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Amazing Glazing Day

Gloria has been very prolific in the pottery studio recently. I guess it’s probably related to being locked-down at home during the Covid-19 pandemic here in the UK, along with the fact that all her markets and exhibitions are now off (she’s sad about that, of course). Yesterday, it was glazing day –  time to glaze a lot of Gloria’s pieces that have recently been bisque fired.

amazing glazing day

All of these pieces of Gloria’s are ready to glaze, but their upside down – why? Any parts of a piece that we don’t want glazed (often the base) have to be cover in a thing called “wax resist”, so that when the piece is dipped in the glaze, the glaze actually doesn’t attach where the wax is. The wax eventually just burns away during the glaze firing, so that waxed area is just left unglazed.

amazing glazing day

While I was preparing to do the glazing, Gloria was still beavering away to create more pieces.

amazing glazing day

Some of the large bowls that Gloria made were too large to fit in my glaze bucket in one go, so I had to dip them in two parts. This bowl has had the first dipping and once the glaze (the white part) is dry, I can grab hold of that part and dip the other half. The photo shows what happens when a bisque fired piece is dipped in glaze – it just turns white. A piece that has some of Gloria’s beautiful decoration on it turns completely white. It’s just covered in glaze. However, when it’s then glaze fired, the glaze becomes transparent (it’s glass really) and interacts with the colours and usually makes them more vibrant? It’s a fun process to watch unfold.

glaze bucket and tools

There’s my glaze bucket and a few of the tools I use to help with glazing. By the way, Gloria is still focussed on making more pieces.

loaded kiln

Eventually, I’ve got the kiln loaded with all the strange, purely white pieces (just because they’re all covered in glaze). What an amazing glazing day. They’ll look a lot different after the firing. We’ll be able to open the kiln tomorrow and see how they all come out. Many of Gloria’s pieces will be posted here at fabhappy.com/gloriawhiting as all markets and exhibitions are currently not possible. We’re still shipping, if you’d like anything.

Best wishes.

rabbit plate

Rabbit Plate – A double act

Back in August, a good friend of ours, Blue Bell (her Instagram account is https://www.instagram.com/non0scripta), visited and gave us a few demos in the pottery studio. One thing she did was demonstrate her technique for throwing large plates on the wheel, which she did with her usual ease and aplomb. Once she’d completed, I (this is Peter writing this article on behalf of Gloria) jokingly said to her that it would be nice if it had a rabbit on it. I was both surprised and not that she quickly grabbed a tool and began to scratch in the design of a rabbit. Then I said that it’s a bit like Alice in Wonderland and she added a hat on the rabbit. It was a lot of fun. After Blue left, Gloria took over and completed the sgraffito and applied all the layers of coloured slips. The final result is this absolutely beautiful rabbit plate that we keep in a special place in our home. (See below for some photos of how the plate progressed)

rabbit plate

Below are some images that show the process this plate went through.

This is plate shortly after throwing and just after Blue had scratched in the design of the rabbit with the hat and some other decorative features. At this point the clay is still quite wet and needs to be allowed to dry out significantly more. Notice that terracotta clay was used.

Here’s the plate now part way through Gloria’s work. She’s added a pocket-watch inspired by Alice in Wonderland, added more sgraffito and has layered up a number of coloured slips.

The sgraffito is quite important with terracotta clay as it allows the warmth of the brown clay to start showing through the coloured slips in the final piece.

Now the rabbit plate has all of the sgraffito done and slips applied. Now it’s just a matter of leaving it to fully dry out and then it can be fired in the kiln for the bisque fire.

This is exactly the same plate but now after the bisque firing. It’s interesting how the colours change, but we also have to be aware that the colours will change again after the glaze firing. The next step is to dip the plate in glaze, giving it a good coating, and then putting it back in the kiln for the glaze firing (this goes to a higher temperature than the bisque firing).

