Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall 2010 New Work

It's been a while.  It has been really busy at work and so I don't have as much time to take photos. I've been focusing on bottles.  Especially ones with long neck.  I get a kick out of collaring a straight long neck.  Still exploring with Soda and Slip. I have also been glazing the outside of some of my pieces instead of leaving it raw.  Let me know what you think.

The bottle above was glazed with Luster Shino on the outside and the inside. Showing two views from different sides of the bottle.

This bottle was also glazed with Luster Shino and I also poured a modified Thompson Flashing Slip on the outside on the bisque fired piece.

This is a tea bowl (a deviation from the bottle form).  I was making this as test tiles.  The glaze combination here is Cohen Red over Rutile Blue with Yellow Salt rubbed on.

An Asian inspired bowl that is raw clay on the outside and Daly's Titanium Red on the inside.  The Titanium Red is very runny and should only be used on the inside.  I guess you can use it on the outside too but you'll have to make sure that it is very far up the piece; otherwise, your piece is going to fuse to the kiln shelf.

Another tea bowl "test tile" that I glazed with Luster Shino.  The Shina flashed through the piece in some parts and created a really cool, glass-like effect on the outside of the piece (see the right of the tea bowl).

Another attempt at my "Bloody Rooster" -- I am liking the form more and more.  The Celadon formula seems to have changed a little and is not as green or crackely as it used to be.  Gotta give it another try soon.

Finally, the cane-handled vase that I was experimenting with earlier.  Trying different handle shape/style and also wrapping handle with a smaller sized reed than the cane.  Also, this piece had four altenating band of Cohen Red and Rutile Blue and I sprinkled some ash on it to make sure that the glaze ran and produced this mottled effect.  The band of brown at the lower portion of the pot is the ash and has a really cool texture.

That's it for now!  Enjoy.  I will take more photos of new work as I have time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Sorry!  Sorry!  Sorry!  I've been missing for a long time. I've been busy with work and simply not producing as much as I used to. Also, I've been busy preparing my pieces for the show -- the selection process took a while and, the most difficult tasks of all, pricing the pieces. So, anyway, the show is over now and I have had some success.  Below are pictures that I took at the exhibit.  Some of my pieces are in the book case below.  Second column from the right.

More picture of pieces from other potters.

The piece above just came out of the kiln.  Love the red on this piece.  I brushed on Shino slip on the outside at leather hard and then glazed with Cohen Red.  The inside was also glazed with Cohen Red and it actually flashed through the piece to give a pinkish/burgundy hue on the outside of the bottle where the soda hits the piece.  You can see some of it in the picture.

Friday, September 17, 2010

LillStreet Members' Show

The postcards are printed.  The show prep is on the way.  Please come out and support the LillStreet Members if you are free and in the area!  I will be "on duty" on Saturday from 10 to 12 noon and then again on Sunday from 12 noon to 2PM.  See you then!

Friday, September 10, 2010

More work from this summer

More work that came out of the kiln while I was on vacation.  Added the cane handle to the vases.  Need to trim the ends more.

A bud vase with mostly raw clay on the outside; splashes of rutile blue.  Left the hardwork to the kiln and the soda vapor.

My series of sake bottle.  Experimenting with forms.  They function as vases as well.  I don't think the traditional sake bottle pours well so I came up with these.  Seems to pour pretty well and holds about 16 oz of liquid each.  Outside with Mustard or Smooth Orange slip except the one on the right with the Rutile Blue on the outside.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Summer Stuff

I've been delinquent but, in my defense, summer in Chicago is much too nice to spend too much time indoors.  On average, I've been spending about 2 days in the studio -- 1 day to throw and create and another day to trim, glaze, etc. etc.  I am going to make this a short and sweet post and just show some of the work I've created recently.

The above "boxes" are thrown as a single piece with the lid cut into it.  The one below is bigger but I have so much trouble cutting the lids into the bigger pieces.  Consequently, they don't sit quite right.

Also, this term, I've decided to focus on bottles and vases.  So, there will be a lot more of those coming soon!

This is the mix-media vases with reed handle.  Something I am experimenting with so you'll see a few more of these as well.

I've been on vacation the last two weeks and have not been to the studio.  I should have more pieces come out of the kiln while I was gone.  I will post pictures when I get a chance to go pick up the new work.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

LillStreet Members' Show

I am very happy to report that I've submitted my two pieces for the show and I've been accepted.  Yay!  These are the two pieces that I submitted:

This will be my first show ever since I started playing with clay.  Although it is a group show with a lot of other artists (pottery, photography, jewelry making, glass, painting, etc.), I still think it will be a valuable experience for me.

Up until this point, I've only given away pieces I make to friends and family.  Friends have offered to pay for pieces before but I thought it would be frivolous to take their money.  At the beginning of this year, I came up with a new policy -- if you pick a piece that I've already made, it's yours for free.  If you ask me to make a specific piece, then I would charge.  I think being asked to make a specific piece puts some pressure on the maker.  Also, there's the prototyping of various forms and glaze combination to see what pleases the requestor so I didn't think it was ridiculous to request some sort of payment.  Anyway, this will be my first opportunity to sell the stuff I make in an official setting.

