Back in the pottery saddle and we’re all making T Pots!

Hi all my lovelies,


I am back in the pottery saddle again…making and teaching to my hearts content!

It will be a busy few months with lots of stock to make…my cupboards are bare, lots of exhibition work to get organised and heaps of new faces and familiar ones at Risingholme for teaching.  Hello ALL!

My blog posts have been a bit rubbish over the past 3 months…believe me I did try.  But the inter-web was much harder that I had anticipated connecting to when I was away.  It doesn’t help if you have a stupid…grrrrrrr…computer that likes to tell you you need a wifi update so you can connect to the internet and when it gives you this option says ‘sorry cannot connect  to the internet…you need an update?!!!  I mean really (can you imagine what look I have on my face!)

Any who I am back here again and ready to share with you all my nautical adventures during class or if you are coming to my open studio next Saturday.

While I was away you attacked the very complicated ‘you need a degree in Xcel’ glazing task with gusto.  There were some fantastic samples and now that I have photographed most of them they are ready to go home with you….we will have some bench space back to create more muddy madness on!  I was gob smacked by all the spectacular colour combinations and useful information that we gleaned by doing this mammoth task.  One of these was how to make Abbots Red glaze look better in combination with another glaze…or in some cases worse.  The variety of colours that Matt Brown turns with other glazes and strangely enough for a matt glaze how Oatmeal can make other glazes go super runny!


Some of the T Pots have been making there way through the kilns and they are all marvelous!  I am hoping that they will be on display for next terms class exhibition ‘The Mad Potters’ T Party”.  They are all different shapes and sizes and made in a variety of different ways so are all unique and individual.  I hope that you have discovered how to get the clay to play ball and it is beginning to make shapes that you like.  Sometimes though your pots can look a little odd when you first make them but with a little sponge TLC suddenly when they are glazed they will look quite different…remember to have a little faith in them.  One reminder though when it comes time for glazing…remember the 1 full dip and then 1/3 top dip if you want to put more than one glaze on top of one another…this way you can hopefully minimize the glaze mixing and running off and sticking your pot to the kiln shelf!

I leave you with some of the goodies out of the kiln this week and wish you a safe and warm weekend!


Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch

p.s big hugs to Gwen the pottery helper for doing a marvelous job of teaching in my place while I was away! xx

Pottery on the other side!

Hi all,

I hope you are all enjoying your time with Gwen…your samples look amazing!

It’s been a busy time in the kilns at Risingholme with samples going in for bisquing and then samples coming out again…all sorts of glorious jewel like shades!  Gwen has given me some images below to post for you fellas to see.  I am a tiny bit jealous that I am not there to see!  Hopefully you will all leave the samples at Risingholme for a couple of weeks until I get back so that I can oogle them too!  I think that you should have a really fascinating time looking at them all, figuring out what made what colour and selecting some for your own colour palette when you come back next week.

In the mean time in London, Barcelona and Paris I have been busy looking at all sorts of sights and been to some pretty great shows and studio spaces.

When I arrived CERAMIC ART LONDON was on for the weekend.  This show cased a couple of hundred ceramic artists and potters.  Amazing and incredible!  There were also talks given by various speakers on various topics to do with ceramics and the industry.  One of these talks was by Kate Malone about an architectural project that she collaborated on and I had the opurtuinty to go and see the building completed in Saville Row after the talk.  Wow…talk about yummy!  All covered in thousands of white and black crystalline tiles. Absolutely fantastic!  I did a cheeky intro to Kate Malone and managed to wangle a studio visit…which I did last Sunday before going to the awesome COLLECT show at the Saatchi Gallery in London.   This show brings together some of the finest art dealer galleries in Europe and shows their best craft based artists…you can buy if your pockets are deep enough.  I just oogled, took photos and breathed in the crafty atmosphere for free instead!

