Tales from the Wood

Lorem ipsum dolor

Lorem ipsum dolor

Ladles

There's still very little sycamore thinning to be done, so I've been using up some very nice oak, which I set aside some time ago. These four vessels are in oak with steam-bent chestnut handles.



Oak & Chestnut Black Vessels

Black Ceramics, Chestnut, Oak, Sycamore and Box

A real adaptive challenge : combining ceramics with wood.

After a lot of 'on the spot' experiments, I've just completed these 4 pieces. The fastenings turned out to be relatively simple. A reinforced hole in the ceramic body and either a sprung forged-wire handle or, as with the steam-bent chestnut, a metal peg, capped with boxwood.

The boxwood has been seasoning for 3 years and is incredibly tough to work (I'm told boxwood was once used to make hair combs) so in these pieces, as it's doing an important structural job, box it has to be.




DSC_0027

DSC_0013 (1)

Hawkmoths

The moth trap produced two splendid hawkmoths last night. An eyed hawkmoth (Smerinthus ocelatta) which refused to show its eyed wings for the camera, and a poplar hawkmoth (Loathoe populi). Lots of micro moths too, which I have yet to identify - and probably never will !

Eyed Hawkmoth

IMG_3915

Wood Stack 2019

Just in time for summer seasoning: the double windrow of split timber for next winter.

IMG_3886

Layed Hedge and Spring Growth

The first section of hedge has now been layed, and after just a few weeks, the first signs of new growth are showing. Always amazing to think, that with just a few millimetres of stem left at the severed base, the sap still finds a way through.


Layed Hedge


Hedge Leafing Up

Low Energy Ceramic Composites

Ceramic composites are becoming increasingly prevalent in the new technological fields of precision engineering. However, very little translates, so it seems, to arts and crafts practice.

It's a complex and sometimes an eye-wateringly difficult subject, but at it's simplest level, it can be viewed as a way of extending established ceramic methods by exploring different components to form sintered bodies. Or in other words, using other materials besides clay!

To cut a long story short, I've been testing some simple composites to try and cut down firing time. It certainly seems to make sense to reduce energy consumption, but also, as an interesting spin-off, it became apparent that a simple way of constructing, was to use folded-paper moulds. This technique proved nigh on impossible with standard clay slip, for more reasons that I can list here, but with a carefully designed composite, it casts up strongly and the paper mould can easily be peeled off (and recycled). Glazing is also straightforward.

As to firing times. Well, to achieve a comfortable low-fire (raku) temperature, it takes about 10 minutes. And no, absolutely no pre-firing needed!



IMG_3695

IMG_3697

IMG_3883