Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ammonite and Raku Firing

Today was a gorgeous sunny day, and a very enjoyable raku firing.  I finally fired my big ammonite which I have been saving for a few months now.  But first we fired some of my smaller pieces.

This one was going to be a vase, thrown in two parts, and assembled :

But I didn't have enough pieces for the raku firing, so I finished them as two separate pieces :
I was very pleased with the little beaker shaped piece, which is unglazed black, with the frog glazed in Red Bronze Copper Lustre, which thankfully turned green.

The vase is Oxblood at the top, in the textured area.  In the lower part, I was debating whether to leave it unglazed (black), or to use the MultiColor Copper Sand, which is usually a very matte, gritty finish, with some hints of iridescent colors in it.  But today it decided to become a shiny copper.  Dang.  I'm not sure I like it yet, when I was trying for a gritty ultra-matte finish.

I also finished my snail shell.  It is Oxblood, Richard's Raku (clear crackle) over yellow underglaze, and the Richard's Raku glaze.  But funny enough, over the Columbia Buff w/ Grog clay, it turned out a flesh / pink color.  And even though I brushed two or three coats, I didn't seem to get it thick enough to get any crackle.  Overall, I am still pleased with this result, and the fine black lines I was able to achieve between the colors.

Finally, we fired the monster ammonite.  I had finished most of it in Multicolor Copper Sand, trying for a rough texture, and the cut / polished part of it in Oxblood and unglazed black.  But I was beginning to worry whether I would get a shiny copper ammonite.  I guess that could have been okay too, but just not what I was hoping to achieve today.

Here it is, out of the firing, getting doused with cold water:

... and sitting on the table in the sunshine :
It turned out partially a matte greenish / blackish color, and partially a shiny copper.  The red and black turned out nicely.  Although looking at it now, an iridescent finish there would have been okay also.  Maybe for the next one.  As I think there will be more in my future, even if these are very time consuming.  I am still very intrigued by this shape, and hope to explore it more.

As always, the raku didn't disappoint in terms of drama.  Heat and flames and smoke (it would be even more dramatic if I wasn't too lazy to crop my photos before uploading them) :

As always, the class was fully of inspiration, and it was fun to see the diversity of pieces :
Some of my favorites today were the silver birch vases.  They don't show well in this photo, but they were very knarly and natural, and the whites and blacks were wonderfully contrasted.

Perhaps this is a better photo:

This was also a delightful little piece, so refined in comparison (with the squished pots also, that is fun) :

Here are my four pieces again, taken inside, before bringing them home :

I spent some time tonight adding wires for hanging my 3 ammonites and 1 snail shell.  If all goes well, I'll find some time to hang them on my office wall at work.  I've been thinking of it for some time now.  I'll leave a spot for the one which is still on student display.

I also had a chance to pick up two mugs which came out of the gas kiln.  But I'll need to take photos and post those another day.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Some Sweet Pieces Find a New Home

I sold a few pieces recently.  So bittersweet to let them go, since both of them were favourites of mine.

This octopus trinket box, I had told myself - and my son - that I didn't plan to sell it at all.  But a friend from my pottery class asked for it for her nephew.  I am trying to learn the discipline of travelling light in this world (my instinct is to be a hoarder, and keep everything), so in a moment of determination, I offered it to her, and she accepted.  I gave her a very good price, half of what I would have considered selling it for in a store, but then again, they usually only give you 50% - 70% of the sale price.  So in that way it was reasonable.

So I took a few photos of my octopus, and apologized to my son, who gave me the idea of the octopus originally, and also told me I had promised not to sell it.  I'm happy that he will be in a home where he will be appreciated.  Not that he's not appreciated here, but I really do have a LOT of pottery already in the house, and much more on the way.

This is a weird angle, but kinda fun.

The other piece I let go was my little sugar skull from a workshop with David Robinson.  My good friend Roma wanted it, and she asked me early enough that I was able to ask her which glaze she wanted.  Her choice of Ash Yellow over the black slip and white clay was a great choice.  I'll use that one again.

Here are a couple more photos :
Good-bye sweet skull.  I have two more in progress, which I need to glaze and fire.  So hoping they will turn out as awesome.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Mickey and Minnie Platter

I don't think I ever posted the Mickey and Minnie platter I made for my sister, since I was keeping it a secret for Christmas.  So I'm posting a few now.