The  other highlights in london have been working with Clare Twomey on her 10,000 bowls project.  I showed up at Westminster University one Friday morning and by 12-30 we had made 80 bowls…a small fraction of the amount going into the installation for the opening of the new York Gallery…but cool to be part of it never the less!  The 10,000 bowls are all cast by various volunteers and Clares studio team to represent the time in hours it takes to become a master at your skill.  So repetition really does pay off!

The other studio visit that I made was to Louisa Taylor.   What a beautiful generous and very talented soul she is. I figured out which was the best transport to her southeast london studio and when I arrived she treated me to a lovely cuppa and a delicious home made butterfly cake! I was very heartily welcomed.   We spent the afternoon chatting while she and her studio assistant did some glazing. The studio had been downsized recently and was very compact and funtional.  She treated me to a view of some of her new works from the residency she had with The Victoria and Albert Museum.  They were very beautiful and thoughtful,  based on the relationship of food serving and historical decoration.  I loved the way she used real imprints of fruits and foods as a decorative feature and also has used a beautiful soft milky white pallete highlighted by some soft greens and aubergine.  Wow…amazing and I can see how more new work could be generated from all her new ideas.

Well I am in Amsterdam at the moment unable to post any more images. ..cos of terrible internet access…but if you tune into The Busy Finch Facebook page I am trying to post images as I go! (follow the link on your newsletter)

Otherwise I will have a show n tell thingy ma giggy when I get back!

Remember to bring your own boards to class for Gwen have fun and I’ll see you all soon!




a.k.a The Busy Finch 🙂

Slip and Colour Weekend Workshop!

Hello my lovelies!

So we are heading into the last week of the term…what a great start to the year!

Lots, and lots, and lots of pots have been made and we have had two weekend workshops as well.

As promised I am going to tell you what we got up to in the Slip and Colour inclusion Work Shop now.

This was exploring colour in slip and inclusions of minerals into the cay.

It was a full on weekend with the first day getting the cay sorted out to work ready for the next day.

Every one who came had previously taken home a bucket of dry white clay. Their instructions at home was to make sure that the clay was bone dry, broken into smallish pieces and then water added to the bucket until the clay was covered.  Then to leave it alone and bring it along to the Saturday work day.  This is the best way to make sure that your clay dissolves into a consistent mass ready for recycling.

Each participant had pre-ordered a bag of coloured stain.  A coloured stain is a formula of oxides that are pre-mixed and pre-fired to give an indication of the colour that they will make. They are very stable so you can use them to colour slip, clay or glaze with predicable results.

We divided the clay into 3 lots.  Put the stain into 1 lot, some different collected sands and minerals into another lot and left the last lot plain.  The stained clay was then further divided into 3 with one lot dried out into a coloured body clay, 1 lot had a cap full of jays fluid to defloculate it for printing, and the last lot had dispex in it to make it really loose and runny so that it could be painted onto a surface of a pot but not make the pot too wet.  This is called defloculating where you add an alkaline fluid which makes the clay particles repeal each other so that they whole mass becomes liquid and runny.  This way you don’t have to use lots of water to make the slip flow.

We dried out the ‘sandy’ clay, the plain clay and the coloured clay on newspaper outside in the sun until it was ready to wedge up and knead into a workable clay body.  After this there were some very tired arms!

By stacking and layering up the plain and sandy clay we created a marbled piece each for throwing and hand-building ready for the next day.  The coloured clay body was put together in layers and twists to make a coloured log of clay and then the slips were sieved and put into jars.    Everything was wrapped and stored ready for the next day.

Phew…that’s enough for the first day!

