Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Half Glazed

That's what I felt like today.  It was a very busy day.  My friends commented that I was unusually non-talkative.  In fact, I was quite focused, working through my pieces and glazes one by one, checking them off in my notebook.

I got some of the major pieces glazed today, including my 4 mugs and 4 large items from the Tony Clennell workshop.  I also glazed my monster pot adorned with three winged dragons.  I didn't take many photos today, but I managed to get a few of my dragon pot.
Big ceramic dragon pot in progress, pottery by Lily L.
Big ceramic dragon pot in progress, pottery by Lily L.
I'm going to leave the glaze as a surprise, but I wiped the glaze off the eyes, and dabbed them with a red underglaze from my friend Cindy, since I managed to pull my high fire underglazes out of my bag last time I went to the studio, and forgot to put them back in.  I hope it will work out, since it was marked as Cone 06 - 6.  Oh well, it will be a different color than the rest of the pot, which is the most important.  Fingers and toes crossed on this one, after so much work and anticipation.

I realized very quickly that I would not finish all my glazing in the 4 hour workshop.  I ended up with quite a number of smaller pieces which I will need to glaze (and stain many of them!) Sunday :
Ceramics in progress, pottery by Lily L.

In fact, even if I had finished my glazing, I still have those 7 mugs I finished last Sunday, which I moved to the kiln shed today, and hopefully they are ready to glaze Sunday also.  So Sunday will be a very busy day, as it is also the glaze deadline for getting the pieces finished this term.  Otherwise they would need to wait until September when the studio re-opens.  Not so desirable.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Getting a Handle on it

I spent the day today making handles for my 7 mugs.  Actually, only 6, since I decided not to add a handle to one of them.  Normally I would find that frustrating, to spend so much time on such an activity, but I found it rather therapeutic.  I think I see more mugs in my future.

My friend Mariana was going to extrude handles, so I ended up doing that (while she changed her mind and made hers from coils), and then altering them before attaching them to the mugs.  Here are my finished mugs, ready for the bisque firing :

Textured stoneware pottery mug by Lily L, in progress.
This one features the stamping, but also 3 grape leaves (so they can be seen from all sides).  I will need to stain the leaves so they are visible, otherwise they are quite subtle.

Textured stoneware pottery mug (or stein) by Lily L, in progress.
This one is my overly-poked mug, but I am still very pleased with the effect.  I may have gone a bit big on the handle, but I think it is fairly proportioned to the height of this one.  Looking at it now, I may have squared off the handle a bit more, rather than the round shape.  And this one looks a bit more like a beer stein than a coffee mug, for sure.

Textured stoneware pottery mug by Lily L, in progress.
More of a traditional shaped coffee mug, with a few types of poking.

Textured stoneware pottery mug by Lily L, in progress.
I'm quite liking this one.

Textured stoneware pottery mug by Lily L, in progress.
It doesn't show in the photo, but the two lines in the profile on the bottom edge is mirrored by two lines on the length of the handle, which looks rather smart to me.

Textured stoneware pottery mug by Lily L, in progress.
Again, a fairly traditional mug shape.  With some funky button embellisments on the top of the handle, which mirror the design :
Textured stoneware pottery mug by Lily L, in progress.
Hmmm, come to think of it, I also stamped one of the handles, where it attaches at the base, but I forgot to take a photo of that.

Textured stoneware pottery mug by Lily L, in progress.
This one seemed a bit large for a mug, even for me, so I decided to leave it as a small bowl.

I'm excited to play with a few glazes and glaze combos, and see if I can get some to play with my textures.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mugs and Poking

Today I was inspired to start 7 large mugs.  On the weekend I hope to clean up the bottoms (I threw them such that I don't expect to need to trim them for thickness/weight), stamp them, and add handles.

I was trying to throw them and introduce an intentional wonkiness to them.  With some success, but I wasn't completely satisfied with the result, as they were not as wonky and I had hoped.

Then a classmate borrowed some of my handmade stamps, and was raving about how much she liked them, which reminded me that my new stamps would be out of the bisque firing now, so I fetched them and tried them out.

Some of my latest stamps were inspired by the poking / stamping of Paul Lyon (see his Instagram account lyonclay).  He is the master of stamping and then using a gorgeous fluid glaze which ranges from golds and browns to a beautiful blue.  I'm always in awe of his results, and how many beautiful combinations he can generate with his stamping and poking tools.

