Saturday 21 December 2019

Saturday 23 November 2019

Progress on recent work

I have been working on themed piece for some time now and it is approaching fruition. Because artists oil paints are featured there is considerable time lapse between  stages of execution while drying times are observed. 

The centre piece is a bowl form. a couple of pics below show some of the stages gone through including under painting and texturing. Final surface finish and assembly is close and includes found materials.

Paragon SC2 Kiln and new possibilities.

I have had a Paragon kiln for firing various materials for some years now and have never fired it. It was originally purchased to fire metal clay but up to now I have torch fired my experiments. I contacted a local artist who runs art and craft workshops to see if my wife's embroidery machine would be of interest to her and eventually donated it to her. During my discussions with her she showed me some of her work which included miniature porcelain pots.She expressed she had always wanted to incorporate silver decorations on these pots. I knew there was a suitable product and arranged to take the kiln out of hibernation and meet her to swap knowledge, she had previously studied and worked in silversmithing so a mutual passing on of knowledge would occur.

The firing was successful, fine silver was indeed fused to the porcelain and we arranged to meet again to look at the possibilities of glass fusing as well. I was pleased, to say the least, that some learning of kiln programming took place and it has encouraged me to look at metal clay again. I have a stock of silver, copper and bronze to work with as well as glass and earthenware clay all of which can be fired in my kiln.

Monday 7 October 2019

Wabi Sabi?

There is some cultural appropriation in my work at present. I have a long-standing appreciation of Japanese aesthetics and in particular Wabi Sabi. There is a certain beauty in decay, deterioration and imperfection that is somewhat alien to Western Culture.

I am still experimenting with ideas and currently using various mediums to achieve some paint/colour effects. A few small panels are shown below. 

These  panels are combinations of paint, stain and print mediums used to layer or partially remove colours to try to emulate some of the colour and textural effects appearing in photographs taken in Greece some years ago. A selection from many pictures taken are shown below  

To try out some of the techniques I have discovered, as a first attempt, a section of rose root cut from a root ball was used. The root section suggests a semi figurative abstract form and had several layers of primer applied before colouring. The background is bark also primed and coloured.

The burr shown below had been laying around in my workshop waiting for attention. Not suited to turning it seemed a shame not to display its beauty in some other form. It became the second finished piece to receive a makeover. Stains and oil paints were layered over a semi textured primer. The piece balances on a slate fragment. 

Finally, the following piece 'Distressed Bowl Form' was already distressed by burning and wire brushing to simulate an aged appearance. Recovered from the reject bin it seemed appropriate to try out a worn looking paint surface. The finish is the result of some ten applications of stain and oil paint washes over a textured primer base. The piece echoes some of the worn paint surfaces appearing in the pictures from Greece shown above and incorporates some of the effects practiced in the colour panels, rose root and burr.

Starting points and finished images are shown below and serve as beginning point for expanded trials.

Thursday 11 April 2019

New piece

Title: Organic

Mixed media 
Spindle turned sycamore, pyro textured, stained with an oil finish.
Top section 3D printed with Ebony wood filament,
post processed with surface sanding followed by stain and oil finish.
Height excluding base: 31cm
Width excluding base: 7cm

Tuesday 19 February 2019


In 2016 I purchased the Stepcraft 420 kit and was frustrated by the build. The machine made nasty noises on testing and I assumed that I had not got the construction quite right. 

The software was complex and so instead I bought the Trend Mini to begin my learning process, much easier to get to grips with. I will still use the Mini for small work and mould making but I wanted to do larger stuff so I have gone back to the Stepcraft. A quick phone call to the supplier revealed that the construction was fine and all that was need was a fine tuning of the 'y' axis - the grotty noises disappeared. At the same time I purchased upgrades to the machine adding new spindle, spindle speed control box, a 4th axis with tailstock and an enclosure which I am still waiting to be delivered.

I had to partially deconstruct the machine to do axis tuning and to install the 4th axis control board. I had some help to alter the software installation. After a few teething problems the machine is set up and ready to go.

I can now extend my work to include smallish 3d sculptural pieces, textural panels and experiment more with bowl forms. A couple of pics and a quick vid below show parts of the new setup.