On the Sunday we set up work stations for the following exercises to try out making coloured clay objects

  • Feathering – Roll out a circle of clay, place onto a batt and cover with a very wet and runny layer of your dispex slip.  Add drops or lines of other coloured slip in patterns onto the wet layer of slip and use a needle too to draw through the drops to ‘feather’ the pattern,  Leave until all the slip sets up firm enough to place the circle into/onto a mold.
  • Marbling Hand building – carefully cut your sand marbled clay into pieces about 350gms use a cylinder to make a pattern from and roll your clay out gently to fit the pattern.  Make cylinder vessel as usual and leave to dry. Make sure you finish the edges off nicely by pressing with a piece of paper because if you sponge them later you will muddy the design up.  It won’t look like much is happening but when it comes out of the glaze kiln you will be amazed!
  • Marbling Throwing – cut your sand marbled cay into pieces about 500gms.  Throw into a simple bowl with as little moves as possible.  Use a hard edged rib tool to clean up pot to reveal design.  Leave to leather off and turn.  Try not to sponge so that you don’t muddy the pattern.  Again you won’t notice much until the pot is glazed.
  • Printing – cut a simple stencil from paper.  Use a screen, a roller or a sponge to apply the thicker coloured slip solutions.  The paper stencil will resist the colour.  Blot the clay and then peel back the paper to reveal the design.  Hand build with the printed clay as usual.
  • Nerikomi – cut your coloured log of clay into thin slices.  Carefully press the pieces into a mold,over lapping slightly, to create a patch work design.  You can also roll out a thin layer of clay, damp it down and then place your slices on top.  Carefully roll them together to create a patch work piece of clay that you can hand build from.
  • Sgraffitto – coat your pot in the dispex coloured slip.  Apply a couple of coats and leave to harden off.  Use a tool that can cut fine lines into the pot and ‘draw’ though the layers to reveal the pot beneath.  This is beast done when the pot is past hard leather hard and becoming dry.  I use a sharp end of a hole tool that removes the material as I scratch though the layer.


When we finished all the different ways of working with the slip we all crawled home exhausted for a well deserved cup of tea!

If you would like to have a go at any of these techniques please remember that all stains and oxides are poisonous and should be handles with care.  Keep all your work surfaces clean and keep your scraps shut away.  Use gloves and a mask when mixing from a dry powder in a well ventilated space.

Here are some examples of the work shop below.



Next week is our last week so I will post the pictures of all your beautiful pots flowing form the kilns and also a run down of this weekends throwing work shop…which was amazing…really it was!

See you next week.

Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch 🙂

Term 1 Pottery Jewels!

Hi all,

As promised I am posting some pictures of the fantastic pottery jewels that have been making there way out of the kilns over the past few weeks!

Some of the plats done with stenciled card themes look fantastic and the T Cups are really delightful!

I am settling down into my new studio space at The Old Pickle Factory in Wilsons Road and I am starting to get organised for my trip over to London and Europe from April to June.  I am plotting which studios and galleries I should go and see…and I will be sure to keep you posted when I get there on all amazing pottery stuff that goes on on the other side!

Well I am keeping this very short so I can let you get on with perusing the pics!

Catch up soon

Tatyanna 🙂

a.k.a The Busy Finch

Mud, clay and weekend workshops!

Hi all,


It’s been a very busy couple of weeks…so busy that I haven’t even had time to get a post out to you all!

The Busy Finch is now in a new studio space set up especially for design and teaching for pottery!  It is in The Old Pickle Factory building on Wilsons Rd.  A beautiful restored brick building just before the Railway lines heading out of town.  This is a space organised by XCHC Christchurch to provide a facility that enables artists and makers to have shared studio space.  So there will be lots of new things happening down there all the time.  Bridget and Carl of Makercrate run their FABLAB from this sight as well…lots of techy tools!  I will be running design and pottery session there of the Ceramics Diploma program as well as organizing exhibition work for the next year.  You are welcome to come and visit when I am there.

We have just reached that stage during the term when lots of bisqueware is appearing then disappearing into the glaze kiln to come out as lots of lovely jewel like pots at the other end.  It is so exciting!  I have included some pics of the first pots coming out below for you.  So for the next few weeks we will be working on project work…which is directed by what you would like to do. Over the past few weeks you have learnt a combination of skills using some fixed class projects now have a look for ideas that you can bring to class with you.  My pinterest page has lots of ideas on it and you are welcome to collect pins to show me.  I will help you to use your skills to achieve the outcomes you would like.  If you can find inspiration try using the year theme of the Mad Hatters T Party to explore the skills you have gained already.

