Catherine Daniel Ceramics

Hello and welcome to my blog where I share some of the thought processes and textile/quilting inspirations behind my ceramic art, and occasionally other random topics!
For more details and pictures of my ceramic creations, please see my website -

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Say it with a Pot

I was asked by the lovely Angie at My Quilting Life to make a quilt bowl for her friend Lyn's big birthday. I had plenty of notice for this one, so I had time to take a few pictures along the way.  I realise now that I should have started clicking way before this first picture, but anyway.

Once I have rolled out the clay slab, measured and impressed the design into the wet clay, pushed the finished slab into a bowl shaped mould, smoothed over the edges with water, made the holes for the thread and button detail (see later), waited three days for the piece to dry out completely, carefully lifted the bone dry piece out of its mould .....  it looks like this!  This is when it is at its most fragile and can break easily - it's the texture of chalk.  So, the utmost care and a prayer is needed when putting this into the kiln, along with other pieces.

Once bisque-fired, the piece comes out like the one below - a creamy white colour, easy to handle, and ready to paint the glazes onto.

The raw glazes bear no resemblance to their actual colour, so this pale pinky one below will fire denim blue. I took this pic with my left hand, so it's a bit blurred.  But yes, I do paint around each little dot!

Then I fill in the other areas with different glaze colours, including a clear glaze over those bits (like the dots above) left white.

And then into the kiln it goes again.  Nothing else must touch it, otherwise the glazes would fuse different pieces together in the kiln, and Angie would not have liked that look!

Around 24 hours later, when the kiln has cooled down, I open it up and take out the finished piece.  As this one was for an avid quilter/needlewoman, I included the thread detail and attached the handmade button. You can just about see how the button was made - by pressing into it a metal sewing machine bobbin.

The flower border was made by impressing into the clay a string of lace daisies.  The waffle/quilty look around the outside is made by rolling an old tea-towel over the wet clay - one of those cheap ones you get off the market.

The block is Double Pinwheels.  The birthday girl loved it.  Angie blogged about it  here, and if you do have a look, you will see Angie's stunningly beautiful needlework and quilting, so do visit if you can.

Well, hope I haven't bored the pants off you all with all the technical details!!

Now off to sit in the rain - bliss!!  Are you cooling off at last too?

x Cathy

Monday, 15 July 2013

Today's Countdown Conundrum

My all-time favourite BFF (Best Friend Forever) loves nothing more than a good cryptic crossword; does the crossword in a newspaper before reading any of it; likes doing anagrams.  
Personally, word puzzles just don't do it for me and I have always felt that the answer to any crossword clue is 'Who Cares?'.

Sounds like a  bad Agatha Christie title!
If I were shipwrecked on a desert island with only a crossword to keep me occupied, I would probably colour in some of the blank squares, thus making a pretty black, white and the other colour patchwork pattern. I would then make a little origami boat out of my designer paper and sail it in a rock pool.

One for you, Lynne!
When my little boat had become water-logged, I would gather up the resulting paper mush and sculpt a small bowl.  Each day I would look for a different object which was both beautiful and tiny enough to fit into the bowl. This pastime would keep me from going completely bonkers .... though reading this you might say I'm half way there already!

I normally make these little letter tablets to put onto driftwood to make signs,(see side-bar example), but people do order individual letters on their own so that they can personalise their own particular project - a mosaic, or round the rim of a plant pot, or whatever.

So, tick, tick, tick - time's up.  Did you get today's countdown conundrum?

And, have you done today's crossword yet??

x Cathy

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Outdoor Pottery

I had pottery deadlines to meet so I had to spend last weekend glazing lots of bisque fired pots.  But no way was I going to miss out on that glorious sunshine, so the pottery moved outside to the patio table.  I have all my glazes on a little wheelie trolley thingy so that was easy enough. By the way, that jar labelled 'Pink Gin' is not what you think ... more's the pity.  That's the name of the glaze colour. 

This picture was before I started.  The scene got a whole lot messier by the end.  The bees were quite interested in it all.  Money Spiders were obsessed with it - couldn't keep 'em away.  In the end, I just decided to paint them into the pots and let them fry in a 1040 degree kiln firing later that day!  Cruel, I know!

Then the summer winds got up and the leaves started falling down from the willow trees and landing in the pots.  But it was just the nicest way to spend the weekend!  I really get into the zone doing this and have been known to absent-mindedly dip my glazing bush into my cup of tea, instead of the pot of glaze.  I have never yet drunk any glaze though - not recommended!

This quilt block called Summer Winds is one that I really like, though I can't find out much about it.  It is a traditional block pattern but its original publication date is unknown.

This is another of the round bowl shaped pieces I've done, though more recently I have gone back to my original wavy edged look for these quilt bowls, which I think I prefer, but it's nice to do both.

One thing's for sure though, the quality of the light out there was ideal to work by, even if it was so hot I thought the pieces might fire without the kiln!!

Are you taking your craft/hobby outdoors this summer?

x Cathy