So I have started playing about with how to make a costrel (a type of 16th century hip flask). This is my very first experiment, I haven’t finished decorating it (one of the problems of working in two places is I keep leaving things in the other studio) and there is a lot I would change but I like the idea. I have used a cast drinks bottle for the neck, a plate mould for the body, and the foot is a thrown inverted plastic beer cup. I like using different making methods, throwing, casting and press moulding and I also enjoy the visual pun that the different forms provide.

I have also included some slightly better photos of the latest jug.

Cut and Shut pots

I have still been working on my ‘cut and shut’ pieces. I have finally cast a small milk bottle and coke bottle, I have been using sections of the cast forms pushed into thrown parts, sometimes the cast pieces are fired first. I have also begun looking at different clays as a contrast to the white earthenware of the cast forms. The terracotta is much less forgiving and tends to crack more something which gives the final piece more tension.

Several of the thrown sections have been slumped over a plastic bottle and pulled off, resulting in some tearing and an echo of the original form. With some of the pieces I am combining the thrown with original plastic sections, some of the plastic I am going to spray paint gold. I have been playing with notions of value in terms of material and art form, I would like to take this idea further and look at ways in which the whole pieces can be cast in other materials such as resin.

I have made a pot I like!

I have really enjoyed making this piece (apart from banging my head several times on the light!). I am starting to loosen up and not fiddle too much which has resulted in a much more vigorous form. The handle hasn’t quite worked, I wanted it to be a pulled handle but the result was too narrow, I need bigger hands! I also found a rhythm with the decorating which I think compliments the form. I have no idea how it will turn out as I didn’t test the colours first but if I had I would’ve lost the energy of working in the moment. I have now made a test tile of the colours so fingers crossed they turn out OK.


The Jug

Well I have finished constructing The Jug as she is now being affectionately called. She is about 150cm high and if I want to go any taller I need a bigger

step-ladder! I have actually found the process really physically tiring, I think because I am spending quite a bit of time balancing up the aforementioned ladder.

I now need to work out how I am going to make a handle, I really like the look of the traditional North Devon handle but to achieve that kind of fluidity I would need to pull it and my hands aren’t that big. It was also suggested that I could consider more than one handle, I think to get a better idea of how that will look I am going to make a series of paper handles and try them out.

Here are some photos, yes she does look like a giant skittle and yes that is my ‘concentrating’ face


bottle after bisque

So the bottle and the pancheon have made it through the bisque firing. I have been so focused on getting them through the first firing I am totally stuck on how to glaze them. I have been working on Earthenware glazes but due to recent very sensible advice if I am working on such a

large-scale most people will want to put the pieces outside. My problem with this is that I have been using fragments of 16th century pottery within my work which from previous tests just end up as a horrible brown sticky mess at stoneware temps. I also want to maintain the colours and the layering of slips and underglazes, hmmm this might take a while to work out.

More pics of jug (2) work in progress.

Jugs and firing

I just about managed to squeeze the big bottle into the kiln, I had to remove the normal kiln shelves and use slightly thinner ones otherwise it wouldn’t fit. The pancheon however didn’t fit so I have had to fire it on its side. The bottle survived the firing so that’s 2 pieces successfully through a bisque firing, I will find out about the pancheon tomorrow but I am not too optimistic.

I have also started large jug number 2, I am planning on leaving a couple of coils in the middle with the finger marks and grog (made from crushed 16th century pot sherds) still showing, that’s if I can stand to leave it alone. Here are a few pics of the firing and work in progress.