March 17, 2017
I did a ceramics masterclass recently with the wonderful Sydney-based ceramicist Alana Wilson via Megan Morton's The School and it was so much fun!
Alana specialises in pieces that look as if they've been unearthed from an archaeological dig, particularly because of her special, often experimental, glaze mixes she has perfected over the years. As she says on her website, her primary source of reference and influence are ancient vessels and archaeological artefacts. While it was this 'look' that attracted me to her work and the workshop in the first place, I pretty much love all ceramics and have always wanted to give it a go.
Using paper-based clay, a few tools and our hands, we started by making a small Japanese teacup. The technique Alana taught us was coiling, which that has been used for thousands of years in places such as Africa, Greece, China and New Mexico. Basically you build a vessel using rolled strips of clay and moulding and forming it with your fingers, starting from the bottom up.
With my next piece, I decided to go big ...
Along the way, we dried our pieces with a heat gun (background right) to harden them and ensure they kept their form. After letting them sit and dry out further for a few days, they were fired in a kiln (see below), which turns them terracotta.
The next class worked with the glazing. We could choose from a selection of Alana's secret glazes based on finished examples of her work. As you can see from the pictures below the glaze application looks nothing like the finished article so it was quite hard to imagine how they would end up and knowing how much or how little glaze to brush on.
I went with a blue-mauve wash with copper accents for my large vessel and black and copper for my Japanese teacup.
And this was a professional photo taken at the studio ...
Thanks Alana and Megan for the workshop!
And please do check out Alana's Visual Diary and her Instagram.
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