Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Feathered Favor?

I've already babbled a bit about the raku workshop that I'm going to attend at the end of February. But wait, there's more! The lady teaching it wants us to bring one bisqued and burnished piece so we can try smoke painting. Isn't that a great phrase? I get all sorts of nifty imagery from it. Smoke painting. Cool.

What it really means is that you take bisque, get it really hot in a kiln and then burn the sh*t outta your fingers putting horse hair, pet fur/hair and or feathers on the pot. It burns in very quickly, leaving patterns behind. (I stole this picture from here. The scratchy lines are horse hair. The feather looking thing is, well, a feather.)

The burnishing part of the process is going to be a royal pain, but I'd like to do one or two just for the experience. I have PLENTY of fur from the fluffballs, but I do not have a source for feathers.

Anyone have any that they'd be willing to share? Or know of a good cheap source for natural feathers? I'd really appreciate it, and I'll trade pottery for them!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today and Yesterday

This is one of my current projects. The clay is still fairly damp - it's the right consistency to trim. After I finished trimming it, I painted on several coats of red underglaze and then used something sharp and shiny to carve squiggles into the clay. This particular clay is little loafers, which is white when fired. The plan is for the bowl to be red, with the white lines showing.

I'm so very proud of this bowl. It will break my heart if something happens to it. It's huge, for me, at 6" or so across. It's also thin and even and not lopsided! I love it so! The first picture is as thrown, the second is after trimming. It's bisqued now and waiting for me to figure out the glaze. So pretty...

I threw this one on the same day. It's a nice bowl. I have no idea what colors to make it yet. Something happened during the bisque fire - there's now a chip on the foot. Grrr. But, it's a minor problem.

And here are some of the things I finished ages ago and never posted...

My first squiggles bowl, from September. The clay is called desert buff and it fires to a very nice oatmeal color. I carved in the squiggles and then dyed them with rust oxide. The rust color darkened to black in the kiln.

Here's the completed zebra dish. It's kind of shaped like a bathtub. The clear glaze is kind of gobby and my orange dancers faded out so I'm not thrilled with it. I do like the little zebras though.

This is how the squirrel vase turned out. The red in him faded away, leaving him a black squirrel. Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio, is known for their black squirrels so I've decided that he's a Kent squirrel.

A lot of the glazes that I use are from Coyote. Their site also features a really cool gallery of things that have been done using their glazes. I REALLY liked the sun bowl done by Terri Baldin. (Go here, it's the third one down.) This bowl was my version of her idea. I used mottled blue by itself, and it came out a bit dark. Next time, I'll also use Oasis.

Given the stack of bisque on my shelf, I'll have more to show soon. Actually, it may take a while. I signed up for a raku workshop, which has me ridiculously excited, and I'm busy making things from raku clay to have bisqued and ready to go by the workshop at the end of February. Do check out the video on raku - that, in a significantly more amaturish fashion, is what I'll be doing soon. The artist that is having MY workshop takes another step and quenches the pot in water after pulling it from the sawdust. This means that I have to use a clay that can withstand some serious man-handling. I REALLY hope stuff turns out! So excited!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Somewhat Overdue...

Happily, thanks to the small wall heater and 2 space heaters, the studio wasn't freezing tonight. Yay! And we had cherry lambic, which made it even better. That stuff is so good. I have to import it from home - I haven't found it anywhere near here. The upscale grocery has the small raspberry, but not the cherry, or the apple. It's okay - friends supply me when they visit, so I'm good to go for a while.

Here are the finished pieces that I picked up from the studio right before Christmas. There's one more purple bowl, but it has to be re-fired. We have come to the conclusion that there are significant heat fluctuations in the kiln, and if your piece ends up in some areas, you are probably going to have to re-fire it. It's annoying and one day I may commandeer the kiln for a day and figure it out but for now, some things just have to wait longer to come home.

This is a bowl that I originally threw in June. I did a lid for it, and spent HOURS making daisies and painting them only to have something explode in the kiln during the bisque fire and shatter my lid. That was my first important lesson in not getting attached to things before they are actually finished and in your house. The bowl spent months languishing on my shelf, waiting for me to get over it enough to throw away the shards of the lid and move on. It's not particularly fabulous, so I had no problem experimenting with it.

I don't know quite what I was thinking with this one. I love the goldenrod shino and I should have left well enough alone. I'm not fond of the way the stripes came out. I will probably end up donating this one to the empty bowls charity event in February.

OMG, this one was a pain in the keister. I used a fork to make even gouges in the damp clay and then painted the stripes. Then, after the bisque fire, I used wax to keep the glaze out of the stripes and dip glazed it. It took FOREVER. Note to self: NO MORE STRIPES.

I've been playing around with textures and the way the glazes behave on them lately. You can get some really cool effects if you have some idea what you are doing. The teal middle of this one has deep vertical ridges carved into the clay. The effect turned out pretty cool.

One of the ladies in the studio came up with a glaze formula that is just beautiful. It has an aurora aborelus effect that I really love. This bowl is me playing with the colors somewhat. It turned out okay, but I like hers better.

I did a larger one very similar to this one a while ago, but with green and someone said they really loved it. So, I did this smaller one except now I can't remember who I'm supposed to give it to. *sigh* It'll sit on the mantle with everything else until I figure it out.

This is another bowl that I bisqued months ago and it hung out on my shelf while I pondered how to glaze it. I goofed while trimming and removed a chunk of the rim that I didn't intend to remove. The only way I could think to fix the mistake was to cut chunks out the rest of the way around and make it have a jagged effect. Now, I like it and will probably do it on purpose to something else.

These next two were another color experiment. I threw them from the same clay on the same day and was curious how much of a difference I'd see with different application methods. The first one was dipped in glaze first, allowed to dry thoroughly and then brushed. I did the opposite on the second one. I love the super shiny finish on the first one, but the color on the second.

This poor thing got shoved to the back of my shelf and forgotten. Then I cleaned and found it, squished against the wall. It was round when I threw it, honest! This is another color experimentation - we just got a red into the studio and we were all dying to know what it looked like. This particular red looks better on the dark clays.

More to come soon!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010