Thursday, March 9, 2017

More Finished Pieces : Sodium Silicate Vessels, Dragons and Marbled Items

Continuing on from my previous posts one, two, three and four of the finished items I've picked up from my Spring Ahead garden pottery course, here are some more pieces I was able to pick up yesterday :

The batch includes a few pieces finished in Shino, a hatching dragon, and a number of sodium silicate vessels.  I'll start with the sodium silicate ones, starting from small to large...

23) This little fella was thrown from WSO/sculptural clay, and then a mixture of black slip, texture slip, and sodium silicate was applied.  It is glazed inside and on the rim with Amber Celadon.  Then it was sprayed with Clear (after I waxed the Amber Celadon part, so it would stay that strong brown color).  It is interesting that the black slip ended up a very dark turquoise blue.  Quite pleasant, in my opinion.  The foot is trimmed in my signature double/triple rings.  I really like that foot.  The texture is very rough, but the glaze seals the piece, so it doesn't feel like the decoration will crumble off.  Quite pleasant all around.

24) This one was prepared in a similar manner, but stamped with stars before pushing it out.  It is glazed in White inside and on the rim and the bottom and on the stars, then sprayed Clear on the sides.

25) I just went and looked at this one again, since my notes indicate that is was sprayed Celadon all around (including inside).  Sure enough, there is a slight hint of a blue colour, but it almost looks like a Clear glaze.  Again, the black slip changed to a very pleasant dark turquoise.  This one features star stamps also, but it is more subtle, since I didn't highlight them.

26) This is the piece that started to slump as I was pushing it out, so I needed to hang it upside down to revive it.  So it is all the sweeter to see this piece completed successfully.  It was also sprayed in Celadon all around, very lightly.  I experimented with another multi-ring foot on this one, which I also enjoy very much.

27) This is a fun little piece.  It has alternating panels of bright Red (underglaze), and bright Red spots on a crackly background.  I highlighted the cracks with what was Forest Green, but it has since turned to a tan brown tone.  It is finished inside, on the rim, and on the foot (isn't that foot gorgeous?) with Amber Celadon, and then the glaze was waxed over, and I sprayed the sides Clear.  I really like the bright and light-hearted color combinations.

28) This one was thrown from H550 grey clay, covered in Turquoise slip, and stamped with my handmade spiral stamp.  It is glazed Amber Celadon inside, on the rim, and on the foot (again, isn't that a gorgeous effect?).  I then waxed over the Amber Celadon, and sprayed the sides with Celadon.  Very pretty color combination, in my opinion.

29) This is my largest sodium silicate piece, and probably my favorite.  It was thrown from 2600 g of H550 grey clay, and features the plum blossom stamps, and lots of crackle, which I highlighted with Forest Green stain.  I glazed the blossoms and rim and bottom edge with White glaze, and sprayed the sides Clear.  The only plain thing about it is the foot.  I don't remember why I just trimmed a plain foot.  It would look so much cooler with a multi-ringed one.

It is so beautiful, I think it deserves another photo:

I have in my notes that there are two more sodium silicate pieces out there.  One was the piece which is currently on student display, and the other must still be in the kiln, as I haven't seen it back yet.  Anyhow, continuing on with my other pieces.  These next few were thrown from recycled bits of P570 white, H550 grey, Williamette Yellow, and even some brownish clay (not sure what that was, maybe some slip mixed in).

30) This one is mostly the grey and white clays, with a bit of the brown near the top.  It cracked during bisque firing, radiating out from where the stamp was applied.  I glazed it anyhow, with Carbon Trap Shino, and the crack deepened, but didn't break all the way through.  So it is just a decorative accent.

31) This one is a mix of the grey, white, and lots of yellow clay.  It is sprayed Carbon Trap Shino.  I really like the rich color, the subtle but noticeable marbling, and that handsome foot.

32) This wonky bowl is also a mix of grey, white, and yellow clays.  It cracked slightly (not all the way through) in the bisque firing, and I sprayed it with Carbon Trap Shino.  Very nice.

33) This one was a mixture of the grey and white and a few spots of the brown clay (near the top).  It is glazed with Amber Celadon inside and on the rim, and then sprayed Clear on the outside.  The marbling is there, but a bit too subtle for me.  I do like the two smears of what appears to be a deep blue color, which seems to be the black or brown slip reacting to the Clear glaze.  That is a nice effect.

