Friday, 22 March 2013


I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my glaze tests. I was very nervous before I opened the kiln. In fact I walked around the block twice, drank 3 cups of coffee and waited for 6 red cars to pass by the window before I dared open the kiln. 
Not bad. Quite pleased actually. BRT was the winner for me - textured and speckled, but a little dark if you're not careful. We also tried some tests in a reduction firing, but to be honest, it didn't really do it for me - too dark and shiny. But I'll give it a go with larger piece later on. (Maybe I'm just used to seeing how they look in oxidation.)

 I used BRT and white raku clay to build larger pots and had some lovely pots out midweek (electric). I'd be happy to put them in any show. WHAT A RELIEF! In fact, I'll repeat that. WHAT A RELIEF! They are now in the Sturt Gallery Shop. I know I was selected to do this residency, and I make some pretty good pots from time to time, but I still think it's reassuring for people to see the real thing, rather than just taking my word for it! Makes me feel better too.  Feel a little more secure now...for now. I can relax a bit, and get on with some new work. Or can I? I've only got 6 weeks to go!

 New developments are in the pipeline.....

Meanwhile...raku workshops with the Thursday groups with Simon. Simon Bowley's workshops continue to flourish. T.A.F.E. (technical and further education ) courses have closed recently, similar to our F.E. & H.E. courses. Madness and dilemma for students who have nowhere to go. How lucky they are that Sturt Craft Centre is here. 3 new 10 weeks classes have started in the last 4 weeks, ie throwing and handbuilding. They have 3 hours and then 3 hours extra access time in the studio. Great idea. I love ceramic students - you're never alone while they're around. For more info on courses, have a look:

This week also saw my attempts to upload videos. Think I'd better keep my day job. For some reason, I'm struggling to upload my videos onto this blog. So if you want to see them, take a look at my Facebook business page, ie www.facebook/ Internet access is very slow here, and often cuts out, so I'm afraid I'll have to continue with videos on FB for the time being.

I had a fantastic bush walk this week. (Remind me to tell you about them another time. I found a local bushwalking group who go walking on Tuesdays, so Tuesday is the new Sunday!) We did the Manly Coastal Walk from Sydney. It was spectacular. You just can't beat the sand and blue/green sea, the smell of salt water, waves lapping....well, I'll only make you jealous if I carry on....It was a luxury just to paddle in shallow waters without getting hot aches. (For those of you who don't know, hot aches is what we call the searing pain which shoots up your legs when you paddle in the cold North Sea, a common complaint with Skeggy tourists). We started from Spit Bridge. This walk gave me a whole new perspective of Sydney, away from the high rise, and traffic. Amazing views of the harbour, yet in bushland at the same time.

Most of my companions at some stage had lived in Sydney many years ago, and had fascinating stories to tell. They moved to the Southern Highlands to escape the traffic and humidity of Sydney. I've been to Sydney several times before and never guessed there was such a beautiful walk at its side. If you ever go, make sure you do it. It's a gem!

I've got a lot of photos of this trip, so think I'll put them on my Facebook page, ie rachelwoodceramics. They include aborigine carvings. Beautiful gentle plants in such a harsh environment. We caught the ferry back from Manly (magic), then train back to Mittagong. Those bushwalks are my lifeline - they set me up for the week.

More good news. I've got wheels. Will save on shoe leather, but tricky uphill with flipflops.

I had a health scare last night...

...THE BIGGEST SPIDER I've ever seen in my bedroom last night. I didn't want to kill it, so went for a glass and paper to throw it outside. But its leg span was wider than the diameter of an Ikea cafetiere! It sped and hid behind the mirror. Apparently they can jump too. And I can believe it. I'm sure it gave me deadeye! So I slept with the bed in the middle of the room, with my socks on! I have it on authority that it was only a Huntsman and harmless!

Crikey... it's bedtime. Wonder where it is now...


  1. Lovely read! And lovely to see the sunshine after so many days of hard frosts and snow here. Hate to show my ignorance, but what is BRT?
    Judy Adams

  2. Just to encourage you Rachel....

    Keep the socks on!
    Judy Adams

    1. Thanks for that, Judy. That's the one - very educational!Am getting used to him now.
      BRT = Buff raku triachylyte, if that helps.

  3. Wonderful pots Rachel! We knew they would be!
    Enjoying your great blog - and glad we are a long way from the spiders and snakes!

    Steve & Judy

  4. Hi Rachel - Great blog post - great storytelling. Let me know how things are going! Cheers - Pete