Saturday, December 19, 2015

Just a Few Clay Stamps

I am finally feeling ready for Christmas.  On the weekend, we got our tree (even if a small 6' to 7' one instead of our usual 12' to 14' beast), and even have lights on it.  I had some ladies in to help us clean the house today, my husband did his final (I hope!) Christmas shopping run, I've wrapped all the gifts, and I had the pleasure of listening to my two teens playing beautiful Christmas flute/sax duets together, in preparation for Christmas eve.

So I finally decided to indulge in a bit more playing with clay.  I didn't want to make a big mess, so I brought out my wooden board, and clay tools, and made some clay stamps :
The one on the bottom left, I got the idea somewhere on Pinterest, I think...  It is a flower on one side, and :
... a different design (in my case, a swirl), on the other side, and on the edges, it is a roller which makes lines and dots.  The round balls in the center are texture balls, which is something new for me.  The one on the very right is a first attempt at making a stamp / tool for creating dragon scales.  I'm not sure I have the shape right.  If I do, I'll follow it up with a few different sized ones.  If I don't, I'll just repeat until I get it right.  I could also try Fimo, it would be faster to see the results.  But I'm in no rush.  I'm not back in the studio until mid January.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Favourites from the Fall Term

I'm missing pottery already.  It feels like I'm going into a long dark winter, deprived of gardening and pottery (except I have some clay in the garage, so we'll see...).  So to cheer myself, I have assembled photos of my favourite pieces from this past term.  Okay, maybe just a photo recap of most of my pieces.  But I enjoy looking at them.  I hope you do too.

Beautiful leaf imprinted ceramic / pottery vessels by Lily L.
Where to start?  With some pieces which were not related to my course.  I was delighted to discover this new technique, which captures the beauty of real leaves, and get one of my pieces selected for a student display, also.  See more, including in-progress shots, here, and here, and here, and here.

Beautiful negro woman ceramic sculpture by Lily L.
My first really large sculptural piece.  Her name is "Sedna", and she has gone to live with Miranda Clingwall, who loved her at first sight.  I am really pleased with all the technical difficulties I overcame, just navigating on my own, and the result was pretty successful, even if not a sculpture I would love on my shelves.  See more, including in-progress shots, here, and here, and here.

Beautiful wheel thrown then carved or pierced raku fired pottery by Lily L.
One of the highlights of the term was a one-day raku course, which resulted in these three vessels.  I would LOVE to raku again.

Beautiful replica Bartmann pottery jugs by Lily L.
I didn't make all or even most of the items demonstrated in my "Here's Mud in Your Eye" course, but I did get inspired by the idea of the Bartmann jug, and finished 4 of them, including one selected for a student display.  And I have one tucked away at home, which I will finish and fire at first opportunity in the new year.  I would like to make a few more of these, if I can find the opportunity.

Beautiful ceramic guinomi (sake) or yunomi (tea) cups by Lily L.
The class which I did enjoy was the one where we made "wabi sabi" (intentionally imperfect) guinomi (sake) or yunomi (tea) cups.  I think a number of them turned out really sweet.  I hope I will have the opportunity to try a few more in future, and maybe make a small set of "matching" ones.

Beautiful handmade wheel thrown and altered pottery by Lily L.
Finally, a few miscellaneous pieces which also turned out pretty nicely.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Final Finished Items from my Mud in Your Eye Course

On the weekend I picked up the remaining pieces, and these lil' babies were worth waiting for :
Ceramics by Lily L.

Here they are, one by one :

Beautiful pottery wheel thrown and pierced candle holder by Lily L.
34) This was my practice pierced candle holder thrown from 1300 g of P570 white clay, before I switched to sculptural clay for the two pierced raku pieces (see them in this post).  Since we fire to cone 10, most of our glazes are pretty dark and drab coloured.  So I used underglazes to get some bright colours, and sprayed with Clear glaze.

Here is the piece in progress, adding underglazes, and using tape to create the sharp, neat edges :
Wheel thrown and pierced pottery candle holder by Lily L.
I knew from previous experience that the purple would not stay purple, it would end up blue, but that was okay with me, although I would have preferred purple.

Wheel thrown ceramic sake container by Lily L.
35) This little sake container (or vase) was thrown from 1300 g white clay.  It features an untrimmed bottom (something our instructor was encouraging us to try), and is finished in White glaze.

Beautiful marbled ceramic guinomi cup by Lily L.
36) I really love how this little guinomi cup turned out.  If I hadn't kept such detailed notes on this piece, I'm sure I would have missed it, since I missed it the first two times I picked up my pieces.  It is thrown from approx 300 g of white clay marbled with the instructor's yellow clay, and then a lizard type texture rolled into the outside, and intentionally deformed to give it a "wabi sabi" flair.  I think I trimmed it just on the bottom edges, but the bottom is untrimmed.  It is stamped on the inside bottom.

