Easter surprises

I’veElaine Bolt Stoneware and terracotta vessels just unpacked my kiln after a reduction firing. The firing contained some pieces intended for the Contemporary Craft Fair at Bovey Tracey in June; some are for a couple of galleries right now and some for a very exciting teabowl exhibition I’ll be taking part in later on in the year (more info to follow soon).


Along with finished pieces, the kiln also contained numerous test pieces where I’ve been trying out some new ideas and finishes. So it’s understandable that the work that emerged was a bit of a mix.

Firing can be a touch-and-go process, and there are often disasters along with the triumphs. That was the case with this firing – some pieces I was really keen on, that had potential homes to go to, just weren’t good enough or just didn’t make it at all. There were a few issues with the glazing on some pieces, and one of the larger pieces had slumped over, taking out a few other large pieces with it, which was very disappointing. Having said that, there were some nice surprises too, and lots of tests to take further in the next firing. Here are images of some of the work and tests. Let me know what you think!

Some of the tests I’ve done are to do with trying out different glaze finishes. Sometimes the simplest glazes can be the most interesting. But this can be a slow process – first identifying what I’m after, then trying different combinations of raw materials. There’s also often lots more work to be done after a glaze test comes out of the kiln – something that looks great on a small test tile can be terrible when scaled up.

White lumpy glaze test

Some of my tests were about combining different clay bodies. Clays all have different shrinkage rates and porcelain shrinks more than most. So combining two that are going to shrink by different amounts can be really pushing the tolerance of the materials. My tests so far with combining porcelain and stoneware have come out surprisingly well. But more work needs to be done here.

Piece combining porcelain and stoneware

Some of the tests I’ve been doing are about how different materials can be combined after firing. Making compositions is something I like working on and I’ve been wanting to combine ideas I have about the ‘objects‘ I make with my vessels for a very long time. But I’ve not made a piece I’ve been totally happy to take forward yet. I expect it will slowly emerge as an idea, but maybe it will pop out and surprise me one day!

Test piece – combining ‘objects’ with vessels


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