Welcome

Welcome to my Inner World. I am a French self-taught artist, and these past seventeen years I have made Norway my home. Moving to the Lofoten islands was the greatest present I ever made to myself and the Arctic landscapes are indeed a true treat for any artist’s eyes. I live with my British soulmate,… Continue Reading

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Category Archives: Ceramic

Potter’s Choice Glazes

I love them! Fresh samples straight from my kiln. Applied with a sponge (which is for me the best method).

Soul Boat

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I rescued my Soul Boat, painting over the defective glazes with some cobra oil. This is now more or less finished. I just have to add some miniature books, chests, etc. I will also hang some beads and bells, perch some birds here and there and who knows what will eventually take my fancy. I doubt very much the boat will float but with a bit of imagination, everything is possible.

boat

Complete Disaster

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My my… what can I say? It didn’t go according to plan. The clay work was great, tremendous  fun as usual. And then I applied the underglazes, boring stuff since I don’t particularly like painting with sly and greyish colours which reveal their true nature only after having been fired. I fired (1040) and then I applied the transparent glaze. Three layers as usual. Actually, one layer would have been more than enough. I fired at 1240 and all the underglazes were either faded or far too dark. And on top of this horror, the glaze was really thick, bubbling and milky. I refired and it didn’t really improve. All my intricate carvings were lost under the cloudy glaze. All gone. And then, I had these overglazes, you see, and I thought no matter what I’m going to rescue my pieces. I didn’t. The paints turned out either far too subtle to be noticeable or worse, they bubbled like mad. I fired twice adding more overglazes each time. And then… I gave up.

So now, I would like to paint over this big piece with oils because I put so much work on it and I can’t stand looking at it. I think I might just do that. But I can’t paint with oils over the lanterns, the oil’s going to burn. Of course, there’s always the option of buying some fireproof paints but I’m not going to do that. Failed is failed.

But I still want to save my soul-boat. Planning to travel on board. You know, the last journey, like the Oseberg lady or Bran the Navigator.

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This cup is actually from two years ago but the crystal glazes had turned out wrong, so I decided to do something with the overglazes. Lots of (unintended) bubbles… Also the rhinestone doesn’t really fit because the cup shrank too much. It’s very hard to calculate… I like my goblin cup though. But it’s perhaps a bit too thin to contain hot tea.

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What a mess… I think next time, I give a try with some “abstract” glazes, perhaps the Opalescent glazes from Amaco which would be great for my intricate carvings. And control only the faces (with underglazes).

cera8 cera7 cera6

I’m completely mad about this little Cernunnos. Such a pity the overglaze turned so nasty. I will surely make others in that style, I have ideas by the million. I am actually very eager to give myself another chance, I can hardly wait to try something else and succeed at last. BUT, I also miss painting so I’m going to let it be for a little while and concentrate on my new project which will be 2D animation. I’m so excited about it it’s hard to not lose sleep over.

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Paper Clay

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Like everyone, I think, I played with clay as a child. I remember it was the red type and it did have a smell. I might have made one ashtray or two with my clumsy hands. Nothing really special. Much later on, I worked with some polymer clay to sculpt faces to my figurines of elves and witches. I found it frustrating, so I never thought ceramics could become my thing.

Two years ago, I stopped smoking. It was seriously the biggest challenge of my life. It was tough to say the least. I needed something to keep my hands busy. I considered learning a musical instrument, woodcarving, felting. On a hunch I chose ceramics. Although on a conscious level I was not sure whether or not it was what I really needed, my Unconscious was set and I took the whole enterprise very seriously. There were no ceramics classes in my area so I had to buy my own kiln. A big investment for a fanciful idea. I’ve spent days… weeks! trying to collect as much information as possible on the web, it all seemed so complicated, I tripped on so many new terms and puzzling explanations, I’ve spent hours trying to figure out what to order – glazes, underglazes, overglazes, and how to fire all this without getting any “crawling” or “shivering” of any sort.

