Richard Ballantyne & Carol Read (13 Feb 2019)

Wednesday 13 February 2019, 7:45pm at Polehampton Junior School

Richard Ballantyne and Carol Read have been working together and collaborating for around 8-9 years. Richard from a background of a degree in Interior Design and many years of teaching followed by completing a BA in Glass and Ceramics. Carol worked as a nurse while completing an Access to Art and Design Course and then Adult education classes in sculpture and ceramics. She gave up the nursing in April 2016 to focus on ceramics.
“We both enjoy the process of throwing. Working together enables us to push ourselves and each  other creatively. The Raku animals all start as a thrown piece before being manipulated and added to in order to create the animal. Each is unique, both in the making and in the process of Raku firing. Raku Firing is a pyromaniacs delight and very unpredictable. However the results really suit the subject matter, and the hares and polar bears ( and all the rest of the menagerie) come alive with the white crackle glaze.”

Richard and Carol treated us to an evening finding out all about their particular way of making. They explained how they start by throwing hollow enclosed cone shaped forms.  Richard first showed us how he makes the body shapes that become various animals such as hares and polar bears.  He uses a wooden “porridge stirrer” as a paddle to knock the cone into shape. As the form is enclosed the air acts as an armature resisting the force from outside.  He then cuts gusset shapes in places to add appropriate contour to the form.  He left a hole in order to attach a head later on.  





Sheep head demonstration:

The second demonstration Richard gave us was of one of his wall display pieces.  He made a sheep.  He started with a smaller cone this time and started by cutting it in half at an angle, shaping then reversing the pieces and rejoining in order to make a head shape.   He then rolled a variety of shapes to make muzzle, nostrils, mouth/chin, nose, eyes, eyelid and eyebrows. The muzzle was added first then the nostrils etc.   He made indentations at either side of the head and added the eyes checking the position and then attached them by scoring and moistening the clay with water.  eyelids next then eye brows then ears, building up between the eyes to add shape to the head.  Once finished a hole and slot is added to the back to prevent cracking while drying plus the piece can then be hung on a wall once fired and glazed.

Richard and Carol glaze and raku their pieces.


After the break, Richard and Carol had a real treat prepared for all of us.  We were all given a thrown cone and clay in order to make our own wall piece.  It was very absorbing and great fun.  

All in all we have to thank Richard and Carol for a very entertaining, enlightening and enjoyable evening!


Finished pieces:




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