Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Botanical Series of Hand Built Ceramics in Progress

I am thinking of it as my botanical set, since I forgot my stamps last week, and instead started some plates and bowls imprinted or formed on leaves.  I finished all but one of them today, and started a few more.  This week, I remembered to take some photos before leaving.

One of the pieces from last week was this rectangular plate / tray, which was decorated by a roller and my handmade fimo stamp of a trio of leaves.

Another one from last week is this tray formed from a banana leaf.  If you follow my gardening blog, you'll know that I made this piece just in time before all my banana plants were destroyed.  It turns out that there was not enough texture on the leaf itself to show those lines, so I carved them with a sgraffito tool this week, once the leaf was very firm.  The other piece still downstairs is a larger leaf, which I hope will not be too dry to work on next week, when I can drop in again.

One of the new bowls this week is this one, decorated with Japanese maple leaves.  After pressing the leaves with the roller, and setting the thin slab of clay into a mould, I sponged it with Brown slip, and then splattered it with Green slip (using my fingers, since I didn't have a firm brush - such as a toothbrush - which would be suitable).
Then I peeled the leaves off.  So the leaves will be rather white, on a background of brown and green.  Although I could also choose to add stain, to bring out the texture of the leaves.  Either way, I think this could look pretty good.

I created also a rectangular tray imprinted with maple leaves.  This one sat face down on the mould, but after I removed the piece, I decided to also splatter it with Green slip.
This is the tray after the leaves were peeled off:

I had made a similar bowl last week, it is waiting to be bisqued.  It was pressed with Davidii involucrata leaves (I love the texture, and those strong veins!!), and slip trailed / splattered with Turquoise and Blue slip.

I know my sister Rose will be reading this blog, so I want her to know how proud I was of her, that she worked so hard and produced six pieces last week.  They were all dry today when I checked on them, so I couldn't touch them up if I had wanted to.

Here is Rose, working away on creating Mickey Mouse coasters.  It was really tricky to attach the ears, and I don't know if they'll survive the bisque and glaze firings.  But I really hope they do.  I thought of it afterwards, that maybe she should have set them into a circular base, but we didn't have a chance to go back, so we'll need to leave it to fate now.

Here are my sister's pieces on the shelf in the kiln shed : 3 Mickey Mouse coasters, a curved bowl with Mickey Mouse icons pressed into the sides (can't see from this angle), a mushroom for the garden, and a flat tray with leaf motif :
Here's a closeup of the leaf motif tray / plate :
With the right combination of stains and/or glazes, I think this tray could turn out pretty nice indeed.

I learned a lot today, as always.  As I found out last week, a slab in a bowl mould can be pretty firm around the edges, and still soft on the inside (i.e. my bottom flopped when I sat it upright, I should have left it upside down after adding the foot).  Today I had some cracks form on the edges, since they were drying faster than the center of the bowl.  So I had to do some creative repairs, as well as occasional moistening of the rims with a sponge.  Finally, I moved the pieces downstairs and covered them, to dry more slowly, rather than exposing them to the beautiful hot dry weather we've been having.


  1. Did the Mickey Mouse coasters survive?

  2. Behrcat - Thanks for asking. I missed ceramics last week, so I don't know yet if they survived the bisque firing.