Working with clay, you have to get used to delays. You can’t just start making something and carry on until it’s finished.
The clay has to be worked on in different stages of dryness, and in the winter it can be three or four days drying. The kiln needs to be full to be fired – for economy with electrical kilns, and to fire properly, with gas or wood kilns. So, unless you have the luxury of living over the workshop, you end up making many different things in parallel.
This week the great glaze bucket labelling debacle of 2015 has slowed me down – or should it be sped me up – even more. I’ve needed multiple firing to get the glaze sorted out (the final tests are in the kiln now), with ‘production work’ stacking up, waiting for the results. So I’ve been moving ahead with testing out new ideas, partly in order to fill the kiln with work.
I’m also getting work ready for an exhibition in Stoke Mandeville, at the Obsidian Art Gallery, called Art in Poetry. It’s opening on World Book Night, also Shakespeare’s birthday, if you want to go along. I’m sending work with poems by Swinburne, Lovelace, and Edward Thomas, all out of copyright as requested!
The gallery is also creating a physical book of images and poems from the exhibition. I’ve been half scared to death this week by news of a new auto-authoring service at Amazon. I read of it in a couple of blogs before realising it is an April Fool’s joke – the blog has now added this at the top, just to make sure. I used to have some software – way back in the 90s – that generated new texts based on author’s styles, so it’s really not that far fetched. Similar technology powers Google Translate.
The shellac-resist writing’s developing: I’m working on plates, partly so that the words can be seen, but also because I like writing really big letters. The style of the writing has to be adapted, too: ‘Wylan’ is my favourite at the moment. Bold. But with ceramics it’s often hard to tell what works until the final glaze firing, so I’m presevering with the less-than-great ‘cloudy’. It’s part of not being too ‘precious’ about what’s good or bad. ‘Preciousness’ was considered one of the worst faults at art college – any ideas from readers why? I think it may like the writing advice ‘kill your babies’ – don’t get too attached to a particular pot/sentence. Let me know what you think.