The Learning Curve…

The Learning Curve…

Hi there.

Thanks for popping in. Glorious, sunny day again here in the south east. What are you up to?

I was having a little lazy half hour in bed this morning, with a cup of tea, thinking about the day ahead, deciding what to do, what to make. Clarity work is always there, but that’s what it is. Work. It may be arty, lovely work – but to me it is work nonetheless. And everybody needs a day off work from time to time.

Settled on a morning of Pottery instead – one of my favourite things to do – to clear the head and get in my happy space. But I can’t just keep throwing bowls and turning them. It’s certainly one of my very favourite thing to do. BUT. Bisque fired is not finished. And the Gray bisque collection is growing by the kiln load!

So I decided to glaze my 6 porcelain coffee mugs first.

An hour later, I had made a right horlicks of it, ended up washing off the glaze and putting them back on the shelf to dry out. Back to the drawing board.

Then I thought I’d try the new cobalt oxide I have bought. Googled the water-powder ratio etc, mixed up some and brushed some onto a few pieces. Will it work? No idea. Have I mixed it right? Not a clue. Should I add glaze? Maybe. Is this a pleasure? No. It is not.

I’m just not proficient at this part of the process. YET. It’s time to stop winging it, and knuckle down. The hit and hope strategy which I so often adopt with papercraft is not going to work so well with ceramics.

It’s time to do some learning, time to get to grips with finishing and glazing. It’s a science for sure, and I’ve made a plan. First things first – make some little tiles, to experiment on, try some different glazes, oxides, stains and so on. I shall stamp a little letter on the back, then catalogue them, ABC stylee, so I can refer back to what I’ve done.

I think the best resource will be the dozen glaze books I have on the shelf! There are endless youtubes on this stuff too, but you can spend a lot of time trawling through youtubes before you find the info you want. I’m assuming that a published book – especially bearing the title THE GLAZE BIBLE – will deliver!

This will take months, years, I know. But I want to get good at it. I want to create beautiful objects, and I want to find my voice as a potter. So I have to figure things out. And rather than think of it as daunting, as something beyond my grasp, I choose to embrace the challenge, and invest the time it takes.

I’ve had a modicum of luck with a few glazes pieces thus far, but LUCK is the operative word here…

If I want to take it to the next level, I have to study the art of glazing. Watch this space! It’s like anything I suppose. If you want to get good at something you have to keep doing it, keep learning and keep practicing!

Love and Hugs,

Barb xxx

15 thoughts on “The Learning Curve…

  1. Well, you know what they say, practice makes perfect – I need a lot of it at a lot of things ! I admire the bowl I have of yours everyday so keep going! Enjoy your day. We’re expecting second son and daughter in law any time now for a visit so looking forward to that. X

  2. I’m doing parchment. Decided to attempt one of Linda’s Christmas trees for the first time and one of her designs! Now that is a challenge! I am also trying to do one of the 5 needle borders on a PTC. That, too, is a challenge but will be worth it if it works! Lol. Have fun learning, Barb. Every step forward is progress and, in a strange way, even every side step or backwards step. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway! Have a good weekend. Lots of love. Hxx

  3. I studied pottery at school. We were always told to make test tiles for new glazes. It’s also important to try the oxides to see what results you get. They were all added to a box and used by everyone as a reference library. Oxides can react differently with the glaze used. Sometimes it works as expected and sometimes you get a surprise. Happy potting…

  4. Glad you had a ‘day off’ and time for your hobby. They are beautiful. My hobby has been card making , selling the cards at markets. But because of Covid etc. I haven’t been able to go to any for 18 months, so I counted how many I have and that came to about 600, so I have stopped for the time being but I have found a new hobby – Groovi and at the moment am doing the beautiful Christmas Tree. Not as relaxing as card making (yet) and I am having to have lots of practice sessions but I will get there.

  5. Barbara that is what is going to make your’s, your’s
    not everyone wants the same and if you can do something different then that’s you, keep going half the fun is the learning, and by the way if you are selling any can I put myself on the list for the little vase with the rose’s would love one of those if you make any more

  6. I hope you can find something to relax with. I’m trying the new skill of embossing. I see so many talented peoples work and wish I could produce a piece like them. As you say it’s practice that counts and helps you improve. I will not give in, just try to not be so heavy handed. Barbara, I hope we both achieve what we are aiming for. Have a good afternoon. xxx

  7. Loving life is doing more of what you love. I retired 5 yrs, ago this week…… Never looked back…… One day Barb….. One day. Enjoy xx

  8. Enjoy the process. From what I know of you you will get there and your method sounds very sound to me. But the most important thing is to enjoy it. My husband used mess about with computers in the eighties as a hobby. In the 2000s it became his job and he no longer enjoys what he used to love doing for hours even though he has been retired for at least 7 years now.

  9. The tile testers sound like a great idea- something to refer back to in the future. Like all new things its a case of going slowly & enjoying the process. One day at a time & slowly like whitework on parchment.
    There will be errors on the way but that is part of the learning curve – we just have to accept that it won’t go right every time.
    Look forward to seeing how your mugs turn out.

  10. It is good to have a target to aim for. We learn by our mistakes and sometimes they turn out to be happy accidents and surprise us. The tiles are a great idea for future reference. I hope I never stop learning some new technique from time to time.
    I have been having a blast with all the lovely goodies I have received this week and have no commitments for the coming week so I am going to craft myself silly. Happy days 😍
    Enjoy your weekend, stay safe.

  11. Hi Barbara
    Talking about glazes Jackie has had a recipe for a glaze for some tiles for ages. About 3 weeks ago after much searching on the internet for a large 100 mesh sieve we found a local sieve and Ritter making in town. We finally picked it up on Thursday and are ready to start the process. He was very busy saying that he had a 6 week wait but fortunately we weren’t particular about it being perfectly round so he did it quickly for us. Wish us luck. Enjoy experimenting 👍.
    Love Ruth and Jackie xx

  12. Its all about practice whatever the hobby, I still shy away from unusual card shapes, saying no, too complicated for me, then the other voice says its only a piece of card and some time, and some patience, and eventually (sometimes quite often) a new card shape happens. After all, none of us could use a computer when they first came out could we? And my ‘phone defeats me more often than not, just no interest in playing with that!

  13. I think you are brilliant at it already Barbara, but I know what you mean, there is always room for improvement and you are adopting a good way of seeing what works and what doesn’t. You are so determined so I know you will get there. x

  14. Hi Barb, there is always an opportunity to learn and improve, and I think you are doing brilliantly. You idea of trying and cataloguing what does and does not work is a great idea. Something I think I should do too. You finished items are beautiful. Bx

  15. We have some beautiful hand made pottery from a little studio in Solva, Wales. The potter used salt crystals in his glaze and each piece is unique but still part of a set if you know what I mean. Your little glaze tiles need framing on your studio wall – bet they would look beautiful! X

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