in this freezing weather it has been tough to work at anything to do with pottery, and in fact I have had a few weeks of knitting work to do. but I did get a couple of bags of  “pizza” clay – a kind of white crank which is sold for making pizza ovens, but is good for sculptural pieces. it’s not terribly plastic and can be a bit anaemic with the wrong glaze, but I finished a big piece made of it in january and was pleased enough to order some more. I added more texture by rolling in crumbs of porcelain, then I left the slabs wrapped in plastic for a week so that the dry porcelain absorbed some of the damp from the clay and didn’t fall out as soon as I used the slabs.

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it’s actually great to work with a little damper than usual – cold conditions make it much slower to stiffen and dry – and being such a stiff clay anyway it behaves very well for slab-building.

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these two bottles will dry to about one inch shorter than my kiln.

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lots of patting and paddling needed to get nice rounded shoulders and a shape that is just slightly softened.

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I didn’t light the woodburner when I made the first one – there was enough sunshine coming through the rooflight to warm the workshop up to about 10C and it was bearable, warmly dressed. I keep a storage heater on low in there during the winter, to stop the clay freezing and the books from getting damp.

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radio three keeps me going …

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for this one I needed that extra heat, the sun didn’t cooperate.

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I think this clay needs a glaze that accentuates its roughness, like my very dry barium carbonate glaze, and I will double dip with the crawling magnesium. with enough reduction the barium gets tinges of ochre and green, and reacts strongly with the magnesium glaze.

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the porcelain crumbs stay whiter under the glaze

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a nice texture

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and a bit extra texture round the neck …

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a few simple tools, and lots of gooey slip to stick the parts together.

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I pulled this bottle out of the grass from where I dumped it; it cracked in the firing. sadly I can’t find the bottom, or it would be a candidate for the japanese method of mending pots with lacquer and gold powder, kintsugi, which I am going to have a crack (haha) at in the summer – you need warm temperatures for the lacquer to harden. funnily enough I think the cracks accentuate the shape.

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I have another bag of the pizza clay which I plan to make two more big bottles with but this time I’ll paint them with black iron oxide when they are raw, and then slip them with the crackle slip, to get this effect, but on the much bigger bottles.

bottle with crackle