Last year my husband and I attended an art fair at Olympia. We spotted the most amazing gorilla from a very talented sculptor Nichola Theakston. Ever since my husband had regularly wished he could have bought it.

With my new found skills in pottery I wondered if I could do something similar.


The above is Nichola’s limited edition piece. Absolutely stunning.












The gorilla was very slowly dried and bisque fired prior to Raku firing.


I think he might be a bit too cute. I’ve enjoyed making him so much I think I’ll do a gorilla bust. I love their faces.





He’s turned out well. I’m happy.

My husband loves him.


Life drawing lesson #1

Not quite what I expected. A series of 5 minute poses, using several mediums, all held differently.

First, a marker pen held in the first. A bit like being 3 years again.


Unfortunately, or fortunately, the pen was running out but that was the point of the exercise, that you could blame your tools rather than your own talent…or lack of.

I messed up the second one because I was supposed to do it in a Berol handwriting pen. I think I was busy searching for another purple pen when we were given our instructions for the second pose.


The above was my favourite drawing.


The above was an exercise in not lifting the pen or pencil from the paper. This was one of the hardest to do. I physically couldn’t prevent myself so I had to cheat and add a few lines to look as though I’d followed the
instructions properly. A toughy.


Argh I don’t like this one because it looks so obscene and like something scribbled on a toilet door. This was with my non dominant hand. Cringe.


I’m updating my post three weeks after doing this lesson so if it wasn’t for my signature I’d be thinking I picked up someone else’s work by mistake. I just don’t remember doing this one, let alone what the instructions were for it.


The last one. The weirdest one. Ink and a twig. Enough said.

Roll on next week.

Pottery lesson #5

We’ve now started our own work. I started one figure but due to very wet clay and an unwillingness to stand there with two hair dryers I started another.

This is the second one.


It will have head but that will be modelled next week.

Hopefully I’ll remember to take pics of the first figure too.

Argh! Forget the first one, the second figure is taking much longer than expected and I’m doing it outside of class too.


So initially it was going to be a small girl but the proportions were all wrong, so it became a young woman, but after a while, based on her trout pout, I settled on a mermaid.

Here she is, in the damp cupboard. Very very slow drying to protect her hair.



Hurrah! After a concerted effort to push all the class pieces through the firing process, meaning my mermaid was left on the paid for shelf for several weeks, she finally made the kiln for her bisque firing. She’s in there now.

She was intended for the raku firing last week but it turns out she is too big, too heavy and too delicate for the raku tongs.

Can’t decide how to glaze her…

Small bottles

Whilst waiting for coils to dry on my larger projects I often may with thumb pots to see what happens.

This one became a small bottle.


It’s only about 3″ high. I may do a series of them.

A big big bowl

I made this with a mould by coiling. I wanted to continue the shape into a gourd but unfortunately it dried too quickly to do anything else with it.

Glazing it was difficult due to its size and my inexperience.


The outside is a cream glaze, the inside is this glaze …


You can see from the tile that depending on thickness the glaze varies from a copper to a blue.

Ewe and lamb

I like thumb pots. They can develop into anything. Inspired by a book from the college bookshelf I ripped off created a ewe…and her lamb.


I usually do these smaller projects whilst I’m waiting for larger ones to dry.


Well, I managed to glaze the lamb but totally messed up her mum by coating her too thickly. I had to wash her off and so I’ll glaze her another day, when I’m feeling brave again.

Here she is! The little lamb.


Mum is still waiting to be glazed.

Space Egg

Initially this was going to be a big pebble. I wanted to make two huge thumb pots and see what happened and a pebble was what I had in mind. Something substantial, smooth and tactile.

But I need an all important air hole so it would be a pebble with a hole. But you can’t just have a hole. A hole needs to be a feature. A meaningful hole. So maybe a series of holes…but someone who attends the drop in centre has already created a similar project so I want something different (better?)

So a pebble with holes. Not a pebble then. Obviously it’s going to be a Space Egg. In that case it needs to be intriguing…space like. Alien egg. Hmm…

Something I’m fast learning with hand building is that unless you know exactly what you’re doing, and able to stick to it, presumably with some reference material such as drawings to keep on track, you’re going to find that clay tends to do its own thing. This isn’t a bad thing of course because creativity is something that can develop a beautiful item just by chance.

So, back to this egg pebble.


It was too thick for the holes I intended to put into it and too heavy overall. I also wanted to glaze the inside of the egg so it had to be thinner so the viewer could easily see inside, which meant it really ought to be smoother inside for the glaze?

Thinner and smoother means get the cheese wire!


…and cut it in half, then scrape and shape, finally smoothing off with a damp sponge.

Whilst it’s in this state it’s occurred to me that I could have something inside the egg, a ship in the bottle…another egg?


Should there be something intriguing about this egg? A crack? Big enough to see there’s nothing inside? That’s it’s escaped? Hmm… 🙂


So this is the egg inside an egg. Glazing is going to be tricky do I decided to use coloured slip.


The inside of the small egg is yellow. The outside is blue. The inside of the outside egg is a mottled green. I’ll probably do the outside of the outside egg blue too. Got that? I think I’ve remembered the colours correctly. As you can see they all look a bit muddy.