Sunday, February 19, 2017

Marbled Vessels

Today was another "bonus" pottery day, as I went into the studio on a Sunday afternoon.  It was a rainy day, so I guess a lot of other people had the same idea.  All wheels were taken, and a couple of people were turned away, since there was no more room.

I had in mind to throw a few items from WSO / sculptural clay, for my raku one-day course in March, and then rework and revive some odd bags of clay which I had in the garage for too long.  But when I got there, I realized I should tackle the old clay first, since it may need some time to either soften or firm up.  So I started dumping bags of clay onto the table, and wedging.

I ended up mixing together P570 white clay, H550 grey clay, Willamette Yellow clay, and a little bit of brownish clay (I think it had some brown slip which I had trimmed or something like that).  The result was pretty pleasing.  I made these 6 vessels :
...and this bowl, which was a bit wonky, so I wonked it some more, to look intentional :
Here's a better look at those pieces :
...and a couple at a time :
(I made sure that wheel wasn't plugged in, before loading my pieces there.  And that was the "stand up" pottery wheel which I've never seen anyone attempt to use, even on a day like today when there were no other wheels available.)

I guess I'll be busy trimming these 7 pieces on Wednesday.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Final Egg Hatching - Sort Of

I asked my 16 year old tonight what he thought I should do with that remaining egg.  I have created two dragons peeking out (see this dragon hatchling and this one), and two with just a claw poking through.  He suggested something like the little eggs at Easter with feet on them.  I replied that the clay was heavy, I didn't know how I would be able to make it stand.  So he suggested that they could be sitting down.

I don't think this is ANYTHING like he was imagining (based on the expression on his face when I showed him the work in progress), but here's my attempt at feet, and then a tail so it doesn't appear to be bird feet :
It's not quite done yet.  I will create some cracks around the feet and tail, and maybe even where the head would be, so it is more clear that this is an egg, rather than a sculpture which I abandoned part way through forming the body.

Here it is from another angle :
It's not my favourite at this point, but it's pretty fun, I think.

11:45PM update :  I guess I couldn't sleep without finishing this one, so here it is.  I think I'm done now :
 Yes, that's fun!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Short Pottery Day

As I was buying more clay at Shadbolt Center this morning, there was already talk about a snow storm, and afternoon and evening classes were being cancelled in anticipation.  I was glad our morning class was not affected, as it seems like a long week since I was last in the studio.

I decided that before starting new work, I would finish up some of my work in progress.  So I started with trimming this pot which I plan to use for the raku firing (and save the decorating for the glazing step) :

I then decided to continue with glazing my many pieces which have been bisque fired already.  With the sodium silicate pots, I tried to think of various ways to glaze them, and hopefully will end up with some nice results.

For the turquoise slip ones, I decided to add a black stain, to accentuate the cracks.  In one case, I applied wax to the surface first, and in the other, I was just careful not to apply too much stain to the slip-covered areas, since I had already learned from a classmate that when wiping off the stain, the slip was inclined to wipe off also.

So here are a few of the pots, in various states of being stained and glazed :

I was making good progress with the glazing when we heard that Shadbolt was getting closed down, due to the snow warnings, and snow already starting to fall.  So we only got about an hour into the drop-in workshop, and needed to pack it all up, and clean up.  Such a shame.  But I did manage to glaze enough pieces that hopefully they will be fired in the next couple of weeks, and I might be able learn from the results before needing to finish the remainder.  We'll see.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Funky Dragon Hatchling

I am pretty pleased with this little hatchling.

I have one more egg, which I hope will hatch soon.

Tomorrow I look forward to being back in the studio.  I had hoped to go in on the weekend, but it was closed due to snow.  So I can't wait.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Claws and Eggs

I so enjoyed that egg with the claw poking through, that I made a sibling for it.
This time I left the claw only for a couple of hours to firm up, so I was able to maneuver it into position more easily.  I am pleased with the result.

The egg on the left is the fresh one.  The one on the right nearly dry (thus the change in colour).  I can't wait to finish these pieces.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hand Building and Glazing

Before I talk about today, I had a second egg start to hatch :
Pretty fun.  I made the claw in the evening, and let it dry overnight, draped over a toilet roll, and added it to the egg in the morning, when it was firm enough to handle :

Today was a long but productive day again.  Our instructor, Jay, wanted to demonstrate assembly of clay lanterns / bird houses / whatever using clay slabs and wooden molds.  While I was waiting for the demo, I started the piercing of the candleholder which I will fire in the upcoming raku workshop :
It was really moist clay when I cut the little windows, so I let it firm up a bit while I made one of the lantern shapes, and then returned to clean up and finish it.  Here it is at the end of the day :
I think it will make a very nice candle holder.

I already made one of the big lanterns last year, with my elaborate clematis design.  Here it is, displayed in the garden (although it has come to live above the kitchen cabinets, indoors) :

So this year, I decided what I need more than another lantern, would be a large base for another ceramic totem, since I already have a number of totem pieces on the go and finished previously.  So I ended up making an obelisk shape :
It was pretty easy to assemble, using Jay's wooden molds :

When I decided on the obelisk shape, I looked up obelisk in Google Images, and found out that many of them featured hieroglyphics.  I had no such stamps, and didn't want to spend a lot of time hand carving hieroglyphics (even if I knew what I wanted to express), so I ended up borrowing my friend Roma's rollers, and then adding an Egyptian themed sprig (which I made in a previous course) :
I'm pretty pleased with the result.  It has a hole in the top and bottom, so will be a great totem base.

With 1.5 or 2 hours remaining after finishing these two pieces, I decided there was not enough time to make a wheel messy, and I was tired from the hand building on such a large scale (and pretty much already finished off my bag of clay), so I decided to get a head start on glazing.

It was quiet and peaceful in the kiln shed, but the glazes had not been used for a long time, so I ended up doing a lot of stirring, as I probably used 8 different glazes for the 6 pieces which I glazed.  But I was glad to make some progress, and know that some of my pieces will make it to the first gas firing.  Hopefully this weekend or next Wednesday I can do more building but also more staining and glazing, to keep pieces moving along.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bonus Pottery Day and More Eggs

It may have only been 4 hours today, but it was a wonderful afternoon with my hands in clay.  I was glad that my family agreed to let me go, and I wanted to make the best of it.  As usual, I was quite productive.  This time, making eggs.
I made 5 eggs, and then dried them just enough with the hair dryer to be able to flip and trim them by the end of the session.  They dented a little, but I was able to smooth them over with a chamois.

The two vessels from Wednesday, shown in the photo at the top, were also not dry enough to trim.  So I force dried the round one enough to trim it, and put the other one back in the cellar for another time.  As I mentioned before, I am thinking to use these for the raku firing.  The bulbous one, I plan to use thin strips of tape to create some sort of diamond or mosaic pattern, and then use different glazes in between.  The round one, I don't know if I'll glaze in a similar manner, or pierce it, to create a candle holder.  I find the candle holders to be quite practical.  Like this beautiful candle holder which I made for my sister.

Anyhow, I decided to bring a few eggs home, as my experience has been that if I leave clay eggs in the kitchen long enough, they tend to hatch, as experienced here, and here, and here.  Sure enough, one has already started hatching tonight :
What do you think?  I think I'll be happy if they all hatch.  :-)

Oh, and I should add that I checked out my crackly planter.  I was thinking to add feet to it, but when I checked it out today, I thought it looked quite fine the way it was, so I decided not to mess with it.