Project 3

The one we’ve been looking forward to – The Food Project.  Where we make something original to serve food from at the end of term buffet.  All pieces were to be glazed in a white stoneware glaze.

I decided on a dish for dips and crudites, based on the octahedron. Research revealed Cody Hoyt and Keith Varney’s use of the octahedron in their ceramics.

Cody Hoyt (top) and Keith Varney (bottom)

I designed the dish combining 5 octahedrons arranged around a central axis.  How to make them?  After a couple of failed attempts, I made a clay tetrahedron, then made two plaster moulds from it.  I cast 10 tetrahedral shapes in clay – quite tricky as the moulds are relatively deep for press moulding – then constructed each octahedron from 2 tetrahedrons. I had read that vinegar makes a good slip for joining clay (a flocculant) so I used a vinegar slip to construct the serving dish.

Bisque fired dish, top and underside

It was a time consuming process, and biscuit firing was looming.  If I dried it too quickly it would crack, so left it to dry slowly and made another piece for the buffet.

This started life as an exercise in coiling.  No influences or research, just free-form.  My aunt gave me some battery operated lights, so I thought ‘Oooo’, I know what I’ll do with those.  The original idea was to have grapes in the top depression, cheese biscuits on the 3 shelves and cheese on a separate board.


Critique and Buffet

Sadly the glaze was faulty.  Dave was mortified.  It had underfired and remained powdery, so the items couldn’t be used to serve food.  It didn’t help the critique, either. My fruit holder reminded Dave of Gordon Baldwin, whom I hadn’t heard of at the time – a fact that pleased Cheryl.  Cheeky!  Gordon is one of Sue’s favourites, so she told me all about him and Katie Googled him for me.

We later tried firing the pots at a higher temperature, which worked on Micaela’s dish.  However, her glaze was thinner than mine.  The second firing merely crazed the glaze and it remained slightly powdery.

It didn’t detract from the buffet though:



7 thoughts on “Project 3

  1. I’m very impressed with your blogsite…. Always knew that you were arty/crafty, but that sculpture of Jean is just amazing. Talk about hidden talents! They seem like a friendly lot at UCLan. Is it a part-time or full-time 2 year course?

    1. Two year, supposedly part-time, but we have 3 days a week contact time. All-consuming! I had though it might be odd to have mum’s portrait after she died, but it’s actually rather nice. I can have a chat to her 🙂 . Yes, we’re ‘Team Ceramics’ at UCLan. There’s a 50 year spread in our ages, but we all get on really well. I can recommend it. Do you have time to do anything arty or with your music?

  2. It’s got to be 20 years or more since I did a gig. My job has all but taken over my life – just not enough hours in the day. I’ll really have to force myself to take more time off – before I blow a fuse… Life used to be soooo simple.

    Found myself in the Queens Head at Troutbeck last weekend. Just re-opened since the big fire 3 years ago. What a fantastic job the architect has delivered. Do you know the place?

    1. Shame you don’t get any time – just like David. I heard the Queens Head had reopened, but I usually do the Mortal Man, not that I’ve been in there for ages. Will give it whirl next weekend. Hope you can take a break soon – you both deserve it.

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