And finally, for now, a few little dragons :
34) This little dragon is formed from Little John clay, and is hatching from a P570 white clay egg.  I love the smooth feel of the white clay, so I left it unglazed.  He is accented with Forest Green eyes covered in Clear glaze, and touched up with Kingsmill stain.  He is wearing a little piece of eggshell on his head.  I'm so impressed that it stayed on.  This is a cute little piece.

35) This little dragon and his egg are both formed from Big White sculptural clay.  He is touched up with Red Iron Oxide, and his clays and spikes are glazed in Amber Celadon.  The cracks in the egg are highlighted with Black stain/underglaze.  He lost two toes while moving him to the greenware shelf, but I just stained and glazed those, and put them on a bit of clay wadding, and they are fine.  I'll just need to glue them back.

That's all for now.  My notes tell me that I still have that one piece on student display, and 7 more to pick up.  We'll see.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

More Finished Items : Totem Pieces

Continuing through the finished items from my Spring Ahead garden pottery course (see preview, first set and second set), these are the remaining items which I've picked up (and if I make it to the studio tomorrow, there should be more to pick up).  Most of them are pieces for a garden totem, which I hope to assemble soon (maybe once the snow has cleared!!) :

17) This piece was thrown from approx 1600 g of H550 grey clay, and the grooves were formed with my hand while throwing.  It was dipped in Amber Celadon, and then overlapped with Deep Blue.  But something interesting happened with the Deep Blue glaze, I suspect I had not stirred it enough.  I like the effect, but it came out almost like a Clear glaze.

18) This piece is either a garden ornament or a topper to a garden totem.  It was thrown from approx 1600 g of H550 grey clay, and then altered while still quite soft, to have a sort of floral pattern.  It is glazed in Ash Yellow, and then I highlighted a bit with Khaki (although I'm not sure it shows).

19) This totem piece was a challenge to myself, to throw a donut, from 2100 g of H550 grey clay.  It turned out pretty beautiful.  I took advantage of it being an outdoor piece, to use the Sombright Green glaze (which is not considered food safe).  The holes are both to one side, so it will sit funkily on the totem, and also the rebar won't show through.  I can't wait to try it out.

20) This piece was thrown to accompany the donut, as it also has offset holes.  I intended to throw two such pieces, but didn't get to a second one.  When I went to glaze it, I realized I wanted glaze on all sides, so would need to leave a few unglazed spots for wadding.  Then I got the idea to make the unglazed spots into an intentional pattern (using wax), which I what I did.  I really like the contrast between the Deep Blue glaze and the unglazed H550 grey clay.

These two pieces belong as a set, with the ice cream being a topper for a totem.

21) The ice cream was thrown from 2200 g of H550 grey clay.  It was originally intended to be an acorn, but it went wonky, so I hand altered it while soft, to form those delicious swirls.  It is glazed in White.

22) The cone was thrown to match it, and glazed with Gordon's Shino.  As it was dipped, it went on too thick, and is mostly white, not the orange tones which I was hoping from the Shino.  Next time I'll stick with Carbon Trap Shino, which has given me better results, and will probably spray the glaze, to better control the thickness.

I hope to have more tomorrow.  According to my notes, I have a whopping 22 more pieces which have been glazed, and are either waiting to be fired, or to be picked up.

Monday, March 6, 2017

More Finished Items : Dragons and Slip Trailed Items

Continuing from where I left off on my finished items from the Spring Ahead garden pottery class, here are more finished items, and there are more on their way soon.  All items bear my signature stamp.

This class (and workshop) I made a number of dragon items.  You've already seen the dragon hatchling from the raku course on the weekend.  I also made this little hatching eggs:
What do you think?  Which on do you prefer?

5) This egg was thrown from 1200 to 1400 g of Big White sculptural clay.  It is sprayed with White glaze, and the claw brushed with Amber Celadon glaze, and Copper Red glaze on the nails.  Next time I should brush more layers, to achieve some red.  All I got was white.  But they still look pretty good.

Here are a few more views of this little hatchling :
Dragon hatchling ceramic egg by Lily L.

