Sunday, 19 September 2010

Last Day of NEOS and thoughts for the future.....

Well, that's all folks!

What a wonderful week it has been, I've met some fantastic, talented people and spoken to lots of enthusiastic visitors on the heid o the road for NEOS.  Huge thanks to Gabi and Phil for organising the Wyness Hall and putting together such a fine group of people.
The Whaler has gone to a good home and most of the first batch of 'Doric Delft' will hopefully adorn many a household in the land.

So what of NEOS?  So many people will be in the same situation as I, enthused by meeting the public and receiving great feedback on their work.  I have taken part in NEOS twice before but only as a gallery participant but always had my own entry into the NEOS booklet, I have managed to secure commissions, gallery shows and great general recognition from having this entry alone and urge anyone thinking of taking part in NEOS to do the same. 
However as a 3 time NEOS entry and participant, I am not sure how long me or my fellow booklet entrees will be able to sustain both in goodwill and financially, the many NEOS beneficiaries who decide not to partake in the booklet and pay the entirely paltry sum required.  Think of how much extra booklets could have been printed, how much people will recognise your name and work, how much people have a year-round directory with your contact details in it and how great you will feel knowing you contributed to the sustainability of the largest event of this kind in Scotland.......just a thought

So many people have been so kind about my figures this week and I have so much hope and enthusiasm for the shape of my work in the future.  So what next? well, theres Make at the Mill on the 9th October in Fife.  Teacosy on December 4th and perhaps a few inbetween!
Heres how the hall looked at the end of the week, a few spaces on the wall and generally depleted stock after all the selling!

Doric Delft set up, or whats left!

Doric Delft
Doric Delft Brooches, necklaces and earring, the earrings did particularly well, sold 7 pairs in all
Perfect size for the new business cards
'Gay Gordons' (Professional pics to come)
'Strip the Willow' (prof pics to come)
Part of Neos set up
Figures at NEOS
Gaia Photography, Elaine MacPherson, Lynne Strachan, Lorraine Taylor and Gabi Reith-Thompson's table of work
Gabi's framed works
As you come in the door of the hall (and a cheeky monkey!)

Lorraine keeping the troops entertained at the craft table and Monica's work (left) and Gabi's paintings (right)

A happy customer enjoying some Guinness Choc-Cake (thanks Gabi!) Right before it got very very busy.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

NEOS-Tastic Weekend

Phew! its been a whirlwind but we have just finished our first weekend of NEOS 2010.  Aside from Saturday afternoon, which was exceptionally quiet (all roads closed due to accident) its been rather busy.

Been speaking to some lovely people and had some great feedback.  We are still open all week from 12 - 1800h and next weekend Sat : 10 - 1800h, Sun : 11 - 1700h this is in addition to the opening times displayed in the NEOS brochure
Here are some set up photos with finished photos of the Ceilidih Dancing figures to come...
Lorraine Taylor's lovely paintings
Elaine MacPherson and Monica Wisniewski
Gaia Photograpy on the back wall
A small helper while I set up!
Set up of Gabi Reith - Thompson and Renee's jewellery
This way for ART

Friday, 10 September 2010


Well, 0830 this morning and I tentatively opened the kiln to find 4 perfectly fired figures.
It been another long day and the kiln is now on again with the now glazed mannies and wifies. 

As you will see in the pictures, I paint an underglaze on the figures first and rub it back with a sponge, this gives a deeper texture and emphasises the torn edges and text on the clay.  I then paint on a transluscent glaze so the 2 compliment each other. 

Glazes are not like paints, they often cannot be mixed together or touch other glazes, and they never come out of the kiln the same colour they came out of the pot!
I use ready made earthenware glazes in a variety of colours, you can see all my test tiles along the wall in the photographs.
Rubbing back green/ black underglaze
Painting diamonds on socks
Black underglaze for these two
The shoes are glazed with blackand the rest of the figures are drying awaiting a coat of glaze
One finished
two to go
Work in progress
This gross brown colour I'm painting will be a transparent green - believe it or not!
Cleared workspace with just A Blue Mogganer for company.....

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


As promised, here are the rest of the photos of the new figures:

All safely tucked up in the kiln
I woke up this morning to find the kiln at 80C and very nicely dried figures, popped the power up and went off to Grays to collect some more Doric Delft, 2 figures which were in Ullapool, magically appeared at Grays so i now have even more to show! (Thanks Gav and Jim)
more boxes....
pink and purple bags....
boxes full of work....
badges in boxes!
Finally, as every ceramicist knows.  An offering must be made to the mighty god Araldyite before every show.  We all saw what happened at the beginning of Clash of the Titans...


Wow, its been an extremely long day, yes its 3.20am.
I have finished making the four figures and as you will see, they are tucked away in the kiln.  These figures usually take around a week to dry naturally but since I want them ready for the weekend, I will set the kiln to stay at around 80C for a drying cycle.  This process is not ideal, the rapid drying can cause the clay to curl and warp, and if the kiln gets too hot, over 100C before the work is bone dry, the water in the clay turns to steam and........boom.  Rubble.
I am extremely happy with the poses and the details, although I worked from my drawings, you just cant seem to recreate on paper what happens in seconds in clay. 
All going well and a good firing, I should be glazing on thursday, ready for a firing on friday

The rain and wind were relentless today, I did not have the camera out to the garage for a large portion of the day due to the leaky roof!  I will post some pics now but wait till tomorrow for the rest.
Looks like myfather-in-law
Trying to get the female partner to 'fit'
Finished, looks like a soviet propaganda sculpture from this angle
Number 3
Shaping the head with a wooden spatula or 'paddling'

Monday, 6 September 2010


Not much completed tonight I'm afraid.  I finished the details on this figure and then ran out of clay.  This particular batch of paperclay has been festering since april and is absolutely RANK.  The difference in grey tones in the figure is simply the organic matter in the clay, it will all disappear in the firing.

I am currently drying out old scraps in order to recycle them as more clay.  Like a sourdough bread,  a little bit of the previous recipe becomes part of the next, this is obviously less delicious...
detail added, almost there, just the head to do... uh-oh, not enough clay
stinking, more rank than you can imagine...
gathering scrap for recycling.


Its been a long day.
The most labour intensive part of making is the feet and legs, I have deliberately made the feet bigger than in recent figures, it seems to give a bit of gravity to the pose. 

attaching legs
trying to get the shapes more realistic
ladies pumps
another two
Then there were four!
Sketches of some ideas, I use these as a starting point and see what happens.
can you tell what it is yet?