Anyhow, I kind of went crazy with the stamping, but I loved the effect.  I hope I can find glaze combinations which will embrace and enhance the texture :
Handmade pottery by Lily L, in progress.

So here they are, the first and second :
Handmade pottery by Lily L, in progress.

...and third :
Handmade pottery by Lily L, in progress.

..fourth and fifth :
Handmade pottery by Lily L, in progress.

...sixth :
Handmade pottery by Lily L, in progress.

...and seventh :
Handmade pottery by Lily L, in progress.

I'm pretty excited to see these finished.

Oh, I should add that I got a nasty sting from a wasp this morning.  I inadvertently came too near their nest in the ground while weeding, and next thing I had a very sharp pain in the back of my right hand, and several wasps circling me madly.  It was very painful, but I didn't think much of it, since I don't really react much to insect bites.  Except this one.

As the afternoon went on, I first found it painful and difficult to make a fist or pick up anything.  Then it progressed to not being able to clench my fist or straighten out my fingers.  My hand swelled up quite a bit.  It is late at night, and my hand still seems to be about twice the usual thickness, and very painful when I move it.  I have purchased and taken some store-brand Benadryl, and hope that will reduce the swelling a bit tonight, so I can behave relatively normally tomorrow.

So I discovered that I needed to improvise quite a bit with the throwing, using my left hand a lot more than usual, and using different parts of the hand for throwing.  It was a sort of fun challenge, for one day.  But now I think I've had enough challenge, and will be glad when it is back to normal again.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

More Fun Plates... Leaf Plates

I had so much fun Wednesday making fun little plates with snakes on the bottom, that I decided to continue with more plates today.  This time, from leaf imprints.  I ended up making 4 plates today.

Ceramic plates from hosta leaf, nature-inspired pottery by Lily L.
This first one was created from a pretty good-sized hosta leaf.  I added a frog to it, and a snake as a foot.  Fun.

Ceramic plates from hydrangea leaf, nature-inspired pottery by Lily L.
These next two were made from hydrangea leaves.  They feature ladybugs on top.

Ceramic plates from hosta leaf, nature-inspired pottery by Lily L.
The final one is made from a hosta leaf, but also features a ladybug on top.

Here is a closer look at one of the ladybugs :
Closeup of hosta leaf plate featuring ladybug, pottery by Lily L.
Pretty cute, I think.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fun Plates and Handmade Stamps

I was awake early this morning, on my day off work, but managed to stay out of the garden, so that my stonemason could repair our concrete/stone steps in peace.  Instead I did some baking, and played with some clay, making some stamps, and clay marbles which will be eyes for my garden frogs.

Nature inspired pottery by Lily L, in progress.
I'll post better photos of the stamps once they're bisque fired, and I can try them out.  But they should be quite useful.  Same with the frog eyes.

I thought I would be able to load the stamps and marbles inside the big dove tree platter I made last week, but I had covered it too well, so it was not dry.  If I had thought about it, I may have forced it to dry in the beautiful sunshine today.  But instead I have allowed it to dry slowly in the cellar, and I'll transfer it to the kiln shed on Sunday.

So I decided I would do a bit more slab work, and make some smaller plates, and they could also carry my stamps safely through the bisque firing.

Nature inspired pottery by Lily L, in progress.
The first plate I made was this little one.  I tried out this silicone mold (designed for fondant, I believe), and lined the rim with little roses.  I think if they don't break off, this will look really good.  I made a little surprise underneath :
Surprise underneath - nature inspired pottery by Lily L, in progress.
Instead of a regular coil for a foot, it is a little coiled snake.  I am pretty happy with the result.  My pottery friends encouraged me to make more.  So the next plate also had a snake underneath:
Nature inspired pottery by Lily L, in progress.
...and a snake on the rim, encircling a design made from my handmade stamps :
Nature inspired pottery by Lily L, in progress.

