Process: Slip sliding away…

Following on from AGES ago when I started sharing the steps of making my work (see here or here ), let’s talk about Slip.

Slip is basically watered down clay that can be used to decorate a pot before it dries out. It can be colored just about any color you want and can be used in many different thicknesses. Lisa Naples is a ceramic artist who uses VERY thick slip to texture and color her work.

Slip can be painted on a pot or trailed using fine pointed squeezy bottles or a pot can be dipped into slip. Some slips can even be used to make pots! Kate Westfall uses redclay slip to make the bodies of her gorgeous mugs 😍. (Side note: if you’re ever stuck for a gift idea for me, a piece of Lisa or Kate’s work will do just fine 😉)

Each pot in my studio gets dipped and receives a coat of white slip before it is allowed to dry completely and go through it’s first firing.

This coat of white slip has three jobs to do; it prevents iron from the clay body affecting the glaze, it helps to highlight the textures I make in the slabs AND it provides a perfect, light background for my “Tidal Swell” glaze to show it’s subtle hues of blue & green 😍

Slipping is an essential step in the process of my work… and one of the beautiful steps. A freshly slipped pot is so lovely, just look at those rims and handles, they look like white chocolate!

Shrinkage

Left to Right: Raw clay (“greenware”), Bisqued clay, Glazed clay.

Did you know that clay shrinks as it dries and goes through each firing???

This particular clay (that I adore) has a rather shocking 14% shrinkage rate… which means a lot of math and forward planning to get the right sized mug.

Not the worst thing in the world, but to this math-impaired person it creates some headaches… quite literally.

It’s worth it though ❤

Look at that gorgeous, rich clay coming through the glaze… it’s worth every, math headache, every, single one.

🌞

Thank you ❤

The shop update was a wonderful success and I wanted to send a warm thank you to everyone who has purchased a piece of my work.

This month was filled with surprise car bills as well as the yearly car tax payment and your support as made it feel a LOT less stressful than it would have been.

This is what it means when you purchase from a local maker, we get to pay our bills AND eat. WooHoooo!

There are still a couple of Sea Collages waiting to bring the Scottish seaside home to you or a fellow beachcombing friend. If you would like to see them, click here.

Until next time, have a wonderful day ❤

Shop Update, woot!

There are times when an artist needs to take a moment to review, and sometimes what comes out of that review is a pivot. That’s what’s happened recently here in the studio and it feels so good!

It also feels good to announce a mini-update of the last of their kind pots, the final pots in a line of glazes and forms that are now retired.

Also included in the sale are a few beloved Sea Collages that have been keeping me happy company in the studio for far too long… it’s time to let them fly the nest and find new homes.

Keep an eye out here on Wednesday the 14th at 5pm for some unique pots and collages that will bring the sea home. Included in the shop update are some really lovely pieces that will never be seen again.

Set your alarm!

Delightful surprises.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am totally flummoxed when things exceed my expectations…

As a potter, having high expectations was drilled out of me in pottery school. We’re taught to be pragmatic; to keep the level of our pottery designs high, but our expectations low and to prepare for multiple attempts (aka multiple opportunities for learning) at a new design until we get to know the limits and abilities of our material.

I’ve noticed throughout my years of adulting that this kind of pragmatic thinking has extended out of the studio, and into most areas of my life…. except my “to-do lists”, those never seem to be affected, but that’s a whole other post…

So, knowing all that, you can imagine what my expectations of how many entries we’d have were like when Erica (of eteaket) and I began planning for our “Tea for Two Giveaway”. In hindsight, they were perhaps a bit too low, but I was trying to spare myself from the “inevitable” disappointment of the only entries being from our mothers… you know what I mean?

Anyway, when I looked this morning and saw that nearly 1,000 hopeful souls have entered to win the “Tea for Two Giveaway” you could have knocked me over with a feather… totally over… flat on my face.

Not in a million years did I expect this giveaway to create that much joy and excitement and my own little heart has grown three sizes today with gratitude to be a part of it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew it would bring smiles and excitement, look at it, there’s so much there that is wonderful! But, almost 1,000 people wishing and hoping and excited to win with 3 days left to go…?

Nope, not in a million years would I have expected that to happen.

It’s really wonderful!

If you’re wanting a shot to win, click here and keep your fingers crossed until 5pm on Saturday (UK time).

Good luck!

UPDATE: The giveaway has now closed and we have a winner. With a total of 1,123 entries Erica and I are totally blown away and just as grateful!

Win Free Goodies!

You know what’s neat?

When two business women have an idea and then it happens, I just love that!

My friend Erica is the owner & founder of the amazing Eteaket – the very finest place in Edinburgh (online too!) for high quality loose leaf tea with integrity. She and I had a conversation one day about wanting to give some fun things away to celebrate summer and after about 5 minutes of conversation we came up with the “Tea for Two Giveaway”.