Dragon hatchling ceramic egg by Lily L.
7) This egg was also thrown from 1200 to 1400 g of Big White sculptural clay.  I left it unglazed, adding only Kingsmill wash to the claw (applied heavier on the nails).  I really like the rough feel of this one, and the natural colours.

8) I added a third dragon mask to my collection, this one an old grizzled male with little curly horns.  It is hand formed from Little John clay (a very beautiful rich-coloured sculptural clay), with a bit of P570 white clay marbled in.  The eyes are Forest Green underglaze (with maybe a lighter green mixed in) and glazed Clear.  The horns are Red underglaze with Clear glaze coating.  And the remainder of the mask is either left untouched, or stained with our Kingsmill stain mix.

9) This little bottle was thrown from a reclaimed mix of P600 porcelain and WSO sculptural clay.  The swirly design was slip trailed in White slip.  It was dipped in Gordon's Shino glaze.  I'm not very happy with the colour scheme, but I like the variations across the vessel.

10) This little vessel was thrown from reclaimed P570 White clay.  The design is a combination of a sprig leaf and white slip trailing.  It was dipped in Amber Celadon glaze, but the result is not very typical of Amber Celadon.  I suspect I hadn't stirred the glaze enough.  But it's interesting to get such a matte effect from Amber Celadon.  Some parts appear darker and shinier, where I poured it out.

11) This is the Carbon Trap Shino, and the colour range which I find quite beautiful.  It is thrown with P570 white clay, and the swirls from slip trailing white slip.  I have "Malcolm Davis" written in my notes, but this is Carbon Trap Shino.

12) This is a similar vessel, but with a hollow rim.  It has a very beautiful feel to it, light and balanced.  As does the previous one.  This one was Deep Blue glaze, sponged off, then finished in Pumice Celadon (dipped).  Very pleasing result.

13) This big boy was thrown from a marbled mix of P600 porcelain and WSO sculptural clay.  It also features a hollow rim.  It is glazed inside and on the rim with Khaki glaze.  Then I wanted the marbling to show through, so I sprayed the piece in Gerstley Borate.  It is an interesting effect.  It feels fairly smooth, but also very natural.  I'm intrigued by the tan colour, I would have expected more white, but I like the result.

14) This piece was thrown from H550 grey clay, and was just a bit too imperfect for me, so I decided to embrace the imperfection, and carve a pattern into it.  I really love this pattern.  Our Sombright Green glaze is not considered a food safe glaze, but as this is not a vessel which would likely be used for food or drink, I decided this would be a great piece to try it on again.  I was  delighted by the outcome.  I sprayed it, but intentionally sprayed more at the top (to get the green), and less on the bottom (to get the brown).

15) This bowl was thrown from P570 white clay.  I seem to remember it was a bit lop-sided (maybe the bat-mate moved on me, I can't remember), but I ended up pinching the rim into a sort of floral pattern.  It is glazed with Amber Celadon all around, with Copper Red added to the inside.  I guess the Copper Red was not thick enough, it teased me with only a hint of red.  But I'm really pleased with that smeary runny pattern inside.  I will definitely try this combination again.

16) This planter has an interesting story.  I was planning to add sodium silicate to a slab, crackle it by whacking it against the table to stretch it out, and then flop it into a mold with the crackly side out, to get a planter.  But unlike the recycled clay which the rest of the class was using, I used H550 grey clay, and when I added the sodium silicate, and tried to pick it up, it crumbled to pieces.  So I worked the clay a bit more, and tried again, and this time, was barely able to pick up the slab, never mind whacking it on the table, and it crackled into the mould.  Then I worked the edges for quite a while, so that they looked like they wouldn't crumble.

I had in my head to finish it like this, with black stain all around, and glaze just in the cracks.  I discussed it with a couple of the instructors, and they seemed skeptical of my approach.  Which gave me all the more resolve to try it out, and prove that I could do it.  Which I did.  It was stained black, then I waxed the surface, and applied glaze, which settled mostly in the unglazed cracks, and then I wiped a bit of the excess off with a sponge.  I really like the bright blue, it looks like a molten inside, ready to ooze through the dry black exterior.  I will definitely try something like this again, and with different clay which may be easier to handle.

I will stop there tonight, as I am quite tired, and save the totem pieces (and other things I may pick up soon) for another time.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Great Raku Workshop Results

Today I spent most of the day in a raku workshop run by Tony Wilson.  It was a really fun day, despite waking up to a couple inches of snow...

