Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pottery pots

I've finished a lot of pieces since the end of 2007 that I haven't posted about, so here's a start.

This orange bowl is one I made by using a slab of clay over a plaster mold. I painted it using underglazes before the bisque firing. Once it was bisque fired, I sponged on a couple of coats of clear glaze. Unfortunately, in the glaze firing, a couple of small spots "shivered"... the underglazing and the clear glaze came off the pot. So I repaired it as best I could and then put a nice coat of a crackle glaze on it all over, again with a sponge, not a brush. After the 2nd glaze firing it came out quite nice. I don't know why the crackle glaze is called "crackle" because there is no crackle effect... it's just glossy clear. You can still see the spots, but it's got a nice coat of clear on, so we can use it for serving food.

I have been wanting to make bowls to use for serving food, and since I still cannot start to learn how to throw pots on the wheel (because of my neck), using the plaster molds is a nice alternative. It feels kinda like cheating, so I try to get creative with the handles and the design. To get the colors for the orange pot, I mixed different underglazes together, so the orange is a nice darkish pumpkin orange, and the outside is a pretty cream color. I did the same for this pot, on which I used the same plaster mold and I have named... meet "Lucy"...

You can't tell as well in the photos, but the deep rose pink on the inside is not all a solid color, it has varying shades in it, and the outside is a much lighter shade of the same rose pink. Unfortunately, as is my MO, I got a little too heavy-handed with the clear glaze, so it got a bit "milky" on the black. Oh, well. Can't be helped now.

I have another pot in the works for serving food, and this one is made from a round plaster mold. Again, I painted it before the bisque firing with underglazes, and it also looks like it shivered in 2 spots... but actually, it kinda looks like it may have been bumped or scraped against another piece during kiln loading or something. I hate to "blame" the person who loaded the kiln for mistakes to pieces, because I prefer to think they are taking the utmost care... but the spots look more like the underglazing was rubbed off, not shivered off. When the piece has not yet been bisque fired, it's called greenware. It's just dried clay. The underglaze is like colored clay. So if one dried clay piece is rubbed against another dried clay piece, or the side of the kiln, the underglazing will most definitely be affected. But anyway, the color I used turned out to be really ugly... so I'm just going to use an opaque glaze over it, so the 2 spots won't matter.

And here is a piece that I call the song pot. It looks like I made it from leftover pieces, but I didn't... I actually planned it out like this. Well, sorta. The whole pot did not turn out like I envisioned, and it also drooped a little in the bisque firing. I carved onto it some lyrics of bits of songs that our family always used to sing together in the car when I was a kid or around campfires, to this day. After bisque firing I coated it with red underglaze and then sponged it off, leaving the red in the lettering and other depressions. I then sponged on lightly a coat of this glaze called "Ginger Blue" which looks mostly like a brownish orangeish rock color. Really pretty glaze. Then I sponged on a light coat of clear. I tried not to glaze over the red underglaze on the outside because I wanted that to be the matte red color, with the rest of the pot to be glossy. I was envisioning colors of autumn. But this is what I got...

I made it for my Dad and Mom, so I was deeply disappointed when it came out of the glaze firing. The red is not dark enough (though I think it is darker than it looks in these photos), so I didn't like that either. I wanted to use red because my Dad likes the color red. I contemplated a 2nd glaze firing, but that makes the pot more susceptible to breakage, and this pot was already drooping (I must have made some pieces heavier than others). So I took it home as it, and my sister, Kathy, saw it and liked it. She said the glossy glazed parts look pearly, and once she mentioned that, I could see it. Some of the "blue" from the Ginger Blue turned lightly grayish-blue under the clear coat and it does have a pearl effect. I guess if you didn't know what I had in mind, you wouldn't expect it to look drastically different than it does.

So I gave this song pot to my folks afterall, and they both really liked it. They liked reading the pieces of songs, knowing the importance of them to me, my childhood, our family. It was fun to give it to them, and I'm glad they thought it was pretty, even though it did not turn out at all as I had originally planned.

That's pottery! You never know what's going to come out of the kiln, and truly, that is the fun part. Even disappointments are ok, they become achievements or challenges. I'm so glad I'm back to doing pottery now, even though it's not as often as I would wish. It's definitely a stress-reliever for me, so I am making some time for it each week. I have a lot of other finished pieces yet to post photos of... so more pottery posts coming up. I do not promise when.

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