It was dipped into Amber Celadon on the rim, and then sprayed Clear.  I love the textures and colours of this piece.  Particularly how the marbling came through very clearly, and is matched by the rich amber celadon rim.  And how there is a small ring where the Clear collected on the rim, when I sprayed the inside.  I would be really tempted to attempt a set of these.  I wonder if I could ever reproduce the same effects?

Beautiful ceramic bead and pendant natural pressed leaves, by Lily L.
37) These 13 ceramic leaf beads/pendants have been waiting a long time to be completed.  I made them in the Spring, I believe, and was waiting for my order of high temperature wire, and then I built a rack to hold them.  They were decorated with underglazes in red, yellow and green.  I then sprayed them with a light coat of Clear glaze.  I'm a bit disappointed in the result, the colours really seem to have faded away.  Especially the yellows, they are pretty much gone.  I'll know for another time, either I need to raku fire them (the yellow underglaze survived beautifully in the raku firing, as seen in my fish bowl from Nov 1), or just stick to the reds and greens.

I would love to leave these stained and unglazed, but in my previous experiment (see the leaf pendants in #19 in this post), the underglazes which were sprayed Clear retained their bright green colour, and the ones which weren't glazed ended up going brown.  Tricky stuff.  I'll keep experimenting, until I get these to behave the way I like.  I am still thinking to collaborate with my friend Shelley for some hand made jewelry, such as in her beaded bracelets.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

More Finished Vases and Vessels from my Mud in Your Eye Course

Continuing from my previous post of Bartmann jugs and my leaf imprint vase, here are a few more of my finished items from this term (both from the course, as well as my own projects from the open workshop).  Starting with three vases, which were similar to my beloved spherical shapes, but I decided to finish them with a straight neck :

One at a time :
Ceramic vase in Celadon and Clear glazes, by Lily L.
26) This vase was thrown from 1200 g of Plainsman 570 white clay.  I finished it with a swirl of throwing lines on the outside.  It is trimmed and stamped, and glazed with Celadon inside and on the rim, and then sprayed with Clear.

Ceramic vase in Amber Celadon and Deep Blue, by Lily L.
27) This vase was thrown from 1300 g of white clay, accenting the neck with throwing lines, then trimmed and stamped, and glazed with Amber Celadon inside and on the rim, then Deep Blue on the bottom.

Ceramic vase in Amber Celadon and Deep Blue, by Lily L.
28) This vase was thrown from 1500 g white clay, accenting the neck with throwing lines, trimmed and stamped.  It is glazed in Amber Celadon inside and on the top part, then overlapped with Deep Blue at the bottom.  I like those deep, rich colours.  I also like the rotund shape.

Double-rimmed ceramic vase by Lily L.
29) This vase was thrown from 110 g of sculptural clay, since I was originally planning to make some pieces for horsehair raku firing.  But then I found out that the raku firing would only be for glazing, at which point I changed my approach, and ended up making these pierced and carved pieces for raku instead.  Anyhow, this one has a double rim which I then pinched, to create a pleasing result.  It is trimmed and stamped, and glazed in Deep Blue on the rim, Amber Celadon on the outside, and then sprayed Clear inside and outside.  The colour is a bit more vibrant than what appears in the photos.

Ceramic vase by Lily L.
30) When I threw this from 1100 g sculptural clay, I was also thinking some sort of raku firing, and testing the limits of the clay, how far I could flatten the top part before it collapsed.  Then once it had firmed up a bit, I pulled up the clay and made the undulating / ruffled top.  It is trimmed and stamped, and finished with Deep Blue inside and on top, and then Amber Celadon on the bottom (can you say favourite glaze combination?)

Ceramic creation by Lily L.
31) When I threw this piece from 1800 g sculptural clay, I was trying for a double walled vessel which I could raku fire.  I got pretty close to bringing the two walls together, but then it started collapsing on me, so I instead pulled in the outside wall and decided to salvage the whole thing by making it look intentional, adding a cord (the ends of the tie broke off) tied loosely around the sack.  I can't say I really like the final product, but it was an interesting experiment, and who knows, maybe someone will find this interesting...  I have a note that it was trimmed, although it must have only been to lighted up the edges, and was glazed in Carbon Trap Shino.  I like the colours.

Beautiful wheelthrown and altered marbled ceramic vase in Carbon Trap Shino, by Lily L.
32) Of all the pieces which I experimented with, marbling the iron oxide rich Yellow clay into my P570 white clay, this is the one which yielded the most interesting and satisfying result.  I love how those bands of iron oxide seem to bubble and burn through the Carbon Trap Shino, and give not only a colour but texture to the surface.  It started as 800 g of clay, and was thrown pretty similarly to my weisen cups (see this previous post), but then I decided to try the "medieval" base which our instructor demonstrated.  It turned out pretty nicely, so I decided to undulate the rim to match the foot.  It also has a sprig of the yellow clay added.  Love this rich iron oxide.  Almost looks like rust.

