Thursday, November 7, 2013

Second Ceramics Course : Mugs 1 of 2

I was happy to see the first 15 of my pieces emerge from their glaze firing, although not sure what to do with them all, now that I have them at home, and on my kitchen counter.  Ha.

I am posting them in probably what is a reverse order to how I made them, since I'm starting from biggest to smallest.  The biggest mugs probably started as about 700 or 800 g of clay.  The smallest ones were the recommended 400 g, I think.  But they are much to small for me to consider them as practical.  I'm a BIG mug sort of person.

These are the first 7 pieces.  I'll post the other 8 another day.

#1 - This white stoneware piece started as a failed attempt at a mug, which I decided to cut off and style into what could be a jewelry container (the earrings can be set into the holes), or a candleholder.  It was fully dipped in Deep Blue glaze, then the bottom dipped again into Matt Green.  I really love the colours of this piece, and it has a chunky weight, but seems to be pretty evenly distributed.  I'd have to say it is my favourite so far.  My signature stamp was pressed into the inside bottom, but it is barely legible, since the glaze has filled it in.

 #2 - This grey stoneware piece (I've since moved away from the grey which was quite gritty, to the smooth-textured white stoneware) is pretty heavy all around.  I can now throw a lot finer walls.  But it has a pretty satisfying feel to it, the colours are great, I like the swirl at the base, and I managed to fit in my signature stamp okay on the inside.  So I'm pretty happy all around with how it turned out.  It was dipped fully in Deep Blue glaze, and then Matt Green brushed onto the top part, and the handle.  I like how that turned out.

#3 - This grey stoneware mug turned out pretty good, after a near disaster.  When I was throwing it, I decided to inscribe the spirally lines with a wire loop sgraffito tool, but that left an awful mess of clay bits, that I tried filling it in with black slip, but that didn't do much to clean it up either.  So finally my classmate Roma lent me a rubber-tipped tool which helped to clean up the lines, and then I scraped off any black slip which was outside those lines.  The inside is Deep Blue.  The outside was dipped up to the rim in Ash Yellow.  It is a bit messy for my taste, but I like the overall look, and how the lines on the handle fit with the lines on the mug.  (I don't remember the handle being so wonky when I attached it, that must have happed during the firing.)  I also added swirl at the base.  I guess I couldn't find a good place for the signature stamp, so I ended up adding a blob of clay inside the handle, and pressing it there.  If the Deep Blue glaze were not so thick, it would be more readable.  The weight of this one is quite reasonable, and evenly distributed.  I could imagine using a mug like this one.

This handle was formed as a coil, the lines indented with the edge of a ruler or stick, and then slapped on the table to widen one end.

#4 - This white stoneware mug turned out surprisingly rich and beautiful.  Too bad the bottom was too thin that it cracked through (I was asked to throw a base I wouldn't need to trim, but then I think I cut too much off when I used my wire tool to remove it from the wheel).   But perhaps it could be used for a dried flower arrangement.  It is probably too nice for a pencil holder.  It was fully dipped in Amber Celadon.   Looking back now, I see that I preferred dark glaze for the insides of my mugs, but my classmate Ayaka used white glaze for hers, and when I saw them, I think I would try that next time instead.  But that's the learning process.

This handle was formed as a coil which was pressed with a patterned roller.  I really like the pattern.

#5 - This grey stoneware mug is pretty nice and chunky.  Maybe a bit too heavy at the base.  The shape is very "natural" - looks handmade.  It was mostly dipped in Amber Celadon, with a few touchups with the brush (which are the spot inside and near the handle which look like a different colour - I may want to avoid that in future).  Then the handle was dipped (and touched up with the brush) in Deep Blue.  Fairly pleasing, although another time I would have sprayed the Amber Celadon - so it was have been more even and a lighter coloured.  My stamp worked out fairly well at the bottom (although I had a tough time pressing it up into the base, where the clay was generally the thinnest.

 #6 - This grey stoneware mug is a fairly light weight, and comfortable to hold.  I like the decorative handle, and the overall shape is interesting.  I would have liked more of a foot on it, but we were asked to avoid too much trimming.  It is dipped in Bamboo, and then I added some Matt Green highlights on the handle and on the rim (I guess they should have been below the Bamboo instead of on top, since they have pretty much disappeared).  The stamp worked out pretty clearly on the bottom.  It is interesting how the spots show in the stoneware.  I think this is a property of the grey stoneware, which will not be visible in the white stoneware.  I'll have to try this Bamboo glaze again.  It has a relaxed, natural look which seems to suit handmade pieces.

#7 - This grey stoneware mug turned out a little bottom heavy, but still quite useable.  It features a hollow handle which was pressed with the edge of a rule before bending it into shape.  The inside and handle were filled / brushed with Deep Blue, then the whole piece dipped in Matt Green.  The Matt Green has largely prevailed, but there is still a hint of the blue, which is a pleasant effect.  I like how the star stamps are visible, even with a pretty thick layer of glaze.  I can't find my signature anywhere, so I believe I tried, but couldn't find a flat (or concave) surface to apply it to.

By the way, if any family or friends are reading this, let me know if you see anything you like.  I think many of these will need to become Christmas gifts, so I will have enough room in my house for my third ceramics course (I'm already signed up in January, since the current course ends next week!).

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