My third plate was decorated with my handmade stamps :
Hand stamped pottery by Lily L, in progress.
...but no snake underneath, just a ring-shaped foot cut from a slab :
Pottery by Lily L, in progress.
For the fourth piece, I used the circle from the center of the foot in the previous piece, and added to it stamped pieces :
Pottery by Lily L, in progress.
The beauty of the little bowl is from the underside :
Hand stamped pottery by Lily L, in progress.
Not bad for a 4 hour drop-in workshop :
Nature inspired pottery by Lily L, in progress.
...and then I had a way to transfer my new stamps and marbles to the bisque firing :
I can't wait to get back on Sunday, and see what inspires me next.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Dove Tree Platter

I was happy to be back at the studio today.  I took the first 30 minutes just moving around some of my pieces from the Tony Clennell workshop, and getting myself settled and ready to start something new.  I decided I would do a leaf imprint platter using one of my styrofoam hump moulds which I made last year.

Unfortunately, I didn't have Linda's extrusion pattern which I had last time, to make the feet and rims, so I did my best with one which was there, but it needed some cutting and altering to make it work.

I was so busy, I forgot to take a photo of the foot while I had it flipped over.  My first photo is once I force-dried it a bit with a hair dryer, so that I could turn it right side up:
Beautiful leaf imprint ceramic platter in progress, pottery by Lily L.
The leaves are from my beloved Davidii involucrata (dove or handkerchief tree).  The dots are from the back of my sharpie.

With only 30 or 40 minutes to spare, I decided to go for it, to extrude and attach a rim.  I'm glad I did, although it was a lot of work to clean the extruder, and my table area, so I ended up being a bit late in cleaning up.  I didn't feel too bad, as a few others were even later, but I don't want to get into that habit of running overtime.

Here is the final piece, before carrying it downstairs to dry slowly :
Beautiful leaf imprint ceramic platter in progress, pottery by Lily L.
It's a bit faint to see in the photo, but I've got some lovely textures there.

I have two options in my mind for glazing it.  One would be typical of me, to brush Deep Blue (leaves) and maybe Amber Celadon (dots) glaze and rub off with a sponge, to highlight the texture.  Then spray the whole thing in Clear or Celadon.  The second would be to dip or spray the whole thing in the newly formulated Tam's Green, which is quite a rich colour, but would break nicely on the texture.  I think it would be more subtle, but still could be quite a statement.

I wish I had two platters, so I could try one of each.  Maybe I should make another one next week.  We'll see.  I have an abundance of good leaves this time of year.  I had wanted to do a fern one, but somehow  couldn't get a layout I liked.  So maybe that will be next week's challenge.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Finished Non-Soda Pieces : Bubble Glazing and Other Techniques

With both a soda class and a regular throwing class this term, I got a lot of pieces.  I was glad to be able to pick up most of my non-soda pieces last week.  The first one was already posted previously.  Here are the remainder :
Bubble glazed pottery by Lily L.
B) This is one of my bubble-glazed pieces, and I think it turned out spectacularly.  This vase was the one I threw in Jay's class, as an exercise, following another student's drawing, and then I added the carving decoration around the middle.  It was thrown from 1900g of 570 white clay.  It was glazed Deep Blue in the middle band, then white above and below, and inside.  Then bubble glazed with Deep Blue.  I had help from my friend Cindy, who turned the vessel and caught the bubbles, as I focused on blowing them without laughing (which was tough for me).

Bubble glazed pottery by Lily L.
C) This was another bubble-glazed vessel, thrown from 1000g of reclaimed mixed clay, with a bit of 440 brown clay swirled in.  It was thrown with a thin bottom, so not requiring trimming.  It was glazed all over with White, and then bubble glazed with Deep Blue and Amber Celadon.

Bubble glazed pottery by Lily L.
D) Continuing with my bubble-glazed pieces, this one was thrown from 1800g of white clay.  It was glazed with Gordon's Shino, which pretty much went white everywhere except on the rim and inside, where there are hints of orangy-brown.  It was then bubble-glazed with Deep Blue, and I added Deep Blue to the little rectangular accent in the center (which makes for a nice finger hold when picking up the vase).