The show will be on October 9 and 10 at the LillStreet Gallery.  That's all I know for now -- we're suppose to have a meeting soon so that we have other information -- like how many pieces we can each show, when we are expected to be there on the show days, etc. etc.

So, yeah, I am excited and I will send out more information when I have them -- yes, I am expecting your support.  So, please come to the show if you can.  I am sure I'll post photos.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Schedule Off

The firing schedule is off again -- seems to happen a lot more in the Summer months.  Last week there was seven carts of glazed items to be fired.  So, this week, it is pretty much full throttle for glaze firing.  Now the greenware carts are filling up and, so, it is catch up time for bisque firing.  I don't have any pieces to show at this time because they are all waiting to go into the bisque kiln.  Trying out a bunch of closed forms and bottles.  That's what I am concentrating on at this time.  Also some vases.  I can't keep making one thing for too long -- I get bored.  Anyway, to tide you over to when I have pictures to post; here's something I snapped at the Atlanta Airport.  Taken on my camera phone through glass cases so the quality is not good.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spring Work

The plan was to have all of these ready for the July 4th weekend -- well, the operative word being "plan"!!!!  And as most plans are -- they go awry.  Let's back track a little.  There's a short 4-week interim session between Winter and Summer and I signed up for the Lemonade and Iced Tea set class.  Like I said earlier, the plan was to have all the pieces ready for the July 4th weekend BBQ.  Well, because it is an interim session, not many students sign up for class.  Add the beautiful weather during that time of the year and everyone much rather be outside than inside throwing pots.  So, long story short, the firing schedule was off.  I just now got most of my pieces back and my serving tray is still not fired yet.

This session I am working with Stoneware without Iron.  The fired bisque is a little grayish and not as white as B-Clay.  This first set is a pitcher with two tumbler.  The outside was treated with Sodium Silicate during throwing to create the crackled clay.  The tumblers mimicked the shape of the pitcher.  These pieces were all glazed on the inside with Josh Green over Shaner Clear and the outside is left unglazed (well, except for some organic drip marks).

The next set is a tall pitcher with an undulating surface treatment to give it some movement.  The tumblers were inspired by the disposable plastic punch cups.  The inside of this set is glazed with Celadon over Shaner Clear and, again, the outside is left bare.

The handle on the pitcher is glazed with Tenmoku over Share Clear.  I thought a glazed handle would be more comfortable for the user to grasp as opposed to "hopefully" the soda would hit it just enough.

This pitcher does not have any tumblers. I thought I should have a backup pitcher in case one of the others failed -- like how you make multiple lids and see which one fits the best?  Anyway, the outside is also treated with Sodium Silicate and I was trying to veer away from the pulled spout look so I attached a spout.  With the spout being so tall and prominent, a normal handle to the side of the piece would create an imbalance.  So, I attached a looped handle to balance the spout on the other side.  The inside and the rim is glazed with Shino over Shaner White.  If you look at the picture of the inside of the spout, you will see the blushing when you combine this two glaze -- I love that blushing.

Finally, I made a back-up tumbler (just in case) and the piece actually shows all the things I love about Soda firing (or vapour glazing -- however you want to call it).  The grayish color and orange peel effect is where the soda hit the piece and form a natural glaze with minerals in the clay body (I think it is Alumina and Silica in the clay body).  Below that is the flushing that shows where the flame "kissed" the piece.  And then after that it is just raw clay.

I'll post pictures of the serving tray when it is done.  Thanks for reading and feedbacks and questions are always welcomed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Statement

So -- first attempt at a process statement -- what do you think?

"The technical side of pottery can appear somewhat daunting, even disconcerting, and it is understandable that many students with only limited experience may initially seek to disguise their lack of technical competence by making things which primarily express their "creative" energies."
-- The Encyclopedia of Pottery Techniques, Peter Cosentino

I strive to draw inspiration from within myself and from things around me -- nature, architecture, shopping catalogs, cultural heritage, memories of things I have seen and experience drawn from earlier pieces.

Drawing on the words of Peter Cosentino, I strive to create technically sound pieces to the best of my abilities -- and I strive to continually improve on my abilities with stoneware and B-Clay.  For a beginner potter, it is important to develop an eye for aesthetic and an editing eye.  The advantage of working in clay, after all, is the ability to scrap a less-than-ideal piece and from the scrap will rise another piece -- hopefully better in all ways than the first.

Above all else, I am motivated and dedicated to this art form.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Should I or Shouldn't I?

LillStreet -- where I go to practice my pottery skills -- is having a Members Show and Sale in October.  Members are encouraged to submit two pieces of their work for selection and also write a short paragraph about their PROCESS -- do I have a process????  Well, closing date is July 30th and members' work who are selected will be informed in mid August.  I am debating whether I should submit my work for the selection process.  On the one hand, I am not sure if I am ready/good enough (translation: fear of rejection).  On the other hand, I think it'll be a good experience (espeically if they provide some sort of critique of why the work was not selected but I doubt that is possible/feasible).  Not to mention, if your work is selected, that your pieces will be shown in the gallery and be available for sale.  It's always nice to be able to supplement your hobby with some income from said hobby!

