Sunday, November 30, 2014

Second Batch of Finished Fall Ceramics

Previously I have posted the first batch of 7 ceramics pieces from this Fall, where I have been just attending the drop-in open workshop, since my course was cancelled.

Here are the new ceramics pieces which I provided a sneak peek at yesterday.  All are formed from Grey stoneware, and all (unless noted) bear my signature stamp.

The first is a set of three more sunflower leaf dishes:
Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic pottery leaf dishes
I was fortunate to have picked up the first 4 finished dishes before these glazed dishes went into the kiln, and discovered that the thickness and opacity of the glaze had obscured more of the vein details from the leaf than I had hoped, so I had taken these off the shelf, and scrubbed off some of the glaze.  I think that improved the outcome.  Next year, if I make these again, I will probably use a green under/overglaze instead, and then a thin coat of Clear glaze.  You'll see that in some of my small leaf items (#19 below).

Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic pottery sunflower leaf dish
#8 - I like the added foot, which allowed me to glaze the bottom, so it feels smooth and more substantial to pick up.  I think that gives it extra strength, too, so I don't think any of these will break, unless they are mishandled or dropped.  This one was glazed in Celadon and then Tam's Green.  So the result is that I scrubbed off much of the Tam's Green, leaving some ghostly patches, but the veins of the leaf have shown through very nicely.

Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic pottery sunflower leaf dishes
#9 - This one has a similar look, also glazed in Celadon then Tam's Green.  The "snakebite" on the leaf is a result of dipping it using the tongs.  I have not had it so visible on any of my pieces previously, so I'll need to be more careful to smooth out the glaze once it dries.  I think I had done that after both glazes were applied, but it needs to be done for each glaze application.

Unique handmade nature inspired stoneware ceramic pottery leaf dishes
#10 - This one may be my favourite, with Tam's Green then Celadon glazes, the Celadon mostly rubbed off afterward.  A two small snakebites from the tongs, but not too detracting from the great visual texture.

Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic pottery leaf imprinted bowl
#11 - This one was actually started during the Summer session (see the first photo in this post).  I'd have to say the decoration turned out pretty disappointing for me, but the bowl has a nice feel and practical shape.  The design of the pressed Japanese maple leaves (see bottom left), splattered in Green slip and sponged in Brown slip, has almost disappeared.  The rim and back was finished in Matt Green, and the top in Celadon, which was poured over.  The Celadon was too thick this time.  I should have instead sprayed it in Clear or Celadon, and I'm sure the design would have come through more.  But it was still mostly successful.

Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic stoneware pottery leaf plate / platter glazed in celadon
#12 - I like this little platter.  It features a roller design (borrowed from Shadbolt) and a row of flower and leaf stamps which are my creation.  It was hand built and features a soft rectangle shape, and reasonably flat bottom, so it sits nicely and is easy to pick up.  It was dipped in Celadon glaze, which shows the stamp details very well.  Another time, I'd add a foot so I could glaze more of the bottom also.

Unique handmade nature inspired glazed ceramic pottery stoneware platter
#13 - I LOVE this platter.  The glaze combination is one of my favourites so far.  It is Amber Celadon then Deep Blue, with them overlapping in the center.  It is hand built from a slab, decorated with a roller design and also some of my handmade flower stamps.  The textures show through very nicely with those glazes.  It has a simple but level foot, so that I could glaze the bottom.  The size is very practical, 30 cm (12") by 19 cm (8").

Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic stoneware faux fossil pieces
#14-15-16-17 - These four pieces are "fake" trilobyte and ammonite fossils, formed from my own handmade stamps (see post on this stamps).  Two of them (top right and bottom left) were finished in "Very Black Stain", which was wiped off with a sponge.  The other two are finished in "Bob Kingsmill wash", which is a brownish colour.  I don't know which one I like more.  All turned out even better than I had hoped.

Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic stoneware sgraffito vase
#18 - This small jug / vase is pretty cute, I think.  It was covered in Green slip, and then the floral pattern was sgraffito'd, and then it is finished in Celadon glaze.  Again, if I sprayed the glaze, I think the green pattern would have shown through clearer, but it has very pleasant colours, and feel.

Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic stoneware leaves
#19 - This set of 7 green leaves was a chance to experiment.  I used Green overglaze, but in different thicknesses.  Some (top closeup) was brushed on front and back.  Others (middle and bottom closeup) were brushed on and then wiped off with a sponge.  Then I sprayed some with Clear glaze (the ones which ended up green), and others I left unglazed (which ended up greyish).  So I learned a lot from these, and next year I will try some of my bigger leaf dishes with the under/overglaze and thin layer of Clear glaze.

