Friday, November 6, 2015

First Finished Items from My "There's Mud in Your Eye" Class

It's been a fairly interesting course, making various vessels related to the consumption of alcohol.  I have chosen to make the ones interesting to me, and skipped the ones I didn't find interesting.  I had lots of other projects on the go anyhow, so didn't have any spare time anyhow.

NOTE : I plan to give one or more of these to my Honey as Christmas gifts.  I am pretty sure he won't read this post, but please don't let him know, I'm hoping for a surprise...

The first set were beer related weisen cups and steins.  You can see the marbling and throwing in this post.  All were thrown with white Plainsman 570 clay.  I then marbled in some Willamette Yellow clay (which is not available for sale yet, but my instructor gave me a bit to play with).  Over all, I was relatively happy with the results, but a bit disappointed how subtle the marbling ended up when the glaze was applied.  A few people have commented that they like the subtlety.  I guess I'm not so much a subtle person, I like it a bit more striking.  But anyhow, here they are, along with my techie notes, for my own record :

Ceramic pottery beer weisen mug cup with marbled design.
1) This weisen cup was thrown from 800 g clay, and a piece of yellow glass pushed into two sides, which then melted and ran in the final firing.  You can see the distinctive cross pattern formed from the yellow (iron oxide rich) clay at the bottom, and the marbling still showing through the Celadon glaze.  It is stamped in the inside bottom with my artist signature.

Ceramic pottery beer weisen mug cup with marbled design.
2) This weisen cup was also marbled with the same clays, and glazed with Celadon.  It is stamped on the bottom.

Ceramic pottery beer weisen mug cup with marbled design.
3) Another similar weisen cup.  I like the curves on this one.  It was also 800 g White clay with Yellow marbled into it, and finished with Clear glaze.  Stamped on the side near the bottom.

Ceramic pottery beer weisen mug stein with marbled design.
4) This is probably my favourite of the set, even though after shrinkage it is a bit small for a beer mug.  I really like the colours, with the Khaki inside matching nicely with the iron oxide of the Yellow clay, and I love how the Bamboo glaze broke around the wine leaf sprig, leaving the edges brown.  That was better than I had anticipated.  There is even some cool effect around the rim, where the Khaki ran into the Bamboo glaze.  I haven't had that before.  Love it.  Unfortunately, it developed a crack in the bottom (see bottom right photo), but the glaze sealed it, so it still holds liquid, and can be a functional piece.  It is stamped on the back near the bottom.

Ceramic pottery vase / vessel with marbled design.
5) This is a sweet little vase, made from 800g clay, with just a small amount of Yellow marbled in.  It is glazed with Amber Celadon inside, and Clear outside and on top of the Amber Celadon on the rim.  Stamped on the side near the bottom.

Ceramic pottery narrow necked vase / vessel with marbled design.
6) This funky little vase was also 800 clay, with a small amount of marbling (but still a very distinctive cross at bottom!).  I was practicing the narrow neck, which is not easy to throw, but practical for holding only a few flowers upright.  (Or as a small corkable whisky container, in keeping with the theme of the class.)  It is glazed in Celadon and stamped on the side.

Ceramic pottery wabi-sabi guinomi or tea cup finished in ash yellow glaze.
7) I wanted to experiment with glazing one of my tea / whisky / guinomi (sake) cups, so I could decide what to use for the others...  I think this Ash Yellow worked really well.  (I think soda fired would be the other alternative I'd like to explore, with this shape).  It is just a single dip in Ash Yellow, but it pools and breaks beautifully over the details of the cup, which exemplifies the wabi-sabi philosophy of embracing imperfection.  In this case, intentional imperfection.  The cup has a really nice light feel to it.  It may actually be quite pleasant to drink from.  It is stamped on the inside bottom.

Beautiful ceramic pottery sculpture of a negro woman.
8) This sculptural piece was not part of the class or anything I've done at Shadbolt so far, it was something I experimented with in my spare time.  You can read about the inspiration for and origins of this piece in this blog post, and the staining and glazing here.  I was a bit shocked and repelled when I first saw her, inside the finished ceramics cage, but I have to say she became much more lovely to me when I picked her up and brought her home.  So I'll see whether she finds a good home here, or will go to live with my creative friend, Miranda, who really liked her the first time she saw her.  I was intending to name her, maybe from a character in "The Secret Life of Bees", but I don't know that any of those characters (August, May, June) suit her.  I'll wait and see.

She is finished in Red Iron Oxide stain, which I discovered turns a metallic colour when applied thickly.  Her hair is finished with Black overglaze/stain, the butterfly in Yellow and Purple underglazes and Clear glaze.  Her dress in a Deep Blue glaze.  Her brilliant red lips are Red underglaze.  I'm very happy with that red, even though I think she should choose a colour which is more suited to her skin tone.  Her eyes are a combination of Black stain, one of the brown glazes, and Clear glaze.  I love how they shine and sparkle.  She almost comes alive.

She survived the two firings beautifully.  The only accident was that I broke off a curl from the back of her neck when I lifted her onto the bisque shelf, so I stained that piece, and will crazy-glue it back on with no difficulty.  There is only a tiny hairline crack in the base, but she seems sturdy and her weight is relatively balanced so she should not easily be toppled.  A really big success for my first such large (11" tall and 10" wide) sculptural piece, and that with no wadding or support while building her.  I'm super pleased with myself.  The possibilities are almost endless now.  I can't wait to attempt something equally daunting, as soon as I have some more inspiration.

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