It was made from one of my styrofoam moulds and extruded rim and feet.  The handles were my from my imagination.

Here it is from the back :
I think the little Mickey and Minnie on the bottom are a cute finishing touch.

It may be dark in the photo, but it is B-Mix clay highlighted with black slip, and then sprayed Clear.

The Mickey and Minnie pattern was created with cookie presses, into which I brushed black slip (looking at it now, I should have watered it down a LOT), let it firm up, and then scraped it off.  The timing was tricky, as it needed to be dry enough to clean up these imprints, but also needed to be pliable enough to drape it over the styrofoam mould.

It now has a great home in my sister's house, surrounded by lots of other Disney stuff, including some Disney inspired pottery I've made previously.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Finished Mugs and Small Items

I took a few more photos today, of some mugs and other small items which I plan to provide to the good folks at Hemlock Mountain Coffee in Agassiz, BC.  I think the smaller items are more popular with their customers, and don't take as much shelf space either.

26) According to my notes, this mug was thrown from half of a mix of 900g "whitish" clay and 300g "brownish" clay.  My notes also describe the shape as "boring", although it has my fun wiggle wire bottom.  It was glazed in Ash Yellow (which gives it a rustic country look) + Daly Blue (which gives it a drippy shiny smooth surface).  I like the combination, and think I'll be exploring this combination again.

27) This mug was thrown from 700 g of H440 brown clay, but then I added a wavy pattern of white slip around the belly, so that the Daly Blue glaze would be brighter.  Other than flowing over and almost hiding the wavy texture, I like what it did for the colors, and the contrast between the bright cheery blue and the grainy speckly blue/brown on the remainder of the mug.

28) I threw this small bowl / cup a couple terms back, from B-Mix clay, and then pressed in trimmings from marbled brown/yellow clay.  It was glazed in Malcolm Davis Carbon Trap Shino, and I'm pleased with the gold highlights on the outside and the reddish inside.  Shino at its best.

29) This is NOT a small piece, it is a rather large set of nesting bowls.  I am very pleased by my first attempt, and how well they nest.  They were thrown from B-Mix clay, the sizes roughly :
 a) 4400g, 13.5 cm high, 29 cm inside diameter
 b) 2800g, 10 cm high, 25 cm outside diameter, 24 cm inside diameter
 c) 1900g, 8.5 cm high, 21 cm outside diameter, 20 cm inside diameter
 d) 1200g, 7.2 cm high, 17.5cm outside diameter, 16.5 inside diameter

The tricky part was judging where the foot was going to be, and the height of the subsequent bowl.  But they seemed to work out really well for first try.  I hope to try again some day, and make another set.

They are glazed in White, with an overlap of Daly Blue (which produces that soft lavender color).

30) I was originally aiming for a nesting set of 5 bowls, and the smallest one was :
e) 800g, 6.5 cm high, 13.5 outside diameter

But I crunched it while trimming it, and I didn't have more B-Mix at the time, so I made a replacement (just to get the measurements worked out) in Columbia Buff w/ Grog clay.

This little bowl taught me a lot about glazes.  Although it is glazed in the same White with overlap of Daly Blue, the look is entirely different than the nesting bowl set.  However, instead of the vibrant and smooth, almost two dimensional glazes on the B-Mix, the colors on this clay are so much more subtle, but with so much more dimension and feeling.  I have been really impressed with this clay, but I'm now in love with what it does with the glazes.  I need to make a nesting set with this clay.

31) I threw this sweet little box in one piece, pushed in a narrow band, and cut it, to create a tight fitting lid.  My notes indicate it was H550 grey clay, and I was waiting for some while until the Daly Blue glaze became available, before glazing it.  It did not disappoint.  It is glazed Bamboo inside, and on the bottom part of the box.  Then Daly Blue on the top part.  Such pretty colors, and freckles.

I think that's it for tonight.  I'm still making my way through my notes, trying to figure out which pieces I haven't taken photos of yet, and catching up on my posts.

One of the reasons I've fallen behind, is that somewhere along with way, I decided to create a simple website to highlight some of my favourite pieces.  I'm not particularly pleased with the result, but I do have a primitive website :

Monday, April 30, 2018

Now Where Was I?

