Sunday, February 22, 2015

Crackle Vases from Spring Ahead Course

Well, they were technically not something we even covered in the Spring Ahead course, but I discovered the sodium silicate, and was compelled to try it - a few times!  I tried all different kinds of slips and staining and glazing, to experiment with different effects.  These are the results.  They are all formed from Grey clay, and fired to Cone 10.

Large sodium silicate crackle wheelthrown pottery vase.
#1 - This big beauty started as a vase which I coated in Brown Slip, then sodium silicate, then pushed out while on the wheel.  I applied some Iron Oxide stain to the foot, and then wiped it off, hoping to accentuate the spiral pattern on the foot (which I really like - what do you think?).  Then the whole vase was sprayed lightly with Clear glaze.  What is surprising to me is that the Brown slip has mostly vanished from the top half of the vase.  Here it is before firing, it definitely had a full layer of Brown slip from the shoulder down.

It is not very visible in the photo, but I applied my stamp to the inside bottom of the vase.  I think that is a reasonable place, when I am trimming the foot (which sometimes is too dry to apply a stamp at that point), and don't have a good flat spot on the neck or shoulder to apply the stamp.

Beautiful sodium silicate crackled pottery vase with rich brown stain.
#2 - This vase was one of the ones which was just Grey clay, and after bisque firing I applied Red Iron Oxide wash to it, and then wiped it off, to leave it more concentrated in the cracks.  I like the rich chocolaty color.  I glazed with Khaki inside (which matches nicely the wash), and then sprayed a light layer of Clear on the outside.  This one bears my stamp on the shoulder.  It also features a spiraled bottom, which I added when trimming the foot.  I really like that effect, it is a nice surprise when you turn the vase over.

Sodium silicate crackled handmade wheelthrown pottery vase.
#3 - This little vase was also finished in Brown slip before crackling with sodium silicate, but the Brown seems to have mostly vanished.  It was sprayed lightly with Clear glaze inside and out.  It bears my stamp on the shoulder also.

Sodium silicate crackled ceramic / pottery vase in pink/red/white tones.
#4 - This was my Arizona Sunset vase (see it here before firing), colored with Red and Yellow underglazes before crackling, but the yellow from the sunset has disappeared in the Cone 10 firing.  Good to know.  It is still beautiful, but not as dramatic as I had hoped.  It was also sprayed Clear inside and out, so is very functional.  Nice size and weight.  Again, the spiral design underneath.  Stamped on the shoulder.

Sodium silicate crackled vase with teal stain to bring out the texture.
#5 - This vase was also just Grey clay, so I brushed it with Teal overglaze, then wiped it off, to leave the darker veins/cracks.  I really like the result of that.  The Deep Blue glaze inside matches well the strength of the Teal overglaze.  A thin spray of Clear on the outside give it a sheen and makes it quite practical.  Stamped in the neck/shoulder area.

Gorgeous sodium silicate crackle stoneware ceramic vase in blues and whites.
#6 - I really like the color combinations on this one.  I had applied Blue and White Slip to the sides before the sodium silicate magic.  Again, Deep Blue glaze inside and also on the top section of the vase.  That Deep Blue is one of my favorite glazes.  It may surprise, but never seems to disappoint.  For this one, I also dipped the bottom section in White glaze.  I like that.  Then it was sprayed Clear on the outside.  It bears my stamp on the inside at the bottom.

Beautiful sodium silicate crackle vase and blue and white.
#7 - This one was a bit of a surprise too.  I had applied Turquoise slip and a bit of Purple underglaze to the sides before crackling.  But it seems the Cone 10 has burned out the Purple entirely.  Again, good to know.  If my glazing notes hadn't indicated that I dipped the top and inside in White glaze, I wouldn't have noticed, since the freckles from the Gray clay still show through so clearly.  But it did leave the top feeling smoother than the bottom part, which is just sprayed Clear.  It is stamped on the inside bottom.

Overall, I'm very pleased by how these sodium silicate crackled vases turned out.  It is an effect which I hope to explore more in future.  Although I'm bit more wary about using slips or underglazes for color while creating them, and may choose the stain application on the bisqueware, which seems a more reliable way to get color, and bring out the crackly texture.

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