Year.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A new old sewing machine

Some time ago I was captivated by an old, shabby & broken miniature sewing machine at a local vintage fair, it was made by Grain and dates from the early 1950's. Of course I had to buy it and have a go at fixing it up, so I took it completely to pieces, each piece was cleaned,oiled and the machine was put back together again.

After a lot of fiddling and fine adjustment it works well and sews with a  neat chain stitch.


Naturally a sewing machine needs a seamstress, and before long one arrived. 

I had some good news this week, Made in Bradford have sold a set of small Space Scouts and they are now off on a new adventure with their new owner. 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Work in progress and a rebuild

After the Leeds Steampunk Fair I was contacted with an enquiry, could I make a functional tea pot in the style of the space scouts?

There's nothing like a challenge to get me going, so here's a couple of pictures of work in progress. I've made extra lids and spouts so I can select the ones that I like best.

The tea pot is drying out ready for its first, biscuit firing.

Meanwhile I've been "rebuilding" a clock.  It kept good time but the face needed a small repair. The workman found more things that had to be fixed, then he said he had to bring a couple of mates to help. They say it'll be finished by next week, probably. It still keeps good time though.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Leeds Steampunk Fair - 7 October

A wonderful day - started early setting up at Left Bank in Headingley. The doors opened at mid-day and we were busy all afternoon with customers, friends and lots of tea. All the stall holders, organisers and supporters were in costume, lots of customers also dressed for the occasion.



I got into the spirit of the event with my own costume. There was a lot of interest in the Space Scouts, the mugs and trinkets sold well, the Intergalactic Space Muffins caused much amusement and bemusement,  and my small people Amos and Philo departed for further adventures with another family.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

All dressed up and somewhere to go.


I've been busy  getting ready to go to the Leeds Steampunk Market  where I will have a stall on Sunday 7 October. 


 There will be new space scouts, treasures and trinkets. My small friends will be coming with me to enjoy the event. 

And getting into the spirit of the occasion I have made a special costume which will be revealed at the fair tomorrow.

Monday, 27 August 2012

An old Underwood typewriter

Some time ago I acquired a battered old Underwood typewriter intending to disassemble it for parts to add to my steampunk creations. 

After knocking off a lot of "dust" and generally tidying it up a bit , it looked as if it could be made to work. Lots of patient fiddling, cleaning, application of oil and a new ribbon later, I had a working typewriter. 

Now, I am a fan of  Archy and Mehitabel, and there was just one thing missing, and this weekend a cockroach turned up and started to try out the Underwood.

 I'll commission him to make all my exhibition labels.     

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Out of the kiln.

An exciting day at Hive yesterday - all the test tiles have had their glaze firing and I'm delighted with the results especially the stoneware ones, very rugged and space battered.  

So now I am wondering what kind of vessel they came from, what perils and hazards had it survived and why had it come here?
There were a few sprigs left over from the tile making - they'll make splendid brooches.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Yet more test tiles


Still making test tiles. I like the slowness of the process, especially over the summer when the studio is quiet and it takes longer for the kiln to be filled and fired. It gives me more thinking time. 

Using a lot of processes adds to the waiting time before I get to see a finished tile, These test tiles have been textured, sprigged, slipped oxided and glazed (try saying that quickly). After glaze firing I may add lustre and more colour before a last firing. And possibly a final addition of found object embellishments as well.   

Here I'm trying something new for me - velvet underglaze painted, sponged and printed straight on to unfired clay. The fired colours should be even brighter under a transparent glaze. 

Friday, 29 June 2012

Test tiles, why I make so many.


I've been making test tiles with layers of slips brushed, printed and sponged with combinations of texture and pattern. I always start with test tiles experimenting with different processes and combinations of materials. Here are some I did last year before making the space rovers.

When I went to look for them I found some old stoneware volcanic glaze tests, which have started to give me ideas .. ... ... ... 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Starting and finishing

I like to start a new phase of work by trying out new combinations of techniques. Here I have made clay stamps from some favourite bits and pieces. When they have been fired I will use them to make ceramic sprigs for decoration.

And here are some finished mugs - they have been glazed, fired and finished off with just a touch of gold lustre. I've been drinking spiced tea out of them. The flavour matches the mug.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A strange meeting

I was waiting for my pots to be fired, and whilst  looking through 
some treasure and wondering what I could do with it,

   a small gentleman walked across my table.

 He stopped and looked at me,

 turned away, and

disappeared amongst all the bits and pieces. 

How very strange.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

A decorated pot & visiting friends

Here it is - the little pot that I decorated in the last post - glazed and fired. Looking good & I'm thinking of adding more decoration to it, perhaps some gold lustre or enamel . I'll wait until I have my mugs glazed so I can try a few different ideas together. 

This weekend is  Bradford Open for Art  , I've spent a lovely afternoon with  Claire Wellesley-Smith and Hannah Lamb  and have come away full of inspiration.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

An exciting day

My Steam punk Space Scouts are about to go off on another adventure - I took some photographs of them to  Hand Made in Bradford  .... and the splendid people there have said that they are welcome to join all the other lovely things there. I'm taking them over next Wednesday. 

Then I spent the rest of the day adding more decoration to a slipped and biscuit fired pot. I've tried something new; bright underglaze colours instead of the oxides I usually use; then spattering a coloured glaze on top of my favourite tinted transparent glaze.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A relaxed day

A relaxed day with some mugs. Painted, printed,

sponged and spotted with coloured slips. I'm aiming to create a richly decorated surface. When they have been biscuit fired I'll add underglaze colours and tinted transparent glazes. These are some frog mugs made last year, I'm trying to get this depth of decoration - and even exceed it.