I started posting some photos of finished work, whenever the weather provided some decent daylight, but life has gotten away from me lately, with a flurry of activities which have occupied my time.  So I'm taking a moment to post a few new photos now, and will try to catch up when I can.

25) This bowl was thrown from 2400g of Columbia Buff with Grog clay, which is currently my favourite in terms of throwing and hand building properties, and the beautiful speckles which show through the glaze, and that beautiful buff color of the foot.

I am a few weeks into Fredi's Vases class, and have a number of good pieces on the go.  This one was inspired by a technique which Fredi showed us, to produce an oval piece with lid.  The demo was to build a cage / frog on top for holding the flowers upright, but I decided to make it a solid lid, and dragonize it.

The dragon turned out a bit cuter than I had planned, it was originally going to be a fierce but sleeping dragon.  While carrying it up and down from the damp room, I discovered that it was a bit top-heavy, so added the feet for stability and tails as handles.  I really like how the handles turned out.

Recently, I've been working on some tree stumps, which may either end up as a stand for my sister for a sculpture she bought recently, or as the base for more garden totems.  Here are the first two (I say first two since I have a feeling I will be making more of these) :

I love the H440 brown clay, and think it will look great even unglazed.  So I added a bit of whitish slip to the top part of the stump subsequently, so I will not need any glaze for color.  This one was created from a 3000 g thrown tube, with top and bottom slabs added afterward.

For this one, I used 5000g of Columbia Buff w/ Grog clay, which was a lot of clay to throw.  I've attached the top slab, and still need to attach the bottom slab.

I'll put holes through both pieces, so they can be used as a totem piece, and that still won't affect their function as a stand.  Very happy with the results so far.

I've also got some garden globes / totem pieces in progress :

Cherry blossoms.


Carnations / peonies.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

More Finished Items from this Winter Session

We finally got a bit of sun, so I could take some photos in natural light.  Although it was still not bright enough, so most of them needed a bit of digital brightening.

First, I'll start with my 3 sea-themed lidded trinket boxes, from my course last Fall with Fredi, focusing on lidded vessels.  I was really pleased how this set worked out, and the glazes finally worked for me rather than against me.  I think my experimenting and detailed note-taking is finally paying off.

11) This octopus vessel is my favorite, and a few people have expressed interest in him already.  As with all 3 boxes, it was formed from a Willamette Yellow clay which was extruded or slab rolled.  It was quite a process, building the box, but by the third one I had fallen into a rhythm, and was really enjoying the process, even though quite time-consuming.  I'm very happy with the fit of the lid on all of them, it feels like a good quality fit, even though the box is naturally a bit off-square. The octopus was hand built using Little John clay.

The box is glazed inside and out with Bamboo, which is my favorite glaze at the moment for the iron rich clays.  The octopus was glazed by brush, four layers.  Then waxed by brush before dipping the piece in Bamboo.  Very time consuming.  It is the new Flambe glaze, with Deep Blue glaze accents.  I really like the color variations.  Too bad it doesn't show well in the photos.  And the eyes turned out really intense.  Quite stern, and it looks like he really is looking back at you.

12) The starfish also worked out really well.  It is again Deep Blue accents on top of Flambe, hand brushed and waxed.  I really like how the texture shows through the Flambe, which is white in spots. It really looks like the starfish is gripping onto the box, and it makes a great handle for picking up the lid.

13) The seahorse is really cute.  I like how the colors and visual texture on this one turned out also.  It is Ash Yellow glaze, with Khaki accents.

14) I think this piece would make a nice footed cake stand.  I started out making regular plates, but had in my mind to elevate one of them, and chose this one since it was a very large size (finished diameter is over 10").  So I fluted the edges and added the pedestal.  The glazes are white (all over) and then dips on the outside with Daly Blue.  I really like the soft blue color, and the purple edge that forms between the white and blue.

15) This one is also a footed plate thrown from 1700g of Columbia Buff w/ Grog clay, but it was a bit too flat to start out with, so it has drooped a bit on the edges.  Still functional, but funky.  I poked holes in it, as a possible piece for the pine needle weaving workshop, but didn't get it back in time.  But I still plan to do some weaving on it one day, when I figure out what types of branches / materials would be suitable.  My notes say that I dipped it in White and Daly Blue, but I'm pretty sure this is just Daly Blue with no White (otherwise I'd see the telltale purple color instead).  The Daly Blue is quite fluid, so those concentric ridges in the center show beautifully.

