I’ve started shaving!

I’ve started shaving!

Hi there. Thanks for popping in.

Started shaving this afternoon. 3 hours! That’s a lot of shaving! And to be honest, I could have kept going; there was plenty more to shave, but I ran out of time! Yes, you know, don’t you. Pottery. It’s a new technique. You may recall that this term, rather than just keep knocking out more pots, tiles and vases, I am learning new techniques . Last week, I started on the Sgraffito – the art of painting leatherhard clay with slip, then scratching a design out of the slip to reveal the original surface. Yeah, so last week’s little dish went in the kiln, and came out well…

Now it needs glazing. Which I fully intended to do today, together with the experiment tile – the one I was studying as I made it, to see why the last batch of tiles I made warped, and were dimply. The tile came out peach too, so now I know what to do!

But all the best laid plans and all that. I spent most of the afternoon shaving! There’s a famous ceramicist called Ashraf Hanna. And this term, we have been set the task of making an Ashraf Hanna inspired pot. Let’s look at some superb original Ashraf Hanna work first, shall we?

He makes these amazing pots by hand, and uses a razor blade to get that rough texture and the sharp baseline. So I thought I would make my own version. It’s not quite the same, but it’s definitely got potential !! Bearing in mind, it started out life like this:

thick and stable foundation

Then got pulled up, up, and more up!

When it was leatherhard, I was able to start really thinning out the sides with a grater…

Yikes! Got a bit carried away…

Then this week, it was time to shave and burnish…

Object of the exercise was to get those pin sharp edges on the four corners.

So it’s round on the inside (ish…)

…but the base is square:

See the scratchy texture? This is an Ashraf Hanna look, done by close shaving.

I decided I wanted to burnish my whatever-it-is with a spoon. Which changed it completely. By rubbing vigorously with the back of a spoon (oi! steady Eddy!), the clay particles are compressed and the surface gets really tight and shiny. I love it!

I’ve spent a month on this little Ashraf Hanna looky likie! It is ready to go in the kiln for its first firing now. Just have to initial it first. I wanted to add 1/1. because as sure as eggs is eggs, there’ll never be another one of these!

The pot’s a bit wonky, a bit kooky, but I love it. I reckon it will be very cool when it’s finished. Now I’ve got all week to think about the glaze. When I look at what I have actually made this term, and compare with others in the class, my couple of little pieces are pretty modest. But then again, I have learned loads. The way I see it, I’d rather add clever techniques and styles to my little Pottery arsenal. Since I am planning on doing this for years to come, there’s no need really to pump out pots en masse, is there?

So yeah. Who knew that shaving and polishing clay could be so rewarding?!

Tomorrow we head off up to Leyburn for the Open Days. Long haul, but Dave and I will have each other for company in the van!! I have been listening to an old Phillip Pullman novel, too – The Tin Princess. Excellent. Highly recommend it. Must go indoors and finish that – just got to the really gripping bit. There’s so much to do! And so few hours in the day to do it all!

Till tomorrow,

Love & Hugs,

Barb xx

Don’t forget: Tina is on HOCHANDA tomorrow at 11am and 2pm, with some absolutely delightful new plates. I really like these ones!

14 thoughts on “I’ve started shaving!

  1. Oooo your pot looks excellent. Liking the shiny look of the clay so will be interested to see how it looks after firing. Hope the journey up to Leyburn goes smoothly, fingers crossed for fine driving weather. Xx

  2. Unusual shape, definitely a one off. It will be interesting to see the finished pot which will be uniquely “BG”.
    Have a safe journey to Leybourne.

  3. Love reading about your pottery journey. I would think it is better to learn different techniques & use them to create your pots than to make a lot all the same.
    Safe journey tomorrow up to Leyburn – a good old trek to do in a day. We will be making the last half of our journey tomorrow having explored the home of Gentleman Jack & the surrounding area in a mixture of sunshine & rain. Today we saw a waterfall over a canal lock gate, just goes to show how much rain we have had over the last few days. Just 3 sleeps to go before the Big Day !! Going by FB there are a lot of excited people out there.

  4. So great to see how much you are enjoying your pottery. Safe journey and watch out for our road closures in Yorkshire for the cycling

  5. Your pot looks great. Love your tile too. Safe journey to Leyburn. I am so looking forward to it. Hopefully the roads won’t be too busy for the journey south for me and north for you. See you on Saturday. Hx

  6. I love the pot and the tile. Unique not mass produced. Those shavings look interesting, shame they are wasted.
    Have fun at Leyburn.
    I am off to Wakefield tomorrow for a dear sister’s funeral.
    Safe journey. xx

  7. I can see a whole herd of hairy coos waiting to be created out of all those clay shavings! I know how you love to use up the “waste”. Have a safe and trouble free journey and enjoy Leyburn x

  8. Wow Barbara your pots etc are fantastic you real. Could sell them love the tree. Safe travelling tomorrow we are of to Cambridge again tomorrow may see you pass on M11 or A14 night night xxx

  9. Great pot, love that it’s ‘kooky’ and not perfect…who/what defines perfection? Its handmade with love and you cant get more perfect than that! Safe journey ‘Oop Norf’ really looking forward to seeing you (and Dave too) on Saturday. xx

  10. That’s a cracking pot Barbara, well I sure hope it doesn’t actually crack but you know what I mean. I hope you have a good and safe journey ‘oop narth’ tomorrow, but looking at the clock it is so late it is actually today. x

  11. Hi Barb, love your pot, so glad that you are enjoying learning all these new techniques. Safe travels to Leyburn, I bet you and Dave do Car(Van) Karaoke. Take care all. Bx

  12. I have to say that in my humble opinion, your pot will never look quite as good as it does at this stage. Especially as you have burnished it. I often wish I could replicate the leather hard burnished look. But hey, it will be fabulous and very tactile. Have you thought about a smoke firing. Encasing it in an aluminium saggar with seaweed, coffee grounds, etc.,etc? Or just wrap it in seaweed and place directly amongst the sawdust? You must give it a go one day Barb. So much fun.

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