Thursday, 8 December 2011

Contemporary Craft Shopping Experience, Warwickshire

Here's a little bit of a run down on the weekends event and a few stalls that caught my eye at the Contemporary Craft Shopping Event in Warwickshire. Although it was a long journey my husband and I decided to make a weekend break of it and fit in some Christmas shopping and it definitely turned out to be worth it.

Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics (winner of the best stall)
Creative Bumble Bee

Curious Cat Creative (handmade leather gifts)

Elizabeth Richards


Handmade by Moi

I always seem to get the short straw and end up opposite the tastiest stalls!
Harkers Handmade fudge

And little old me!
You might noticed that I left my lovely new banner at home :-(
I had a really good spot right in the middle of the hall (about 100 stalls!). I took an extra couple of plinths not knowing if I would have room to display my large bowls and luckly enough I could. Although I didn't sell either of them, I am certain they drew extra people to the stall. The 'Experiments' box at the front was a big hit (Thanks Taz for the idea!). Huge thank you to Claire Vize for being so helpful, to the lovely stewards helping to unload/load, and to the great caterers. (Thumbs up from hubby for the lovely fry-up to start the day!) It was a very well organised event and will hopefully be on my list of events for next year.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Alternative to horsehair

I've been looking at some alternatives to the horsehair technique as the percentage of pots that don't make it through the process is too high (currently +40%!!!). Melting copper wire on to pots is something I looked at in my Foundation Diploma and something that I have wanted to revisit for a long time. So these pictures are the experiments so far.........
Original horsehair piece

Copper wire ~ low fired

Copper wire ~ high fired

Comparison of all 3

Christmas Events

This is my stall set up at the first of 3 Christmas Events I am attending (details at the side of this blog). Although sales weren't all that fantastic I'm not taking it too personally as I think this was a general thing with most stall holders at this event. I'm looking forward to the Art Bazaar in South Molton next Friday although it will be a long day.... fingers crossed there will be plenty of people visiting!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Trials and tribulations of a new graduate

No one warned me how hard it would be when I left college!
I've put myself under pressure to make for several events when my work is still in the development stage. The lovely horsehair pots are proving to be problematic. I know with time I will be able to get them right but I don't have much (time) as deadlines are looming. Each time I need to try a new method/idea it is a process of

  1. Throwing
  2. Drying
  3. Burnishing
  4. Drying some more
  5. Bisque firing
  6. Glaze firing
  7. Raku firing
And if all that doesn't work then the whole process starts again! So at least 10 days for each set of tests. I am missing not having tutors around to ask questions and don't want to keep imposing on other makers/friends, bombarding them with questions. I hadn't realised how little I actually know ha!
However, I am loving being a maker... and will also love it when I become a seller too!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

New Tests

Just a quick post with a little taster of some pots hot out of the kiln today.
They are coated with the same glaze I use on the black pots but I have applied to porcelain.
They still need developing because although I'm extremely pleased with the inside the outside of the pots weren't very successful, although I have an idea whirring in my head so watch this space...........

Horsehair pots Sept 2011

These pots were the results of last weeks firing. I think my photography skills need some work but I'm really pleased with how the pots have turned out. I took them into Tracy Benton, the owner of Atelier Contemporary Craft Gallery in Barnstaple, and she was delighted with them. She has asked if I could provide her with some to take with her to The Country Living Show in London. Mmmmm..... YES!

They are very time consuming to make but I think they have worked really well with the new colours inside, and I enjoy making them.
First they are thrown, then burnished, then terra sig applied. Then the first bisque firing, glaze applied to the inside and re-fired. Then the last part is to Raku fire them when the horsehair markings are applied! I'm exhausted just writing about it! Phew!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Raku Firing

At last a break form the rain today, the sun was shinning so I took the opportunity to catch up with some Raku firing.
Helped by my friend and fellow ceramicist Ros I spent the day  making little horsehair pots.

This is the Raku kiln that I built a couple of years ago .
 It is great in the fact that it is really easy to set up and pack away.
I literary wheel it in and out of the shed, connect the gas and away I go! 