Just a wee bit of house keeping…

  • You should have your own board to take home your own projects by now, please can you bring back the class boards from now on.
  • Can we please have some more clean plastic bags and newspaper..also some icecream containers if you have any.
  • Please make sure that if you are on the wheel you start to pack up and clean down 15 before your class finishes…if you are hand building about 10 mins before will do.
  • Keep up to date with your clay and glazing purchases…the black folder has your class costs in it.
  • There has been a tummy bug going around town…so please be vigilant about keeping your work surface and shared tools clean and tidy.

I will be bringing along fill-in enrollment forms to class from now on so that we can get term 2 enrolled…I am happy to drop these off to the office and then they will contact you when they need to regarding any further details.  I am away for the first half of term 2 so I want to make sure that all the classes have enough numbers to run before I leave in April.

Speaking of which Dr Gwen Parsons will be taking you for the time that I am away.  She is a very enthusiastic and clever lady who has been part of Risingholme for a number of years. She is a competent thrower and a fantastic and imaginative hand-builder.  We are planning the term together now and it looks like she will be bringing a bit of glazing expertise and T Pot building with her…hurrah!    For the DCA program she will be guiding you through cylinder throwing for the full time students and then slab building for all.  It is a fantastic opportunity for you all to work with somebody else who is also passionate about pottery!

I will post a separate run down of what we got up to during the slip and color workshop weekend when some of the fruits of our labor come out of the kilns.  Great fun was had by all…an upper arm work out for most and definitely a bit of brain drain by the end of Sunday. Lots of colored pots made in assorted ways…and I can’t wait to see what they all look like! Any slips and clays that you made during the weekend can be brought to and used.

Right that is about enough for this time.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to starting you off on your projects next week!


Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch

p.s love, love, love all your work below…the animals are fantastic! x

Animals, Cards and T Cups!

Hello all my lovelies,


It has been great to catch up with you all again after the summer break and to meet new faces as well!

On this blog page you will find helpful tips and tricks, information about what we go up to for the week and news of anything exciting in the pottery world that may be up and coming.

Over the past 2 weeks we have been coiling animals, throwing bisque molds to make t cups in and using stencils with slip to make upside down card plates.  Very busy!  As I have mentioned in class, every term I like to show you a couple of new skills so that you can plan and plot your own projects.  I use the theme for the year to provide subject matter for exploring these techniques.  This years theme is The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party…but when you are ready to have a go at doing an extension project the world is your oyster!  I keep a pinterest page with lots of ceramic ideas on it…so please feel welcome to peruse and collect ideas of your own!

Beginning and maintaining useful materials and equipment for your pottery project can be found in all kinds of different places.  Clay, pottery and coloring materials for ceramics can be found mostly on online stores.  We do not have a shop in Christchurch and all our online suppliers are very helpful.  Primoclays, South St Gallery and Bots Pots are the main stores to find this type of equipment.  Looking in stores that sell craft supplies can be really great for finding, stamps, lettering, and cutters.  Stopping at secondhand shops will always produce a great collection of material textures like lace and tea towels to imprint into the clay, also for rolling pins, knives, forks and interesting tools to cut and make around.  It is amazing how many items from your kitchen end up in your pottery tool kit so places like the cook ware section in department stores also have lots of goodies if you are reluctant to give your baking gear over to pottery!

As you make all sorts of pottery goodies this year a couple of great resources to find out how to are YouTube, Vimeo, Ceramic Arts Daily and your local Library.  I always try to post a video from YouTube or Vimeo if I think it will be helpful for you to get an idea of what you need to know for class.  Be warned…watching ceramic videos are addictive!

This week I have found 3 videos on the techniques that I have shown you over the past couple of weeks.  Have a wee look see with a cuppa!

