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New Year, New Work

I feel very excited about 2021, convinced that I am going to make some wonderful pieces. As the previous statement demonstrates I am one of life's eternal optimists.

Orange mug  - allison wiffen ceramics

Current Work

I like the work I have been making of late: it is colourful, graphic and quite controlled, perhaps even restrained. I must confess that I do find making mugs a bit of a faff: first there is the discipline of making pieces to the same size, then there is the whole handle business, go too early and the handle can distort or flop, too late and it can detach itself when drying. But there is something nice about making something that someone will use everyday. Something potentially mundane but made special by being handmade and hand decorated in this age of mass production.

Big red oval vessel - allison wiffen ceramics

New painterly style

So it's time to loosen up a bit - go a bit wild! Before Christmas I started decorating some of my thrown oval pots in a bit of a painterly way. I throw these pots on the wheel as a bottomless cylinder then later compressed to make an oval and a slabbed base added. I really like to decorate them as I have two distinct canvases to work on. Some of the decoration is done with slips (liquid clays) before the first firing, but most is done after the bisque firing when the pot is hard ceramic. This allows me to apply the colour with various instruments: rulers, wooden tools, my fingers . . . and then to scrape the colour back. It can be tricky deciding when to stop and of course sometimes I add something and think oops! But for the most part I have liked the pieces I have produced, and others have liked them too as a number have already gone to new homes. The nice thing about working this way is it is spontaneous and very absorbing - in the way that the most satisfying activities are.

image of ceramic wallpiece - allison wiffen ceramics

Wall piece

And when I have had enough of doing this then it will be on to something else . . . or maybe I will never tire of it, who knows.