Friday, March 27, 2015

More Finished Items - Including the Rascally Raccoon - From the Spring Ahead Course

I haven't finished and received all my pieces yet, but these are the remainder of the ones which I have finished and brought home recently.

Set of four tulip-shaped handmade clay stoneware pottery vases.
This set of four tulip-shaped (or maybe honeysuckle-shaped?) vases was inspired by the beautiful vase I purchased at Christmas time, which was created by Linda Doherty and then carved and finished by Sharon Reay.  I have been thinking about that shape for some time, inspired to try it myself.  So when I ended up extruding some hexagonal pieces from recycling clay during the Spring Ahead course, I was happy to chop them into pieces, and finish them as these floral vases.  Here they are, in ascending size order:

Tulip-shaped handmade clay stoneware pottery vase finished in Bamboo glaze.
24) Piece 24 & 26 are finished by dipping in Bamboo glaze both inside and out.  Then for both, I sprayed a bit of Celadon on alternating panels on the outside, for additional interest.  The Celadon shows up faintly, and you may be able to see it in a photo somewhat.

Tulip-shaped handmade clay stoneware pottery vase finished in Bamboo and Celadon glaze.
25) Piece 25 and 27 are finished with Celadon inside, Bamboo outside, and then the alternating panels on the outside sprayed lightly with Celadon.  In future, I think I can spray a thicker layer, and it may have a better effect.  But I can see the Celadon faintly.

Tulip-shaped handmade clay stoneware pottery vase finished in Bamboo glaze.
26) Again, Bamboo inside and out, and then Celadon sprayed on alternate panels outside.  I'm not sure why all the drippiness (ha ha, is that a word?) in the glaze.  Usually I'd love this effect, but for this vase I'm not sure if I like it or not.

Tulip-shaped handmade clay stoneware pottery vase finished in Bamboo and Celadon glaze.
27) Again, Celadon inside, Bamboo outside, and then Celadon sprayed lightly on alternating panels.

Which vase do you prefer?  The one with Bamboo center, or Celadon center?

Large handmade stoneware pottery vase / pot with glaze stripes
28) This large pot / vase turned out pretty nicely.  The speckles sure show up from the gray clay!  I had made two indents on the side, which I glazed with Deep Blue and Tenmoku.  Then the whole piece was sprayed in Celadon.  The spiral pattern under the foot shows up really nicely, even when glazed.  For this one, I ended up stamping in the inside bottom.  This seems to work well for these bigger open vases, especially when I carve the foot.

Large handmade stoneware pottery vase / pot with doll faces on sides.
29) I really like the shape and feel of this large pot / vase.  It has a nice weight to it, and has an antique look to it, so the Bamboo glaze seemed the best fit.  I was tempted to play a bit with Iron Oxide stains to antique it a bit more, but decided to stay simple, and I think the effect is good, especially since the gray clay is so heavily freckled anyhow.  I really like the foot on this one, and the spiral pattern I added to it.  It is also stamped on the inside bottom.

Beautiful handmade ceramic stoneware raccoon for the garden.
30) Finally for now, my rascally raccoon.  I love this little guy.  I plan to eventually put him into the garden, but I will be scared that he will run away on me out there.

Here are some more views of this little raccoon :
Beautiful handmade ceramic stoneware raccoon for the garden.
The raccoon is finished with "Very Black" stain, although there was a bit of Iron Oxide also on my sponge.  His eyes are glazed in Deep Blue, just to give them life and make them shiny.  The hole in the bottom is so that he can be secured in the garden.  There is a small crack which seems to have been created by his snout drying and pulling away slightly, but it should be pretty solid, even with that small crack.  Originally he was going to be part of a totem, but I think he either needs to be the topper for one, or maybe he'll just sit on top of a small stump.  I'll need to make a stump for him now.

More Totem and Other Garden Pieces from the Spring Ahead Course

I am still trying to finish up the new shelves in our office, to hold some of my ceramics, but in the meantime, I have unloaded my latest pieces onto the kitchen island, to at least take some photos.

I'll start with the remaining totem pieces for my garden.

Handmade stoneware clay piece for the garden totem.
18) This piece created from gray clay is not too beautiful, but will work fine for a garden totem.  I used a few of my handmade stamps on it, and then experimented with adding wax to some of the stamped areas.  The Tam's Green glaze shows the imprints quite well, so I think I prefer the unwaxed ones, but it's all a learning experience.

Handmade stoneware clay piece for the garden totem.
19) This one was thrown as a cylinder, and then altered with a wooden dowel.  I glazed it in Carbon Trap Shino, then highlighted the grooved parts with Deep Blue.  The colours should at least show up well from a distance, which will be fine for the totem.

Tiger-striped handmade stoneware clay piece for the garden totem.
20) I really like this little piece for the totem.  I think I'll repeat the experiment for some indoor pieces also, when I get an opportunity.  The light pattern was created by taping off those areas, dipping the whole piece in Deep Blue, removing the tape, and then spraying all in Celadon.  I continue to love the colour combination of Celadon and Deep Blue.

Handmade stoneware clay piece for the garden totem.
21) This was my second star / flower shaped piece for the garden totem.  It was sprayed with Sombright Green glaze (which is not food safe, but fine for the garden), which should have showed green in thicker areas, and brown in thinner areas.  At least I know I'm consistently spraying thinly !  :-)

Handmade stoneware clay piece for the garden totem.
22) This is the base for my previous totem base.  I've guessed the size, so the true test will be when I try to reassemble the totem.  It is finished with Iron Oxide stain, like the previous one, although it seems to have turned out a paler colour.  It cracked during the bisque firing, but since there is a lot of weight to this piece, I think it could still survive in the garden for some while, even with that crack.

