Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Styrofoam Hump Moulds, More Plates, Some Glazing

Today was a productive day.  We had class #1 of our 2-class Styrofoam Hump & Slump Moulds course.  I didn't see the advantage of making the slump moulds at this point, so I made only more hump moulds (as I have 4 wonderful hump moulds from the course I took previously).

Linda suggested we try for 1 or 2, but I ended up making 3 hump moulds.  Two are a 2" deep oval, such as the one Linda used to make this deep casserole dish (with the beautiful glaze combination of Copper Red over Tenmoku):

The two ovals are sized so that the casserole dishes should easily stack together.  I didn't remember to take a photo.

The other one is a 1.5" deep soft round rectangle, which will make a wonderful sort of serving tray / platter.  I am pretty happy with this one, too.  Again, I didn't remember to take a photo.

That was my first 3 hours.  The next 4 hours or so, I did some trimming and glazing.  I am super happy with how these trimmed plates turned out :
Beautiful carved and stamped ceramic plates - WIP by Lily L.
The top one, I had stamped the rim on Sunday, but when I trimmed it, I also trimmed a spiral into the center.  I like how that looks.  I hope I can find a glaze which will do it justice.

The bottom one, I had made it Sunday with the spiral inside, and was planning to stamp the rim also, but I let it dry a bit too much, so instead, I used my trimming tool to carve the rim.  I really like how it turned out.  So much movement in the piece.  Again, I hope the glazes will do it justice.

I intentionally glazed one of my dark brown clay pieces, and hopefully it will be fired soon, so I will see it before I need to decide on these plates.  If the results are not spectacular, I should really do some test tiles, or create a piece which I can sacrifice to a number of glaze experiments.  Here is the brown vase, with a bit of black stain in the stamped pattern.  I want to see if it will show through my selected glaze.

I then glazed a few of my stamped mugs, which have been waiting patiently for me since I finished them in July!  I look forward to having a few finished ones for Hemlock Coffee Co.  (Hmmm, I thought I posted about them previously, but anyhow, they have some of my pieces for sale, and I have a feeling the mugs will be something their customers may enjoy).

Here are a few of the mugs, glazed, and awaiting firing :

The weather was really dismal today, raining heavily, so it was really good to be in the studio with good people and busy with so many items.  I can't imagine a better way to spend a rainy day.

Monday, October 16, 2017

More Lids

Every class with Fredi is so packed with new ideas and approaches.  I am really pleased with how much I am learning and exploring.

I tried out another method for making the smooth-profile lids which I am currently fascinated by.  Last week we learned to start from a closed form.  Today it was thrown in two pieces, and then fit together.  Mine actually fit fairly well :
After a bit of trimming, I had this :
I then did a bit of decorating with white slip, but forgot to take photos - and even forgot my pot outside (I was letting it dry in the breeze), and was lucky that when I phoned my instructor, she hadn't left yet, so was able to pull in my pot for me.

I am enjoying the challenge of making plates, so threw 2 more.  This one dried enough to decorate :

Since there are no finished pieces - or test tiles - with the H440 clay, I hope to glaze and fire a couple at a time, so I can learn what works and what doesn't.  I even considered making some test tiles, so I can try out more glaze combinations.  Maybe Wednesday.

While the leaves are still on the trees (not for much longer!) I have also made a few more leaf dishes and totem pieces :

I am hopeful that my 2 day course on making hump and slump moulds will go ahead this week and next week.  When I checked on Sunday, only 5 of the 10 spots were filled.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Finishing Up those Lids and Plates

I am really pleased with what I've been learning in my Lids class.  This Wednesday, I finished off the pieces I started on the weekend.  Due to Thanksgiving holiday and plans to be away, it would otherwise have been 2 weeks before I get to the pieces, and they may have been too dry. 

The new lid method I learned was a success, and I was able to cut and coax those pieces together, and then trim them so they fit seamlessly.  It was my friend Roma's idea to add a small stamp, which also helps in case there is a position of the lid which fits best (which seemed to be the case).
I'm really excited about this method, and can't wait to make some more closed forms to try it out again.

I trimmed the marbled vase.  I like how the cross comes through clearly on the bottom :

For the plates I threw, I stamped the third one :
I finished all three plates with a simple foot.  Although I hope to throw some more which I will finish with a pedestal foot.

