After a busy run of shows to Christmas I started the new year with a holiday to Thailand, coming back ready to launch into some orders and prepare for the British Craft trade show (BCTF). Thinking that things were quiet and relaxed it was if the pot buying public had woken up and I received several orders from local buyers and from some galleries I supply.
My first show is a trade show in Harrogate UK. If you have never done a trade show it works like a retail show but in reverse. You exhibit your work the buyers order pots and you go back and make them. The main buyers at BCTF are small independent shops and galleries so instead of going to them they come to you. The only problem of course is they have a lot to choose from as there are around 500 exhibitors. I hope to get a few new galleries ordering work, the last time I did it I picked up a museum shop that have constantly placed decent orders throughout the year.
Several potters are using a black stoneware clay which I am interested in but I dislike having more then one clay body in the workshop so I have been experimenting with a black slip over my light stoneware body which I am contrasting with various glazes. Other new work coming through are some small sculptures. I love the work of John Maltby he was a potter turned sculptor and his work has depth and humour which I have tried to emulate without copying his style or content.
My diary page on my website is now up to date and when I have fired the kiln with some new pots I will get them put on the site too. During the summer I have a couple of Potfest events and the Wardlow Mires festival, then as Christmas approaches a run of mixed craft shows.
Voting is still taking place on the Craft and Design awards until March 31st, please follow the link below and vote for me, it all helps to raise the awareness of crafts and you can vote for more than one person.
Tip Potters approach glazes in different ways, some buy in ready made others buy or find raw materials and mix their own recipes up. My daughter is a technician at UCA and I get the odd text for advice when she is doing ceramic work with the students. I tried to explain in simple terms what a glaze is because knowing what the different parts do leads to a life time of exploration and interest.
So here goes – Glaze is a glass, imagine molten glass, if this was on a pot it would run off so we add clay to make it more viscous. The glass is mostly silica eg. sand, flint, quartz but this won’t melt on it’s own so we need a flux such as feldspar or borax (in lower temperature glazes) so basically we need feldspar , quartz and some clay.
There you have the starting point. For a stoneware glaze try 70 feldspar, 20 quartz and 10 ball clay and see what happens on a test tile, just mix a 100 gram amount, remove some water until it’s slightly creamy. If it works add tin or zirconium for a white and oxides to colour.
Vote for Dave www.craftmaker.co.uk/davidmelville
website www.potteryman.co.uk you can follow the link on my website for Potfest events