A making we will go!

Hello back again!

It was great to see you again or meet you for the first time.  I hope that you will enjoy getting your hands muddy this term and will join me again next year!

This week we started by making the simple cylinder vessel for the Colourful Cups to give away to the City Mission for Christmas this year.  What a great job!  Everybody made a beautiful tumbler and I will pop them into the kiln today so that they are ready for decorating next week.  Maybe some spots and stripes could be the way to go…I have always really liked the English pottery of Emma Bridgewater with her spotty pots.  They are so simple yet classic.  She uses a sponge stamp to apply the underglaze colours to the surface of a bisqued cup and then glazes in a clear glaze.  The hearts and spots are lovely.  You can make simple stamps using sponge dishcloths.


Other easy and lovely wee gifties can be made from cylinder too.  Like Tea lights and tappas dishes.  You can emboss the clay with texture from lace, wall paper, fabric or anything else that might leave an impression.  You can also cut out shapes and stick them to the cylinder to make three dimensional shadows.  I brought along a pair of tea lights to class with me this week that had holes in them so that the light could come out and make lovely shadow patterns.  If you make a short wide cylinder you can use these as small dishes, team up with a spoon and hey presto you have a tappas dish or an irresistible icecram bowl!  If you can’t find a cylinder that takes your fancy you can make a pattern for the shape of the bottom that you like out of paper and then roll out some clay to make a clay wall to fit the paper pattern, then let it harden up a little before adding a base to it the same way as we did for the Colourful Cups.  You just have to be a bit more nimble because there is no cardboard tube inside to help support the wall.  You can make amazing oval, egg, pool shaped bowls this way.  If you wait a little bit longer you can take some holes out of the bottom and add some feet for a fantastic plant pot.  Some of you will have made whale tale glaze samples before.  If you up size these and add a loop or hole at the back they can be glazed and gifted with some micro seed to make a hanging inside kitchen garden!


Other popular pressies are bowls.  Some of you are getting along with the wheel quite nicely.  But others of you haven’t had a go or the wheel likes to misbehave in your company.  Don’t despair!  If you can manage to make a bowl that has a nice inside shape but then you forget to turn it, or its bottom is thin/thick or it is decidedly wobbly…make the decision to bisque it and then you can use it as a mold to make other nice shaped bowls from the internal shape.  Or if you aren’t up to any wheel work there is a collection of lost bisqued bowls on the shelves waiting for your muddy little fingers!  You can either try the pinch pot method or make them with a pattern.  I will demonstrate both ways for you next week.  This is a quick easy method to make sets of bowls that are very similar in shape…and they can be turned out quite quickly, then dried at home and brought back the next week for firing.  A bit quicker than making thrown bowls on the wheel…and worth while thinking about as a good time saver.  The lovely pearly shell dishes much admired in the exhibition last term were made like this!


Well, I will leave you these great ideas to consider…bring along your bits and pieces…and I will see you next week!


have a safe weekend

Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch

Bring on the Christmas Pottery Elves!

Hi all,

Wow it’s term 4 already!  That means that we have nearly made it through a full year of muddy madness!

As the title of the post suggests now is the time for the pottery elves to start making.  The key to making great presents is to to choose a technique and shape that you feel really comfortable with and then just make variations.  Also leaving plenty of time to decorate and glaze properly without having a meltdown when you realize that it is week 7 (or worse 8) and you haven’t even started glazing!  Bad things happen to good pots when this happens!  So aim to make, make, make for the first 4 weeks and then start getting your items through kiln so that they are bisqued and ready for some tender loving glazing!  Keep in mind that if you want to make plates or platters these will take longer to get through the kiln so you will have to limit your numbers, a good idea is to check out the size of the kiln shelves and plan shapes and patterns that are economical.

As mentioned in the newsletter, we thought it would be a great thing to make a childs tumbler and fill it with goodies to go to the City Mission this year.  I will have a pattern at class for you to use and it will just be a basic cylinder vessel with some nice bright slip colours.  If you know anybody who would be willing to contribute goodies to go inside the tumblers please let me know…cos that would be fantastic!  Sometimes small crafty things can make smiles for Christmas!

Also happening this term is my massive “Craftstock” SALE.  The back ground story to the sale is as follows… In 2010 I decided to stop working in the design industry and set up a creative school with my sister to support teaching all sorts of cool creative activities.  We had just started taking our 2nd term ever of enrollments when the September earthquake came along and upset the city.  As everything settled down again we set up again and enrolled all the keen crafters out there for the first term in 2011…then Mr Bigfoot Earthquake came along again!  This time, as we, were situated in the inner city we couldn’t access the building for 4-6 months before the red zone cordons came down.  As you can imagine, this was a frustrating, sad and confusing time.  Luckily Christchurch has such amazing people in it and Maryke from Risingholme offered to let me hold my classes at Risingholme.  Hurrah…this was fantastic!  We smuggled out some materials and equipment by smiling sweetly at the army fellas and started the classes in a temporary site.  At the time I was teaching a variety of mediums from sewing, book binding to jewelery.  Hardly any pottery at all really.  Then came the day in late 2011 when the Risingholme also received notice that the council was closing their facilities until engineers had cleared it.  So at this time, as the cordon had come down for my building, I was able to offer Risingholme to re site the pottery classes and my classes back over there.  This continued til late 2012 when we got the all clear to go back into Risingholme.  Magically over this time we just didn’t have enough room to enroll everybody who wanted to come to pottery…so we had to keep adding classes.  Eventually I ran out of time to teach the classes that I originally design for Artplus and I made the decision to move forward with teaching Pottery exclusively. I now teach 7 pottery classes a week…and love it!  But this does mean that I have nearly 2 lock ups with an entire school worth of supplies, materials and equipment!  So long story short…I need to find all of this a new home.  I have sewing machines, jewelery benches, jewelery tools, fabric, yarn, vintage patterns, buttons, paint, paper, silk screens, squeegies, glitter (tonnes of it!), embroidery cottons, papers, amazing how to craft books…and the list goes on…and on!  So if you (or you know of any other mad crafters out there) would like to find some crafting treasures…please get the word out and come along…I need HELP!  Wow…that sounded like I am a craftaholic!

Craftstock – Oct 31st Nov 1-2nd 10-4pm at Risingholmes new room 99 Hawford Rd, Opawa.

Okay…deep breath…back to some soothing and inspirational pottery images from last term.

see you all next week


Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch

p.s  We had a few turbulent years of shaking, shifting, and setting up and I am grateful to all of you who helped, stayed inspired and continued to see the bright rainbows through your creative windows! x