This little pot, I threw from the clay which I was using as a chuck for trimming my brown plates :

And this pot was too plain, so I flattened out the front surface, and Roma lent me one of her stencils, which worked out perfectly, I think :
I think that's about it.  When I get back to the studio, I will be throwing more but also hoping glazing a few pieces, so I will have a few finished items to look forward to soon.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Learning to Put a Lid on It

It was very sad that our raku class was cancelled today, especially after I rushed to get my pieces made and glazed last week.  Apparently I was the only one.  So now I will need to wait until November, to fire them.

On the positive side, I was able to attend the 2nd class with Fredi Rahn.  The course name is "Lids, Caps and Covers", but I like to think of it as "Put a Lid on It".  I have been learning so much, I can't believe it.  Last week she showed us various types of lids, and various types of containers which could receive those lids.  I learned one which I have never seen before, which I was very excited to try out.  So last week I threw one container with two different styles of lid :

Then I tried to throw a closed form, but didn't quite manage to close it, but created a very pleasant shaped vase anyhow:

This week I trimmed and finished those lids, and was very pleased with how this one turned out :
It was difficult adding those texture lines, as my profile tool was wider than the lid, but I somehow managed.

I knew I wouldn't like the sunken lid for this pot, but since I followed Fredi's advice, and recorded the measurements, I could at a later time go back and threw another pot for this lid.  I think it would work well in a tea pot.  Although I've made a few tea pots before, and I know how much work they are.  So unless they are in the shape of a dragon or have dragons climbing on them, I don't think it is worth my while.

After that, I threw that closed form which I was attempting the prior week, and pushed in a groove with my sanded-down popsicle stick.  This was the method I was very excited to try, as I love that shape and low profile lid which looks like it is integrated with the piece.
Just before class ended, I cut along the bottom of that groove, and tweaked both pieces a bit so that they fit together.  Next time I'll trim them on the outside so they meet seamlessly.  I am excited at how this may turn out, and with this possibility.  I think I see a lot more of this lid method in my future.

After that, I decided to throw a few plates (it was open workshop, not class, at that point), since I had made a few nice ones recently and then tossed them off the balcony.
I threw one with the grey clay, and then switched to this beautiful brown H440 clay, and threw two more.  I was really happy with how they turned out.  But then the real magic happened when I decided to stamp the rims :
I don't know how that brown clay responds to glazes, so unless anyone has any glazed already, I made need to actually do a few glaze tests to decide how to glaze these plates.

My friend Roma wanted to trade for a bit of my brown clay, so she could threw some marbled pieces.  Look how beautiful they turned out :

Mine was a little bit of white marbled into my brown, but much less successful.  I guess I was pretty busy working, so didn't even stop for a photo. 

I am exciting about all I will learn in this course, and about the many ideas I have swirling in my head, which I want to explore also.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Back at it Again, And Ready to Raku - If it Goes Ahead

Lots has been happening in my pottery world recently.  I took a three day Throwing Intensive course with Jay MacLellan.  It was really intense.  At the end of the session, we threw all our work (anything we hadn't cut in half to examine the wall thicknesses) off a stairwell, into a tarp below.

Since I can never let go of anything, even if it cracks or appears to have failed, so I was expecting that it would be really difficult for me to throw my work off the stairwell.  But I was surprised that instead it became a very freeing experience.  I threw some of my best pieces so far, during this session.  I think in large part because I allowed myself to push my limits.  After all, I had nothing to lose.

I was pretty pleased with some of the feet I trimmed :

...and pedestal / footed plates :

Jay gave us a "throw big" challenge, and I threw 15 or 20 pounds of clay, into a really big pot :

It was funny, but he offered that if I wanted to keep it, I could.  I declined, saying that if I could throw it once, I could throw it again.  And I was very proud of myself for letting go of it.  Here is a number of my pieces before the toss :

...and after the toss :

During the Intensive Course, I discovered that not only was there not enough time to throw and bisque fire work in the first week that we returned, for the raku firing on October 1, but we were now expected to glaze our work in advance also.  So I either needed to created some work very quickly, or drop out of the raku firing.  I decided to create some work.  I threw two pots from reclaimed sculptural clay, and took them home to carve them, and return them to the bisque the following day :

