It's 4.15pm Saturday afternoon and I've just sat down after swapping houses again (Bendigo to Mansfield)- after 5 yrs driving back and forth each week we are tired- have shopped to get food back in the fridge -which we empty before we leave to avoid wastage, but is horrid to come back to and there's not much to munch on until we shop again - unpacked bags and got the washing on- now is time to study for a few hours before getting dinner. So before I do that, an update on the bracelets and rings!
A young friend asked me to make 3 personalized bracelets- one each for friends who will be seperated by overseas trips for a while, a token of their friendship. Each one with very different tastes in colours, so a bit of a challenge to get them to look 'linked' but also able to be worn by each of them with their fashion colour likes.
I have had a few disasters along the way.......... I chose to work in coloured porcelain which can be finicky stuff, so a few dried out of round, cracked or broke. This set (top image) remains as a group that matches - the 3 little hearts have the first initial of each of their names impressed into it,  in the photo can just be seen.
The other bracelets were trials along the way.
With the left over clay I decided to make some rings - coloured porcelain is too precious not to use!
I wanted the bands to be unglazed and the disc to have clear gloss, so would be a kiln challenge -how to position them so they didnt stick to the shelves? Previously I had hung them from a bead rod and they slumped badly out of round. So the first try I set up 3 rings in a coil of clay with a 'valley' for them to sit in. If you look closely you will see a little of the clay went over the band at the base- and once vitrified had wedged them in- they moved freely because of wax/calcined alumina, but I couldnt removed them. So I thought with a swift whop of the hammer I could break the base and the rings would pop out- nope, they all broke.
Next time I made singular stands so at least if there were issues I would only lose one at a time. But this works and they all came out fine. I also made some heart shapes- the ones with holes are for necklets and without will be mounted to sterling silver rings.
I will pop this entry up to Mud Colony (www.mudcolony.blogspot.com.au) and see what others are up to, then I HAVE TO start some study!!
 
 
After an intense 3 days I'm home again, exhausted but happy. A great time catching with two daughters and my grandsons, and a crazy day day yesterday with 12 people helping to move the oldest out of her home.
But here, I really want to chat about Friday and how very special it was. I left mid morning to head to Potters Equipment to see the wonderful Norma, a quick chat and 3 precious blocks of Southern Ice into my car. Its been unavailable for quite some time and I know this years study will have a series using it so I was keen to make sure I secured some. I love walking through that shop and store room - but it SO tempting to spend more than my budget! So many goodies there, I'm lucky its 3 hours from home.
Then a drive to Bentleigh for a 1pm start at Vipoos for the blue and white workshop. Vipoo welcomed us into his home with such grace and style- showed us where to put our bags, had a range of teas ready to choose from and a stunning spread of food all served on his ceramic pieces. Such wonderful food! All things I had never tried before (except the grapes lol ) and it was so hard to be polite and not fill my plate sky high with goodies. Have a close up look at the images and how pretty it all was.

After introductions, we were into the exciting part. Vipoo had everything so well planned and prepared - he first showed us how he mixes his cobalt blue pigments into a stunning range of hues of blue and then let us explore brush strokes and layering techniques on a test tile. Any one who has been to a workshop knows that its such fun seeing how every one interprets the same lesson- we always bring our own set of skills and styles to the work. In the image here of all the tiles you will see how beautiful they all became. He then provided us each with a sweet little bowl he had made to design and paint our own styles onto.
We were all excited to be able to take these home to fire.
He then demonstrated his mono printing techniques, and we were let loose again to explore on a fresh slab of clay. By then I was burning out (which translates to- pain was over powering concentration levels) so I slowed down and watched everyone explore a layered interpretation of the printing with painted componants placed underneath and on top of the printing. Fantastic outcomes!
Not only was Vipoo a beautiful host but a very generous teacher- he encouraged many questions to be asked and shared much of his experience - a very cool workshop!  visit www.vipoo.com to see his work 
Speaking of 'cool' - after working with Cool Ice at Vipoos I'm keen to translate my Southern Ice methods to this lower fired clay and see the results. It would make for much easier firings as it vitrifies at 1200c. I've had a bag in my studio for a year and never used it, today I'm opening that up and getting into it!
Thank you so much for your great comments - I will definitely upload images of these bracelets and rings, whether they are failures or not. Its because of them Linda that I did an overnight soak. For quite a while I have been developing coloured porcelain rings and have had issues with slumping - initially I 'hung' them on a bead rod between two posts but they stretched out of round. This time I made some little clay stands to sit them in and they hadnt been bisqued, so I wanted to go slow. If they are successful I will use the stands in the future- if unsuccessful I will have lovely rings 'fused' to stands!  So I'm keen to open the kiln tomorrow.
 
 
What a difference a professional photographer makes! At LaTrobe Uni I am lucky to have access to the photography department to get images of my work. Ian Hill has taken these pics and I am so pleased with the outcome. These pieces have been wheel thrown in Southern Ice porcelain with inlays of clay coloured created with oxides and body stains. The exterior have been water polished by hand and the interior glazed with a clear gloss, fired to 1260c in oxidation.