Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Double-Walled Vase Carving

The original plan with the double-walled vases was to carve out holes in the outer wall.  So I decided to try it, with the first one I threw.  But it turns out the wall was a bit thicker than I had expected, and the vase was much drier that it should be, so I decided instead to just carve shapes into the vase, but not all the way through to make holes.  I spent waaay too much time working on this tonight, using primarily dental tools:
Carved double-walled ceramic vase, in progress.
What do you think?  I think they look almost like inlaid jewels.  If only I could glaze them to get that effect....  So far my glazing has not achieved anything like that, and I haven't even ordered the bright colored underglazes that I am hoping to buy eventually...  We'll see.  There is still time to decide.

Dragon Collection and More Ceramic Sunflower Leaf Dishes

Shadow Splash came home today, after being in the student exhibit these past few weeks.  I have now officially started a dragon collection.  Although based on the amount of remaining space on the family room fireplace (which is the only appropriate space I could think of), it will remain a pretty small dragon collection.
Dragon collection, featuring my handmade stoneware sea dragon.

The first few bowls made from sunflower leaves have survived the bisque firing, so it encouraged me to create a few more today, while the sunflowers are still thriving.  They won't be around too much longer.
Ceramic sunflower leaf bowls, in progress.

Every time I've made these bowls, I've learned something new.  I learned to shave down the big veins at the back of the leaf before pressing it, so the clay leaf would not split in half.  I learned to use a bowl as a mold, and remove it before totally set, so I could curl the tip of the leaf.   I learned to add the stem / handle.  Today I rolled a little spiral into the stem, which I think makes it look even better, sort of vine-like.  I have yet to attempt feet.  I am hoping to add a sort of spiral-like foot to the bottom, if they are not too dry next time I go in.  I also learned to keep the actual leaf on as long as possible, to avoid fingerprints on the top while handling it, and while pressing my artist stamp onto the bottom.
Handmade ceramic dishes made from pressed sunflower leaves, in progress.
So these are the leaves as I worked with them, adding the stem.  Just before I took them downstairs to dry slowly, I removed the remainder of the green leaf.

Today I trimmed a number of the vases / containers from the previous session.  I have not done much trimming, so I was reminded how much of a challenge it can be.  Especially if your rim is off-level, or you don't center your piece well before trimming, or your stamp is so close to the bottom that you have a hard time trimming it without obliterating your stamp, or if you don't anchor it enough, so it pops off during trimming (good thing I caught it, so that one ended happily).

I am told that it may be a couple of weeks before I can glaze and have my pieces fired to Cone 10.  I am a bit anxious to finish a few of them off, I have so many in progress in the moment.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sgraffito Vase and Funky Container

I made some progress on my sgraffito vase, I think the result is pretty good :
White stoneware vase with sgraffito white flowers on green background, in progress.

Another angle:
Sgraffito white flowers on green vase, ceramic / pottery in progress.

On a previous vase, I have sgraffito'd the background, leaving a pattern of green leaves.  This time I wanted to sgraffito a white floral pattern against a green background.  I was inspired by this pattern which I found when I googled for "white on green" or something like that :

Last time I was in the studio, I tried again to throw a double walled vessel.  I did a much better job than the first attempt, but was not quite successful in getting the two walls to close, and I think they were too thin, they already started warping.
Attempt at double-walled ceramic vase, in progress.

I was afraid that the walls would collapse if I continued to coax them together, so I went with Plan B instead :
Funky double-walled ceramic vase in progress.
Funky double-walled stoneware ceramic vase in progress.
I think this could still be a pretty funky and practical vase, if my joins dry successfully.