Pandaji's Blog

Art, research, education

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Student Work: Greenwich Community College

Some examples of student work from the evening class at Greenwich Community College, using a “5 second” plate technique:

  1. Roll out the clay to an even thickness using guides.
  2. Imprint textured fabric by rolling onto clay and then removing it.
  3. Place the mold on the clay and cut around the perimeter.
  4. Place the cut out clay on a sponge, face up.
  5. Press the mold onto the clay on the sponge.
  6. Place the plate on a board, let it harden, and sponge the edges.


Example using cobalt carbonate wash and clear glaze, fired to 1260 degrees.


Student work using the same technique and finish, fired to 1260 degrees.


Student work using the same technique for making with different glazes, fired to 1260 degrees.


Student work using the same technique for making with different glazes, fired to 1260 degrees.


Student work using the same technique for making, ‘greenwich green’ glaze, fired to 1260 degrees.


Thrown plates, decorated using oxides and underglaze colour, clear glazed, fired to 1260 degrees.





Magicshire, 2011. Secondhand plate with collage ceramic transfers

The accident of breaking something ceramic  evokes a sadness and feeling of loss, but discovering the art of kintsugi, a Japanese technique using gold lacquer to enhance the repaired cracks,  providing the broken piece with a new identity, now gives me a feeling of excitement each time something gets broken.

I have not yet deliberately taken a hammer to a finished piece, as in the portrait of Chris Huhne by Grayson Perry in his show Who Are You? I’m practicing on the inevitable accidental breakages for now.

Some more examples of my own kintsugi:



Secondhand Saucer



Secondhand plate


Then one of my own plates jumped out of the cupboard last week! How exciting.







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fish platter

I recently received a commission to make a fish plate as a leaving present for someone working for the Marine Stewardship Council. The order was for the fish part of their logo to be included, as large as possible, with the rim ends higher than the sides.

I made some test pieces with the fish impressed and in relief, experimenting with several clays and glazes. I emailed photographs of the test pieces, and the impressed design on porcelain was chosen for the plate. I explained that the kiln dimensions limited the length of the plate; the maximum is 16 inches.

I made a hump mould of the oval using a 16-inch long oval plastic bowl from the pound shop. Next, I made a cardboard copy of the fish logo and rolled it into the slab of clay, before laying it onto the mould. Then I allowed it to dry slowly. When it was stiff (leatherhard), I removed it from the mould and worked on the rim with a surform to create the higher ends and lower sides.

I made three test plates in porcelain using this method, one out of white St. Thomas, and a couple of white earthenware as last resort backups. I was nervous as I had never made anything so long and flat, and suspected they could crack easily during the firings. The impressed design meant the base thickness was uneven.

I dried the plates very slowly and transported them with the help of a friend with a car to a large kiln. I used plenty of alumina powder rolled flat on the kiln shelves to allow for the shrinkage that happens when clay is fired. (This is due to the molecules of clay that lie in plates which slide over each other in the raw state, moving so close together that they join up during the firing, a process known as vitrification).

The first firing was 100% successful, but during the glaze firing, one of the porcelain plates cracked. Possibly because of firing too soon after glazing, and not allowing sufficient time for the glaze to dry thoroughly, so then the sides collapsed on one another. Fortunately, one came out successfully!