Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More Dragons and Other Finished Items

I was happy to pick up some more finished pieces on the weekend, and was very pleased with the results.

1) This large mask, my first one from the Bob Kingsmill workshop, is a really heavy piece.  At a full 15" tall and 12" wide, this mask is a two-hander (at least for me) to lift.  By the time I felt confident to turn him over, he was a bit dry and I was scared to carve away too much.  So it will need a good solid wall to hang on.  I'm very pleased with the colour of the Little John clay, which is enhanced with the "Bob Kingsmill wash", which is an iron oxide based formulation, and his eyes are clear glaze over a black underglaze.  I like the shiny eyes, they seem to bring this character - a green man or tree man - to life.

2) This smaller mask also turned out pretty nicely.  The Kingsmill stain is a bit metallic in parts of the decorative texture.  It is relatively light, and would make a decent wall hanging.

3) My first dragon mask turned out beautifully.  I love her eyes, which are a combination of two different green underglazes, black underglaze, and clear glaze.  She is also quite a reasonable weight, and will make a great wall hanging.  I plan to hang her above the fireplace which holds my dragon collection, subject to family approval.

4) This piece is the final one from my Tanis Saxby workshop.  This one was fired to cone 10 in the gas reduction kiln.  It is not quite as dark as in the photos, but it is also not as pure white as I was hoping, based on Tanis's work.  But then again, I think I could grow used to this off white piece, it looks somehow more natural and relaxed than the perfect but cold white.

5) Next are the two bowls from my collab day with Fredi.  This was my first experiment with the mocha diffusion technique.  We experimented with two different stains, a green and a blue, and with two acids, a mouthwash and cider vinegar.  There were lots of variables involved, and it was not clear what the perfect combination was, but we did get some good diffusion / branching action happening, although some of the distinct lines seemed to soften and blur a bit before the slip dried solid.

This bowl is little trees of mocha diffusion on white slip.  The body is B Mix, and is thrown beautifully - light and the foot is beautiful and smooth to the touch.  It was sprayed with Celadon on top, and then the center waxed, and dipped in Matt Green glaze.  I had lots of trouble with the wax resist not resisting enough, so learned on the next one to dip the edge, not the whole bowl.

6) This is my favourite of the two bowls.  I love the vibrant blues.  It is little networks of mocha diffusion in green and blue, on a white slip.  Again, the clay body is B Mix.  It was also sprayed with Celadon glaze on top, and then dipped in Deep Blue stain.  It has a super smooth foot and bottom.  I need to practice, and work toward being able to throw and trim like that!

7) I am saving my favourite from the Bob Kingsmill workshop for last.  Isn't she a beauty?  She's a little cross, but she's a sweet dragon, and useful for serving food or chips or...  it was suggested to me that she may look cool filled with water and floating candles.  Here are a few more views of this girl:
She is Little John clay enhanced with Bob Kingsmill oxide wash, and glazed inside (sprayed) with Celadon.  Her eyes are light green and black underglaze, topped with Clear glaze.

With my pieces getting larger recently, it is getting hard to find places for all of them.  My dining room table has become a temporary storage area, since the shelves and window sills are full, and anyhow too narrow to hold these new pieces.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Second Hatching Dragon ?

When I made my first hatching dragon a few days ago, I started with the dragon, then created the egg, then figured out how to fit the dragon inside.  Today I thought I'd start with the egg :
... and that's it for tonight.  To be continued.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hatching Dragon

In the recent soda firing, Sharon Reay had two dragons hatching from their eggs.  I realized that a hatching dragon would be a perfect addition to my dragon collection, so I asked if she would be willing to sell one to me.  She wasn't ready yet.  I don't blame her.  I'd want to enjoy them a bit longer, take photos, etc.  But since then, I've had hatching dragons on my mind, so tonight I decided to try my hand at it, and this is the result.  I was able to create most of it while waiting for a banana / blueberry loaf in the oven (which took over an hour to bake) :
Dragon hatching from egg, pottery/ceramic, in progress, by Lily L.
I'm pretty happy with the result.  The dragon was created from Little John clay, and I had planned to switch over to a white clay for the egg, since I want a pretty white glaze (Sharon had used the Cobra glaze which provides a beautiful crackle effect).  But I'll figure something out, even if it's using a fairly heavy coat of white glaze.  Doesn't matter anyhow, since I have a feeling this may not be the last hatching dragon I will be making.  Here are a few more angles :
Hatching ceramic dragon, in progress, by Lily L.
Hatching ceramic dragon, in progress, by Lily L.
Hatching ceramic dragon, in progress, by Lily L.
I'm pretty happy with this first attempt.  I learned lots, and I'm sure the next one will be even better.  In the meantime, it looks like my kitchen counter (good thing we have a very large island) will not be cleared off for some while.  I guess that may be the new state of being until the studio opens again in late September.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Photos of Finished Porcelain Sculptures

I recently picked up 3 of the 4 pieces from my porcelain workshop with  Tanis Saxby.  I finally took a few photos today, while it was bright.  Although the photos turned out pretty dark, and I'm too lazy to adjust the brightness through editing.

