Decisions … decisions … in the studio

Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in Travel | 12 comments

29 February 2013



Okay…time to admit I’ve somehow got myself into a little mess.  Not in a bad way, but with making so many tests, I can’t keep up with my manic creations!  It’s one thing to create your ideas and think yes, I have a possible body of work, its totally another to work out which process, glaze for the clay, high fire or low fire, can I do stains on top of glazes, can I have some work bisque and others glaze in my final work (as Jacob says ‘that’s a loaded question’!), and so on.

I’m half way through my residency and feel anxious, as I need to make some decisions and trust what I create may or may not be the final work. I may go home to Canberra, use Southern Ice Clay as part of the work and test the stains/glazes created in Denmark to see how they compare to the Danish clay/low/high firings. What clay do I take home and do I take it as a bag or break it down to save on freight? How will I make my yellow tiles as I only made one mould? (generally you use one mould for white clay and another mould for coloured clay). See.  Are you confused now?  Its not easy being an artist 😉

But all is good…I’ve made progress and its all been a learning curve.  So, what have I done?

Mould making with Ryan

Between him and Lee – these are the mould making gurus – they do it for a living as well as there artistic practice and know what they are doing.  While Ryan is in the plaster room he watches (rather grimaces politely) at the way I’m setting up my blocks for the plaster making.  He kindly offers to help me and I literally jump down his throat.  Yes! Yes! Damsel in distress!! Actually, I promise him a couple of beers and we make a deal pretty quickly.

So here are a few photos of the mould making taking place.  Basically I need to make a model in clay and then pour the plaster in to make the opposite – my tile. This sounds easy but took ½ a day and a lot of agonizing on my part.

Experimenting with glaze

I was very lucky to have two intensive glaze classes at university with Gail Nichols – ( ) – who is highly regarded for her approach to soda firing. She advised us how to record making glazes and while I did this diligently in the classroom…I’m all over the place here in Denmark when it comes to grams/weight.  Did I measure 0.1 or 1, did I add 0.1 + 0.1? It’s critical to know what you are doing and I regret I didn’t bring Gail’s template she gave us to record correctly.  However, I’m determined to keep trying. I got some results on Saturday and while happy with the majority, I will admit there was one colour that was not very nice.  Just imagine yellow/brown and nappies – I don’t need to go any further!

Glaze-tests (don't look too closely at my records....arrrgh!)

Glaze-tests (don’t look too closely at my records)



Decal tests

This has been a slow process, as I have to do three firings.  I hope to finish the test firing this Friday.  Lee and I are sharing a kiln and again…another beer in exchange for advice…gotta love it! Post-note: the decal tests came out Sunday and I’m happy with the results.  While some minor blistering…overall the effect is fine.  Its interesting but there has been debate here about using still, mineral water or tap water when placing decals in water to then place on the ceramic.  Apparently, different places have different levels of certain chemicals – chlorine, calcium and so on.





In between all of this I am on a secret mission.  I’m quietly doing a little project on the side.  It’s a little something ceramic, for each of the artists/technicians, as a reminder of their time at Guldagergaard. Cross fingers please, as I navigate my way through Danish websites, sourcing white silk cord, tie-pins/brooch clasp and glass beads.  Oooh! Are you curious?  It may be the beginning of a new line of work so watch my website for updates.

Finally, Kym from Louisiana, USA and I made the group dinner last night. We braced ourselves and wore three layers of clothing to walk through a snow blizzard to get to Netto (the local supermarket). We made margherita, vegetable, zucchini & mushroom pizzas and salad with celery, apple, pistachios and lemon/dill mayonnaise.  All made from scratch and with love!  Another great meal at the G and moi (the manic woman behind the camera!) forgot to take photos!  We were too busy serving up and rewarding ourselves with red wine!! So here are some photos from another dinner…






  1. Hi Anne. Thanks for another interesting read about your time overseas and in the studios. How lovely to be so confused by things that are so interesting… I love reading about your artistic dilemmas.
    Your decal work looks great, your glaze colours are beautiful and you look well, and happy.

    • Hi Kerist, thank you for your kind and supportive words. Its now midnight and I’ve only just finished chatting away with Charlotta from Sweden. She leaves tomorrow and its been great sharing ideas/information and we plan to keep in touch. I hope to have my 1st day off on Thursday and take a day trip to Roskilde – Viking territory and where all the major music festivals play in Summer. So I’m sure I’ll have a few photos and tales to share. Hope all is going well at S/E and you are enjoying your new studio.