Unique handmade nature inspired ceramic stoneware leaf pendants
#20 - These small leaves were formed from a set of 3 leaf presses I bought earlier this year.  I did some experimenting with different thicknesses of clay.  Many of them have a hole, so can be used as charms or pendants, or to adorn gift wrapping...  I played with different glazes, Deep Blue, Matt Green and Bamboo Yellow, brushed on in different combinations.  The backs are unglazed.

I still have quite a few more pieces to pick up, which I'll be sure to post soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sneak Peek at More Fall Ceramics

I am much too tired tonight to post the photos of the new ceramics I picked up today, but this one turned out so well, that I need to post one photo of it:
Beautiful handcrafted ceramic plate / tray with stamp and roller design.
What do you think?  I love that glaze combination.  I think I'll be using those colours again soon!

Then just a peek at some more smaller pieces :
Various beautiful ceramic / stoneware handmade items, including leaves.

Stay tuned.  I also hear that I'll be able to pick up more pieces as early as tomorrow.  Although I may just take it easy tomorrow, and pick them up next week.  We'll see if I can wait.  ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Amazing Dragon Ceramic Creation by Sharon Reay

I was just posting about my purchase of two Sharon Reay ceramic creations on Friday.  On Saturday when I dropped in at the Craft Fair again, Sharon had a huge dragon (over a foot tall) on display, which had just been pulled out of the wood kiln.  Amazing :
Gorgeous large dragon ceramic pottery by Sharon Reay.

Beautiful enormous dragon ceramic wood-fired pottery by Sharon Reay

Friday, November 21, 2014

Early Christmas Ceramics Gifts for Me

Considering how much ceramics I have around the house now, if someone had told me I'd buy more ceramics for myself today, I would have thought they were crazy.  But these were not just any ceramics, they are Sharon Reay creations.  Sharon is the ceramics arts programmer at Shadbolt (I just found her website tonight - check it out).  Ever since I saw one of her dragon pieces being pulled out of a wood kiln, I have wanted to own one.  So today I bought myself an early Christmas gift.  I couldn't decide between two pieces I liked, so I bought both.
Beautiful wood-fired ceramic vases by the talented Sharon Reay, in collaboration with Linda Doherty.

This wonderful piece by Sharon Reay features her characteristic adorable dragon wrapped around a dragon skin vase, with a gold rim.  Very sweet.  
Gorgeous unique ceramic dragon vase by the talented Sharon Reay.
Sharon was at the sale today.  Now I wish I had asked her more details about the piece, but I know it was wood fired.  I don't know about soda or ash or other details.  Maybe one day I'll get more background about my piece.  At the time I was too excited to have a chance to purchase it, and add it to my dragon collection.

Here's another look at a closeup of this sweet little dragon :
Closeup of a Sharon Reay ceramic dragon vase.

The other piece, I just loved the shape of the vase, and the tropical hibiscus and lizard reminded me of Hawaii.  It is both beautiful as well as whimsical.  I love the blend of blues and greens and browns.  It was also wood fired, but again, I don't have more details yet.
Beautiful handmade ceramic vase featuring a hibiscus carving and peeking lizard, by Sharon Reay in collaboration with Linda Doherty.
I was glad that Linda Doherty, one of my instructors and a very talented ceramics artist, was at the sale and pointed out that this was a collaborative piece between her and Sharon.  Linda throw the tulip-like vase, which is such an amazing shape, and Sharon carved the design and added the lizard. So now I own a bit of Linda's work also, which is cool.

Here is a closeup of this little lizard :
Closeup of a Sharon Reay ceramic piece with peeking lizard.

At the time, I thought I was crazy, actually buying ceramics, but when I mentioned it to a few fellow ceramics students who were at the sale, they didn't think it was crazy at all, and said that they have also purchased other people's ceramics.  And I got good feedback from my family, they all like them as well, and appreciate how unique these pieces are.  Yay!  I'm so excited.  I'm glad I treated myself to this wonderful gift.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Final Stretch of Glazing for Fall Ceramics

I was happy to bring home the first of my finished pieces on the weekend, and today I was pleased to finish glazing the remainder.  All but the two pieces which are yet to be bisque fired.  I think those ones will need to wait until the new year, since they've missed the deadline.

