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.