Please remember to bring a board with you this week to take your project home on and bring my boards back.  If you are part of the Slip Workshop Weekend you will need to bring a bucket to class with you this week, purchase a colored stain and keep an eye out for an email halfway through the week for stuff to bring with you.



Gail Kendal Upside – Down -Plate




Lisa Naples Bunny


Tim See


Tim See – throwing help!

I hope that you have all had a great week end and I look forward to seeing y’all again next week!


Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch

p.s any dry projects coming back to class this week must be carried on soft padding with scrunched up paper to minimize breakage!

Happy New Year 2015!

Hello all,

I hope that you have been having a safe and peaceful Christmas/New Years out there enjoying the really great weather…especially Christchurch!

As mentioned in the most recent news letter I have been doing very little.  Mooching around home and delving into a box of book goodies given to me by my sister that originally come from my late Grandmothers bookshelf.  They are all Pottery magazines from the late 50’s to the mid 80’s.  Mostly ‘New Zealand Potters’ with a scattering of ‘Australian Potters’ filled with amazing insights into the beginning of New Zealand studio pottery.  There is a great deal of reference to Risingholme being Christchurch’s first learning center for pottery, established in 1945, with many of our potters having explored and conquered clay in the pottery rooms then going on over time to form splinter groups which developed into the cities clubs as we knew them prior to the 2011 earthquakes.  New Zealand Potter was the only publication for our potters and was connected to the membership of The Society of New Zealand Potters’ which still exists today, though sadly to my knowledge the magazine is no longer published.  It appears to have been published at least twice a year since 1958 and offered practical advice from building kilns, materials knowledge, essays on important international potters of the time and also provided a platform for critical discussion of what was happening in New Zealand pottery.  They include comprehensive critical reviews of the National New Zealand Pottery shows held each year in varying main city locations sometimes with beautiful sketches of display layouts and images of the pots shown.  The critical reviews are mind blowingly (is that a word?) critical!  I found myself sucking my teeth and whistling as I read the first 10 years or so of the magazines.  It would be rare that to find such critical responses to ceramics today.  I think that this illustrates that the leadership wanted pottery to be taken seriously.

So in the beginning there was ‘New Zealand Potter Volume 1, Number 1 August 1958′.  It was hand published in Wellington by the committee organizing the second New Zealand Potters’ Exhibition’, designed by Doreen Blumhardt and edited by Helen Mason.  In part of her introduction Blumhardt writes;

“There is room for everyone in the pottery movement.  Even though we many never learn to throw a pot, we may still learn to love clay and to have an appreciation of hand-made pots we can use in our daily living.  New Zealand has always felt the lack of folk art on which to base a craft movement.  Perhaps pottery, with its use of the materials all around us, and its production of something we can feel and use is fulfilling this need.  Our roots are in the English culture, but we live in the Pacific and cannot help but be influenced by the East from which some of the world’s best pots are from.  We have the burning enthusiasm and the urge to create.  Perhaps one day when our skill catches up up with our enthusiasm we may even produce some worthwhile pots.”

Words that still ring true today…a burning enthusiasm to create!  That sense of needing to practice more, glean more useful information which will enable us to reach a goal that we are plotting in our heads.  Getting together to learn, create and critique to reach our goals…this has not changed at all.

The next article is written by Barry Brickell.  In another universe where Hollywood stopped making ‘New Zealand Idol’ to torture our creative sensibilities with, but produced a show called “NZ Mud Monkey Idol’ Barry Brickell would have been Stephan Tyler.  Unique, individual, a madly passionate pioneer, generally a rock star of our pottery scene.  Especially if you have seen early pictures of him at his studio, not in an ordinary apron but only in his infamous pottery loincloth…in fact Stephan Tyler’s costumes look positively tame compared to Barry’s!  Fabulous!  Brickell was only 23 when this first NZ Potter article was published.  I love these words from it…

“How would life be if we were not allowed to let off steam in the form of creation?  Indeed, how many people are there now leading empty, uncreative, bored lives.  Juveniles becoming delinquent, homes starkly unimaginative, the superficial blase attitude, and our senses dulled by an age of commercialism, are factors that at least some cannot help noticing now in our population.  So sterile are we becoming in a land most fertile.”

