Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Teapots in Transit and Dragons in Waiting

I was happy that my spotty teapot (#16 from the Pots that Pour class) found a good home with Miranda C, a very talented musician and handmade pottery enthusiast.  She is planning to move soon, and looking for a new house, but sent me this photo of my teapot, waiting for its new home :
I hope all will go well Miranda, with your finding and moving to a new home!

Today when I walked into the kiln shed, to try to finish as many pieces as I can, being the last class in my Clay Sampler course, I saw my dragon head looking at me from the shelf, waiting patiently to go into the kiln for bisque firing.  I should have taken a photo of her there, she looked so sweet.  So I glazed most of my other pieces, and will glaze her next time I have a chance to drop by the studio again, which will likely be in two weeks.

The good thing is that I sprayed two other decorative pieces for my garden, with the Very Black stain which I am thinking to use on my sea dragon.  So hopefully these will go into the Cone 10 firing, and I will be able to see what the stain looks like, before I decide whether it will suit my dragon.

If I do go ahead with the black stain, I'm thinking of naming her Shadow Splash.  What do you think?  It is completely dark on the water, and all you hear is a sudden splash, and see a flash of movement in the shadows, and then there are only ripples to hint that something is out there...  We'll see what color I choose for her, and what she looks like when stained / finished.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Where are They Now? Serving trays, mugs, vases...

As I am making more ceramics items, I continue to find welcoming homes for the ones on my kitchen island and living room window sills, and I always ask the new owners to send me photos of them in their new home.  I'm still waiting for a few more photos, but here are the new ones I have received.

This cherry design serving tray (#27 from my Pots that Pour class) now belongs to my mother-in-law, and is adorning the side table in her dining room.  The bluish ceramic ikebana vase in front of it is not one of mine, it was made by a local artist in the Zion Canyon area of Utah.

This vase (#11 from the Pots that Pour class) also now belongs to my mother-in-law, and has become a pencil holder on her communications center desk, along with the phone and answering machine.

Remember this mug (#9 from my "Get a Grip" ceramics course), the one with the funky bumpy blue inside which I found "unappetizing", but which my youngest son - and also my husband - liked?  Well, my friend Shelley came for tea the other day, and took an interest in this mug, and next thing she knew, it had become her coffee companion :

By the way, I have wonderful friends.  I need to spend more time with them, like the recent afternoon tea I had with Shelley, Helen and Beth.  Helen made this wonderful photo mosaic of our tea, which I would like to share :
I have a pretty extensive collection of Royal Albert china plates and bowls, so didn't even need to use any of my ceramic bowls for the table.  And instead of my handmade teapots, we used 2 glass tea pots - one I bought in China, so we could view my blooming tea (see top left photo).  I was a bit disappointed, that due to the shape of it, unless it was filled very full, it tended to steam up along the top, and so the flower was most visible from the opening, not as much from the sides.  The second tea pot was a nifty auto-dispensing self-straining one which Helen brought over, and we tried one of her loose Roiboos teas.

As I have lots of ceramics nearby, I often mobilize them for one task or another, holding candies or other temporary tasks.  This globe-shaped vase came in handy for keeping some lily-of-the-valley (I have both the white ones as well as a pink variety in my garden) fresh on our bathroom counter, filling the whole room with sweet fragrance :

Tomorrow is sadly the last class in my current Clay Sampler course.  Then I don't know what to do for the summer, since I have Wednesdays off, but didn't find a class on Wednesdays.  Instead, I signed up for a 4 week course on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, but I think I'll drop it, since I already have a schedule conflict for 2 of the 8 sessions, and likely will have a few more schedule conflicts by the time the course starts.  With that many missed classes, it may not make it worth my while to take the course.  Too bad, since I was looking forward to a course with Fredi Rahn.  She is a gifted ceramic artist.  Maybe I'll just attend the Wednesday drop-in workshops, to work on more of what I've learned so far, make some of the items I've been thinking about, as well as pick up new inspiration from the other ceramics students.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ancient Ceramic Goddess

I haven't yet posted ceramics photos from our trip to China in March, but one of the things which impressed me during the trip was how long ceramic creations can last.  For example, we visited an ancient site where there were preserved remains of a 6,000 year old civilization, and in the burial sites, there were ceramic pots, a bit cracked and broken, but still largely intact, at the feet of the ancients.  Wow.  Apparently, the status of the person was indicated by how many pots they were buried with.  Some had 3 or 4 pots, presumably for use in the afterlife.

I just received some ceramic "pins" on Pinterest tonight (originally from this Tumblr page), and this one impressed me :
It is an ancient ceramic (painted terra cotta) depiction of an Egyptian goddess or priestess, from 3650 - 3300 BC.  I instantly loved her.  Not only does she looks triumphant, but she has massive hips, just like me. You go girl!

On the flip side, ceramics can break when dropped.  This little face didn't even make it to the bisque firing, I dropped him yesterday as I was loading pieces onto the shelves in the kiln shed, and his eyebrow was knocked off.  I never did love him enough, so he ended up in the recycled clay slop bin (after I tried sanding down the broken part, but realized that I'd never really restore his original good looks) :

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dragon for the Garden

I finished the ceramic dragon head today, and it turned out even better than I had hoped.  I was imagining a sort of scowling fierce dragon, but when I added the eyes, suddenly a beautiful and intelligent creature - most likely a female dragon - appeared.   So I gave her blue/green eyes, to match mine.  :-)

Here she is at the end of class (note that the brownish line in the center of the eye is actually black slip, not brown, and the blue is not visible on top of the green, but hopefully should come out nicely in the firing) :

I would have liked to line her up with the rest of her body, but it has already gone into the kiln for bisque firing :
In the photo, the colour looks different, but it is using the same type of clay, referred to as "B-Mix".  It is really ornery stuff to work with for sculpturing, and impossible (at least for me) to throw on the wheel, but has a firmness with makes it suitable for extrusion, which is how the body parts were formed.  If anyone read my previous post, the "failed" attempt at a head also came in handy, since the top part of it was cut and used as the lower jaw of the final head.  I'm intrinsically lazy, so alter and re-use as much as I can.

I plan to spray the whole dragon black (not a glaze, but some sort of stain which is suitable for outdoors).  With the exception of the blue/green eyes, of course.

May 16 : I am already starting to prepare the garden for her arrival.