Friday, April 13, 2012

In the Studio

the drying luminaries

the three surviving luminaries, and a couple of carved vases.

It was a glaze firing week- so that means *goody*- some colourful photos on the blog- not just drying clay colour (though I snazzed up the sidebars a bit in an effort to give you something colourful or spring like to look at). Mostly mugs in this kiln, and I was really pumped that I love at least some of them. That's the one thing about Clay- you just never really know if the glaze is too thick or too runny or just right until it comes out of the kiln, and by that time it's usually too late to do anything about it. Unless there's not enough glaze which is easy enough to re-fire, if there's too much, or the wrong colour, or you accidentally had a smidgen of black glaze dust on your finger when you put that otherwise perfectly glazed robin's egg blue platter into the kiln, then too bad- that one black spot will just have to stay there (I think, unless anyone has a solution for that one?????)

So mostly a successful kiln, my glazes worked better over texture a bit thinned out, and I also mostly by fluke discovered an effect that I love- a Watercolour-y looking effect, where one colour sort of runs into another and the brush marks stay defined. I usually glaze by painting on- it's just easier for me to control- I get too spastic wild with dipping or pouring, though my official reasons for painting on glaze is as a nod to my painter's heart; I really love when you can tell how an item was made- you can see a seam on a hand built pot, or you can see the brushstrokes on a painting. I want to see the method used in the medium. I've had this brushy effect happen before- but only on flukey pots, that I couldn't recreate, and so I was thrilled when I found a way to do that on these mugs, and I was conscious enough when I glazed them so hopefully I'll be able to do it again.

I think I've also discovered that I love Plainsman's P370 clay- it's the one that I feel most comfortable with- and it's got a great finished colour, very classy looking clay, and it's a bit firmer so I find it easier to hand build with. I just started working with Tucker's cone 10 Porcelain clay too, I made a couple of vases out of it- which was okay, but it's pretty soft, so I had to let them harden up quite a bit. I did however make these luminaries and I'm hoping they will have a bit of transparency when I high fire them. The plan is for them to be transparent in the lace pattern, and if not them to shine out through the holes I drilled. I made about 50 thousand of them- but only 3 have survived so far- they're pretty thin and delicate.

I was hoping for them to be for a sale- but I suddenly got an idea about making lots and lots of them, and having on the floor of an art gallery somewhere. I seem to be drawn to handkerchiefs right now, and I think I may have to put together a body work with that in mind, maybe including my mom's wedding dress? I don't know it's still embryonic, and knowing that the next grant deadline in in September, and the baby is also due in September- makes me a little nervous, though not enough to stop thinking of it. so yeah...


  1. Lovely. I like the carved vases - whether they come out slightly transparent or not will be interesting.
    It must have been an Antique's Roadshow episode that taught me how to hold a teacup to the light to see - what? - I'm not really sure why you would do that. But wait. I do know that a 'made in Japan' tea cup that reminds me of a restaurant tends to show no light through it. And the ones that do show light through the sides and bottom, they tend to be most expensive and very delicate looking. Quality shows, is that it?

    1. Yes- Im not sure why you would want a transparent tea cup- but I think that has something to do with the quality- Higher porcelain content will give higer transparency. I suppose it could be considered higer quality to have a more porcelanous clay body-certainly it's chemically more pure, but I don't think that carries the same worth in today's world.

      It's a lot more fragile at any rate- because it has to be thin to be transparent. And way back when everything was made by hand throwing something so thin would be a real testament to the potters skill. Now that we use molds for teacups I'm not sure it's such a sign of quality exactly. And it will prbably burn your hand if you pour boiling wter into it- not so insular.

  2. Love, love, love all these things, too! Angela, you are sooooo talented!