Well, I have thirdteen more days to decide.  I am already quite sure which pieces I would submit to the jury if I choose to participate.  Hmmm . . . should I or shouldn't I??????

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Smoke and Mirror?

I am trying to proof a point.  Look at the picture below.  Looks nice right?  Well, at least I hope you think it looks nice.  This is the smallest of the tripod containers.

I was fooled too -- until I picked it up.  THIS is what the piece actually looks like.

The bottom has fallen off and the reason it did that was because I used two different clay bodies and tried to "fuse" them together.  It would have been fine if I had wedged the two clay body together (homogenize the two clay body) to make the entire piece but what I did was I threw the body in B-Clay and the bottom in Red Iron clay and tried to join them together.  The different ingredients in the two clay bodies led to different shrinkage rate (I think B Clay shrink more than Red Iron clay) and so the bottom caused the body to crack and once cracked, the body became too big for the bottom and the bottom fell out.

So, the lesson:
1.  Never throw two separate pieces using two different clay body and try to "fuse" them together.
2.  Pictures lie!!!!

Now, take a look at the glaze on the inside.  This is Temoku over Shaner White.  I really love how the Temoku is not as intense and add some subtle variations.  Of course, I am a fan of the crazing in the glaze.  This should definitely be repeated!!!

And the lid to the piece actually turned out quite nice.  I think I am going to give the lid a home and throw something to fit.

Finally, the last mug.  This is the most ornate of the lot and I am going to keep it for my own use.  My other mug chipped.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Mugs and Stuff

Yeah, I am getting lazy and so I didn't get my portable studio out of the drawer; instead, choosing to take the pictures on the deck.  These are the last of the mugs (one more, actually, but I am keeping that one for myself).  And if I am not too lazy, I may post a picture of it.

Ducks in a row?
I've also been making a series (three) of tripod containers with lids -- each one getting bigger than the last -- the two shown here are the biggest one and the medium sized one.  The smallest one is still in the kiln.  Planning to make more in the future but sort of running out of ideas on how to glaze them.  I really like the inside -- they are Temoku over Shaner White -- so it's this light chocolate brown color. 

This one, I brushed Thompson Flashing Slip on the outside when it was still leather hard and then I used black stain to draw the rectangles on bisque and glazed the inside of the rectangles with Coleman Apple Green (doesn't look green at all).  Below is another view.

Thompson Flashing Slip is suppose to crackle -- this piece above shows some crackling.  This piece below is the medium sized one out of the three pieces and it's got a halo around it.  Does it look like a drunken UFO? 

The ring was glazed in Cohen Red (reduction turned it blue) and the body and the lid was Yellow Salt over Temoku.

There's one more piece -- the smallest sized one -- that is still in the kiln.  Should come out today, I will pick it up tomorrow.

UPDATE: The smallest one failed. I used two different clay body for the bottom than the lid and body. Well, because of the different expansion/contraction rate, the bottom cracked the piece and then the bottom fell out. I'll take pictures later.

This last one is an urn and this is actually the third piece I made.  The first one did come out well, the second one I dropped while transferring it to the shelf to dry.  However, I must say that this piece was the best looking of the three and the lip did not go all "wonky" like the first two.  Which goes to proof that you have to keep practicing to fine-tune your throwing!!!!  I slip the outside with Cone 10 Pink slip at leather hard.  The glaze on the outside is Luster Shino.  I soaked some glaze into a sponge and squeeze the sponge over the piece so it doesn't cover the whole piece.

Well, I hope you like what you see.  Again, feedback and comments are appreciated.  Everything is for sale -- make an offer!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mug shot

I am making a series of mugs.  I've made seven so far and they are at various stages of completion.  They have a bulbous shape to it.  Small opening at the neck and the body is wider.  People at the studio that has seen them called them the "duck mug".  I think it is an appropriate name. 

The reason the neck opening is smaller is because I think that since the area (surface area of the liquid)expose to air is smaller, that the liquid in the mug would stay hotter for longer.  Just a theory but it seems to make sense to me.  Don't know if the same applies to cold liquid.  I have yet to test it out.

I am also experimenting with various slips and surface decorating techniques and can't wait to see the result.  Here's the first two!  Five more to come!!!!

This is the first soda bowl -- it warped a little in firing but the glaze and flame flashing is quite amazing.  I fired this at an angle so you can see the glaze actually pooling on the lower left.  The picture of the foot ring actually showed how the foot ring retarded the movement of the flame and so one side of the foot ring is actaully the actual color of the clay -- white.  I also applied slip to the outside -- orange and mustard slip -- and then combed through the slip to give the outside texture and interest.

And -- one more bottle.  This one has been carved with slip inlay.

Hope you like this batch -- I have three more vessels and five more mugs to glaze.  Will post pictures when they are done.  As usual, comments, advise, criticism, etc. are always welcomed.