Again, I cannot but help to feel that these words apply just as strongly today.  My teaching at Risingholme and the objects that I make in my studio work towards providing anybody the means to cast off a dull disinterest in life and objects.  As I was talking with a very creative and clever friend in the craft world we both expressed a feeling of being in ‘that time of life’ where quality of life not quantity in possessions or superficial relationships was important and as I re read the thoughts and words in this little magazine I become more grounded in the belief that the ceramic enterprise that is currently my life is an ongoing commitment to forging great creative relationships using materials that tell stories and bring an ancient satisfaction.

Oh dear, I am only up to page 3 of this little magazine!  I’ll speed things up…there is a little poem called “Thoughts from a Potter” by Lee Thompson.  A “Slice from a Potters Diary” from the East by Professor C.L Bailey, which provides a description of Malysian pottery as recently observed on a trip.  Another poem called “Pottery” by H.A.W an attendee of a Pottery Class for the Blind in Hutt Valley Memorial Technical College.  There is an advertisement for electric kilns costing 20 pounds made in Christchurch…with a dubious description of it running from “…an ordinary light socket”?!!  Our lovely Merik Smisek selling kiln props.  Then there is a section of News from the main centers and people of interest featuring the announcement of the 1st New Zealnds Potters’ Exhibition in Dunedin the previous November in which 15 Potters took part and “…made potting history in New Zealand.”, a summer school held in Auckland by Barry Brickell and Len Castle, who had returned from working at the Leach pottery in England, Mirek Smesik becoming a full time studio potter, the formation of the Wellington Potters’ Association after their first exhibition where 4,400 people attended and “…sales were good.”(cor blimey!).  Then comes Christchurch with Risingholme classes going strong under the guidance of  Doris Holland (my Grandmother!), Jim Nelson and his Craft Center and a pottery school offered for Adult Education attended by over 50 potters organised by Yvonne Rust.  Then follows images and articles relating to Shoji Hamada of Japan, the potter who influenced aesthetics and ceramic philosophies in western culture during the 20th Century.  The last article is about the setting up of the ‘Craft Center Incorporated’ in Springfield Road, Christchurch with aims to provide a space “…where research can be carried out and where craftsmen can work and meet”.  Note to self… we need another one of these centers! Finally there are a smattering of invitations to exhibitions and some more advertisements for wheels and materials.  All in all there are 32 pages with a great deal of information offered about and for New Zealand Potters’.


Right, it is time for tea, toast and marmalade…the meal of champions, as ascertained by Paddington Bear!

Please, please, please make sure that you are enrolled for your class…we start soon…I mean really soon, 2nd February!  Remember classes will not start unless enrollments are confirmed and paid for…office policy.

Have a great weekend it looks like another sunny one!


Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch

p.s for those of you who were in a class with Rachel Wiseman on Wednesdays she had a wee girl, Alexander James Wiseman who arrived safely on 17th December, weighing 3.74kg!


Happy Christmas my little pottery Elves!

Well that time of the year has arrived!  All the kilns have been emptied and the results are on their way home to be wrapped as ceramic gifties for all!

I have enjoyed the year with you all and I can’t believe that we have come to the end of it already!  I hope that you have learned and done things that you wanted to and that I will see you again for a very exciting pottery year again in 2015!

Thank you to everybody who helped to clean the pottery room, it is now ready for new adventures next year…I am most grateful.

The colourful ceramic cups for charity look fantastic and I am sure that they will be much appreciated by those who receive them,  we will be delivering them to The City Mission on Monday afternoon.  Thank you again to all who participated! xxx

Over the holiday break I hope to go and visit a few pottery studios and if I do I will post intermittently…so you can see what I have been up to.

