Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wrapping Up for the Summer in Ceramics

Today was a somewhat disappointing day in ceramics.  I had missed last week's drop in, so hadn't heard that this week was the last drop in session for the summer, before ceramics resumes in late September.  So all the nice leaves I had cut in the garden, hoping to do some more nature-inspired plates, and hosta leaf plates, were not put to use, since I couldn't start anything new.

I had some pieces in the damp room, which I pulled out and finished off, so they will go into the bisque firing, but I won't be able to glaze them until September.  My dear dragon, she was still waiting on the shelf, to go into the final firing.  But I guess someone had moved her, since the tip of her tail was broken off.  :-(  Then, on top of it all, one of the trays I had put in the kiln shed to be bisqued, didn't return from the bisque firing.  I looked all over the kiln shed, and found no sign of it.  As I was driving home, the only thing I could think of, is that I still had it in the damp room, but I didn't see it there, and my notes clearly indicate that I set it out to be bisqued.  In fact, the first photo in this post shows it on the shelves in the kiln room.  :-(  It is the rectangular one with roller and stamp pattern.  Damn.  I hate when that happens.

Anyhow, on a cheery note, I did make lots of progress, and got photos of most of it, just in case any of them go missing, too!  Here are some of the pieces which are heading to be bisqued :
This one just needed the edges cleaned up.  A fellow student, Rob, was so kind to offer me the black tools in the photo, which are woodworking tools he bought at Lee Valley Tools, and do a nice job of cleaning up the edges, while not removing as much clay as a surform tool (like the yellow one in the photo) would remove.  So that made my job of finishing up these bowls much easier.

These two also just needed a cleanup, since I already added feet last time.  I like how the fern imprint shows the little dots from the spores.  I think it has good potential.

What I forgot to take a photo of, was a very large banana leaf platter, which is probably 2 feet long, or close to it.  Surprisingly, it has been a few weeks in the damp room, and was still quite workable, a stiff leather consistency.  I cleaned up the edges and added the groove marks.  I have been warned that it could flatten or warp significantly when fired, but we'll see.

The smaller banana leaf had been bisqued, so I glazed it today.  But first, I brushed Green Overglaze (I'm using it as an underglaze) into the grooves...
....then I wiped it with a moist sponge, leaving the Green underglaze in the grooves, and also a light smear of it all over the leaf.  I wasn't concerned about that, since I am glazing it green anyhow, and I think the light smear will make the colors look more natural and textural than just a flat glaze can achieve.  Here it is, before glazing.  I can see that I rushed the day I was cleaning it up, since there is some imprint of the mould I slumped it over.  With the bigger leaf today, I spent a lot of time cleaning out those marks, and even some of the wrinkles from when the leaf was pressed into the clay :

For my Davidii plate, I used the same technique and Green over(under)glaze.  Here it is, with the lines brushed in, and one of the leaves already sponged :
Here it is, with all the leaves sponged, and before I glazed.  On this one, I ran a line of green (the same overglaze) along the edge/rim, but dipped the whole piece in Celadon.   I think that could look pretty spectacular.  Or not.  We'll see.  Pick up it next week, so hopefully I can make it.

Do you remember the pieces my sister made when she joined me a few weeks ago?  Well, she was planning to finish them next week, but when I learned that we didn't have any more chance until September, I tried to contact her, to find out if she wanted me to glaze any of them for her.  I decided I would at least glaze her 3 coasters, so we could see if they survived the glaze firing.  I managed to get 2 of them done, and had a near-disaster with the 3rd, and had to wash off the glaze, and leave it for September.  So hopefully we can pick these up next week.  They were dipped 2 times in Tenmoku, which is the darkest glaze we seem to have available.

Stay tuned, I hope to have much more to post next week, if I make it to the pick up session.


  1. Sorry to hear you has so many misadventures, especially with the missing piece. Is it possible it was in the bisque kiln? I'll be coming by Shadbolt during pick up hours after work. Maybe I'll catch you then! (Mariana)

  2. Get immediate access to 16,000 woodworking projects.

    Teds Woodworking has more than 16,000 woodworking sketches with STEP-BY-STEP instructions, photos and diagrams to make all of the projects smooth and easy!