Friday, June 24, 2011

Birds for Joyce

Even though I have been trying to practice throwing on the wheel at the pottery studio, I still love hand-building. I made a set of small, shallow dishes for Joycie recently by using slabbed clay (the studio has a slab roller) and plaster forms.

They are squarish bowls, about 5" diameter and only about 1" depth.

My thinking when making them was to use them for olive oil dipping for breads, because we love that... a good olive oil, a nice spice and some balsamic vinegar. Yum.

I ended up making her a set of 9 because they all stayed intact! A couple of them had cracked when I was making them because I dried them too quickly, but they all made it through the bisque and then the glaze firing just fine. So now she has extra.

I decided to paint on the dishes doing something from one of my favorite illustrators, Charles Harper. I love his work. I've mentioned him before on my blog, from the "Twenty Froggies" poem in Childcraft. I searched for images of his work on the 'net, and there were just so many of his birds I liked, that I finally settled on doing all birds... but then there were so many birds to choose from, it was difficult to narrow it down to 9! Have I mentioned I love his work?!

The studio uses a medium-fire stoneware clay, white. I made the bowls and let them dry, then I traced the birds onto the bowls with carbon paper (remember carbon paper?!). I then used underglazes to paint the birds and the outsides of each bowl. Underglazes are basically like colored clay, and you can mix the colors to achieve different colors... and pretty much the color you paint onto your greenware piece (prior to bisque firing, or on bisque if you prefer) will be the color on the final piece after glaze firing. This is much different than typical glazes for bisque which are made up of glass and chemicals, and where your green glaze will be a shade of gray until it goes through the final glaze firing in the kiln. After the bowls were bisque fired, the underglazed colors were very dull. I dipped each dish in clear glaze, and then after the final kiln firing, they were all nice and shiny. I like working with underglazes for detailed painting. Unfortunately, I can't draw, so I usually trace and then paint.

I surprised Joycie with them the other day, and she was pretty happy. Another something for her "hope chest"...

Mike liked them, too. I can't believe they are getting married in less than a year. Time flies! Like the birds...

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