Really, glaze is a type of glass coating that covers a pottery piece. It’s a very important step to have a food safe and usable ceramic piece. 

rabbit plate

Now a photo the rabbit plate just after the glaze firing, taken in the studio with a smart phone. It looks really nice, but the colours aren’t represented properly with this camera. It looks better in the photos below.

rabbit plate

rabbit plate

rabbit plate

Many thanks to Blue Bell and Gloria!

Gloria painting the ceramic house sign

Ceramic House Sign

Today, Gloria created a Ceramic House Sign as a birthday gift for a friend. It was a request from her friend who lives in Portugal and Gloria was happy to oblige. She started with six bisque fired white square (6×6 inches) tiles and decorated them with coloured glazes. 

See more of the story in pictures below…

Gloria painting the ceramic house sign

ceramic house sign
Working on the fundamental design now, using coloured glazes…

Ceramic House Sign

ceramic house sign
Getting close to finished now…

Applying a clear top glaze over everything. It looks blue, but it will be clear after firing…

All glazing done and just waiting to dry for a bit…

Two to the ceramic house sign tiles made in onto this shelf of the kiln…

The other four tiles had to be put on two, stacked half-shelves…

So now the kiln is running and the firing is underway. It will be about 36 to 48 hours before we can open it and see how the ceramic house sign has turned out. 

We’ll post an update with the results, which will hopefully be good (fingers crossed!).

The final tiles will have to be packed safely and hand-carried to Portugal for delivery at Gloria’s friend’s birthday party.

If you go online, it looks like everyone makes ceramic house signs. You can order them from all sorts of people (for example, Pottery House Signs) with what appears to be all sorts of quality levels, however, it’s something special for a friend to hand-make a ceramic house sign specially for an occasion. It’s also pretty cool to know that some of Gloria’s work has been requested from yet another country, Portugal, and it’s a real pleasure to be able to do something so personal for such a good friend. We’re very much looking forward to the celebrations!

recent ceramic creations

Recent Ceramic Creations – May 2019

mothers day tiles and rainbows

Mothers Day Tiles and Rainbows

In our Pottery Studio, Gloria is currently preparing Mothers Day Tiles for a group of children from our local Rainbows (a programme for 5-7 year olds, linked with Girl Guiding). Her plan is to give each child three small tile shaped pieces of clay with two holes at the top of each. The children will then decorate these tiles themselves with the letters “M”, “U” and “M” and, after the tiles are fired, they can be strung on a cord and given to their mothers as a personalised Mother’s Day gift. These Mothers Day Tiles will have a bit of every child in them.

Below are some photos of Gloria do the prep work, rolling out the clay, cutting them to size and ensuring they are in a good state for the children to do their personalised decoration. Lots to do!

To find out more about Rainbows, see http://www.girlguiding.org.uk/what-we-do/rainbows-5-7/


Click on the images below to see them full size.

glorious leaves

Glorious Leaves

My first ever house plant while at uni was a “Swiss-Cheese Plant” (Monstera Deliciosa) and I kept it alive for nearly 30 years!  No wonder then that I can’t resist making these leaf shaped platters. It’s a real passion.

I’ve been experimenting making various styles in our pottery studio, and they were a central feature in my exhibition at Standen House (National Trust site) in July. I love making them and they seem to be really popular.

Peter will be putting some of these glorious leaves in our online shop soon, but here’s a sneak preview.

[Click on the images below to see the full-size photo]


foxcub pen pot

Foxcub Pen Pot

Made for a friend, this “Foxcub Pen Pot” design was inspired by the many foxy visitors to our garden.

Hand-made from white clay. Hand decorated and finished with a clear, glossy glaze. It’s basically a decorative pot that can be easily used or pens or paint brushes.

It was a lot of fun to make and the finish has come out quite well. It’s about 11 cm high at its highest point and about 10 cm in diameter (including the fox).

Have a look at some various images below in the slider…

foxcub pen pot
foxcub pen pot
foxcub pen pot
foxcub pen pot
foxcub pen pot
foxcub pen pot
foxcub pen pot