Welcome to my news page which I keep up-to-date with any significant information about me and my work, such as exhibitions for example. You can find more detailed and regular updates on how I work on social media. You can access them through my website or go directly via my Instagram or Facebook accounts.
 
This news page started its life in autumn 2016 when I was required to write a blog during my MA degree course in Ceramics at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, UK. Thus, going back you will find many blogs chronicling my artistic developments along with more personal observations made during those two years. 

Event: Martin Creed: Words & Music

So, after a long day at the pottery studio Pam and I headed across to UCLan's Media Factory to attend an event. My friend Emma was nice enough to invite me along or else I may have missed this rather quirky performance. There was a rather sizeable crowd waiting and the events organisers Derelict offered free drinks (for a little voluntary donation). There was a general buzzing vibe and anticipation. This event is run as an accompaniment to the Martin Creed's current exhibition at the Harris Museum. I really didn't know what I was in for but, based on having visited this exhibition, the worst what could happen to us was to find out that Martin Creed had no sense of humour! Finding out that hi

Testing Different Clays: More test tiles

And again more testing done in pursuit of finding the ideal clay for my figures and how to decorate and glaze. These decorations were done on plain bisque fired tiles of Valentine Clay's PF520 Ashram Hanna. Here are the original drawings from my sketch book I've based them on. I have noticed that the square test tiles l am using lend them selves to the islamic patterns much better than any 3-d shapes. I've selected relatively uncomplicated patterns for these and I only needed a bit of freehand outlining of the shapes in pencil before filling them in with design liner. They don't look too bad. Here are my two test tiles on Valentine's PF680 Black Smooth and the original sketches: I noticed th

Large Figure 1: Post-bisque decorating

So, this is what my first large figure looks like once it came out of the bisque firing. Phew, was I relieved to see that there were no cracks! What I didn't expect was to see a clear distinction between the areas that had the shellac resist and not. Will this disappear during subsequent firings or not? My guess, they will be visible as the unshellacked part has a thin layer of white slip. Next time I either have to much more careful how I wipe off the the areas within the resist area or extend the shellac areas to protect the whole piece. This time, I will take it as an additional, if unexpected, challenge to incorporate it into my next decorating stage. I have chosen to use three colours o

Large Figure 3: Seeing red

I have decided to try making one of my creatures in a black clay. This way I will be decorating in reverse from my first two others, i.e. the body is dark with light drips. What a totally different feeling it is to be working with this clay. I'm trying out Valentine's PF680 (Black Smooth). It is gritty without being rough. What I like about it is its internal strength, which is very helpful with my coiling process. However, everything I or it touches turns red. As I'm also working with other pale clays I need to be very vigilant and tidy. I'm not even sure if I will be able to use any of my wooden tools with a pale bodied clay again! Anyway, another element I find difficult when working with

Surface decorating another marquette

Using another small marquette I made some time ago I'm not trying my hand at using the Islamic inspired design patterns. This is the pattern from my sketch book I chose to use as it is fairly simple. Instead of mapping it out with pencil I used the design liners to do a free hand version of the central shape directly onto the shape. However I soon noticed that I had to really adapt the blue star shaped patterns to make even a basic pattern going around the form of the piece. Islamic patterns are terribly intricate and complicated and rely on mathematical precision to work. They don't lend themselves to covering weird un-geometical shapes. Not that I currently have the patience or the skill t

Glaze components: raw material tests

As part of our MA course Dave has started teaching us the very basics about glazes. He has asked us each make some test tiles on which are to put one basic material and fire one version in the gas kiln to reduction and the other sample in the electric kiln to oxidation. My basic ingredients are a bit unusual (from left to right): No. 53 - Bicarbonate of Soda No. 52 - Table Salt No. 51 - Demerara Sugar and No. 50 - Plaster. I mixed them with water so that they would stick to the tiles, which are made by using the reclaimed stoneware clay in the studio. In order to assess the opacity of a glaze we have painted a strip of red slip over one half of a tile. These are my results. Top pieces are fi

Second pattern trials: Working on Islamic inspired patterns

It is time to be moving on from the Pueblo inspired patterns of South West of America across the continents to Islamic inspired patterns of the Middle East. Well, there is a lot that could be said about this at this point of time in world history but has happened unintentionally. Anyway, the use of patterns particularly within Islamic architecture is bold and unapologetic if not, in some cases, rather bling. Patterns are often textural through the use of extensive carvings but also colourful through the use of tiles. Many Islamic patterns involve stylised floral designs but I want to concentrate on their geometric designs. What I didn't realise was how very complicated and sophisticated thes

Research Study Report

Finally, I have managed to finish and hand in this essay. It was actually quite fun to write. The first half covers a selection of talks we had to attend as part of our MA and the other half covered visits and other forms of personal engagement with people and exhibitions relevant to our work. I must admit that I find the given word count totally non-sensical. I appreciate that there is a real skill in keeping writing brief and concise. However, to allow 250 words to cover an interview or visit seems not nearly enough to do it justice. Anyway, I've tried my best and learnt quite a low from going out and finding out about other people's work within the creative industries. Here is a link to m

Large Figures: Surface Decorating

Argh ... I'm in serious need of updating my current main work on my blog. I am so enjoying the making that my head is buzzing with ideas long after leaving the studio that I don't get down to writing them down. Anyway, so recap to where I got last was having finished my two larger figures. One made from the general clay stacked at uni (AWS/1G: White Stoneware by Spencroft Clays) and the other from a whiter clay (PF 700G: Porcelain White Stoneware Grog by Valentine Clays). I have stuck to a similar shape without out wanting them to be too similar. I am planning on making a third one in the series in yet another clay, maybe a black clay. Starting off my decorating process by pouring black slip

Finished pinch pot tests

As part of trying out new clays and ways of decorating I have been working on whole range of different pinch pots. Today the first four have come out of the glaze kiln. These are three stages in the decorating process: Left: After second bisque firing which sets the design liner details, which were painted on the white slip over the black colour of the clay. I really, really like the result at this stage - very crisp. Middle: Trying out applying the clear glaze I mixed myself. I've only partially glazed the pots only covering the bottom of the inside on one pot and pouring the outside of the other leaving unglazed areas there. Right: Finished glaze fired pots. Results: Glaze has little air b

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