16) This plate was also thrown from 1700g of Columbia Buff w/Grog clay.  It is very rustic, with a sun pattern carved in the center, and is glazed in Ash Yellow with blotches of Khaki, and a highlight of Deep Blue on the back and edge of the rim.  It has a double concentric ring foot, and a really reasonable weight (some of my other plates are still a bit heavy for everyday use).  I am loving this result, and hope to make more variations on this theme.

17) This little mug was thrown from 700g of H440 brown clay.  Then I added a white slip ("Arlynn's") around the belly.  It is glazed with Ash Yellow, with Deep Blue drips from the rim.  It has a wiggle wire bottom, and a really nice weight to it.  I'm very pleased with the result, and it will make a good companion to someone.

For the first two ammonite wall hangings which I made in Tanis Saxby's porcelain course, I decided to apply a thick layer of stain, as I know from experience (do you remember Sedna, who went to live with my friend Miranda?) that the iron oxide will result in a metallic finish, much like an ammonite fossil which has been pyritized.

When I went to finish the first one, there was no Red Iron Oxide left in the container, so I used the Kingsmill Wash, which is based on an oxide stain, with some other ingredients added.  So I used the Kingsmill for one, and Iron Oxide for the other, so I could compare the results.
18) This one is my first ammonite, finished in the Iron Oxide.  It shows a few spots of brown where the Oxide was not as thick, and I like that variation.  I also love the "crud" which has collected toward the center of the whorls.  It is a beautiful shiny silvery finish.

19) This is the second ammonite, finished in the Kingsmill Wash.  It is also shiny, but a bit darker.  I really like the result also.  I think it will be an interesting challenge for me to finish each one differently, and if all goes well, I plan to use them to decorate the remaining blank wall in my office.  it will be quite a statement.

20) Returning to plates, next to that rustic sunshine plate, this is my next favourite.  It is thrown from 1800g of reclaimed B-Mix clay, with a pinched double rim (nice!), a spiral carved in the center, and a hand stamped border.  I used Black Stain to accent the stamp pattern, and then dipped it in Daly Blue, overlapping at the center.  Where it overlapped, the blue is richer.  It is a beautiful color, and nice result.

21) This plate was also thrown from B-Mix, hand stamped, and a spiral added at the center.  It was dipped in White and then overlapping Daly Blue, which produced the purple which I was hoping for.  At the back, I did a bit of chattering when trimming, which shows through the glaze, but doesn't show in these photos.

22) This plate was thrown from 1600g of B-Mix clay, and decorated with one of my handmade stamps.  My notes for glazing say "White + Daly Blue + Flambe".  So looking at it, I dipped the whole thing in White, then added Daly Blue in the center (which is why it is a mix of blue and purple), and then I highlighted the stamps (which look like flames to me) with Flambe.  The Flambe can range from white to red, so I'm happy I got a bit of red, but I would have perhaps liked a bit more red.  More of an "interesting" result than a "beautiful" result, but at least it's "unique".  :-)

23) I wasn't sure what I thought of this one when I picked it up, but it's starting to grow on me.  I love the matte and rustic bronze/yellow color, and the texture of the stamps, and that gorgeous three-ringed foot, but I wasn't sure about that screaming blue center.  But the more I look at it, the more I am enjoying that surprise center.  The plate was thrown from 2100g of B-Mix clay, and glazed in Ash Yellow and then highlighted in Deep Blue (with a few rings of of Ash Yellow where I rubbed off the Blue, as I had initially added too much to the center).  The handmade stamps hint at fossils, which complements that color and rustic look, I think.  The back features a lot of chattering marks, which show through the Ash Yellow glaze, and are even apparent in the photo (bottom left).

24) And for my last piece today, this mug was thrown from 700g of B-Mix clay, and features a wiggle wire bottom, and since it just seemed to "boring" to me, a little snail is gliding across the top of the handle.  I'm so happy he made it through 2 firings with his eyes intact.  It is dipped in Bamboo, and then Daly Blue across part of the mug.  But in this case, the Daly Blue seems to have almost disappeared into the Bamboo, leaving only a trace, which seems more purple than blue.  So this is probably not a glaze combination I will try again, at least not on a white clay.

I know I still have more pieces I haven't photographed, and I hope to pick up more tomorrow, so stay tuned.