Otherwise I hope to either see you on Saturday for a drinky nibble at my OPEN STUDIO or if not I wish you a safe and peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year full of new pottery adventures to come!

I leave you with the final images of goodies from the kiln in 2014 and the pottery charity cups.


Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch xxx

p.s please make sure you are enrolled early and please do spread the word to all!



End of some great Pottery in 2014!

Hello my pottery possums!

Well we have made it to the end of an amazing pottery year full of some awesome pottery, fantastic students and terrific events!

Some of the high lights for this year are exhibiting my work at Form Gallery, The Christchurch Art Show, The Tin Palace, Arts in Oxford, and The Little River Gallery.  Also being part of WOW with two costumes in Wellington and The Portage Ceramic Awards in Auckland.  It has been pretty busy and full of wild pottery adventures!  If you are in Auckland you will be able to see mine and my sister, Natasha’s, 2013 winning WOW piece called the Exchange.  It is part of the internationally touring show that WOW have created that will be there for the next couple of months…I’ve heard tell it is a pretty fantastic show…and it is free at the Auckland Museum.  If you are in Auckland also head along to the new gallery, as part of Titirangi’s Lopdell House Gallery, Te Uru.  I have my Portage work hanging there along side of some other pretty cool New Zealand ceramic work!

Another cool thing was our Risingholme Pottery exhibition SOUP this year!  Oh yeah…you guys were great!  And next year thanks to Mr Mad Hatter & Co we will be making some even cooler stuff!  I’d like to be able to tell you about all the stuff we are going to do…but that would be way too difficult…and I like to spring it on you as we go anyway…believe me it’s more fun this way!  But pink cups, cakes, rabbits, cards, t pots, top hats and clocks definitely feature…shhhh…that’s all I can say for now!

So next week most classes will be coming along to pick up their pottery work to take home. Please make sure that you bring enough pocket money to settle your account including your new items.  We will fill the lovely charity cups and pop a well wishing label on them from us all.  Then it’s time to sort out a wee area of the room to make spick and span ready for more Pottery Adventures next year!  I really appreciate this help and time that you give to the pottery room…it has been well used this year!

The kilns are firing full steam ahead and I have my fingers crossed that the elements will hold out over the next couple of weeks…maybe you should cross yours too!  I hope that it all comes out in time for you to take home…there may have to be a contingency pick up if they don’t make it through this week.

On Wednesday 5.50-7pm the ‘In Miniature’ exhibition opens at The Tin Palace in Lyttleton.  I have a wee piece in it ready for a secret Chrissie pressie for someone special of your choice.  Head along to pic up a spot of something special from a selection of talented artists.

I also gave out an invite to my annual OPEN STUDIO 2014 this week…I would love to see you (or anybody you would like to bring along) for a wee spot of drinky nibble to celebrate an amazing year of pottery.  I will have pottery gifties available from my studio so bring along some pocket money too!  December 13th, 2-9pm, unit 1/135 Stanmore Road, CHCH.

invite pic

I hope you all have a great weekend full of sunshine and look forward to seeing you next week.

Here are some sneak pics from the kilns…


Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch 🙂



2015 Pottery Timetable!

Hi all,

Long time no writing!  It has been a very busy term with lots of gifties coming out of the klins and our charity cups which look splendid!   There is a little loot pile starting to compile for filling the cups and in week 8 we will pack them full of goodies ready to deliver to the City Mission!  Just a reminder as we are coming up to the end of the year about glazing.  Please make sure that you wax the bottom of your item BEFORE glazing.  The wax is not there to stop the glaze from sticking to the shelf it is there so that the glaze won’t stick to the pot when you are glazing it.  If you forget to wax the pot don’t panic just use a sponge and plenty of water to clean it off the areas that will touch the kiln shelves…please don’t wax over it.  Also make sure you have given the bottom a good wipe before it goes onto the glazing shelf.  Most materials used in glazing are toxic especially when they are inhaled dry…so keep all your work areas nice and clean.   I love this image below from fellow teaching potter Sarah Kaye!



