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. 

Visiting our local Masjid

While researching Islamic geometric patterns I realised that I have actually never been inside a mosque. So, coming across an open invitation to an open day held by our local mosque I thought it would be a good opportunity to rectify that. Sunday morning we went off en famille to look at the interior of this impressive building that was built and opened less than two years ago. I must admit that I was a bit nervous but that soon disappeared when we were so warmly welcomed with Arabic coffee and fresh dates. As it is a modern building the internal decorations were quite restrained and Islamic geometric patterns were limited to the tiling in the men's ablutions room, the carpet and ceiling dec

Assessment of work by our tutors - a gut reaction

So, we've reached the end of our second semester of our two-year MA course. This means we had to presents the work we've done since beginning of January. We were judged on our learning agreement, our blog and our actual work. Dave and Anna looked at our work and had a brief discussion with us individually. It wasn't really any different from what I'd expected, i.e. looking at the work accompanied by a discussion about what we think works, what doesn't work and why and, based on this, what parts to take forward and which not to further pursue. As expected, my assessment went rather well, I think. Nevertheless, the whole process left me feeling a bit flat and deflated. But why? Was it just bec

Figure 2: Glaze fired & finished - I think

With trepidation and anxious excitement I've been awaiting the first of my larger finished figures to come out of the glaze kiln. Generally, I'm rather pleased with the overall result, especially for my first finished figure. Obviously there are good and not so successful parts. Here are the things that didn't quite work or which could be improved upon: 1. Unwanted cracks have opened up during glaze firing. This has happened around the last part I added on when building. That is an indication that there was too much difference of moisture content between the added part and rest of the piece. Next time I need to wrap the whole piece up very well after finishing building to let the moisture co

On-glaze experiments

From the very beginning I was aware that my decorating process would involve stages of layering and subsequently more than the usual two firing processes, i.e. decorations added to greenware, the bisqueware and to glazed ceramics. I have recently got around to doing some on-glaze tests. Here are some of them: Mayco Design-liner on-glaze Anna first suggested that I try out my design-liner on-glaze. I tried white, black and blue over the top of a Celadon glaze which was retired to ca. 1260°c. The design liner did fuse onto the glaze. Because it sat on top of the surface it didn't go shiny and one can feel it. I find it has a lot of potential especially when used on top of a coloured glaze. So,

Testing a Celadon glaze

So far I have just considered using clear glazes for my larger figures. However, after applying the brown translucent shellac over my slipped clay pieces I really come around to the idea that maybe I should be adventurous and consider adding coloured glazes to my repertoire. Dave suggested that I have a look at Japanese Oribe ceramics and how they used combinations of decorations and glazes. These pieces combine delicately painted patterns and decorations which are partially obscured by the subsequent application of glaze. Square Serving Dish (top) and Plate (bottom) both Mino ware, Oribe style, Japanese, early 17th century. Oribe ware was invented in Japan in 1605 as a direct result of majo

Controlled loss of control and my (very controlled) response

A lot of my art is about surrendering control in order to create opportunities for direct intuitive responses. This was the case with my paintings and now is part of my pottery process - even if it may not be initially obvious. From a very young age I've always been drawing and have had the tendency of working very tightly and with lots of control. I spent years at school doodling with pens. (Ironically I found this doodle on a sheet explaining how lawmaking is fixed within the German constitution - what could be more about control than that!) I finished high school specialising in art and absolutely hated the art class at my school. I spent three years taking and printing a few portraits, o

Group Crit: presenting this term's work

So, yesterday we spent most of the day having a group crit, i.e. each of us had to do a presentation on the work we've done so far since the beginning of the year and where we were hoping this will lead us to. Well, what a totally diverse lot of work and approaches there are. Very impressive! If everybody sticks with the course, adding our two re-joiners, the fourteen of us will be having a great show at the end of our MA. Unfortunately the presentations took a lot longer than scheduled and people had to leave before the end. So, by the time it was my turn more than have had gone. It is strange how one looses track of time when one is talking infant of other people. I really didn't want to t

Glaze components: Line blend Tests

After having each of us having done so base material test for glazes, which were fired in oxidation and reduction for comparison, Dave now asked us to do a line blend test combining two base materials. I decided to two test one involving more tradition materials and the other using Bicarbonate of Soda, which was such a pleasant in the previous test. 1st Test: Red Clay (No.4) + Nepheline Syenite (No.13) The quantities of each ingredient is mixed with water to following proportions: Red Clay: 100% 80% 60% 50% 40% 20% 0% Nepheline Syenite: 0% 20% 40% 50% 60%

Figure 2: Bisque fired and now what?

My figure has come out the bisque firing with no real visible cracks. What a relief. Now I've hot two large figures and have to decide on how the glaze them. As my tests run parallel to my making I may have an idea of how to glaze the big pieces but meanwhile the test open up new possibilities. Well, here is figure 2: The clay body at this stage still retains a pinkish look. This will go away in bisque firing when it fires to a higher temperature. Next I have painted a localised wax resist. I intend these areas to remain unglazed. They should remain matt and contrast nicely with the glossy clear glaze I intend on applying. Picking out and masking out these areas is another design process tak

Large Figure 3: Slip on clay

Once my large figure has dried enough to hold its shape when handled carefully I pour slip over it. This time, to have a contrast of colours again, I'm using a white clay slip. I need to start this process at the beginning of the day as it takes longer than presumed. I apply some slip and blow on it to get an even distribution. They it will have dry enough for me to be able to turn the piece over and repeat the process without smudging the previous slip application. I don't want the drips to all go into one direction which would suggest a definite up and down of the figure. The next step is to carefully carve in some lines. This time I also tried to make sure that these lines didn't have too

Edmund de Waal talk at the York Art Gallery

Pam, my guide to good places to visit and where to get good meals, picked me up early and we went on a bit of detour on our way to York. Firstly we turned off wrongly from the A59 at the RAF Menwith Hill site, or should I say sight. What an incongruous addition to the beautiful landscape these gigantic golf balls make. After some intuitive navigating Pam got us to Ripley where we went on a guided tour of the house followed by a stroll around the lake and gardens. What I like best in the house was the games room in the top part of the old house with the oak panelling, floorboards and the large snooker table. The ceiling in particular reminded me of the inside of a large wooden boat hull. Then

Updated Learning Agreement, version 2

It seems like a long time since I wrote my first learning agreement. As we are soon coming up to our end of term assessment I thought I'd better have a look at where I am with my work and whether it still corresponds with my learning agreement. Not a huge amount has changed but I do think an update is in order. I just wanted to remove any intention of mould making at this stage. I am doing so many other tests relating to clays, glazes and decorating techniques that I am putting this on the back burner for the moment. Anyway here it is: Links to previous or later versions of this Learning Agreement: 1st draft, 1st version and 3rd version.

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