These are the pots after I have taken them out of the kiln and placed the horsehair on, before I clean them up. 

We had a little visitor checking that we were doing it right!
And these are the results! 
Just need to take some nice pictures now before whisking them of to the shops!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Earthenware colour glaze tests

These are some pots I have glazed with some new colour tests, ready to Raku fire with horsehair. The little lidded pots are also a new experiment. Unfortunately it's howling with rain and the weather forecast is pretty dismal for the next few days so I don't know when I'm going to be able to finish them.
These are the colours I tested using an earthenware  gloss base glaze

Lilac 4/2/1%

Turquiose 4/2/1%

Buttercup 4/2/1%

Green 4/2/1%
These colours are a blend of all the above colours at 1%
They don't show up very well in the photos but there are some really nice colours as a result of this test

Friday, 16 September 2011

Summer Update

Gosh it's ages since I blogged last... I think I have been subconsciously having a break now I have finished college. But actually its good to keep a note of what I've been doing for my own records, to look back on in the future.
I have done quite a lot over the summer and last couple of weeks since the children went back to school.
I have exhibited at the Red Earth Gallery, Bickleigh Mill, with the West Country Potters. I sold quite a few of my little horse hair raku pots, so I have been busy making some more over the last couple of weeks to Raku next week hopefully.
This picture is of me force drying some test tiles (I'm soooo impatient!), My husband wasn't terribly impressed when he came home from work expecting his dinner to be in the oven!
I'm testing a load of earthenware colours to glaze the inside of the raku pots with... in the kiln now as I type.

I also have some work on exhibition in Margate at the moment, so hopefully that is going well.

I have been selected to exhibit at the Devon Guild Christmas Exhibition so busy making for that as well as testing some new ideas which I will add to the blog when I'm happy with them.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Wall hanging

I'm trialing the idea of wall hanging pieces. This piece is made from paperclay, to lighten it and add further texture. Slip resist of a fern leaf and then glazed. 
I'm thinking of a triptych (series of 3) showing the different seasons of plants in my garden. Obviously I can only do summer at the moment though.......!
Black chunky paperclay. Porcelain slip resist fern leaf.
Glaze fired 1260*

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Well the results are out and I officially have a Foundation Degree with Distinction! Hoorah!
A really huge thank you to my husband (not just for the lovely bottle of bubbly!) but for putting up with all the stress and supporting me over the last 4 years of study. I hope I can start to repay him with some success now. I do feel this is just the beginning though as this is where the hard work begins, enlightening the world to Nicola Crocker Ceramics! 
Off to London for the day tomorrow to have my work photographed for a book 'Handmade in Britain'. This is to be launched in conjunction with the London Design Festival in September.
Shades of Clay at Atelier in Barnstaple during August.
Exhibition in Margate at The Pie Factory Gallery 3-30 September...... so lots to be getting on with!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

WPA Potters Market

My friend Taz Pollard and I had a stall on the Quay in Exeter yesterday. Amazingly we had really good weather after what was a miserable week. There was a regatta going on at the same time too which attracted a few extra punters. Unfortunately sales weren't great (generally, not just us) but it was a great exercise for setting up my new stall lay out.
The Potters Market

Taz and Nicola Pots!
I made the plinths from leftover pieces from our kitchen we had fitted last year.
I think they worked extremely well. They pack up nice and flat and all fit onto one box, they were a lot sturdier that some of the stands I saw. The high gloss suited the work really well too.

Selection of my smaller pieces

Taz's beatutiful Yunomi's ~ I just love the little plinth they are on too

Limpet Pots with crystaline glaze inside

This was new idea ~ stand made from Parian Porcelian

Our Stall!

Pot On location

Here's one of my creations that I gave to my Aunt and Uncle as a present recently. It's nice to have some photos of my work in situ as apposed to studio pictures. (secretly hoping it will act as a promotion piece as they have lots of very nice friends....!)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Degree Show

This is a selection of work from the degree show (Ceramics) including my own work.
My Pots

Karly La fontaine

Class of 2011

Russ Kingdom
My smaller pieces


Emma Giffard