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Ceramic Heaven

A few weeks ago we told you about the wonderful day we had in Russborough House Craft Courtyard participating in workshops.  The second workshop we did was with Eleanor Swan, Ceramic Artist.

We started by working with pre-prepared porcelain to make a tea light cover. Using Eleanor’s various cutters and implements we created pattern on the clay and sculpted wavy edges, cut outs and raised elements.  Then Eleanor showed us the delicate skill of shaping the porcelain into a cylinder and sealing the edge.



Finished tea light covers ready for firing in the kiln


Boosted by our success at making the tea light covers,  we moved on to another piece of porcelain with which we attempted a simple version of Eleanor’s ‘White Shadows’ work.  This was such an enjoyable and creative exercise, letting each of us express ourselves in the porcelain using the tools and techniques Eleanor shared with us.


Porcelain really lends itself to delicate interpretation of flowers and leaves and, as you can see, we produced some lovely work under her guidance.   The pieces were left unglazed and Eleanor fired each one and framed them in a box frame on a decorative paper background.


If you want to see the real deal in terms of this type of work go to Eleanor’s website and view the beautiful domes she creates based on a white clematis planted by Lady Beit in Russborough.  Link here  http://www.eleanorswan.com/news/white-shadows/

As this workshop took place at the end of November 2015, our final task of the day was a seasonal one.  Eleanor gave us each a piece of clay to work with and showed us how to make Santa domes which would be painted and glazed.  This was a much different medium to work with, heavier and more like playing with ‘play doh’!    It was good fun as we each competed to make our Santa different from each other.


As you can see in this photo we did succeed in putting our stamp on Santa … some have arms, some have glasses and some have cut outs in their hats so that a light could be put inside.   Eleanor was very generous with her time and, after we left she painted and glazed each Santa and fired them in the kiln so that they were ready for Christmas.


After all that creativity left the workshop full of hope to come back one day and improve on the skills we had learned. Thanks Eleanor.

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