Weddings and Shipping Containers

This weekend I went in a very last minute trip to Poland for my friends Kat and Konrad’s wedding.  It was a beautiful weekend, the sun was shining and plenty of vodka was consumed!  

 After the wedding reception we all got Taxis to a shipping container bar which was floated on an outlet of the river Vistula. 

 I was really interested by this as it fits really well with my plans for the house.  The bar consisted of three containers welded together.  

 The exterior was left with the original corigated steel of the container.   

 One thing I have been slightly concerned about is the size of the interior of my finished house.  The interior of this bar actually seemed very spacious.  There was a bar, TV area, toilets and a kitchen fitted into the three units.  Outside there are two ramps leading down the bank to access the bar. 

Seeing the interior of this place really helped me visually imagine the amount of space I may have in my finished house.

On my return trip to Dundee I stayed in a Best Western hotel near Victoria, London.  It was a great wee apartment.  I really liked the tiles in the bathroom which seemed to be layered leaves and pebbles that were set in resin.  I really like the effect of this and thought I might be able to do something similar combining laser etching for the walls of my container bathroom. 



ECA degree show

last night I visited the Edinburgh college of art degree show.  Was a great wee show.  I was particularly proud of my two students I taught a few years ago. 

Eva Fernandez Matos just graduated from her Masters of Arts course and previously studied at Clyde College glasgow.  I totally loved her work.  She made a very conceptual range of pieces displayed beautifully.  Some of her pieces were 3D printed.

I was also really proud of Esther Macintosh who previously studied at the City of Glasgow College.  The concept behind her work was about social media and the problems or anxieties it brings.  I particularly liked her steel choker she made using some CAD as well as the neck piece worn on the back representing stress and knots. 

 Another students work I really liked was Ruoyan Wang.  Although she didn’t use any CAD in her pieces, I loved the soft tactile feeling to her range.

It was a great show.  I didn’t get the chance to see any of the other departments.  The only down side was the heavy rain, but that did make for quite a moody view of the castle from the roof of ECA. 


Bowl mold

This week I have been working on making the slip cast mold for my bowl.  The bowl is a 3 part mold as I wanted to keep the linear details left over from the 3D print in the mold.


I had a small disaster, when I giggled the mold to get the air bubbles out the plaster I hadn’t used enough clay to seal the mold and I had a bit of a leak ok the floor.  Luckily I managed to plug it up pretty quick with clay from the outside and I had enough plaster left to fill the mold back up top level.

I used a round piece of wood to create a reservoir above the bowl.  This will make the walls all be equal and will make cutting the clay out the mold easier after.

I am really happy with the finished mold and I have left it to dry for a week.  I feel I am getting much neater and more confident at making molds and I really hope it works next week.

Crochet and Ceramics

Over the weekend I got into my crochet again in a big way.  I first started by making round cushion covers.  After making a few and realising I was going wrong somewhere they started to turn into bowl shapes.  This then gave me the idea to slip cast them to see if I could create functional bowls with them.

Yesterday I tried slip casting them in Porcelain.  I made one with para chord which I think won’t work as the slip isn’t sinking in.  I made a small flowery sample out of wool which seemed to work well.  The other two bowls I made from felt.  these are somewhere in between and I am not sure if they are going to work.  I plan to dip them in slip again today and if the samples work I plan to make a bigger bowl and maybe a colander in this way.

File Handles

This week I printed off six file handles for my 3D printed tool box.  I had previously been using corks from old wine bottles.  I drilled holes into the prints and chemically bonded the file into the handles.

    I was fairly happy with the look of the final pieces however white is not the most practical colour for the workshop!  I drilled through the side of one of them an realised I should have printed them with the holes in.

The biggest disappointment came when I tested the half round file and realised that the handles need to work both ways up.  I am there for going to go back to the drawing board and make a newer and more comfortable version.

Ceramic Side Plate

Today I took my first cast from the plate mold.  I was quite excited to see how this turned out.  Unfortunately though the 3D print was too thin to take a slip cast from.  It was very difficult to get the plate from the mold afterwards  because it was so fragile.  The end result was it cracked on the mold and ended up in the recycling pot.


Second time round Sean helped me built a 5mm wall around the mold to thicken the piece.  This cast really well despite a small bubble in the clay and one wall being too thin because of the mold not being on straight.

I removed the thin edge that fell off and cleaned up the plate.  I am very happy with the result, however I am going to print a thicker plate and remake the mold for a full run as it will be very time consuming to build a wall on the mold every time and also a bit risky as to if they will turn out ok.

The plate is now drying off and will be bisque fired soon.

Side plate mold

This week I have been working on the mold for my smaller side plates. Firstly I prepared the board and stuck the 3D printed plate down with clay.

  I built the side panels and cast the plate with a pour hole.  When I took the mold apart I realised the plate had lifted during the pour and I had to then start the process again after digging out my 3D print.

The second time round the process seemed to work well and I left the mold to dry off for a week.

The Craftsmen of St Andrews Past and Present

Today I went on a wee day trip to St Andrews to see an exhibition and event called ‘The Craftsmen of St Andrews Past and Present’.  The event consisted of talks, workshops and an exhibition.  The event was held by the university of St Andrews and was a cultural engagement project.  The exhibition exhibited original books and text written in the old Scott’s language dating from 1550-1800’s.  The transcripts document information on traditional trades of Baxters, Fleshers and Hammermen.  I met a Researcher from St Andrews University who has been working on digitising and translating the books and they are now available online.  What was great about the event was the juxtaposition of traditional crafts alongside the new.  There were photo’s of both contemporary and old trades.

The event was also running workshops for the public involving 3D printing and laser cutting.  They used laser cutting on foam and made printing stamps which they then used on fabrics.  I thought this was quite a clever and simple idea making tools and then getting the public involved.  The workshop area was very busy with both adults and children taking part.

Also, on other news………  Last night I tested my shot glasses with Lisa who I work with.  The shot glasses work very well as vessels and the experience was fun.  However I am thinking I need to design an actual whisky glass for my whisky as it doesn’t seem right drinking Abelour Abunadh from a shot glass.

Ceramic Update

I finally got my shot glasses back from their third and final firing.  Again they are a little smaller than I had hoped .  Some are more useable than others but I have enough for a collection.  I am really happy with the finish on the glaze with the final green added.  It gives the pieces individuality and makes then feel more organic. 

I am also really happy with the way the detailing from the rough print has came out in contrast to the smoother mold printed. 


Over the last few weeks I have been having problems with the goblets bending at the stem and touching other items in the kiln.  Although I gave a few of them a knock and they came apart they are imperfect and I plan to redesign the whole thing. 

The pint tumblers are working out great.  I have a perfect set of four now and a few more in the process of making.


Claw Hammer Test Print

Today I ran a test print of my claw hammer I designed over the last few days on the UP printer.  I wanted to check for size and scale and I may also take a cast from this into bronze.  I am very happy with the feel, form and size.  I am also going to 3D print one in hardened resin to test it’s durability.  I haven’t quite decided on how I will produce the handle yet.  I will be having a think about this over the next few weeks.