...and dreading that the workshop might be cancelled, and then enduring freezing cold snow and rain all day.

There were lots of challenges today, due to the weather, and a number of pieces cracked or blew up in the kiln, mostly from not drying enough after glazing, even though we preheated them all on the top of the kiln.  Thankfully, none of my 3 pieces exploded, and they all came through the process spectacularly.

Starting at the result, here is the first pot, a pot of many colours :
A) I knew this one would take me some time to glaze (which it did!) so I had already pre-taped the lines on the pot ahead of the workshop.  Here are a few process photos :
I am really pleased with the range of colours, contrast of matte to shiny, and iridescence.

This pot was thrown from 2600 g of WSO clay.  For the records, the raku glazes I used were : 881 Oxblood (that bright red), Yellow underglaze covered with Clear Crackle glaze (I think I need to apply the glaze thicker), #5 Red Bronze Lustre (probably my favourite glaze, it is the green crackled one), PG816 Flame Blue, PG803 Copper Penny, and the two glazes brought in by a fellow student Marsha : Burgundy Matte and Molly Blanding.  I'm not absolutely certain which is which, but pleased all around with the result, and anyhow there are huge variation in the results from one firing to the next, so I don't try too hard to anticipate the exact colours and textures I'll achieve.

The second one, which got a lot of attention, was this little dragon hatchling :
B) I was very pleased that he made it through the raku firing in one piece, as this was created in two parts, from Big White sculptural clay.  The glazes I used were #5 Red Bronze Lustre for the eyes, #2 Copper Red for the face (which turned a very beautiful green and then goldish green), and Clear Crackle glaze for the egg.

Here it is from a few different angles :

And the third is this pierced candle holder.  I like to make pierced vessels for raku, to reduce the temptation to use them to hold water or food, as neither is advised for raku work, as the clay (which was fired only to 1860 degrees or Cone 06) is not considered vitrified enough to be food safe.
3) This candle holder was thrown from 1600 g WSO clay, trimmed and pierced.  I then taped it off to be able to use a pattern with a few different glazes.  In this case, it was the 881 Oxblood at the top (love it!), with Copper Penny along the top (triangles), Clear Crackle in the middle, and #5 Red Bronze Lustre on the bottom.

It is interesting that the Copper Penny went so shiny copper this time.  I'm not sure I remember so much copper in the past.  As did the Red Bronze Lustre.  It is part shiny copper, and part of the crackly green which I have come to expect from it.

Here are a few more angles on this piece, including one pale process photo :

As always, there was lots of fire and smoke and excitement, and I'd like to share a few photos I took, of the process.  Think of a strong smoky campfire smell as you look at these, and a cold damp wind, and you will get a pretty good sense of today :
Here, the pieces (none of mine in this batch) have reached 1860 F (we actually went to 1870 F), the gas turned off, the top lifted, and someone is ready with tongs to remove the first piece.

The pieces (this one is my dragon in the egg still red hot inside) are placed one by one onto a "nest" of newspaper and sawdust, and then a metal bucket with newspapers strips and more sawdust is place on top.  Since many of the buckets had holes in the bottom (not to mention in the sides!), a fire-proof top was placed on them (something like a kiln shelf material).

Somewhere in the first 5 minutes, the pots were "burped".  That is, tipped up, so the smoldering contents would spontaneously fire up again, or most of the time they were helped with the blow torch.  Then they were covered again, to wait for an overall period of 15 minutes.  Then they were carried with tongs to an area to be hosed down with cold water.

Here both my candle holder and my dragon hatchling are being hosed down, and the brilliant shiny and somewhat iridescent colors are starting to show on the dragon.

Finally, when the pieces are cool enough to handle, they are carried inside, where we all compare notes about what glazes we used, and unless we have good notes, we're usually not sure how we came to the results we did, but most of us were very surprised and pleased.  Other than those whose pieces exploded in the kiln.

I am so much looking forward to a future raku workshop again.  I think I'm signed up for one in August, if I remember correctly.  But I'll join any which I can fit into my schedule.  It is so much fun, and I can't imagine much better ways to spend a day, even in the rain.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Last Class and Looking Forward to Raku Workshop

Yesterday was my last Spring Ahead garden pottery class, and other than a few pieces which I held back for the raku workshop this coming weekend, I finished glazing all my pieces.

