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!