#littlekiln

Now that I have my very own space dedicated to my creativities I went on the search for a kiln, refreshing my Trade Me search daily. I eventually posted a wanted ad on the local Facebook page, where I was offered a small 60cm x 60cm F.E Kiln for $350. It was perfect for my experimental ceramic attempts.

luluslist lulu okoia whanganui open studiolittle kiln fe AOS art ceramic clay pottery

I enjoyed meeting people and sharing knowledge while being a member of Raglan’s Pottery Club however depending on the firing of a community kiln was a pain. I’d leave a piece clearly labelled for firing, and yet week after week I’d find it still sitting there patiently waiting to take its turn on one of the kiln shelves, while others seem to take priority.

I was still trying to discover how clay and glazes worked, and was excited at the possibility of being able to dabble without risking other peoples work.

I have had the shame of having a piece drip glaze onto an unfortunate piece below

I have put on the safety glasses and earmuffs to grind a piece off the valuable shelf that had suck fast by a thick runny glaze

I have had to vacuum the empty kiln after a piece had exploded due to trapped air

All my little kiln needed was a new pyrometer and a new controller… plus the electrician to install these pricey parts.

$1300 later I was ready to fire!

luluslist lulu okoia whanganui open studiolittle kiln fe AOS art ceramic clay pottery bartlett little kiln

 

 

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Throwing a Clay Bowl

I am inspired by creative people. I love finding one of these gems. The best ones go about their day, working their completely unrelated job, itching to get home so that they can dabble. If you are a creative person, you will know, it’s just so important to find time to unleash this need. Whether it makes you money, or costs you money, it’s benefits are rewarding.

My mother, Julia, is one of those gems.

She has recently reignited her passion for the wheel.

These creative tendencies are often very private and quiet, almost meditative for the artist. However, with their cover blown, they are often very animated and expressive when sharing their passion with a fellow dabbler of art. These people are often extremely humble and modest, and are wonderful people to know and to be around.

My mother shared with me her talent. Making a bowl on a potters wheel from clay.

Throwing a clay bowl

The clay is placed in the centre of the bat

Throwing a clay bowl

The wheel spins slowly while she gets the clay into position, and creates a cone like shape. She presses down in the centre with her thumbs to form a well.

Throwing a clay bowl

She slowly brings the clay out and up to form desired bowl size and thickness

Throwing a clay bowl

Water is keep nearby to keep her hands and the bowl damp.

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Throwing a clay bowl

Using a wire she trims and evens the edge of the bowl, which is removed.

Throwing a clay bowl

Throwing a clay bowl

She gently pinched the bowls edge to form a tidy rounded lip

Throwing a clay bowl

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Throwing a clay bowl

She runs a damp sponge along the inside and the outside of the spinning bowl to get a smooth finish

Throwing a clay bowl

With the wheel stopped, she runs a wire underneath the bowl to remove it from the bat

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She leaves the bowl over night to dry a little.

Then she places it upside down on the wheel to trim the and shape the outside of the  bowl and its base.

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The clay is put into a kiln twice. It is first biscuit fired at 800 C, then a glaze is applied and it is baked again, at over 1000 C.

Julia is a member of the local pottery club where she has access to a kiln, glazing and most importantly, other amazing creative potters!

She works from her studio in Whangapoua. Her bowls can be found at Luke’s Kitchen in Kuaotunu, on the Coromandel Pennisula and via her website juliapots. 

 

 

Need a little support

Years ago when I cast handmade moulds with concrete, I formed my first ‘couple’. I managed to reproduce 10 of these before the delicate mould was retired. Now, I find creating with clay and firing each original piece is much more satisfying. Each piece is completely different, some even take on a direction of their own. I enjoy this process and am always excited to see the end result, when they emerge from their final firing.

On my first attempt of my couple in clay I put a vinyl cone support under the man, thinking that the woman could be built around him, but as I created, she started to slump.

