Saturday, August 14, 2010

Latest Progress with Pottery

It's been a while since I showed what I've been up to in the studio. What with work, traveling for work, vacation, playing elsewhere and whatnot, I haven't gotten to spend as much time as I'd like playing in the studio. But I do have some more finished stuff. (I have about a metric ton of bisque waiting to be glazed too. Here SOON I need to spend some time getting that finished, especially if I end up moving at the end of this month.)

I finally managed to finish a couple things that I've been sitting on for MONTHS. The poppies, the little owl plate and the goldfish are all actually from last fall and I just wasn't in the mood to finish them. The poppies in particular just needed me to fire them and then clear glaze them. I just forgot about them until I cleaned off my shelf and discovered them lurking in the back. That's one bad thing about having the top shelf - I can't see up there and I lose things.

I've been working on mugs and handles lately. When I first started throwing, my first couple of handles went really well and I listened to everyone whine about handles and thought, "What is their problem? These things are easy." Yeah. Shows what I know. Handles suck. So I've been practicing. A lot. I still have a long ways to go.

This one is getting better. Of course, I put a handle on there and it ended up being HUGE so I carved half of it away with a knife. It's still big, but better than it was. I don't really like the painting, so I may reglaze it. We'll see.

The handle kind of sucks on this one, but I'm thrilled with the way the glaze came out. It was totally worth all four days!

Another lesson learned: when dealing with more than one clay color, stay AWAY from ruffled rims. I am very fond of ruffled rims, and not just because they do a very nice job disguising uneven edges. They're pretty and I like them. But, in order for these marbled clay pots to look their best, you have to either 1) use a rib while it's still on the wheel and scrap off the top layer or 2) sand the living snot out of it - for HOURS - to remove the layer of slip and show off the marbling. If you ruffle the rim, you sand. By hand. For hours. And hours. Blech. But, it did turn out pretty cute.

One of the potters in this area does some REALLY cool stuff. She's actually the one who taught the Raku workshop that I recently attended. One of her trademarks is to put a pretty little flourish on her pots and I really like the way it looks. So, I had a couple of little bowls go wonky on me the other day and I tried her flourish. They turned out kinda cool, I think.

I'm still playing with texture. This isn't quite where I wanted to go, but I'm getting closer.

Based on something that another lady in the studio did, I started experimenting with painting with underglazes on top of glaze. The flowers turned out pretty much exactly as I hoped they would. I'll be experimenting further with this method, especially over other colors of glaze. The magnolia bowl won best in show at this year's annual pottery show at the studio, netting me a nice gift certificate to the store.

We got some new glazes to play with, so of course color experiments must follow. Some were brand new colors and I'd never seen them on my preferred clay (Highwater clay's little loafers). This is Pam's Blue glaze. Not bad, but not really what I had in mind either. Further experimentation is needed.

I love, love, love the creamy matte. It's a dip glaze for us and it's just really great. My favorite combination with it so far is with gunmetal green and tournaline, like this. But I'm also interested in how it combines with other colors as well. These were okay. I like the Pams Green (third one) the best, I think. The bowl that I tried the orchid and eggplant on was really thin, so the eggplant kind of gobbed up a bit. It's not bad, but I'm not thrilled with it. My fault - I applied the glaze too thickly.

And lest you think that all pottery works out well, I fussed with this ginger jar and lid for AGES - trimming and sanding and cooing over it. And then, I screwed up and glazed it with the wrong damn color and now it's ugly. Also, the lid doesn't fit worth a crap - it warped in the kiln. *sigh* Lids are worse than handles. Confounded things.

Lately I've been playing with collaring - taking a tall, straight cylinder and making the top smaller. It's tough, but I'm getting there. One major thing with collaring is that your rim usually ends up wonky. If you don't have enough to just cut off, you start getting creative. So, I'm doing a lot of pitchers right now... which also helps with that whole handle thing. The first one reminds me of a chicken for some reason, although no one else seems to see it. I love the second one, and will be desolate if it dies in the kiln.

I'm also finally working my way into larger balls of clay. I'm very comfortable centering and throwing up to about three pounds of clay. Over that, and it all goes to hell. Lately though, I've managed a couple of things that were nearly five pounds. Yay! Big bowls! Yay! One problem with that is that the glazing starts getting EXPENSIVE, so there's probably not a lot of huge things in my future - I can't afford it. I've got a bunch of stuff in the bisque fire now, that should be ready for my next visit. Once of them is my first attempt at a chip and dip bowl, so more pictures will be along shortly!


The Caustic Bunny said...

So if I had some free time, talent for craft made things and a marketplace for them...

SUEB0B said...

I am impressed. I love beautiful pottery.