Included in the giveaway are 2 of my favorite “Waveware Mugs”, 4 delicious loose leaf summer teas (shown in the photo, you can drink them hot or cold) and enough bleach-free teabags to last the entire summer.

If you want a chance to win, click here to enter the giveaway. One entry per person, but if you’re on Facebook or Instagram you can get an extra entry by sharing our giveaway posts in your stories.

The giveaway ends at 5pm (BST) on Saturday, July 27th and is open to pottery & tea lovers all over the world. Erica and I will share the cost of sending the booty to you when you win.

Good luck!!

~Avesha

 

Plastic free, can you dig it? 😉

July 1st starts the 6th year of the #plasticfree challenge which has been spearheaded by the wonderful Marine Conservation Society here in Scotland 🌊 🦀 Want to join me???

The purpose of the challenge is to bring awareness to our plastic use and help us make some kind of effort to reduce our use of plastics or even #goplasticfree if we are feeling especially courageous.


In our house, being entirely plastic free isn’t realistic quite yet, but we have made some “microsteps” by recycling and reusing as much as possible. We use metal straws & cloth shopping bags and we have a keep-cup each for our beloved take out coffees. There is SO much more we could be doing though, this is where the Plastic Free challenge will help.

What is one small step you could take to make (and keep making) a difference to the plastic waste crisis?


Please share your ideas with me in the comments to help us all find a way to help the Oceans 🌊❤

To sign up to the #plasticfree challenge go to www.mcsuk.org/news/join_plastic_challenge

Also, remember back in May when we were talking about how helping others works really well as a  microstep you can take to help your own mental & emotional health?

Well, being a part of the #plasticfree challenge and taking a microstep toward helping marine life by reducing the plastic waste threatening them can REALLY help us feel like we are making a positive difference… which makes us feel good 🌞 Win, win!

It’s ‘Just a Card Day’, woo hoo!!! (okay, but what is that?)

Have you been to any sweet local shops, or galleries, or grocers run by independent business people in your community?

What did you think?

Did it feel special and a little like you were connected into something bigger than yourself? Did you feel like a part of your community?

Those feelings are a large part of what is at the core of the Justacard campaign which began 2 years ago when Sarah Hamilton,  a printmaker in South London decided to do something to help keep independent shops open and thriving in her community.

(That’s her there  👇 Click on her photo to see Sarah’s beautiful prints)

Justacard has since become a global movement of independent shops and makers and artists of all kinds who believe in it’s purpose and mission. When you purchase something, anything, even ‘just a card’ from a local gallery or shop you make a difference to an independent business owner.

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought ‘just a card’ we would still be open”

When I first heard about this campaign a year ago the first thing I did was get this bumper sticker for my car (that’s a Courtney Murphy Ceramics mug, isn’t it pretty?) and am so thankful I did!

People asking about the sticker has started many small but important conversations about how essential it is to shop small, local, independent and in your community, if you can.

So, today, June 17th is ‘Justacard Day’ and makers all over the globe are shouting from the rooftops about this beautiful, meaningful campaign that is already making a difference to how the general purchasing public spends their money.

Big things are in store for the Justacard campaign too, have a look at their website to see all of the fancy actors and famous people taking part in getting this message out to the world.

Now, when you see the Justacard logo in a photo or in a shop or car window you’ll know what it means and you’ll feel like a superhero when you buy that card, or mug, or book, or jewellry, or sticker, or journal, or painting, or toilet paper, or shoes, or whatever it is you’re looking for… because you know, whatever you need can be found in an independent shop.

Really, it can ❤

 

It’s always about the ocean, amiright?

Did you know today is World Environment Day? 🌎 It’s a day dedicated by the United Nations for us to slow down, educate ourselves and do something to help the environment.

For me, these days are about the oceans….it’s always about the oceans here, amiright? 😉 Who could blame me? They provide so much for us but are becoming crippled by trash and plastic waste. We need to do something to reverse this damage and days like today are inspirations to do so.

Days like this are also wonderful opportunities to implement Mental Health Awareness Month Top Tip #3, remember that one?  It’s about how doing something for someone else can help our own emotional and mental health and that “someone” includes the Earth and all the animals living on it with us.

So, some super simple things you can do to help today and every day are:

1) Always bring an extra bag to the beach for your trash and take away the rubbish you see left by others.

2) Donate to a reputable, charity supporting the Oceans and educating people about how to help. Five bucks a month makes a big difference if you can swing it. The Marine Conservation Society is AMAZING 🦀

3) Make your buying power say something by not purchasing plastics or by purchasing items that support reputable charities.

In case you didn’t know already, 100% of the profit from my “In love with the Sea” ornaments goes to the incredible work of the Marine Conservation Society 🌞 You get something pretty and are helping the environment at the same time. Win, win! 

❤Until later