Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Another Egg About to Hatch

I had the pleasure to pass through the Mall today, running errands (renewing my driver's license, etc), and this stone dragon sculpture caught my eye:
It walked around it several times, admiring it from all angles.  In the end, it wasn't the price tag which discouraged me (although $2,500 is a lot to consider), nor the fact that it was so heavy that I couldn't even pick it up, nor even the too-white alabaster horns, which didn't seem to me to fit with the soapstone sculpture.  In the end, I couldn't imagine where I would display such a huge sculpture (22" across).  So I walked away after admiring it, glad that I had at least taken a few photos.

It wasn't until later that I realized that the real reason I should not buy such a thing, is that it would be much more fun to build something like this of my own, out of clay.  I could make it a bit smaller, so I could find a place to display it.  And it would be heavy, but not too heavy to lift.

So I guess that dragon lurked in my subconscious mind, since I suddenly found myself with this large ceramic egg in my hand tonight. 
I suspect it will hatch in the next couple of days, and I suspect it will reveal a dragon inside.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Styrofoam Hump Moulds Weekend Workshop

I am exhausted, but had a wonderful weekend in a workshop with Linda Doherty, building Styrofoam hump moulds, and using them to build ceramic dishes / bowls / platters.

On Saturday, we made a huge pink mess cutting Styrofoam, first with a jigsaw, then using surform tools and sandpaper (and pieces of screen door), to form the moulds.  We were each allowed to make 3 moulds, in 1", 2" and 3" material.  I managed to work quickly and squeeze in a fourth one.

Here they are, at the end of day yesterday :
Hand made styrofoam hump moulds for clay platters / pottery.
You can see that the oval and triangular moulds are 1" thick, the octagonal one is 2" thick (I think that will make some nice serving / dinner plates), and the hexagonal one is 3" thick.  That will be a really deep bowl.

The two smaller moulds, I have covered in pantyhose / nylons, to protect the mould, and make it easier to pull out from inside the clay.  For the bigger ones, I will either need to find bigger pantyhose (or use the body section, not the leg), or just sprinkle with cornstarch when I use them.  Today I just sprinkled with cornstarch.

Today we rolled clay slabs, and tried out our hump moulds.  There would have been enough time for finishing two of them, but most of us started three, and didn't finish them all.  I was very happy to finish this serving platter, with a dragon scale / fish scale pattern to it :
Dragon scale serving dish created from my handmade styrofoam hump mould.
I'm very happy with the handles, which my friend Teena helped me make, as she could see I was panicking with only 10 minutes left in the class.  I hope the top one in the photo is not as off center as it appears in the photo. 

Here is the platter from the bottom :
Bottom of oval serving platter in clay / pottery.
I like the foot, I thick it looks pretty clean.  I didn't have time to cut out a divet on each side, so I may do so next time I'm at Shadbolt, if it's not too dry already.

The other two platters, I still need to add an extruded rim (or at least clean up the edge, if I decide not to add a rim).  Here they are from the back :
Ceramic serving dishes formed over styrofoam hump moulds, in progress.
I am really happy how those extruded feet worked out.  Very sharp looking, in my opinion, and it will make it easier to get one's hands underneath to lift it.

I don't have a photo of the inside/top, since I haven't flipped them over yet.  That will be on next visit.  But both will be textured inside, something like this :
Textured clay slab, many of the stamps my very own creation.
I can't wait until I can finish them.  And I look forward to trying out my very deep hexagonal mould, although I can see that this one may be quite hard to wrap the clay onto, if I start with a flat slab.  We'll see.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Masks on Display - At Home At Least

After cluttering our dining room table for too long, we finally hung the first 3 finished masks this weekend.

The two green men / leaf masks are hanging in our covered deck, where I can see them while eating breakfast, but they are under the protection of the overhang.  So they should rarely encounter any rain.  Wind may be a different story, but they are fairly heavy, so hopefully that should never be a problem.
Bob Kingsmill inspired pottery green man masks by Lily L.
And from a couple other angles :
Bob Kingsmill inspired pottery green man masks by Lily L.

Bob Kingsmill inspired pottery green man masks by Lily L.

The first dragon mask is in our family room, above the fireplace where I have my dragon collection :
Bob Kingsmill inspired pottery dragon mask by Lily L.
It looks surprisingly small on that wall.  We hung it to one side, to allow for the second mask to be hung beside it.  And I think there is lots of room for 2 more above those, in case I ever want to make more.  Just in case.

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.