Handmade stoneware clay face for a garden planter
23) This piece is an open-bottomed planter for the garden.  I will probably secure it to the ground with a stake or two, and plant it with an ornamental grass.  I think that will look pretty funky.  It was finished in Iron Oxide.  I am quite pleased with the result.

I have picked up more finished pieces for the indoors, as well as my rascally raccoon, but I will save those for another post.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Student Exhibit Opportunity - Again !

I picked up most if not all of the remainder of my finished ceramics today, and I was very excited to learn that I have been invited to display one of my pieces at an upcoming student exhibit at Shadbolt Center in May and June.  Yay!!  I'm so excited.

This is the bowl / platter which was selected for exhibit :
17) This large bowl was slab-built from recycled clay.  I actually learned to use the slab-roller for this one, and formed it on a mold which our teacher had created for our use to create large bird baths.  I knew I wouldn't want a bird bath, for a number of reasons, but a big bowl like that would be awesome for the kitchen, for holding fruit or whatever.

The bowl is just over 14" or 36 cm diameter, and is really heavy.  It is definitely a two-hander, so I had one of my kids hold it so I could take photos.

The design on the edges is created with one of my hand-made stamps.  This spiral shape has come in pretty handy, as I have used it for previous bowls also, such as this small bowl #22.

I knew the Deep Blue was my glaze for creating the contrast I wanted.  It is brushed on and wiped off, and then the whole bowl is sprayed in Celadon glaze.  I really like that color combination, and the blue speaks to me of swirly waves.

The foot is a spiral shape, to echo the spirals on the inside of the bowl.  By the time I could flip the bowl out of the mold safely, it was too firm to stamp, so I added a button on the bottom to hold my stamp.

I was asked for a "title" for this piece, but I haven't been able to come up with a deserving title.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rascally Raccoon

Today was last class in my Spring Ahead ceramics course, so I glazed all but the two large pieces which need to dry slowly in the cellar, and one piece which was sent to bisque but hasn't come back yet.  It was a busy but fun day.  The highlight of the day was finishing my raccoon.

Cute mischievous ceramic pottery raccoon sculpture for the garden.
I finished him with a "Very Black" stain, and wiped it off with a sponge which had a bit of "Red Iron Oxide" stain still there (even after washing for a very long time), so it introduced a bit of brown with the grey.  I think he turned out perfectly.  I also added a glaze to his eyes, so they will turn out shiny.

Cute thrown and handbuilt ceramic pottery raccoon garden sculpture.
Here's another angle, so you can see his striped tail.  Very cute.  My little "washing bear" will be perfect for the garden.  When ceramics starts up next term, I will need to make him a little platform, maybe one which looks like a tree stump.

Sleeping ceramic stoneward face for the garden (bottomless planter) - not fired yet.
I decided to finish my garden head (bottomless planter) with red iron oxide.  Once it's fired, it will be more brown.  I think this will look good for the garden.  Stay tuned, hopefully I will have photos of it "in action" by the end of the summer.

Pattern for ceramic vase - not yet glazed and fired.
One of the pieces for my garden totem was too plain for my liking, so I created a pattern with painter's tape, for a two-tone glazing.

Ceramic stoneware slab built platter - not yet glazed and fired.
And finally for today's photos, here is my very large plate, I finished it with Deep Blue glaze which I wiped off, to reveal the spirally stamp pattern.  Then I sprayed the whole plate in Celadon.

Now the hard part will be waiting to pick up my finished pieces, once the go into the kiln.  It may take a couple of weeks, since there were a lot of people glazing today, and a lot of pieces on the shelves waiting for the glaze firing.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Garden Totem Trial

It is a wonderful thing when your interests and hobbies intersect.  Which in my case, are gardening and pottery.  I have had the garden totem ceramic pieces sitting on my counter too long now, and it looks like the weather is changing from clear blue sky to cold and rain / snow (in the mountains, anyhow).  So I took this opportunity to run outside (wow, it was surprisingly cold) to try out my totem pieces on a piece of rebar which is already firmly planted in the back yard, protecting my beloved Davidii involucrata tree from the hose, when I drag it about the yard..

Small ceramic pottery garden totem in the yard.
If you take the photo at the right angle, the totem actually looks pretty big, but it is only about 3 feet high, and propped at the bottom with an overturned pot with bottom cut out, and some large rocks, to eliminate the gaps between the pieces.  This is only the first 9 pieces.  I have more coming.  But it looks like I will need a LOT more and probably some bigger pieces, if I'm going to do any sizable totem (I was thinking 8 feet or so, but may need to rethink).

Small ceramic pottery garden totem in the yard.
Here it is from another angle, to show off the white blossoms of my Japanese plum in the distance behind.  As well as my true friend, the wheelbarrow, resting against the fence.

Small ceramic pottery garden totem in the yard.
This angle shows off more of our yard and a peak at our house, but also gives a better indication of the totem's diminutive size.

Well, I was glad to learn that the pieces stack quite well, and the holes I made are a good size, larger than the size of the rebar, but not too large that they move about.  So I'm very pleased with that.  The totem looks way too small for the scale of my yard.  Which is good to learn now, if I am going to invest more time building more pieces for a bigger totem.  Perhaps I may stay with a few small garden hose-stopper totems for the time being.