Instead of scrapping the work, I went with the clay and love the result.

You could view the piece as a man supporting a weak or sick woman, or of a woman buckling underneath the pressure of holding up and supporting the man.

With the second piece, I built a support using cut down containers held together with duct tape. I covered the containers with a bread bag for easy removal. This ensured the couple kept their form. The support pieces were removed on day 2.

Being an egg donor, I am sensitive to the struggle some couples go through to be blessed with a child. I created a baby to fit in the couples arm, making the piece complete. While the piece was drying my three-year old daughter kept putting the baby back into the couples arms, when I would have it sitting next to the piece. I loved that she always wanted the baby with its parents, and not on its own on the shelf.

The piece turned out to be an interactive one. It’s surprising how the physical act of putting the baby in its place makes you feel good.

I sponged a black slip onto both pieces.

Unfortunately the glossy glaze did not give me the desired look. Perhaps they will find a home with someone. Thankfully art appeals to an array of people. I would have preferred a matt finish and will be purchasing my own glazes for future use, and applying a thicker slip.

Live and learn.

Cute little gifts

I will definitely be making more of these little guys. I made them for personal Christmas gifts but had a few requests for some! A cool scale roller and hand cut fish shapes. I leaned them up on a cardboard tube cut in half to give the fish a slight curve. I experimented with what ever shades of blue the Clay Shed had. Simple and sweet.

Concrete letters and numbers

Dabbling with concrete and moulds yet again, I’m now creating letters and numbers!

The letters look great painted up and displayed on a shelf, and the numbers make a striking address id, either propped up in the garden or mounted on a wall!

Awesome for those holiday homes, where there isn’t a need for a letterbox!

Concrete Candles

Thankfully my family consumes a lot of margarine and Aunt Betty puddings, as these containers make for the perfect moulds for my concrete candles!July16 012

Using a 1:2 mix of cement and sand and just the right amount of water, I create awesome little concrete bowls for planting up with succulents, cacti and orchids. Now that I have found the joy of candle making, I have been filling them with scented soy wax too!

What I found was interesting is that you need the right wick for the diameter of the bowl, so that it creates the maximum sized melted wax pool!

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There’s all sorts of shapes, heights and thickness to experiment with. I even poured the wax into some drinking glasses, and once cool the wax candle just slid right out.

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The wax I use is soft, and can also be used for creating melts to use in a tea light burner.

Simple, natural, handmade in New Zealand, unlike those crude oil paraffin based ones that can only be used in a specific electric warmer. And instead of cleaning out the wax  once the scent has evaporated, simply purchase your own scent to add to it!

https://organicslant.com/the-danger-of-scentsy-candles/

lulu concrete soy scented candle chick handmade nz not scentsy natural melts

I love getting my kids involved with any of my Lulus Lists ventures, and put them to work constructing the boxes for packaging, giving them a brief lecture on child labour, how some countries can produce products for cheap by exploiting their staff and why we should encourage people to buy New Zealand handmade goods! ; )

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lulu concrete soy scented candle chick handmade nz not scentsy natural

 

Fostering for Thames SPCA

As if I needed another dog in the house! Luckily my husband just goes along with all my crazy ideas. 

We have fostered puppies for Thames SPCA before, cute little sibling Jack Russell x something fluffy, and that ended by us keeping the little boy for a few more months then we should have! 

So I popped into the shelter to photograph the animals currently available for adoption, and ended out taking Dot home with me. What can I say, I’m a sucker for brindle staffys ; ) 

  
She’s awesome tho. Quick to learn, loyal and quiet. She has a little bark but shhh’s up when I tell her too. She will make someone a very lovely companion…. we are very tempted……. would love a pack…..

   
 
Awwww……

Have a look at the Facebook Page and the newly created Instragram account thames_spca for current adoptees

Thames SPCA
And phone 07 8686830 to enquire further

They are located down the dirt road by the Thames airport on Ngati Maru Highway