It's been a while since I have attended any of the NWP events, and I must say I found Audrey's day to be enjoyable, instructive and inspirational.
Demonstration 1 - Delicate vessels
To start the day off, Audrey, began by demonstrating how she makes her delicate T-material vessels. They come in three sizes: the two smaller ones begin life as thumb pots whilst the larger is started by draping a sheet of clay over a plaster mould which she then cuts the folds off and smoothes out the joints. Flat coils were then added to reach the desired height. Audrey showed a new way of making coils which is quicker, and gives very thin, sheets that resist warping.
Make a rough coil, and beat it with the little finger side of a 'fist', first in one direction then turn it over and beat it to the edge again. Then repeat this on the opposite end of the coil, this gives a strong flat ribbon of clay. Audrey, attributes this method to Gabriele Koch.
Audrey attached the flattened coil to the inside of the vessel, smoothing down the overlap. Once the coils had been attached on both sides the overlap was trimmed and the joint strengthened.
She uses a bean bag (made from polystyrene balls into plastic carrier bag) to rest the pot on whilst she works to support the vessel.
Once the vessel was the required height, she cut the curved rim by eye using a scalpel, cutting from the middle to the outside to create the curve she wanted.
The finish on her forms is created by using table knives, a serrated kidney, a surform blade and the back of a wet table spoon. To give the rim a smooth finish she runs a dampened piece of chamois leather around the edge.To decorate the pot once it is leather hard, she brushes on black and white slip on the outside building up the texture by using an almost dry brush and glazes inside. She warned that the slip looks lighter once it has been fired so she compensates for this. She fires to 1250 - 1280 oC in her gas kiln. Perhaps she would be happy to give slip recipes on request.
We took a break and had the opportunity to see slides of Audrey's work which is varied and adventurous. Some were inspired by maouri patterns and the trajectory of comets. Her work varied from large garden sculptures to delicate vessels. The 5 week symposium in Lithuania sounded fascinating, with the chosen artists coming from around the world. The venue was an ex-Soviet glass factory, which had a huge gas kiln that they fired to 1400oC ! Due to its size they only had the opportunity of one test firing before the final firing. Whist the high firing temperature did seem to cause some of the more delicate pieces to break, the work that they exhibited at the end was very impressive. I guess you'd have to have seen the photographs to make this come alive.
Demonstration 2 - an alternative method to coiling
Audrey demonstrated a second alternative to building which was neither coils or slabs. This process gives greater strength than the more conventional coil method.
Create the bottom of your piece with either a slab or coil. Take approx. 1" balls of clay, this time Potclay's Craft Crank and squash with the heel of your hand until it is a disk of fairly uniformed thickness. For speed make several of these at a time before attaching to your piece. Place the disk on the inside of your base and smooth the bottom edge. Overlap the second disk with the first and so on. Use the back of your hand inside to support and beat gently with a paddle.
Demonstration 3 - Creating face shaped masks
Audrey had brought with her some of her mask moulds (2 different sizes). Simply press clay into the mould. Don't push the clay in too hard as it will stick and avoid taking it to the very edge as you will find the clay sticks into the mould . If possible let the mould dry out slightly before making the next mask. Audrey had brought some small face moulds approx. 3" and larger ones approx. 8". Once some small clay faces were complete she pushed these into the larger mould to make a face made up of smaller faces and the effect was quite dramatic.
Another way of using the same moulds to make a very different effect was to trace the size of the larger mould onto a sheet of newspaper in order to have an indication of the size of the mould. Then create strips of various width but similar thickness, lay these horizontally on the paper and overlap each one slightly. Beat lightly with the corner of a stick and lay the sheet into the mould. Once trimmed add a coil at the top and bottom to create strength and help eliminate warping before trying to remove from the mould.