Monday, 30 March 2009

More fun than sand castles!

On Saturday, I went to a glass blowing studio for a one day workshop in sand-casting. I did it about a year ago, and have been itching to have another go since.

Sand casting is where you use "green" sand (even though its sort of orange colour!), which is a special sand that holds its form, used for casting metals, and in this case glass (it would make pretty impressive sand castles too).

By pressing objects into a box of this sand, the impressions then create molds for pouring molten glass into. We used lead crystal, usually used for glass blowing, which is heated to 1200 C, so its glowing yellow.

The lead crystal gives beautiful clarity, you can add colour, but I decided to work will all clear this time.

The piece on the right relates to the work I am doing at University at the moment - I am looking at patterns that repeat in the inner body and the outer world, the microcosm and the macrocosm.

As part of the developing visual studies work, these cell-like patterns have emerged, and the pieces I have been working on connect to testing methods - so this was an idea to make a giant "petri dish".

Its about 8 inches across and 1 inch thick - the pattern and texture you can see are on the back of the piece, and the lead crystal is so clear that it shines through - it doesn't show up properly as I was too impatient to wait until morning to photograph it in daylight! I made four other pieces too, but I think this one is the best (some of the others have a lot of bubbles, and surface trails, which on their own are lovely, but not quite the effect I wanted for my project).

Monday, 23 March 2009

Missing link.....

Something I do quite often, actually, forgetting something - you know the sort of thing "please find attached document" (on a lone e-mail), pleased find enclosed..... (with an empty envelope)

So, here's that link I said I was putting in my last post about the Derby Crafts Auction

Derby Crafts

That way you can actually go look at the work!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Arts/Crafts Auction

The third year students on my BA (Crafts) course at Derby University are trying to raise money for New Designers, an important show for graduates held in London in June and it's an expensive do.

They have been doing a variety of things - quiz night (our team won!), and each week they have a home made cake sale - yummy!

They have begged, badgered, and sometimes asked very nicely, for people to donate items for a silent auction they are holding.

There is a mixture of work by current second and third year students, as well as work donated from University lecturers as well as visiting ones - if you're interested in Ceramics, you may already know the work of Jeremy James or Josie Walter - two of our regular lecturers, and work has been donated by well established visiting specialists, evening class students and lecturers from other courses.

So, here's a link to their web page, which has a gallery of all the work - have a browse (you might even want to bid for a bargain! Only proviso is that you can collect from Derby or be willing to pay carriage).

So, apart from being nice and helping them to promote their auction, I wanted to show you the piece that I put in. We did a batch project before Christmas, which I didn't really enjoy, but did end up with several slip cast earthenware vessels - one of which I have glazed, and then this piece which was smoke fired and waxed.

I can't imagine for a moment that anybody will actually bid on it - and I don't mind if they don't as I do rather like this one myself!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Apparently I can blow glass too....

As part of my current project at Uni, I have been experimenting with applying the same surface treatment to ceramics as to glass.

I have been casting and carving in to plaster, then I have been press moulding or slip casting with white earthenware into that, and then doing bas relief "kiln carving" with float glass.

This plaster tile was a simple design of a trace of dots, which I thought would work quite well as t texture.

I really didn't expect this reaction though!

I don't know if there was something in the plaster, or something on the surface of the glass that as it burnt off created gasses that couldn't escape - but something created this wonderful bubble!

The glass is about 10 cm square, and the bubble stands about 8 cm high, and at the very top, it was so thin it was flexible (so much so that it didn't take much of a poke to put a hole in it!)

I don't know what to do with it, and I doubt I could do it again - I wish I could. But I certainly didn't know that I could blow glass in my electric fusing kiln!