Category Archives: Sculpture

‘Home stretch of the house clean..’

The winter clean continues! With all the craziness of Christmas out the way, we could concentrate on getting the house cleaning programme back underway. As the open days of the house creep ever closer, we are on the home stretch but still have quite a bit to do! With different colleagues in on different days it can be a little tricky but Katy devised a comprehensive programme of cleaning so we know what needs to be done. This is unofficially referred to as the ‘what we should be doing’ list . 2012 looks to be quite a year for Dyrham with quite a bit happening. We have the winter cleaning to finish, the open season to prepare for, and we have a new exhibition that we need to work into the schedule as well! This is quite an exciting prospect – a selection of contemporary works of art loaned from the Arts Council Collection. We will have around 10 pieces on display for the year and they are from a variety of artists and include paintings and sculpture and film. The list of ‘what and who’ has almost been finalised, and we are currently looking at the ‘feasibility’ stage for the house, trying to work out where each piece will go according to weight and size. This is proving a little problematic working out where to store the paintings that will come down to make way for them. Watch this space – Exciting times!


‘Before & After…’


‘Moore’ on Henry…

Henry the moon gazing hare has had a busy time recently. He’s been dried out, fired in the kiln, (thankfully not cracking, or exploding!) and finally been decorated. The painting process is tricky to say the least, and I have a new appreciation for ceramics. The first thing to do is to select your colour. This is made all the more tricky as the pre-fired powder that is used to make up the glaze, is different to the colour it will eventually be. Similar to conventional painting you use a measured amount of base powder, and mix with water to get a milky consistency. That is where all painting experience I did have went out of the window. I had a design in mind, (typically for me I’d chosen a difficult one…) and set eagerly to work. Trouble is with painting pre-fired ceramics is, as soon as the brush touches the clay surface it sucks all of the moisture out of the paint and looks like you’ve been painting with sand! The trick is to use a very liquid-like mix so you stand a good chance of it looking remotely how you wanted it too. Some trial and error was naturally involved but buy the time I got on to use a different colour I think I had got the hang of it. Sort of. The final stage in the painting process is the glaze dip. This is a milky/creamy substance that your completed ceramic is dipped in to and seals the surface. This particular one dries clear and will give him a glossy new coat. After one final trip to the kiln he’s finished!



'Henry the Hare...'


After many days cleaning in the house, a recent highlight and temporary reprieve from the schedule came thanks to our very own ceramic specialist Margaret Jones. Her concept was for a little pottery workshop/team building exercise/bit of fun, so we had all took a seat in the staff kitchen, and awaited instructions. Once the clay had been handed out we all set about moulding our creations, that will be glazed and finished when we can get round to it… The designs ranged from plaque’s to plate’s to candle stick holders. (Katy’s monkey head design had absolutely nothing to do with the picture of a monkey on the old newspaper she was using, it was a carefully thought out concept too complex to explain…..) My creation was a moon gazing hare and I unfortunately forgot to engage my obsession pacifying filter and was so intent on getting his little legs, tail and ears all the right proportion I sat back realising every one else had pretty much finished and I had yet to add any detail…. This culminated in a design in the style of Henry Moore, (one of my favourite sculptors) so the hare is now called ‘Henry’. Once completed, the next stage is drying. This is to let the clay dry out at a steady rate so that when it’s fired in the kiln, it doesn’t crack. More on Henry, (no pun intended…) in the coming weeks….


After many days cleaning in the house, a recent highlight and temporary reprieve from the schedule came thanks to our very own ceramic specialist Margaret Jones. Her idea was for a little pottery workshop/team building exercise/bit of fun, so we had all took a seat in the staff kitchen, and awaited instructions. Once the clay had been handed out we all set about moulding our creations, that will be glazed and finished when we can get round to it… The designs ranged from plaques to plates to candle stick holders. (Katy’s monkey head design had absolutely nothing to do with the picture of a monkey on the old newspaper she was using, it was a carefully thought out concept too complex to explain…..) My creation was a moon gazing hare and I unfortunately forgot to engage my obsession pacifying filter and was so intent on getting his little legs, tail and ears all the right proportion I sat back realising every one else had pretty much finished and I had yet to add any detail…. This culminated in a design in the style of Henry Moore, (one of my favourite sculptors) so the hare is now called ‘Henry’. Once completed, the next stage is drying. This is to let the clay dry out at a steady rate so that when it’s fired in the kiln, it doesn’t crack. More on Henry, (sorry…) in the coming weeks….