Friday, August 7, 2009

Bye for now

I'm taking this year off from my little blog to study. Happy blogging and catch you in the new year.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Love Hate Relationship

The shell bowl. R.I.P.

I made it. I enjoyed making it but I hate the result. So I tried ceremonial buriel as a way of getting over my grief.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tutorial: Making a Plaster Mould

I can't believe it's taken me all of two weeks to get this far but here it is!
This is by no means a scientific tutorial, more like making a favourite recipe. A pinch of that and a delicious glug of this.

This particular kind of mould is only for the outside shape and you'll have to finish the inside of your vessel off by hand.

Step 1: Pick the vessel you would like to make a mould of and place it upside down on a baton about one and half inches wider (old fashioned term I know). If it is not of wet clay you might want to cover it with a thin layer of Vaseline to prevent the plaster from sticking to it.

Step 2: Cut a piece of corrugated cardboard (it bends fairly easily) in a strip a bit higher than the combined height of your baton and vessel. Then 'build' a wall with it around the outside of the baton edge using brown packaging tape to stick down the edges. Make them as smooth as possible on the inside.

Step 3: Seal the joint with a clay coil by pressing it down firmly into the join.

Step 4: Now for the plaster mix. Lace a mixing bowl or bucket inside with a plastic packet (this makes cleaning afterward much easier). Take a rough guess at how much water you will need to fill your 'moat' and plus it by some. Plaster - you need about the same amount in volume as the amount of water you are going to use. Start by shaking the plaster into the water gently. Turn the bucket often, so the spread is even - no mixing at this stage!

Step 5: Initially the plaster will just sort of dissolve, but gradually it will start building up and when it starts making 'islands' like the one shown above you know your mixture is reaching saturation.

Step 6: You can then quickly but gently start mixing it into a smooth drippy consistency using your hands (the mixture will start to activate and warm up so work fairly smartly). Make sure there are no clots.

Step 7: Now using your hands, gently pour over a thin layer covering the whole vessel. This is to make sure that the plaster goes into all the detail.

Step 8: The mix will start to thicken quickly now, so pour the rest over gently and 'bump' it a little every now and again to release any trapped air.

Step 9: Viola! Whipped cream cake. :)

Step 10: Tidy up the edges and scrape the top (soon to be the bottom) into a nice flat standing surface.

Step 11: Let it rest until really firmly set before you try and remove the mould.

Step 12: Start your next project.

I have no idea whether this will be of any use to anyone but good luck and let me know if you have any suggestions that might make it better.

A big thank you to Belinda and Susan for letting me document their work in progress.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is it a bird, is it a plane...?

No but watch this space.
I'm working on putting together an little tutorial on how to make a plaster mould.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Celebrating love and passion.

The work of Kim Saunders: Dorothy's shoes from the Wizard of Oz
(Thanks Kim for letting me use them.)

What could be more perfect an image than this delightful pair of shoes by one of our students.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I have been gone too long

I have been gone too long. I don't know if I am the only one experiencing blogger problems but I have had a hard time of it of late. So I have been out of the loop for a while.

Here's a quick catch-up on a long process.
Christmas 2007 ( I have to start the story here) I gave each of my kids a plain bowl that I had made. The idea being that they would paint on their own design and I would get it fired.
Now move forward a year December 2008: They finally get to put brush to bowl. I did a quick pencil guide sketch and let them loose. Then added some black outline afterward to help things along.

Finally Tuesday morning February 2009 my baby bears woke up to this surprise!

Birdy Num Num


My mom always said "good things come to those who wait" in my children's case... and wait, and wait. But my little ones are completely delighted and breakfast is a lot more fun.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gardens are for colour

And spending quality time in them on the weekend puts things in perspective.

My neighbours...


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

She sees Seashells by the Sea

I'm back at ceramics. I started a little vessel inspired by this shell. I really love the textures and the colours. Bone whites, sun bleached pinks and mauve's with strong dark chocolate contrasts.

I'm not entirely happy with my hand carved textures but I'm adopting a wait and see approach. Once the underglazes etc. get fired I'm hoping it will look less contrived.

The bisque fired bowl.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Gardens are for...educating Heloise

The Humble Carrot has quite a history:

The Greeks called the carrot Philon or Philtron from their word philo that means loving, although the current word we use has it's roots in French.
We can thank the Dutch for our sweet orange carrots ~ developed in the honour of 'The House of Orange'

Some other weird facts:
- Carrots were originally red or purple
- During the reign of James 1 fashionable ladies often wore carrot foliage as decoration on their hats (very weird)
- Carrot stew precedes Viaggra as an aphrodisiac (TeeHee)
- Someone out there is trying to create a 'rainbow' carrot
- and if it were used as a biofuel it would take approximately 6000 carrots to drive one mile

And that's only scratching the surface.
All this and more from the invaluable Carrot Museum

Go on dig up some dirt this weekend you never know what you might find.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back to reality

Gardens are for...proof.
'The grass is greener on the other side' is based on fact ~ I should know.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Little Interlude

I can't resist.
Crocheting was a hot topic on some of my favorite blogs (freshly found & skinny laminx) last week and I just has to show this off.

Henriette who is a colleague of mine, brought in this beautiful blanket she made for her youngest daughter over the holidays.

I'm in love with the soft powdery combination of buff, the softest of pink and mellow greens and the gently scalloped edging. Need I mention the sweetest little flowers! I think I need to go for lessons.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gardens are for...

I have a large leather chest in which I stash all sorts of dress-up goodies, it makes for hours of entertainment and delight.

... Flights of fancy

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Odd Stillife

Last year was a bit of a dud year as far as achievement goes, and I spent a lot of time at the end of it reflecting the downfall of my 'empire in the sun'.

No fabulous book
No cleverly landscaped garden
No veggie patch at all...
you get where I'm going.

Sometimes though the problem is your frame of reference, not your reality.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

Marcel Proust

Gardens are for....Boogyboards and chives

So the book goes on to simmer and I'm going to enjoy where I am.
My next few posts are going to be about what my garden is really there for.
Laugh, cry and enjoy with me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Looking Back Before I Move On

"Rudolf" is my husbands pride and joy and I have been threatening for years to include him in the festivities. Tinsel is a marvelous thing.

The silly season is finally over. Aah and what a season it was! A belated happy New Year to you all as I try and fit my larger posterior into last years chair and look forward to 'healthier' happier and a more comfortable seat this year.