I had a great time on Tuesday last week, as I had the pleasure of spending the day with 5 adorable 9 year old girls and one of their mums, Ann.
After helping Ann’s daughter, Helen, to glaze a brilliant three-headed cat that she made during a workshop at the Victoria and Albert Museum a few months ago, Ann asked whether I’d be interested in putting on a private clay session for Helen and her friends – how could I refuse?!
So the day came, I made my way to Fulham packed up with clay, decorating materials, tools and a whole heap of enthusiasm! When I arrived, Ann made me a super cup of coffee (yum!) and Helen helped me to set out the tools. It was such a beautiful day that we decided to work outside. In no time at all we were prepared and ready for the arrival of Helen’s guests!
We started by sketching our ideal vase shapes and cut them out to make profiles to work to. Once we started making, it was obvious that sticking to these profiles was going to be a tall order! As the girls began to coil their pots they discovered how difficult it is to keep the clay building up straight, let alone making the form take a narrower direction. I’m very pleased to say that my students were very diligent, the clay didn’t behave as they had expected but they kept focussed and created some great shapes! After a couple of hours we had a well-deserved lunch break and let the pots rest out in the sun.
Ann spoiled us with a brilliant lunch, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches were my fave (!!!), and delicious home-baked chocolate chip cookies! After we’d refuelled it was time to shape, smooth and decorate!!! After using a selection of metal kidneys, rubber kidneys, thumbs and fingers to work on the surfaces, the wonderful vessels were smoothed to perfection!
Next was the extra fun part! The girls suddenly became incredibly quiet with intense looks of concentration on their faces as they decorated with layers of coloured slips. We used newspaper resist techniques to add extra detail and patterns. These are the results….
A little before and after shot, see how damp newspaper is used to create areas that resist the slip? Once the slip has dried a little you pull the paper away to reveal the surface beneath!
And here’s all the other finished pieces being proudly displayed by their makers…
After a quick tidy up and a taxi ride across London to my Islington studio, I put the pieces out to dry…
What a great set of work – aren’t they superb??!!! The girls and Ann should be extremely proud of themselves!
I’m desperately hoping that there aren’t any air bubbles in any of the pieces, cross your fingers and toes that there aren’t! They are dry enough to bisque fire now, I’ll let you know if they survive the firing and what they look like when they’re all fired and glazed and super shiny!
A huge thank you to Ann and Helen for being so hospitable and helping to make the day run so smoothly.
If you’re interested in private ceramics lessons, for children or adults, or if you’d like to come along to one of my group clay sessions, please drop me an email through my contact page for more information.
Happy summer everyone!