Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Third Ceramics Course : Teapots Brewing

We've had 4 classes now in our "Pots That Pour" course, and my ceramics are coming along marvelously.  Today I was particularly on a roll, and everything seemed to work out well.  I made lots of mistakes, as always, but was able to recover from each and every one of them.

Like the lid which I was going to trim and throw a know onto.  I improved a chuck using an unglazed mug on which I threw a ring of clay.  It was something like the instructor had showed earlier.  But I managed to not just trim the lid and throw the knob, but I also managed to fuse the lid onto the fresh ring of clay.  So by the end of it, I had to cut off the lid with my pin tool, which mangled the otherwise nice flange on the bottom.  So I flipped it over and smoothed that off with my smooth sponge.  But when I flipped it back, the top was all messed up, so I needed to smooth that also.  But in the end, it all turned out fine.

Today I felt particularly productive, since I finished 3 teapots, and started into a 4th one.  Here's a sneak peak of my teapots, before the dry and get sent for the bisque firing :

This is the teapot on which I made the mistakes on the lid. But it turned out okay.   I played a bit with some profiles on the side of the pot, so also mirrored those in the lid.  I put a little jib of clay inside, to hold the lid from falling out (if it is oriented correctly).  That kind of detail matters to me, so I think it was worth the extra time.  If I had more time, I would have altered the flange inside the lid (my teapot has the front part of the lid flange flattened out) so it would orient one way.

This was the first teapot I made today, and I was very proud of myself for keeping it pretty simple and clean.  I am so inclined to decorate, I don't like to make plain lines.  So this was a challenge for me.  I managed to tuck in a little extra line on the lid, since I noticed the instructor demo'ing something similar.

This little pot wasn't originally going to be a teapot, but I decided to go for it.  The pot was thrown as a closed container, and then the lid cut out.  I am really hoping to get ahold of some bright red underglaze for the flower petals on the top.  We'll see.  I love this little guy.

This little lidded pot also was not thrown as a teapot.  I think I was trying for the closed form, but didn't manage to close it, so ended up finishing it as a small hole.  Then I decided to make it a lid.  When I picked it up to trim it today, I realized that I already liked the shape pretty much, so didn't trim it down and add a knob, I just rounded it off, and it became a chunky little knob-like lid.  I have resisted the urge to decorate it, so this one is already sent to the bisque firing, and maybe I can already glaze it next week.

I am notorious for not giving up on my mistakes.  I managed to mangle the very top of this little pot (I think I was also going for the closed form), but instead of getting rid of it, I let it dry to leather hard, and then carved a simple leaf pattern (I didn't want to take too much time out of the teapots today), and have sent it off for bisque firing also.  I'm thinking to glaze the leaves as Matt Green, and then wax them over, and glaze the remainder in a shiny glaze.  I think that will look pretty good, for a relatively small amount of effort.

My final photo today is of my wheel, with a failed experiment to throw a small chuck, on which I could sit my chunky lid with the narrow flange.  I messed around with this for a while, and managed to create a pretty nice radial pattern with the clay.  I didn't even notice until my classmate, Martha, pointed it out.  So I decided to take a quick photo before cleaning it off.

Stay tuned.  Next week we start glazing, and then there are only 3 classes left after that.  I have 19 pieces on their way.  I will likely start quite a few more in the next 4 weeks.  So this has been a very productive course for me, indeed.

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