Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Ceramics - First 2 Finished Items

I just remembered that I had not posted my ceramics from the summer drop-ins.  I have only 2 pieces finished, the remainder will need to be finished in September when courses resume.

One of the techniques I played with during the summer was pressing leaves into the clay to leave imprints, as in this bowl below :
Beautiful handmade ceramic stoneware bowl impressed with leaf nature design.
1) This bowl was pressed with Davidii involucrata (Dove or handkerchief tree) leaves from my beloved "David" tree.  It was then slumped into a mould, and decorated in slip before removing the leaves.

I had a bit of an accident with this bowl.  We are not supposed to store away our ceramics while in the mould, so I rushed to dry and remove it within the same session, and when I added the foot, all was fine until I flipped it over, and it slumped onto the table.  There was not enough time to fix it, so I removed the foot and slumped it back into the mould, and stored it away anyhow.  If I had realized it was not dry enough, I would have left it upside down while it firmed up, and I would have had a nice foot on it.  So you can still see the ring where the foot was attached and removed.  The bowl still sits fairly nicely, I just needed to leave a larger area unglazed.  And since I let it dry in the damp cellar, I didn't get to stamping it, so I just carved my name into the bottom/side.

For the decoration, I used Turquoise and Blue slip.  The leaves were decorated after the bisque firing, using Green overglaze as an underglaze.  I brushed it into the veins, then wiped it away with a sponge, not trying to hard to wipe it clean, leaving a watercolour look to the leaves.  I also sponged the Green overglaze onto the rim.  Then the whole piece was dipped into Celadon glaze.  See this post for the finishing and glazing in progress.  I like this combination of the colours - what do you think?

Another technique I tried was pressing clay onto larger leaves from my banana tree, before it was brutally cut down by some animal :
Stoneware pottery ceramic platter made from pressed banana leaf.
2) This is the smaller of the two banana leaf platters I made.  I seem to remember I pressed the back of the banana leaf into the sheet of clay, cut around it (a bit wider), and then slumped the impressed sheet of clay face down over a bowl, to try to form the concave shape while it firmed up.  The veins of the banana leaf showed through too faintly, so I carved them with a sgraffito tool once leather hard.

The platter flattened a bit during bisque, and probably more during final firing, but it is will a nice practical shape and light weight, with just a bit of upturn on the edges.  I painted Green overglaze (as an underglaze) into the grooves, and wiped with a sponge, leaving a trace of the green on the whole leaf.  The glaze was then applied by brush, a layer of Oatmeal followed by a layer of Tam's Green. (See this post for the finishing and glazing.)  I like the colours, but I see that I will want to be more careful with my brush strokes on the next leaf.  I didn't get to it in time to stamp it, so I again carved my name into it.

It is such a long time to wait until end of September, when the studio opens again, but stay tuned for 4 more pieces.  Sadly, one of my plates went missing after sending it to be bisqued.  I really hope it reappears, but it doesn't seem likely now, since that was early July, and I looked for it a few times.