Sunday, 8 September 2013

Introducing Our Artist of the Month

Wow! What a year it has been for 3 Girls and a Kiln! A year ago this month Claire, Aimee and Charlotte decided it was about time to show the world all the hard work that's been going on in the studio. Thus, 3 Girls and a Kiln was born. Living on a small island has its challenges and most of them we are getting use to. However, the import and export of people is one of those things we just can't. Especially the leaving. Friends come and friends go, and it is tough. Even tougher when a friend is a great person, talented artist and part of a fantastic collective. We are sad to announce that Charlotte has moved on to greener pastures, otherwise know her motherland, England. It was an emotional summer for all to say the least. While Charlotte will be missed, Claire and Aimee will be carrying the banner for the collective and still retain the current name. After weeks of mass discussion and libations, we have decided we could never replace Charlotte and therefore will not add another permanent member. In keeping with the 3 Girls tradition we will have an artist of the month as our pseudo "third girl" in hopes of continuing to bring fabulous art to Cayman.

With that said, we are happy to announce September's Artist of the Month: Kelsey McFetridge. 
Originally from Winnipeg, Kelsey has called Cayman home since 2008 (with a few years back in Canada here and there). As a young girl, Kelsey began making earrings and bracelets for her sisters and friends. As an adult she continues to toy with ideas and make new things based on all her travels. After meeting a wire designer a few years back, and becoming close to her through the classes she taught, Kelsey's imagined designs became a reality.  She saw that through friends and strangers alike, her designs and jewelry style are accepted and cherished by more then just her curiosity. The new opportunities and excitement of developing her love for art has brought her here, to 3 Girls and a Kiln. From her own designs to your desires, Kelsey is making a splash in the jewelry world of Cayman.
Kelsey's jewelry will be featured on our Etsy page through the months of September and October. Please give a warm welcome to Kelsey and her unique perspective on jewelry!  

Friday, 26 July 2013

Beautiful White Coral Bowls

Recently I completed a commission for a family here in Grand Cayman. The client wanted ceramic bowls that evoked the wonders of the ocean that surrounds us. I thought I would take this opportunity to show you all the process from start to finish. This is what I love to do and I hope you all enjoy learning about what goes on in the studio!

To begin, I start with throwing the desired shape and size of the bowls I would like. With this commission, I was looking to make all the bowls nest-able. Therefore, I chose to make the top of the bowls starting with the smallest at 4 inches and the largest at 7 inches.

 After the bowls are thrown and are in the 'leather hard' stage of drying, I carve the coral designs into each bowl. Following that, color is added to the carvings with underglaze. The client left the exact hues up to me, but made suggests of blue and red-orange. Here you will see the finished greenware bowls drying in the sun, awaiting a bisque firing. It is safe to let them dry for a couple of days to make sure all the water has left the pieces. This will reduce the likelihood of anything exploding during the firing.

When we are ready for a bisque firing, we load the kiln with every piece of greenware we are ready to fire. We choose to bisque fire earthenware to Cone 04. 

 Look at these beautifully bisques bowls! This is what white earthenware looks like without glaze on them. Adding glaze allows the bowls to be food, dishwasher, and microwave safe. It also gives the pieces a shiny surface instead of a matte feel to the surface. I chose a pure white glaze to allow for the colored coral design to show through. Before glazing, I covered the carvings with a wax resist, so that they would not be covered with white glaze. These bowls are then put back into the kiln for a glaze firing. We fire most of our glazes at Cone 05-06.

And the finished products! Here are close ups of the finished glazed ceramic bowls and also the bowls stacked. I was very pleased with the finished product and can not wait for the client to see them in person! They will make a lovely addition to their home.

What do you guys think? Please feel free to leave comments and start a dialogue about the ceramic process! Keepin' it real, Aimee.

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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Busy bees means it is time for Spring!

Spring has sprung here in Grand Cayman, which means it is hot hot hot and clammy. The sun is shining, the waves are crashing and the pottery wheels are a spinning! These 3 Girls are busy sweatin' to the oldies in the studio. Thought we would share a video from the last couple of weeks. Look at the girls kill it!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Nor'easter Up in Here

A nor'easter has just ripped through Grand Cayman, producing low temps, high winds and massive waves. I had a blast today driving downtown trying to capture the exact moment when a gigantic wave crashes into the never suspecting sea wall. It is an overwhelming persona the ocean takes on as it explodes onto the beach.

The sea is a great producer of audio pleasantries. I wish I could bottle it all up, wrap it in brown paper with twine and give it away for free.

I look forward to the coming days after the swells have died down and these 3 girls can go hunting the shore for treasures washed up. Sea glass, coral, driftwood and other items beaten up by the sea. Mother nature is a wicked temptress that produces some of the most beautiful disasters, yet I find comfort in the things she leaves behind. I know that we can take something precious she has destroyed, and make it beautiful again.

Here are a few photos I took this afternoon:

Friday, 25 January 2013

Radtastic Raku!

In the past 2 months, these 3 girls have been raku'in it up out at the studio. For those of you who don't know what raku is, here is a brief (and I mean very brief) description of raku:
A type of pottery derived from Japan, traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremony, that is characterized as fairly porous vessels, which results from low firing temperatures. After glazed, theses pieces are then removed from the kiln while still glowing hot and allowed to cool in the open air or in a container filled with combustible material (newspaper or saw dust).

There are various techniques to raku, a few of which are shown below:

The two pots to the left are a technique we call 'pop off' slip and the pot to the right is a technique using horsehair. All pots were finished using the terra sigillata method before entail bisque fire. If you are using a basic rake slip, you do not need to terra sig your pots.

This past Sunday Claire and I went to the VAS (Visual Art Society) raku workshop and had ourselves a dandy ol' time firing up some pots. Here some pictures from the event. I have put them in chronological order so you can understand the process of raku a little bit more.

This is the hot wax we apply to the bottom of each pot so they do not stick to the kiln shelf. 

My pots with wax on the foot ring.

Two of my pots decorated with wax and glazed. 

Ian with his glazed raku pot. See Ian glaze. See Ian love his raku pot.

This is the inside of the kiln after the firing (temperature has reached about 1600-1700 degrees fahrenheit). Pots with be removed and immediately placed into trash cans where they will be covered with newspaper and/or saw dust.

Kim is removing the pots form the kiln with proper fire proof gloves and a large pair of tongs.

Another shot of the inside of the kiln. Those pots are a hot mess!

And the finished pieces:

In addition, I would like to share a few photos from a rake firing Charlotte did in December. 

There she blows! I love this shot of Charlotte using a large blow torch to quick dry the glaze she applied to her figure. What an intriguing face her piece has. Charlotte used up to 3 different glazes on this piece and the texture that it produces will surprise you.

Charlotte created a large piece and so a special kiln had to be built to fit her creation.

Her piece turned out amazing!

I hope you enjoyed a little bit of knowledge on raku ceramics. Let me know if you are interested in learning more about raku and I would be happy to point you in the right direction. Also, if you are in Grand Cayman and looking to participate in a raku workshop please check out the VAS Cayman. They hold raku workshops every 3 months. Happy raku'ing!