It didn't take me long to carve them, but it took more than 6 hours to glaze those two pieces :

So I hope they are not lost or stolen, or broken during the firing!  I also glazed a few more items today, so I've got my full allotment, in case the raku course goes ahead :

I say "in case", since the course has taken others by surprise also, and of the 10 people who signed up for the course, it has dropped to 5, and Jay told me today I'm the only one who has shown up to glaze my pieces.  So I have a strong feeling it will be cancelled.  Which would be a shame, since the weather is incredibly beautiful at the moment.  And if I leave these for the raku course in November, I'm sure the weather will be rainy and miserable by then.  Not to mention, I had hoped to have a few of these pieces back in time to give them as a birthday present.  But it looks like that won't likely happen now.

Anyhow, it is good to be back, even if just partially.  I have my Lids course with Fredi on Sundays, followed by a drop in workshop.  The Lids course will be really great, as that's not something I currently do much with, and we already learned SO much in the first class I couldn't believe it.  But on Wednesdays, sadly there was no course offered, so I only have the workshop.  The full truth is that there was a Monday and Wednesday course offered, but like me, I think many of the people who are not retired yet, only have Wednesdays as their pottery day.  Or Mondays.  Not both.  So that course didn't get enough participants, and was cancelled.  Leaving a gaping hole in the pottery schedule, and resulting in almost nobody at the drop in workshop today (only 3 people - all retired - throwing in the studio, and me glazing in the kiln shed).

Saturday, August 5, 2017

More Finished Pieces from the Summer

I've posted the pieces from the Tony Clennell workshop, and my leaf plates, and the big dragon pot.  I'm posting a few more pieces, which I picked up recently, before the studio closed.  It will reopen in September.  There are a few more I have not taken photos of yet, and it's too late now to get good lighting, so they'll need to wait for another time.

Double walled floral ceramic vessel, pottery by Lily L.
1) I really like how this piece turned out.  It has the look of a wood or soda firing, and I love the variations in colour and visual texture of it.  It was thrown from 2200g of P570 white clay.  I seem to recall I was trying to thrown a double-walled vessel so that I could carve the outside wall, and have the inside wall for a vase or something.  But by the time I joined the two walls, it ended up being in a shape which was not suitable for carving.  For in progress photos see this post.

Anyhow, the floral design really works for me.  I decided to spray it in Ash Yellow glaze, which was a favourite glaze recently, and then I sprayed an accent of Tenmoku glaze, which really makes this piece eye-catching, I think.

Large textured ceramic pot, pottery by Lily L.
2) This is the first of my pieces from the "Go Big" challenge.  It was thrown in 2 pieces, and you can see how I combined and decorated them in this post.  It was thrown from a total of 6300g of P570 white clay, and then decorated in thick slip.  It is glazed with Ash Yellow, and then highlighted with Deep Blue and Tenmoku Glazes, applied with a sponge.  It is still a bit wonky, but it turned out okay.  It is 14" tall, which is a pretty impressive piece of pottery, for me.  Of course, I ended up doubling the weight on the big dragon pot, but that was simply unexpected.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Finished Pieces : Enormous Dragon Pot from this Summer

I've posted my Tony Clennell inspired pieces and the leaf (and snake and roses) plates...  I still need to post the remainder of my pieces from the summer, except the set of 7 large mugs and a few other items I still need to glaze, and ran out of time.  One which I may use for the Raku firing in early October.

But tonight I was to post the big dragon vessel which I threw back in May 2017, and have been allowing to slowly dry, and then it needed to wait while the gas kiln at Shadbolt was replaced.  It waited so patiently, but I am super happy to have it done - without any cracks - and home.  It is currently sitting on our fireplace hearth in the living room.
Enormous hand thrown ceramic three-dragon pot, pottery by Lily L.

Huge hand thrown ceramic pot adorned in dragons, pottery by Lily L.

Huge hand thrown ceramic pot adorned in dragons, pottery by Lily L.

Huge hand thrown ceramic pot adorned in dragons, pottery by Lily L.