Okay, where to start?  Maybe with my favorite bisqueware piece today...
Unique nature-inspired handmade ceramic pottery stoneware bowl in progress.
I love how this plate (not the out-of-focus photo) turned out.  It is brown and green and turquoise slip, sponged over a number of different leaves.  I decided to glaze the back and rim of the plate in green, and the top/inside with Clear glaze, but I sprayed it, just to be sure it is a nice thin coat, and doesn't interfere with the design.   If all goes well, the Clear glaze will make the colors quite vivid.  I can't wait to see this one finished.
Unique nature-inspired handmade ceramic pottery stoneware vase / pot in progress.
There are some young arts students I follow on Instagram, one (see "flacers") who does some cool work with glazing, then wax resist patterns, and glazing with a second color glaze.  I decided to try my hand at it, but as you can see in the photo, the wax resist didn't seem to resist much.  I had even left the wax to dry for a few days, instead of dipping only minutes after applying it, as I usually do.  Anyhow, rather than fiddle with it, I left it like this, and will see what happens during the firing process.  So it is a bit of an experiment, as is most of my ceramics so far.  :-)

Unique nature-inspired handmade ceramic pottery stoneware leaf pendants in progress.
After losing much of the texture of my sunflower leaves to the glaze (see previous post), I decided to try coloring these leaf pendants with an overglaze (stain).  I experimented with some fully stained, some where I sponged off the stain to reveal the veins, and then I sprayed some with Clear glaze, and left others unglazed.  So I'll have lots of different results, and hopefully can figure out which ones were which afterward.  But part of my experimenting was to decide what to do with my Davidii bowl.  At first I also painted the leaves with green overglaze :
Unique nature-inspired handmade ceramic pottery stoneware bowl in progress.

But then I sponged them to reveal more of the leaf texture :
Unique nature-inspired Davidii leaves handmade ceramic pottery stoneware bowl in progress.
I didn't want them to be too pale, since there are no other colors on the bowl.  I decided to glaze the back and rim in Matt Green, and then sprayed a Clear glaze on the top.  I think this could turn out pretty nice.

I should have take a few more photos, for example of the very large banana leaf which I glazed by brush, with Bamboo, then two different green glazes.  I had only used two glaze colors for my smaller banana leaf.  My double-walled vase, I decided to glaze with  yellow, green and then blue (you need to use your imagination at this point) :
Unique handmade double-walled ceramic pottery stoneware vase in progress.

I had a nice rolled and stamped plate go missing in the summer, and never did find it.  I had also wondered if my little swirly-stamped bowl (the last photo in this post) had also disappeared, but I was happy to find it on the very bottom shelf of the bisqueware.  I guess I had not bent down (how low can you go?) far enough to find him on earlier searches.  So I glazed him in Deep Blue, them wiped off the glaze with a sponge, and sprayed him in Clear.  I think this could look pretty cool when finished :
Unique swirly handmade ceramic pottery stoneware bowl in progress.
That's all the photos from today's session.  It was a busy day, I prepared and glazed about a dozen pieces.  But now I'm done for this fall session, and can sit back in anticipation of my pieces being fired and available for pick up over the next few weeks.  I'm sure I'll be posting as soon as they are in my possession.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Batch of Finished Ceramics

Today I did a bit more glazing, and was happy to find that some of my pieces had come out of the glaze firing, although I was not so pleased with the result.  So I spent part of the time "unglazing" or removing some of the glaze from the pieces which are not yet fired.
Handmade ceramic stoneware pottery dishes and bowls.

Anyhow, here are the first 7 pieces from my Fall work (some from the Summer).  All are made from grey stoneware :

Handmade ceramic bowl with pressed leaves.
#1 - This is a good sized bowl, featuring 3 Davidii involucrata (Dove tree) leaves, imprinted and painted in Green slip.  I dipped a border of Matt Green, then poured Celadon glaze over the top/inside.  Unfortunately, the Celadon glaze is too thick, so the result is a milky colour, and the texture of the leaves is largely lost (although the veins still show nicely).  In future, I will spray the glaze, to apply a thinner coat.  I learned this lesson the hard way with Clear glaze, now I know I'll also need to spray the Celadon.  It is stamped near the rim, on the underside.

