In my first ceramics course, my classmate Angela stamped her pieces with a beautiful copy of her signature. I was intrigued, and found out that she had ordered this custom stamp online. So I was decided to investigate.
It was not hard to find a few websites which offered custom clay stamps. I spent a couple of weeks playing with design ideas. I knew I wanted my signature in combination with a drawing of a lily, or at least some sort of flower. I ordered my 1" wooden stamp from www.4clay.com, and received it just in time for this second course. This is a sample impression of the stamp into wet clay (sorry for the out of focus photo, but I'm too tired to try again tonight) :
So far, I have made 13 pieces out of grey stoneware, mostly mugs, and none of them as decorative as I would have liked, since I had a hard time keeping up making so many. We were asked to make 5 or 6 good mugs, but it took me some tries (the first ones were too small!) to throw 5 or 6 which I was happy with. Then I decided that since I had them, I would add handles to them all. So I'm getting my money's worth of experience in this course, which focuses on the art of making handles.
I also ended up with 3 good sized mugs in the white stoneware. All my mugs have now gone to the kiln shed, to dry and be bisque fired. I'll need to be a bit more creative with the glazing, since I didn't have time to decorate with slip or stamps or sgraffito, as I would have liked.
This week's assignment was to throw 3 jugs or vases, for which we will make handles next week. This time, I managed 3 reasonable sized ones on first try. After throwing the 3 pieces, of about 4 to 4.5 pounds each, I was quite exhausted, and then played around with a few rolled pieces, which I hope will turn out decent enough to be a gift for my friend Lily. We'll see.
I spend a good part of my non-working hours daydreaming about ceramics, and browsing the internet for ideas. I am collecting and compiling into a binder, photos of pieces I have seen and liked, for inspiration. When I am too tired to search for more, I just flip through the book. I often wish I could increase my "play with clay" days from 1 per week to 2 per week. But for now, I will enjoy what I have. Besides, I don't know how I'm going to find homes for all the pieces I am making. I don't know if I have so many friends.