It was slow going, as many of them were the sodium silicate vessels, and I was trying all different combinations of stains and glazes, both brushed on and sprayed.  I was reasonably happy with that first set of finished sodium silicate pots, but I think this next set will be even better.

Among the pots were a few dragon hatchlings, like this little character.  He was fun to accent with a few different stains / underglazes.  But to spray his egg, I needed to mask the little fella.  He was not very happy about it, but he obliged.


Here are a few more sodium silicate items, before being sprayed :

I still have more finished items to post photos of, and if all goes well, I'll have a few pieces to post on Sunday night.  I hope the weather cooperates.  There are more forecasts of snow, and it was very cold rain today.  I've been through one raku workshop which was gloriously warm and beautiful, and the other an absolute downpour, where we ended up drenched, and cold all day.  So I hope if it's still cold, that at least it is clear on Sunday.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Finished Items : Triangle Platter and Sodium Silicate Vessels

Before I get into the new items, I want to start with that triangle platter which has been on display at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts for the past few months, and finally came home with me on Monday.

This one was made using one the styrofoam moulds I made in a weekend course in Sept 2016.  I have been very pleased with how these worked out, and hope to make more platters from them in future.

A) This little beauty was made from B-Mix clay, and textured with a roller, as well as a variety of my handmade stamps from a few years back, which have textured a lot of pieces for me.  The texture is highlighted with Deep Blue and Amber Celadon glazes, which were subsequently wiped off, and the whole piece was sprayed Clear.  Which is interesting, since it seems to have a bluish tinge, I would have guessed it was sprayed Celadon.  Since it was created from a slab, it has a nice uniform weight to it, and will make a lovely serving platter.

Now for the new pieces.  All of them bearing one of my signature stamps.

First of all, I have a set of pieces crackled with sodium silicate, and decorated with plum blossom stampers.  I tried to finish them in a variety of ways, so I could discover which ones I liked the best.  These are the first 5 which came home with me on Monday :
And one by one...
1) This one was created using white slip over H550 grey clay.  Once bisqued, I used Forest Green underglaze to highlight the edges of the flowers and cracks.  But I otherwise left the white slip unglazed.  Then it is dipped inside and top and bottom in Matt Green glaze, and the plum blossoms are highlighted in white glaze, so they are shiny against the crackly matte background.  I think this is my favourite of the five.

2) This one was also created from H550 grey clay, but crackled directly (no slip).  My notes and photos indicate that I used Forest Green underglaze again, although I wouldn't know from looking at it now.  Red underglaze highlights the plum blossoms, and it was glazed inside with Matt Green glaze, and the outside sprayed Clear.   I generally like the look, although I would have preferred a more greenish tone rather than the brownish tone which resulted.

3) This one was crackled with turquoise slip, and then after bisque, I waxed the surface lightly and stained the cracks with Black stain.  Then it was dipped inside, top and bottom in Amber Celadon, and the plum blossoms highlighted with Amber Celadon also.  I like that contrast between the matte soft turquoise, and the shiny bold amber celadon.

4) This one was green slip on grey clay, although again I wouldn't have known it if my notes didn't tell me so.  The blossoms were highlighted in white slip.  After bisque, it was glazed White inside and on top.  Then the outside was sprayed in Gerstley Borate, so it has a slight sheen to it, but is not shiny.  I like the feel of this one.  It doesn't feel as delicate and crumbly as the previous 3.  So I think I will glaze / seal my remaining pieces, rather than leaving the clay or slip exposed.

5) This one was also finished with green slip, but has no glaze or seal to it, so it turned out totally different than the previous one.  Fascinating.  It was dipped in Khaki glaze, inside, top and bottom.  I like the contrast, again between matte and shiny, soft and bold.  Although this one is a bit on the dark and brooding side.  I think I prefer the cheery whites and reds.  But that's the whole point of trying different treatments and glazes, to discover what combinations worked for me.  And I wouldn't be surprised if different people preferred different ones also.

I think I'll leave it there for tonight, as it's been a really long stressful week, and I need some sleep now.  I'll post more as soon as I have a chance.