Handmade ceramic stoneware pottery dish with pressed maple leaf design.
#2 - This is my favourite in this first batch.  It is one of the pieces I started in the summer.  The Japanese maple leaves were pressed into the slab, and spattered with Green slip before removing them.  Once bisqued, the leaves were painted in Green over(under)glaze.  Matt Green glaze was applied to the rim and back, and then the whole piece was dipped in Celadon.  Again, the Celadon appears too thick on the back, but the maple leaves on the inside of the dish show quite clearly.  It is stamped on the underside, and sits nicely on the feet.

Handmade pottery bowl with pressed fern design.
#3 - This bowl was started in the Summer also, made from imprinted fern fronds.  It has a nice round foot.  The fern imprint was colors with #3 underglaze (sponged off), and then the whole bowl dipped in Tam's Green.  Some of the texture from the fern is still showing through, although the glaze feels smooth to the touch.  I think this is a pretty good effect.  One day I want to experiment with not glazing the imprinted parts, but at least this way, it is food safe, so very practical.

Handmade unique sunflower leaf dishes.
The next three are small dishes formed from sunflower leaves.  All are glazed on the top with Tam's Green glaze, and unglazed underneath.  I would have liked the texture of the leaf to show through more, so may in future try spraying a thinner layer of glaze.  But at least they are smooth and easy to clean, and food safe.

Unique handmade pottery stoneware sunflower leaf dish.
#4 - This is the largest of the 3 leaves.  Nicely curved.  Stamped at the back.

Unique pottery ceramic dish made from real sunflower leaf.
#5 - This is the middle sized leaf.  Also nicely curved.  The tip touched the kiln shelf, but should clean up nicely.  Stamped at the back.

Unique ceramic stoneware dish made from real sunflower leaf.
#6 - This is the smallest of the three, and the first sunflower leaf dish I had attempted.  I added the 3 button feet, which allowed me to glaze underneath also, which feels nice to handle.  It is also stamped underneath.

Beautiful handmade ceramic dish made from pressed sunflower leaf.
#7 - Too bad this dish cracked as I wrapped it in paper to take it home today.  I have no idea why.  Perhaps it had been bumped prior, since I didn't think I had mishandled it.  Anyhow, this one was glazed in Tam's Green and then Matt Green.  Even though the texture is lost in the leaf, the coloration is more interesting than the ones which are only glazed in Tam's Green.  I may try to glue it back together, so at least I can enjoy it.

Beautiful unique handmade ceramic dishes made from real sunflower leaves.
Here's the four sunflower leaf dishes again.  I have a feeling that I should grow sunflowers again next year, and make these dishes again, trying a few more variations with glazing, or perhaps just staining and not glazing some of them, to retain the full texture of the leaf.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

More Fall Ceramics in Progress

I have made a few dishes now from pressed sunflower leaves, most of them without feet, so I glazed only the top.  I decided that the next few I'd add feet, so I can glaze the bottom also.  I think this will feel nicer to handle, especially since I tend to leave the bottom rough (textured from the canvas-topped table).

In past, I have added button-type feet, but I don't think they look very professional, and don't always sit nicely, so I am experimenting with some swirly feet, cut from a slab, as I did for my 3 sunflower leaf dishes :

I started three other dishes this past session.  This one is another pressed leaf design, since soon I won't be able to find very many leaves to experiment with :
I sponged on green, turquoise and brown slip, so the leaf patterns should be a stark white in contrast to the colorful background.  I can then glaze it Clear or perhaps Celadon.  I forgot to remove the leaves before flipping it over, so I hope it dries okay like that.  I did start it soon enough, so that it was dry enough to flip over and add a spirally foot before the end of the session :

The second bowl will be a gift, probably for Christmas, so I won't show any photos yet.  The third one was some experimenting with rolling coils and assembling them into a mold.  Once I got started into it, I realized that it was taking much longer than I had imagined, and I wished I hadn't started, but I kept going.  I don't know that I pressed the coils together well enough, so when it dries, I'm afraid it may pull apart.  I'll find out when I go in next week.  I'm already prepared to cry from the amount of time I spent on it.  Although I'm not super pleased with the result, so in that way, I'm prepared to lose it if necessary, and chalk it up to experience.

I also played a bit with pressing and cutting out some smaller leaves, which could be pendants / charms.  Although from what I am reading, and also from my discussion with one of the instructors this week, I may not be able to find any high temperature wire which will hold up to the Cone 10 firing which we do.  I'm stuck on the idea of glazing the full leaf, front and back.  So if I want to make beads or pendants, I may be better off doing something with polymer clay instead.