Monday, 26 October 2015

Firing and lights in the night

On Friday we packed the kiln and on Saturday it was fired. Opening and unpacking will take place when it has cooled down sufficiently... 

Rings of wadding for the kiln props

Alix and Riitta

Amazing how much work it takes to fill a wide, deep kiln
Firing underway - raking the coals
Firing from 6 until midnight....

Meanwhile, in Fiskars Village, there was a Festival of Lights:

Floating light
Shoe light

Cup and teapot light

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Decorating cups for the wood kiln

Today I have decorated the last of the 9 huge cups I have made (all pinched in porcelain) for the firing which is going to start this Saturday (24th) in the Bourry Box kiln here in Fiskars.
The wood kiln

 Autumn in Fiskars is very beautiful, and very quiet - next weekend will be different though as there is going to be a Light Art Festival: "Lux Helsinki" comes to Fiskars. 

From the Fiskars Village homepage:
"As a part of the Fire&Light theme, CulturaMobila- a community arts partnership-, will perform plays every Saturday at 7 pm , during this theme. CulturaMobila is known from their powerful outdoor spectacles which have included the following elements: Giant Dolls, Fire Sculptures, installations, sounds and illuminations. Venue place for these shows is Copper Smithys Black Hall".

This performance takes place close to where we will be firing the kiln on Saturday night!

Last small pinch pots drying today

Small plates made from Crank clay with different slips

Chair cup

Chair cup with pot plant

Another cup, same chair....

Different view of cup

Help from Nora Kinnunen in transporting the raw pots down to the bisque firing

The load from yesterday's bisque firing unpacked

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Carved light holders and linocuts

and the late-night work: slow development with linocutting....
Vermont farmhouse stove
Can't wait to start printing on paper which is made here in Fiskars by Erja Huovila.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Saturday morning

From the studio door
Saturday morning, bright sunshine in Fiskars, and the crowd of pots has grown. 
This week Riitta Talonpoika kindly lent me a wheel and transported it up to my studio, but I have had little success so far with it - using Witgert porcelain "Body No. 011 “Mont Blanc”, the whitest and most translucent ceramic body on the market"- I see this morning that 2 out of 5 cups I threw have "S" cracks, so I don't think I am going to waste any more of this special clay on throwing: better to stay with pinching, rolling and coiling.

I have mixed two terra siggilatas and now can start decorating some of all the 53 bowls.
The round pots made with Crank Clay are made to go in the space between the firebox and the bag wall of the kiln. They will be painted with a coat of kiln wash a là Kaupo Holmberg (my studio-mate at the 2011 Kohila Symposium in Estonia), perhaps over porcelain this one - fired at Kohila in 2011.The kiln wash inhibits all fluxing on the pots, and gives the most subtle colours a chance to be visible, as the brown stoneware body cannot dominate. The porcelain slip is also a barrier to inhibit "brownness". We will see...

Saturday morning gathering of pots

I made bread yesterday

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Day 6

53 pinched bowls - 28 in Glacier Porcelain, the rest in "Special" from Valentines, Stoke on Trent. After making all these, and 9 round pinched pots, what a treat to open a bag of "Craft Crank" and find that it can do anything you ask of it! Admittedly, its not translucent, pots are chunky and grainy - but it supports itself and suggests tall cylinders and round football shapes to me....
I have finally started my evening project - linocuts - and found how to reverse the photo I am using as source material for the first linocut. Open in Preview. Click "Flip"

The 53
Football 1 and football 2 in the making

Lino cutting tools lined up 
Evening view from the kitchen table where I am working on the linocuts

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Bowls pinched from Valentine's Sprecial Porcelain - difficult.....

I have two new clays to start on tomorrow: Witgert's "Mont Blanc" porcelain and Crank Clay from England - a coarse stoneware body for coiling larger pots.
The Mont Blanc will be the third porcelain type I try here: the "Special" porcelain from Valentines was difficult to control - very thixotropic - just got wetter and wetter as you worked at it!  But once it had stiffened up a bit it worked fairly well. Drying happens very quickly in the heated studio.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Day 2

Today I have been finishing the 28 bowls I made yesterday, and then started making larger round pots - making the lower halves which I will put the upper sections on tomorrow when they have stiffened up a little, as porcelain clay gets floppy when handled.
Fiskars village was thronging with people today as there is a two day Slow Food Festival with produce from local growers.

Produce on sale

Some of my shopping today

Friday, 2 October 2015

Fiskars Residency

Yesterday evening I arrived at Fiskars, Finland to start a month's Artist-in-Residence stay.
A flight of under two hours from Copenhagen to Helsinki, bus to the Central Station, one hour's train journey almost due west, a twenty-minute bus ride, and I had arrived. 
This morning I have opened up the studio below the house, located my clay delivery down the hill, looked at the kiln which I am going to fire together with Riita Talonpoika; and now work begins.

View from the AIR house porch 
First night: wood shop below the AIR house
The Clock Tower this morning

My clay order had been delivered to the Clock Tower Building
Peaceful Fiskars

The kiln

Transport of clay

Scarva "Glacier" porcelain
Pinching "Glacier" porcelain
Studio waiting to be filled with work

Evening light