So make sure you wax your bottom!

As promised here is the outline for 2015… including the calender…A3 Planner

I will be away for 8 weeks from the end of the first term.  This means that the timetable will be slightly different and there will be another tutor for the beginning of the 2nd term.

Term 2 will start the 20th of April, and will be 10 weeks worth!  But there will be a two week break after the first 2 weeks.  So for the first couple of weeks there will be the opportunity for you to do some concentrated work on getting to know the Risingholme glazes.  It is so easy to get uber-focused on making…use this extra time to get to grips with glazing so that you can develop a colour palate you are confident with!  It is especially fun learning what one glaze on top of another might do!!!

Next year we will be following the theme of “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”.  So each term we will do a project that explores shapes, colours and objects found in this fabulous section of Alice in Wonderland.  We will be working towards a group show in late term 3.  The fundraising objects for this show will include ‘pink’ coloured Tea cups with a proportion of the sale going to The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and the balance towards the Doris Lusk Artist in Residence scheme in association with the Lusk Estate, Risingholme and Otago Polytechnic School of Art.

mad hatters t party

Our funds from 2014 have enabled this to go ahead in 2015, so in term 3 we will be joined by the first recipient ceramic artist for 2 weeks.  This is an exciting opportunity to work with some fresh ceramic eyes.


2015 is shaping up to be a fun pottery year with some twists, turns and extra classes.

Classes begin early next year at the beginning of February.  This means that you should enrol at the end of this year.  If enrolments are not confirmed we can’t start the year.  Enrolments can be completed online as well.  Sadly, because of our early start, Summer School won’t be offered in 2015.

Don’t worry though… instead I will run two weekend workshops during term 1.  Saturday and Sunday intensively playing with mud…I’m totally in!  Have a look at the course info sheets below and then enroll straight away to get a spot as numbers will be limited.



$68 February  21-22 Saturday & Sunday 10-4pm

This course offers you the opportunity to get to grips with slip and coloured additions to clay.  This is a short class where we will discuss base colorants and materials and how/when to apply them to the clay.  The old question of what is the difference between slip and under-glaze will be demystified! You will mix your own slip and apply them to pre prepared samples in lots of different ways, including making crayons and pencils, maybe even some screen printing.  We will also look at how to create clay bodies with colours or additions to them.

You will learn the correct use of tools and equipment,  how to use stains and oxides plus health and safety when working in pottery classroom environment

Please bring to class an apron, an old towel, lidded containers for excess slip, straws. You will also need a sketch pad and pencil for planning and recording your work.  Bring a lunch with you and some money for purchasing clay colorants appx $10



$68 March 21-22 Saturday & Sunday 10-4pm

This course offers you the opportunity to enhance your throwing and turning skills.  You will spend the first morning preparing the clay and learning how to throw various shapes.  Then we will have lunch (please bring with you).  In the afternoon we will continue to throw shapes that can be joined together to create larger and more interesting shapes.  If you ever wanted to know how to make a T-pot of taller shapes…I will reveal all the secrets!   On Sunday we will focus on turning correctly and joining pieces to make new forms including handles, lugs and additions.  You will need to have some throwing ability to join this class.

You will learn the correct use of tools and equipment and health and safety when working in pottery classroom environment.  Correct preparation of clay how to throw components used in making multiple piece forms and trimming, turning, compiling finished works.

Please bring to class an apron, an old towel, a small craft knife, clay cutter, plastic bags and a nylon or natural sponge, small plastic squeeze bottle. You will also need a sketch pad and pencil for planning and recording your work. Some money for purchasing clay – $6.90 pr 2.5 kg.  Firing costs as per usual.


Please have a good look and book into your favourite class as soon as you are able!

Well it feels like Summer has arrived so I wish you a sunny weekend and I will see you next week!



Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch