Thursday, April 16, 2015

Back in the Studio Again and Ready to Raku

I was so happy to be back at the studio this week.  It seems like I've been away forever.  Anyhow, it is still 2 weeks before my Raku course will start, but I wanted to do a bit of throwing and playing around with clay in the meantime.  I've resisted playing with clay on my kitchen counter.

I am following @pottery_oregonized_by_jack on Instagram, and he keeps teasing me with photos of twisted pottery such as this one:
Isn't that funky?  I say "teasing", since he seems to ignore requests to reveal secrets on how he does this.

Anyhow, still being more daring than skilled, I having been thinking that I've got to try something like this.  So I trying throwing a pot, pushing in the sides with a straight edge, and then with my finger, and I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to twist my pot like this.  But the result still turned out fairly funky, even if not what I wanted :
Stoneware clay pot in progress.
Perhaps my sides are too thick, I need to throw them thinner.  But I also wondered that if I let the pot dry a bit more, I could grab and turn it more easily.  So I made another attempt:
Stoneware clay pot in progress.
This time I could tell that my sides were not going to yield enough to twist them, but I decided to go ahead with a funky pattern and make the best of it.  Not too bad of a result.

Stoneware clay leaf pendants and beads in progress.
I then did a bit of slab work (actually, while I was waiting for that second pot to dry a bit).  These are formed from leaves from the garden, pressed into the clay.  I added the holes so they can be pendants or beads, and maybe my friend Shelley will be able to incorporate them into her handmade jewelry.  I don't know if I've made the holes big enough, since they will shrink.  Oh well, I have all spring and summer to try again, until I get it right.

Handmade stoneware clay sushi plate in progress.
This was also a slab, decorated with rollers.  I was thinking of a sushi plate.  I added coil feet, but just as my time was running out, so I didn't get photos.

I also created a bowl from a similar pattern, and managed to add a coil foot, also just as my time was running out.

Stoneware clay hollow double-walled thrown bowl in progress.
This is a bowl I created in my last class, and just sent it to the bisque firing now.  It was quite challenging.  It was thrown as a large dome, then when dry enough, turned upside down, and the bottom trimmed and smoothed, and with a hole to let the air out, slumped it and worked it into a smooth concave shape.  I then added a really solid thrown foot.  I don't know what it will be practical to use it for.  It was a "bird bath", but I have no intention of using it for that.  But I think the shape is quite pleasant, and one day I would like to use that technique again to create more double-walled bowls / basins.  Maybe I'd carve or cut holes into the outside wall, that could be pretty cool, and would take away some of the unwanted weight also.

Next week I think I'll buy some sculptural clay, and start creating some forms which I'll use in the raku firing.  My classmate and friend, Bev, very kindly spent time showing me pieces she made in a previous raku course, so it has given me enough ideas to try a few things.  Stay tuned.

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