Since I’m the fantasist type, I went for paper clay, which is a mix of ordinary clay (mine was stoneware) and paper paste. What you can do with that is just amazing. Of course, the paper burns in the kiln and you’re left with just the clay. You can do absolutely crazy things with it, and it holds the shape. It’s the perfect medium for me because what I do tends to be very figurative, lantern boats, lace plates, fairy tale teapots and other strange objects. I did have quite a few disappointments to start with because I really had a hard time collecting information about how to use my materials (especially paints) and somewhere along the long and tortuous road, I messed up. But what I learnt in the process is priceless! Now I’m still experimenting and there’s still a lot to learn but since it’s just a hobby for me (which I feel rather passionate about), I can do it at my own pace. So much work goes into each piece that I can’t really sell anything, it’d be too expensive.

I’ve never tried a potter’s wheel and I don’t think it is my thing, although of course I would like to try it just out of curiosity. I love hand building, the ancestral gestures that go into the making of a dish for example. Also I find that levelling things out with my wooden tools (a spoon also works marvels I discovered recently) feels therapeutic. I delight in chiselling fanciful doodles, branches and leaves, spirals and stars.
My next batch is ready to be fired. I just have to apply the underglazes. But this time, the focus will be on the on-glaze colours or China paints to enhance the loveliness of it all ;-). I hope it will turn out allright.

cerabatch13.1

But first, I have to finish this big project, it’s a Soul Boat. It’s quite big. I’m finishing the base and tomorrow I will have to make what comes on top: the cabin. This will be really tricky, I’ll probably have to do it in several parts, walls first, and then when drier, the roof. I use dentist tools to carve out:

(Music by North Sea Radio Orchestra)

It will be fun to add lots of things progressively, some miniature books for the shelves, a miniature teapot tray, etc. Everything I’ll need for my long journey in the Otherworld!

So far, this is what I’ve done. I started with a bunch of things which I painted with the CoverCoat underglazes. The problem was that they fire at 1040 but since my paper clay matures at 1240, I was stuck at 1040. The end result is that the clear glaze crawled. I also made the mistake to dip my objects in it… shame. It was a real mess. Also I didn’t apply 3 layers of paint, perhaps 2 at the most, and it shows . There were some cracks here and there which I kept fixing with water, it just worsened. You should fill the crack with clay and level with a wooden tool:

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My second attempt was better but the glaze again went all wrong because I sprayed it. Wrong again. This time I used the Amaco Velvet underglazes. I didn’t fire them as high as 1240, I got worried… I think I fired at 1100 but that was not enough of course, the transparent glaze crawled again.

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Then I ordered some fancy glazes. Overall, I got disappointed by them. They’re too dark. With colored glazes, you get brighter colors with a raku kiln but mine is electric. This is also why I’m planning to work with china paints, to get the maximum control. I fired my clay at 1240 and then had some trouble applying the glazes because it didn’t stick anylonger (yeah well, it was vitrified!). But I heated up the objects in the oven before applying the glaze and it went all right. I fired at 1040 since they were low fire glazes.

lanternmosaic dishfrog ceram15.8

lanternboat

For the next batch, I went back to the Velvet underglazes and this time I fired them at 1240, so that the glaze over it wouldn’t crawl (it didn’t). I applied the glaze with a paintbrush which was more reasonable since there are so many little details. I also painted the first colored layer, fired at 1040, painted the two other layers and fired the objects at 1240. The colours darkened a bit too much for my taste. But it’s really hard to judge since you’re painting with different colored grays since the true colour is revealed only after having been fired. Also the higher the temperature, the darker the colour. China Paints fortunately don’t change. That’s colours you apply on the glaze (after it’s been fired). What you see is what you get. The first two photos are brooches and it was not a good idea, several broke while being worn, bumped into something.

brochesbarette

lanterndad lanternfarflanternson