Gigantic hand thrown ceramic dragon pot, pottery by Lily L.
I was nervous about glazing it, but I think the glazing worked out perfectly.  I sprayed a bit of Ash Yellow on the dragons.  So when I covered the whole piece in Tam's Green (one of my new favourite glazes, for sure), I was hoping it would "break" on the dragon spines and details, to reveal some yellow.  I think it shows through a bit.  The eyes are Red and Black underglazes, coated in Clear glaze.  They turned out perfectly.  Beyond my expectations.

Here are the three dragon faces.  I tried to make each one unique.  Which one is your favourite?
Dragon faces from gigantic hand thrown ceramic pot, pottery by Lily L.
Before our instructor, Jay, demonstrated throwing a similarly size pot (also in 2 pieces), I had never even seen such a large pot being thrown.  I could have never imagined that I would throw such a piece, and then finish it so perfectly.  I don't know how I'll match this feat.  But I'm sure some day I will match and surpass it.  That's what's so wonderful about pottery.  There's always more to learn and try.  And I have a big backlog of ideas in my head, waiting for the opportunity and skill to make them a reality.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Finished Leaf Plates and Decorative Plates from this Summer

The summer session at Shadbolt always seems so short, as the studio is closed from late July until mid September.  Which makes my season for leaf imprinting on clay short also.  So this session I decided to make some clay bowls from hosta and hydrangea leaves.

I ended up with 4 leaf plates, all built from a slab of B-Mix clay :
Beautiful leaf ceramic plates with frogs, snakes, and ladybugs, pottery by Lily L.

Here they are, starting from largest to smallest :
Beautiful hosta leaf ceramic plate with frog and snake, pottery by Lily L.
1) This hosta plate is adorned with a little frog.  It's funny that I didn't keep notes on the glazing, but I guess I was in a rush that day.  I seem to remember using Matt Green glaze on the frog, leaving his eyes unglazed, in Yellow and Black underglaze.  I then waxed him and dipped the leaf in Tam's Green.  I really like how the Tam's Green turned out.  It is a very natural color for a leaf.  The little snake underneath is unglazed, with Yellow and Black underglazes to accent the eyes and snout.  He's a sweet little snake, and works nicely as a foot for the plate.

Beautiful hosta leaf ceramic plate with ladybug, pottery by Lily L.
2) This hosta leaf plate features a single ladybug, which is finished in Red and Black underglazes.  He is very cute.  The foot is itself a little leaf.  The plate was hand brushed in a Green underglaze, and the bug waxed (he's not shiny), then then whole thing sprayed in Clear.  It turned out a cheery aqua colour.  Not too different than a blue hosta leaf, but I think I prefer the Tam's Green result better, myself.

Beautiful hydrangea leaf ceramic plate with ladybugs, pottery by Lily L.
3) This hydrangea leaf plate is adorned with two ladybugs.  It is the same aqua green color, which was created from the Green underglaze sprayed with Clear.  The bugs are also glossy, so I sprayed them clear.  Here are the little ladybug faces, just after applying the Red and Black underglazes :
Beautiful hosta leaf ceramic plate with ladybug, pottery in progress by Lily L.

Beautiful hosta leaf ceramic plate with ladybug, pottery by Lily L.
4) This little hydrangea leaf plate features a single ladybug, and a swirly foot (for someone who is scared of snakes).  When I waxed the little bug, I ended up dripping a bit of wax on the plate.  So instead of scraping it off, I dropped a few more spots, and I really like the effect, it looks like little spots where the leaf has been damaged by an insect or disease.  I will remember this for another time.  It is Tam's Green, and the ladybug was waxed before dipping, so it is a matte finish.  Very nice all around.

I also played with a few other slab built ceramic plates, decorated with stamps and snakes and such.

Beautiful handmade stamped snake plate, pottery by Lily L.
5) This little snake plate is wrapped in a snake on the top, as well as adorned with a tiny snake on the underside.  I love it so much, I could scream.  I really want to make more like this one.  It features some of my handmade stamps, in various patterns, enhanced by Deep Blue and Khaki glazes before being sprayed Clear.  And the snake as well as underside, I brushed in Green underglaze before spraying with Clear.  I really like the color combinations.  Both snakes' eyes are Yellow and Black underglaze, although the Yellow has pretty much faded out, even though it is a high fire underglaze.

