March 15: Tutoring

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A chance to work on any ongoing projects you have – whether painting, clay or pastel.

For those doing clay work, you can have a go at glazing. But Angus is also offering the chance to have your drawing turned into a wee transfer for sticking to your ceramics. These are really effective in adding something extra to your piece.

They work brilliantly when they are a simple drawing so if you don’t have anything ready for tomorrow, you can have go during class.

However, these need to be sent away to be printed by a specialist so they need to be finished by the end of the lesson.

Blank ceramics will be available to those who have not made anything in the past few weeks, at a small charge (£1 per piece).

Please remember money for glazed ceramics (£2 per piece).

And there’ll be a selection of Cairngorm-themed images for inspiration.

See the pictures below for some examples of Angus’s use of the transfers.





March 8: More clay

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A chance to continue the clay work started at the previous class.

Angus showed us an example last week that we might try to emulate. He had cut tree shapes out of the sides of his dried pot. With a tealight inside, this would create lovely shadowy effect.

Time to get your thinking caps on?!

Tree cutout from a clay pot
Next week – cutting out?


The Spey Art Group Clay Fest

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Working with clay is always a highlight for the group and Wednesday night (Mar 1) proved no exception.

There were the usual whoops of delight (?) as members got to grips with the range of potters wheels in the art department.

While we are probably not ready to join the ranks of the BBC’s current series of The Great Pottery Throw Down, everyone loved having a go. And there were only a few jokes about Ghost.

Elsewhere, the mood was more sedate as people worked on wee pinch pots, which were harder to construct than Angus made them look.

Everything is now drying off in preparation for a firing. Get ready for more pottery work next week!

March 1: Clay and candles

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It’s back to clay work this week. Angus will show us how to use white clay and recycled glass to make a lovely tealight holder. And there will be a Cairngorm theme to link in with our exhibition plans.

Also, the Consequences exhibition at Eden Court Theatre has come to an end and Rona will bring the works to class from 6.30pm for members to collect them.

See you all then!

Four orange tealights



A bit more clay and plaster

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Another evening of plaster and clay on Wednesday. There were a few more castings done and one of our new members, Jim, gave a demo of how to make wee roses, while others painted their plaster plaques from the last week or made wee clay pots. In the end there was quite a collection for the kiln.

Flowers, buttons and a wee bit of dog shampoo

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As the title suggests, our class on Wednesday had just about everything.

It was a packed art room for the much-anticipated plaster-casting night.

Clutching an assortment of items – pine cones, leaves, buttons, shells and a bunch of nuts and bolts – members rolled up their sleeves to get a bit messy.

After making the clay into a flat square, objects were pressed in to make an impression. Then, with the wooden frame firmly in place (and a trace of dog shampoo on the inside edge to help it come off later), Angus poured plaster, covering up the makeshift mould. You had to be quick and shoogle the mould a bit to make all the plaster spread and go smooth on top.

A tense wait ensued as we all waited for it to set but health and safety warnings about not putting body parts into the plaster helped. When it sets, plaster gives off a tremendous heat – enough to cause serious burns to any skin that is in contact.

But eventually, we got some wonderful results, as you will see from our bumper collection of photos below.

Apologies to those who did not get a chance to do the activity – Angus plans to offer it again on Wednesday (September 15). Those were at this week’s class but missed out will take priority.

The good news is that the group now owns the frames and plaster so anyone who wants to have a second go will be able to in the future.

Meanwhile, in the store cupboard, a few members took to the potter’s wheel to throw some clay shapes. The sound of laughter was great to hear – though this reporter was too late to reach the scene to accurately convey what exactly was the cause of the hilarity. We’ll have to leave it to your imagination.

Plaster casting

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This week’s class is brought to you with inspiration from a recent episode of the BBC’s Countryfile.

For those who missed it, we’re going to try a bit of plaster casting. The programme showed artist Rachel Dein demonstrating how to make a cast of flowers and plants by pressing them into clay to leave an impression. Then plaster is poured in and when it sets, it leaves a delicate piece of 3D art.

We will be trying to make our own wee tableaus – using flowers (if they’re sturdy enough) or other household items. Screws, nails or keys would probably work well, for example.

Don’t think Countryfile is available to watch again but you can see Rachel Dein’s work here.