This one made a nice house-warming gift for my friend Helen yesterday.  I filled it with peonies from my garden (complete with the usual accompaniment of ants) before taking it over :


Bubble glazed pottery by Lily L.
E) I really love this one.  The colors remind me of chocolate syrup on maple ice cream.  It was the bowl which I originally threw (1900g of grey clay) to be a foot for my enormous dragon bowl.  But when I assembled the other two pieces, they already looked large enough, and they seemed too heavy to rest on this open bowl.  I have since learned, at the Tony Clennell workshop, that a closed foot would be a better choice (such as that provided to my big vase).  So I ended up taking this big bowl, and carving some texture on the side, and then glazing in Bamboo, with Amber Celadon sponged onto the texture, and bubble-glazed onto the remainder of the bowl.  I love how the glaze ran a bit, and pooled as a rich dark brown in the center, on the softer yellow/brown of the Bamboo.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
F) I had 6 little yunomi or tea cups I had thrown and textured from the soda clay.  One had made it into the soda firing (see #1 here), and the others were glazed and sent to the cone 10 gas firing.  This is my favorite non-soda piece.  It was glazed with Amber Celadon and Deep Blue, which were gently wiped off, and then sprayed with Clear Glaze (including on the Inside).

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
G) This little yunomi was dipped in Amber Celadon.  It is our best glaze for breaking and highlighting texture, and never seems to disappoint.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
H) This little tea cup was dipped on one side in Amber Celadon, and on the other in Deep Blue.  I love that color combination.  You can see how the Amber Celadon highlights the texture so much more than the Deep Blue.

My notes tell me that I have two more little cups to track down, next time I'm at the studio.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
I) This planter / vase was thrown from 1500g of mixed clay, with a bottom which didn't need trimming (one of my early successes with this), but instead it was just compressed with my hand and soft rib.  It is decorated with Turquoise and Black slips, and then sprayed in Clear glaze inside and outside.  Since we don't seem to have any glazes in the studio which drip, I was glad to be able to get the black slip to drip and provide this effect.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
J) This one was my first experiment with applied inlaid sheets of clay to a vessel.  For a description of how this one was created, see the original post.  It was then glazed with Khaki inside, and sprayed Clear outside, to preserve the design.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
K) This one was thrown from 1100g of mixed clay, marbled with brown.  See earlier photo.  When I came to glazing, I was in a bit of a rush, and couldn't remember if I liked Gordon's Shino, or the Malcolm Davis Carbon Trap Shino.  One had provided great results in the past, and the other very disappointing.  I should have consulted my notes rather than listening to the advice I received, which was to use the Gordon's Shino.  It is now on my black list, and I hope not to use it again.   See #30, #31 and #32 in this post, for the shino effect I was hoping for instead.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
L) While I'm on the topic of how disappointing Gordon's Shino is to me, here is another vessel, which was beautifully marbled with white, yellow and other clays, but in my opinion, was ruined by the Gordon's Shino.  Next time I will remember (I hope!) to only use the Carbon Trap Shino.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
M) This is another of my vases which are decorated in a thick white slip.  Most of these textured vases went into the soda firing, with very good results.  But this one had a crack on the bottom (not all the way through), so I decided not to use my 2 cubic foot allotment for it, and glazed it in Ash Yellow glaze instead.  I like the result, and the bit of blush / orange on one side.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
N) This very thin plate/platter was created mainly to keep my leaf pendants/beads together in the bisque fire.  But it turned out pretty nice, also.  It was stamped with viburnum leaves from my garden, with black slip around the leaves, black stain to highlight the texture of the leaves, and then glazed Khaki on the back/underside, and Clear on top.  I like the surprise of turning over the black and white plate, and seeing the color on the bottom.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
O) I'm still playing around with techniques to create small ceramic leaves which my friend Shelley can incorporate into her handmade jewelry.  I don't like pendants which have a blank or unglazed back, and although I have some high temperature wire, it is some trouble to use.  So these leaf pendants are stained with black stain, and unglazed.  The leaf imprints are on both sides (one side shown in the top photo, the reverse shown in the bottom photo).  I'm happier with this, but thinking I want to introduce a bit more color...  To be continued, I'm sure.

Handmade sodium silicate crackled pottery by Lily L.
Finally, this photo collage is to celebrate my little sodium silicate crackled vessel which has been on display outside the pottery studio at Shadbolt Center for the Arts (in Burnaby, BC, Canada) for about 6 months now, and has finally come home.  It was not my favorite among all the stamped and crackled pieces (see some more crackled pottery in this post), but the most famous one.  :-)

Other than those 2 yunomi cups which I need to look for, I have a few bigger pieces which I am not rushing, so they are either drying, or awaiting glazing.  So I look forward to being allowed back into the studio soon to continue.