Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hooked on Crackle

Our teacher mentioned last week that he was going to demonstrate using sodium silicate to create a crackle effect.  After watching a few You Tube videos on the topic, I was pretty excited to try it out.   After trimming the 6 pieces from last week, I started throwing pieces and trying out the sodium silicate.  After the second piece, I was hooked.  Look at these beauties :
I ended up making 6 vases, which progressively were better shaped and more crackly each time.  The one at the front of the photo above, is my final and largest one.  It was brushed with Brown slip (not reddish orange, as it appears now), then the sodium silicate, which was dried with a hot air gun.  Each time I learned to dry the pieces less, and be more aggressive about pushing out the sides.  The one on the right ("Arizona sunset"), I brushed with my new red and yellow underglazes.  I am anxious to see how they come out, when they are fired.  I think they will be more vibrant if I apply a light spray of Clear glaze, which is what I'm tending toward.  Although the matte muted colors may be very attractive also.  We'll see.

These are the two prior. I really like the shape of the one on the right, with a very distinct "shoulder" to the pot/vase.  Again, I ended up using the full bag of grey clay in one class.  Our teacher was demonstrating how to throw a very large bowl and a pedestal, to build a bird bath.  I'm not sure I will attempt it.  I will probably try throwing some large bowls (especially since I bought myself a cow's tongue tool today, and want to try it out), and if I think any of them are large and impressive enough, then I'll make it into a bird bath.  Otherwise I would love to have a few more large bowls around, even for my kitchen counters.

These are the first three I threw today.  You can see the one at the very back, finished in Brown slip.  It is hardly pushed out at all.  Mostly since I stopped after throwing to watching the teacher's demos, and then when I returned to it, the pot was fairly firm, and I was afraid to break it.  So the next one (on the left), I pushed it out while it was still very fresh.  But thanks to my fellow students (wonderful people!), I was encouraged to continue to push out even more on the next one (at front right).

I was intending to finish one of my pieces as a round ball, to add to my totem, but I liked each of them so much, I finished them all as vases for now.  But I hope to get back to trying out this technique in future.  As do I hope to create more pieces for my totem.

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