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.