Porcelain Tanis Saxby inspired sculptural bowl by Lily L.
This is the biggest piece, and the first one I created.  It started as a thrown bowl, which I then deformed and shaped into what I consider a floral shape, although it was interesting that someone in my class thought it looked like something from the ocean.  I'm pretty pleased.  Originally it was going to be a wall hanging, but I didn't figure out the logistics of how to hang it, and anyhow, I think the interest is mainly from the open side, so I think it would be better to sit on a low table, where it can be viewed from all sides.

Small porcelain Tanis Saxby inspired sculptural bowl by Lily L.
I threw a few small bowls, to make the center ball for my bigger pieces.  This was one of the extra  bowls, which I deformed into a pleasant shape. 

Small unglazed porcelain bowl by Lily L.
This was also an extra "center" bowl, which I let firm up for some while.  I could have wet it to deform it, but I instead just did a bit of decorative carving, and left it as a small bowl.

All three pieces were fired to cone 6, and unglazed.  As I mentioned before, I am a bit disappointed with the off-white colour, but they are still quite pleasant.  Although I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be top sellers if I had to sell my pottery to make a living.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Finished Items from my First Soda Firing

I enjoyed and learned a lot at this first soda firing.  I look forward to the next opportunity, whenever that will be.

Here I am at the soda kiln, before the unloading.
So many treasures and surprises waiting inside.

Here are my pieces, with my notes so I'll remember what I did to achieve the results, even though I know I will never be able to reproduce any of them exactly.  But it's a great learning process.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
1) This is one of the pieces from my collaboration with Fredi, so it is a delightfully light piece, thrown from B-Mix clay and altered.  On the outside, it was dipped in Jane Hamlyn Blue slip, and then the smooth bulgy part into Gordon's #3 slip.  Then I sprayed a bit of titanium dioxide on the Jane Hamlyn Blue, so that I would get some green.  The inside is glazed with Robin's Clear glaze.  I like how there is blue dripping inside the mouth of the vessel.  It is very shiny, almost metallic.  Not what I had imagined or planned, but I'm okay with it overall.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
2) Another one of my Fredi collab pieces, this one is a sweet shape and also very light.  I stained it with "Garbage" stain (a mixture of recycled oxides or stains), and wiped it off with a sponge, so the stain was left only in the indents.  The gloss is from the soda.  It is glazed with Shadbolt Tenmoku inside and on the rim and handle.  I like the bit of brown which shows on some of the leaves, otherwise I don't find that the leaf pattern stands out enough for me.  I think I prefer the stained and unglazed look of the previous leaf imprint vessels.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
3) I wasn't going to put both of my leaf imprint vessels into the soda firing, but I found out that 2 cubic feet was a bit larger than I thought, so I put them one in also.  It was stained with Black stain and wiped off, and again, it is the soda which has glazed the sides, making them smooth and glossy.  It is also glazed with Tenmoku inside and on the neck.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
4) This was one of my twisty pots from back in February 2016.  I had held back a couple of them, trying to figure out different methods of glazing, staining, and otherwise finishing them.  This one was thrown from 2600 g of yellow clay, so a very dark clay (which turns a milk chocolate colour in the cone 10 firing).  I applied Goldart slip to the outside, and rubbed a bit of it off with a sponge.  The inside is glazed with John's Tenmoku.  I like the outcome, although I'm not sure I like the gloss on it.  I think a matte finish would be more suited to the rugged shape and texture of it.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
5) Again, I wasn't planning to put both into the soda firing, but I had room in my allotment, so in it went.  This one was formed from 3500 g of yellow clay, with black and turquoise slips applied (although I think only the black is still visible, the turquoise is completely invisible).  I sprayed two of the twisty panels with Helmer's flashing slip, and left the other two bare (although I can't see the difference in the finished piece).  Inside is glazed with Shadbolt Tenmoku.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
6) This bowl was formed from coils / chunks of red clay back in May 2016.  I dipped the whole thing in Gordon's #3 flashing slip, and then brushed it with Tesha glaze inside.  The Gordon's #3 can have a nice variation from green to brown, but I suspect my red clay was too iron-rich, and attracted lots of soda, so I ended up with this dark brooding colour.  I'm not fond of the colour or finish, but at least the bowl feels very functional.  I would have otherwise been inclined to leave it very rough on the outside, but then it would not be practical for washing.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
7) This one was another of the coil-formed bowls from May 2016.  It was formed from red and recycled (which is mostly grey) clay.  I applied Black stain to highlight the texture of the seashells, but otherwise the finish is from the soda.  The inside and rim is Yellow Salt glaze, which I believe I brushed on, since I was not having particularly good success that day with pouring out glazes and not spilling or splashing all over.  I'm generally liking it, although it is a bit too dark for my tastes.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
8) This is the final coil formed bowl from May 2016.  It was formed by coils of red and recycled clay.  I applied "Garbage" stain to highlight the textures , and then dipped the whole thing in Mansfield Celadon glaze.  I like that there are some variations in colour between the different coils, although not as much as I would have liked.  But overall the colour is pleasant to me.  It's a fun and funky little bowl.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
9) This sweet little cup / bowl / vessel is one of my two favourites from this soda firing.  It was 800 g of P570 white clay, with a white slip-trailed pattern.  It is Malcolm Davis outside (dipped, I guess), but it doesn't really show the green to brown variation which I had hoped.  It shows a beige to brown variation.  Although that is quite pleasant, and I'm glad the texture of the slip contrasts nicely.  The inside and rim is Tesha glaze, so there is some rich rusty redness inside (couldn't get a good photo).