Beautiful floral stoneware plate with a snake surprise, pottery by Lily L.
6) This tiny bowl is adorned in red roses, but bears a little surprise underneath.  I love it too.  The little snake is so unexpected on this one.  It is Red underglaze, Deep Blue glaze, and sprayed Clear all over.  Beautiful vivid colors.

Beautiful stamped stoneware plate, pottery by Lily L.
7) This little plate is decorated with my handmade stamps, the colors highlighted with Deep Blue and Khaki glazes (the Khaki was also brushed on the back and rim), and then the whole plate is sprayed Clear.  I have a feeling my sister Rose would like such a plate, so I'll check with her first before giving up this little beauty.

I still have more photos to post, but I'm running out of steam tonight, so I'll stop at the plates for now, and post the remaining photos another night.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Finished Pieces from Tony Clennell Workshop

I picked up a lot of finished pieces today, including those from the Tony Clennell weekend workshop, and I was VERY pleased with the results.  I think the glazes are finally working for me instead of against me.  Here are the beauties from the Tony Clennell workshop, and I will post the other pieces another time.

During the workshop (which was 3 days, but we took a 4th day to finish up), I created 4 large pieces, and 4 mugs.  All turned out well beyond my expectations.

Let's start with this covered casserole dish...
Tony Clennell inspired large covered casserole pottery dish by Lily L.

Tony Clennell inspired large covered casserole stoneware dish by Lily L.
1) This casserole dish was thrown from B-Mix white clay.  It was very stiff (and the P570 white clay which I love because it is buttery smooth and soft was sold out), but I managed to throw it.  The base was thrown as a shallow dish from approx. 2300g of clay.  The top part was thrown as a bottomless bowl, from 2200 g of clay, and attached.  Then the pedestal and the lid (approx. 2000 g) were thrown from the same clay.  The handles on the side were thrown as a ring, and then cut in half and attached.

It is decorated on the sides with thick slip. The glaze is Ash Yellow, which gives the look of a soda fired vessel, and has some beautiful visual texture.  I sprayed it lightly in spots with Khaki, which gives it a slight blush.  But even under the lid, which I don't remember spraying with Khaki, I have some beautiful blush of a rusty color.  It couldn't have turned out more beautiful, in my opinion.  When it was bisque fired, the handle on the top of the lid had popped off, but very cleanly.  So I took a chance and attached it with glaze, and that did the trick.  I'm very happy about that, as I had already accepted that I may end up with a lidless casserole, which would have been a shame, since it is such a beautiful lid.  The little dimple on top is something I learned from Tony, it makes it easier to grasp the lid.

I made another one which is very similar, except it features a large thrown handle :
Tony Clennell inspired large bowl with thrown handle by Lily L.

Tony Clennell inspired large bowl with thrown handle by Lily L.
2) This big fella was thrown from similar amounts of B-Mix clay.  My notes say it was 2300g for the base, 1400g for the top, 1400g for the thrown handle, and 600g for the pedestal.  The big handle was thrown as a ring, cut in half, attached together, and pinched to give the join more compression, as well as to create a beautiful spine on the handle.  (It reminds me of my big dragons.)  I really like the beautiful swirl on the inside, and also the line which I added on the pedestal.  I had also added some dramatic Tony Clennell style loop handles on either side of the big handle, but they had cracked off during the drying process.  We all seemed to suffer some losses, probably since we were rushing so much to finish everything, and it was a very hot and dry day when we were working on the pieces, so they were quite dry already when we combined and added attachments.  I'm glad they popped off cleanly, leaving no trace, so it looks great without them.

The glaze is again the Ash Yellow, which performed beautifully.  My notes say I sprayed a bit of Khaki as well, but I see that it was just on the underside, which has a slight blush.  Beautiful.  And I used Deep Blue to accent the fine line on the pedestal.

And the final one thrown and assembled in a similar manner :
Tony Clennell inspired large pedestal bowl by Lily L.

Tony Clennell inspired large pedestal bowl by Lily L.
3) This big fella was thrown from Columbia Buff w/ Grog clay, 2300g on bottom, 1800g on top and pedestal of approx. 700g (which I later cut down since it was too tall).  It is glazed in Tenmoku, and then Copper Red added inside.  It is a bit dark for my liking, but I knew this Tenmoku + Copper combination would produce an interesting result, and it didn't disappoint.  It is quite swirly, which is what I was hoping.