  2. I loved this, fascinating to see how complex it all is. Iam sure it will all come together in the end. Love Annabelle

    • Thanks Annabelle, I’m really enjoying it and can’t believe I only have 2 weeks left at the Center. I then have 3 days in Copenhagen before flying home. So, still a little way to go but getting excited.

  3. Hmmm, looks like a classic case of first world problems baby…
    All looks good though

  4. You’ll figure it all out, you’re a clever sausage. Those decals look amazing. I can’t wait for your Exhibition upon your return. You’re planning one, right?? 🙂

    • I’d love to have an exhibition but need to make sure the tiles work that I’m making. They are the biggest form I’ve made – @A4 size at 2 cm depth…so I’ve yet to fire, glaze, fire, decal, fire and chances of warpage is highly possible…so x fingers for me 😉

  5. Looks so beautiful, Anne!

  6. Hi Anne. Another delightful missive and amazed at the task you have taken on. I love reading the positive replies you get and have also wondered if you will be having an exhibition??? A lot of work no doubt and big decisions to be made in the meantime. I think that I have said before that your photos would make a wonderful exhibition also, I have enjoyed them so much.

    More mundane news – all is well in Canberra, no more storms at the moment, but we have been saddened by the news reports of Bundaberg and the surrounding areas. Bundi has experienced its worst flooding ever I think and so many people’s homes have been flooded right to the roof line and some will never be able to be occupied again. The cost to repair and replace and clean up will be horrific.
    Dad and I have been working in the yard and next week should see work begin on the two back areas where we are getting artificial turf laid. It will certainly make the back yard look so much better. Dad finished the swings and they look great. Waiting to get an opinion from the family to see if they need a little more colour added. School resumes next week so Ella will be heading off on a new adventure at Dickson College. She said that she is a little nervous about it but I am sure that she will adapt very well. Dad & I went to see Le Miserables last week, it was excellent. I could actually sit through it again.
    Miami continues to eat, sleep and enjoy life. We went out for dinner last night with Dan Fearns, Kevin & Marybeth Grahame and Don and the all came back for coffee. When Miami joined us he went round, smelt everyone’s shoes then proceeded to entertain everyone by rolling around on his back and rubbing his ears constantly and having a wonderful time. A born entertainer!
    Aunty Marcia goes into hospital this afternoon, 31st and has a hip replacement tomorrow. She had the other hip done a couple of years ago so knows what to expect, no doubt though that she will be a little nervous.
    Well my love time to sign off. It is 3.06pm and I think Dad has fallen asleep in the loungeroom, it is very quiet out there. Take care and continue to experiment, learn and enjoy and stay warm!! Much love from Dad, Miami and Moi. XXX

    • Hi M&D, wow! this is the longest comment I’ve received to date 😉 But love it. Good to hear news from home – although not good about Bundaberg. That sounds pretty bad. Hopefully things will improve (as best as they can) by the time you get up there. I haven’t seen Les Miserables and am hoping it will be on the plane. I’m sure I’ll entertain people @ me as I hum away! Glad Miami is keeping up his day job and earning his keep. The garden/swings sounds good and I’m sure everyone will approve. I can’t imagine how old those swings are now. At least 30 years?? Anyway, must fly as I’m having a day off and using your spending money to catch a bus/train to Roskilde. It’s one of Denmark’s oldest medieval town and I have 2 missions – to get Adam a viking hat and some brooch pins. So, should be a good day out and a much needed change of scenery to the house/studio. I was so tired yesterday and I can see energy levels are starting to wane a little as everyone realises how busy they have been. Only 1 week to go for the group’s exhibition which I can’t wait to see. I’ll do a posting on that @ the time. Love to all three of you xxx

  7. Anne,it sounds and looks as if this has been an amazing and very worthwhile adventure. I look forward to catching up in person when you return to the reality of Canberra. Enjoy your final week.

    • Hi Fee, lovely to hear from you. Its 1am here and I’m struggling to sleep. I can’t wait to get home and sleep in my own bed. I hope all has been going well and Catriona and Lachlan are getting ready to go back to school and see their friends. When I get back I’d love to catch up with you and Cher over a girlie lunch. Enjoy your day 🙂

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