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
10) I love this little tea cup / yunomi cup.  It started as 500g of P570 white clay which I poked with a poking stick.  I glazed it with Robin's Clear glaze inside and on the portion of the outside which is above the poking pattern.  I applied the Cobra slip/shino to the area below the poking pattern.  I really love that crackly texture, with the brown of the soda showing through between.  If and when I do another soda firing, I want to experiment with Cobra a lot more.  I love the colour variations on this little piece : greys, whites, creams, reddish-browns.  It is quite light and even with the visual texture, not unpleasant to hold in the hand.

Soda fired pottery by Lily L.
11) I quite like the effects on this little tea cup also.  I think the soda firing gave me more colour variations than I would have gotten from a regular cone 10 gas firing.  It was also formed from 500 g of P570 white clay (which is the same clay body as all my favourites).  It was textured and poked when formed.  I sprayed it with Helmer's slip on the outside, so for the most part it resisted the soda, and gave me the pleasant red-brown patches.  I think the grey ones are where the soda landed more heavily.  The inside is glazed with Yellow Salt, which is really a very beautiful glaze.  It shows quite a bit of "movement" or variations / streaks, and is quite a cheery contrast to the otherwise darker greys and browns.

This little bowl was thrown by my pottery friend Cindy, who only recently has started throwing, and it has been a pleasure for me to watch her pieces progress to more beautiful and larger each time.  I wanted to achieve a "blue" look on this one, so I glazed it with Chun's Blue (a light blue) glaze inside, and sprayed it with Jane's Blue outside.  I then sprayed stripes of titanium dioxide, which was supposed to turn the Jane's Blue into stripes of green.  But instead I seemed to get two shades of brown, with only hints of green.  I wonder if I didn't spray the Jane's Blue thick enough.  Hard to know.  So many variables in this soda firing.  But I think the outcome is still nice, and I love the blue dripping down from the rim.  We don't otherwise have any drippy glazes for our Cone 10 firing, so I love anything which looks runny or drippy.

Overall, an interesting experience, and I'm glad I participated.  On my next soda firing, I will stick to whiter clays (my favourite being P570), and play more with Cobra, a much thicker coat of Jane's Blue, a much thicker coat of Gordon's #3, and more of the cheery Yellow Salt.  And more slip-trailed and poked pieces, I think.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Soda Firing - Teaser Photos

It was a long but rewarding day, especially this afternoon when we unloaded the soda kiln.  For my first soda firing, I was pleased with the results.  Here are a few teaser shots, since I'm too tired for my usual thorough posts.
Soda fired ceramic vessel with maple leaf imprints - pottery by Lily L.
Soda fired ceramic vessel with slip trailed design - pottery by Lily L.
Soda fired ceramic vessel with poking decoration - pottery by Lily L.
Stay tuned for more photos soon.