This is my final large piece, which Tony demo'd as a pitcher, with a spout and handle.  But I couldn't get myself to create a pitcher.  I had decided I would like to add two handles, but in the rush to finish, I decided I liked it without any handles, just as a simple vase.  It is more versatile that way, right?

Tony Clennell inspired large pottery vase by Lily L.
4) This big boy is a full 14" tall.  It was thrown from B-Mix clay in 3 pieces :belly (2600g), top (probably 2/3 of that), and closed pedestal.  It looked a bit too weird (the proportions looked wrong to me) when finished, so I added a very gritty slip to it as decoration.  The glaze is Ash Yellow, then sprayed in the middle with Khaki.  I really like the resulting rusty color, I think it matches the rough texture very well.

Then my 4 mugs, which I experimented with applying very different glazes :
Tony Clennell inspired stoneware mugs by Lily L.

This first one is very rustic, suitable for a cabin :
Tony Clennell inspired stoneware mug by Lily L.
 5) This rustic mug was thrown from 700g of the Columbia Buff w/ Grog clay.  The handle is pulled to one side, suggesting a snake, or perhaps a horse tail.  It is surprisingly comfortable.  And the little decorative button on the top of the handle (with seashell pattern) begs to be a thumb hold.  It is finished in Ash Yellow glaze, with Deep Blue accents on the handle and seashell.  I love the variation in colors and the heavy freckling.  It really looks like something which would come out of a wood firing.

Tony Clennell inspired stoneware mug by Lily L.
 6) This mug is also 700g of the Columbia Buff w/ Grog clay.  It has a simple rustic bottom, but appears sleeker and more refined than the previous mug.  It is glazed in Copper Red, which I dipped, and then double-dipped the top half.  I haven't had good success from Copper Red in the past, usually ending up with white, but this is a beautiful Copper Red result.  Very rich and even hinting at being drippy.  I really love it, and  again it is surprisingly comfortable, and I really like the spiral embellishment on the handle.

Tony Clennell inspired stoneware mug by Lily L.
7) This was also thrown from 700g of Columbia Buff w/Grog.  It features a trimmed bottom, which I prefer.  The glaze is Carbon Trip Shino, which is so unpredictable, but usually beautiful.  Surprisingly it came out mostly the same color, except the rim is shinier than the rest of the mug.  The color is really rich, I think because of the high iron content in the clay.  It is a bit funky to drink from, with those pulled up sides, but I think it could become a good friend to someone.

Tony Clennell inspired stoneware mug by Lily L.
8) This is probably my favourite of the 4 mugs.  In fact, it may become my mug at work, as the (commercial, mass-produced) one I have now is a bit chipped.  It is a bit smaller than I'm used to (the other easily fits 14 oz), but it has a really beautiful feel, is artistic, but refined.  It has a trimmed foot which is pushed in in 4 spots, to mirror the rim which is also pushed in, to form a sort of floral shape.  Thus the embellishment on the handle is floral also.  There is a nice swirl inside at the bottom, and the Tam's green glaze is rich but elegant.  Yes, I think this one will need to come to work with me.

Speaking of mugs and pottery, I am ECSTATIC to announce that Hemlock Mountain Coffee Co. in Agassiz is now carrying my pottery.  If you are ever passing by that way, make sure you stop in for a coffee and browse their giftware.  They have excellent online reviews for both their coffee and their service.

I just stopped by their Facebook page, and was excited to see my pottery in a couple of their photos :
Pottery by Lily L, featured at Hemlock Mountain Coffee Co in Agassiz BC

Pottery by Lily L, featured at Hemlock Mountain Coffee Co in Agassiz BC

I brought home a lot of other exciting pieces (many of which will end up at Hemlock Mountain Coffee Co., I'm sure).  One piece which will NOT be for sale, at least for the foreseeable future, is my beautiful beast of a vase featuring three winged dragons.  I will post more photos next time I have a chance, but here is me after just arriving home, beaming with joy that it survived both firings, and the glazes look amazing :
Amazing dragon pottery by Lily L, featuring winged dragons.
Stay tuned.