Here are a few more angles on this little beauty :
Beautiful marbled ceramic vase in Carbon Trap Shino, by Lily L.
I like the cross formed on the bottom by the yellow clay.  It has turned a very beautiful rich brown.  Did I mention that I really like the colours and textures of this piece?

Double-walled ceramic stoneware vase with heart pattern, by Lily L.
33) Finally for this evening, this little piece was my second and successful attempt at throwing a double-walled vessel, this time from 1000 g sculptural clay.  The double walls allowed me to cut the heart shapes from the outer wall, while allowing this to still be used as a vase (or candy holder, or whatever).  I like the effect.  It is trimmed and stamped and glazed in Bamboo.

According to my notes, there are 4 more items to be picked up from the next glaze firing, at next opportunity, which should be this weekend.  I also have another 5 pieces which I set aside for soda or raku or other reasons.  So I was very busy and productive this term!  I'll have to start building more shelves.  :-)

Finished Bartmann Jugs and Maple Leaf Imprint Vase from my Mud in Your Eye Course

Continuing from the last post, which showed my guinomi cups and a few other items, one of the highlights of this firing (although not from the course, this was my own project in the open workshop sessions) was another of my leaf imprint vases, this time with maple leaves :
Beautiful maple leaf imprinted and stained pottery vase by Lily L.

Here's a few more angles on this little beauty:
Beautiful maple leaf imprinted and stained pottery vase by Lily L.
22) This sphere was thrown from 1200 g P570 white clay, trimmed and stamped, and imprinted with fresh maple leaves, as captured in this prior post.  The stain is the Bob Kingsmill mix (iron oxide based), and the glaze inside and on the rim is Matt Green.  i am really liking that combination.

Next I want to introduce 3 of my Bartmann (Bellarmine) jugs :
Beautiful pottery Bartmann or Bellarmine jugs (replica) by Lily L.

You can see all 5 of them, and information about the Bartmann jugs, in this prior post.  One of my Bartmann jugs was selected for a student exhibit which is running now at Shadbolt Center for the Arts in Burnaby BC.  Another one I thought I'd save for a future soda firing, but I'm rethinking that, and will probably glaze and fire it as soon as the studio re-opens in January.

One of the reasons to rethink this, is that I had some issue with bottoms cracking this term.  In particular, with bottoms which our instructor was encouraging us not to trim, but rather just to tap up (so not completely flat) with our hand.  I think my bottoms may have been a bit thin and perhaps not compressed or dry enough, and the edges of the bottom a bit thick (I think I don't draw enough clay up when I'm throwing), so they didn't suit this technique well.  But then again, a number of students were noticing cracks in their work, some in very unusual places, like on the sides of a bowl (!!), so I personally believe that there was a crack fairy in the kiln shed.  I hope she's gone now.  It's always so sad to see your work crack.  Some of mine are still functional, since the crack was not deep, and the glaze filled in.  But some can't even hold water.  Sad.

Here they are, one by one :
Beautiful pottery Bartmann or Bellarmine jug (replica) by Lily L.
23) This was one of my first Bartmann jugs, thrown from 1700g of P570 white clay.  The face and other decorations are made with white slip.  I added a touch of Bob Kingsmill stain to the facial and other decorative features before glazing it in Ash Yellow, but the stain just barely shows through.  It is stamped nicely at the back, but it also has a deep crack through the bottom, so he'll only be a decorative piece - no whiskey for this jug.  A friend remarked that these little guys look like Santa.  Yes, that would be our modern association.  It would be fun to finish one in red and white, and see how that looks.

Beautiful pottery Bartmann or Bellarmine jug (replica) by Lily L.
24) I think this Bartmann is even more handsome.  I created a disk of clay and shaped a face, before adding hair using white slip.  I like the more pronounced nose and facial features.  This one was accented with Bob Kingsmill stain (which shows through a bit) and is glazed with Carbon Trap Shino, which turned out really well, with a range from beige to salmon to grey to near black.  The orangy color I usually think of as Shino only appears on the bottom and inside.

There is a small hairline crack on the bottom, but it still holds water.  Yay.

Here's a closeup of this handsome fellow :
Closeup of pottery Bartmann or Bellarmine jug (replica) by Lily L.

...and finally for now:
Beautiful pottery Bartmann or Bellarmine jug (replica) by Lily L.
25) This mini Bartmann jug started as 1300 g of white clay.  The face was a green man sprig from my instructor, which I then added additional hair and beard to, using slip.  I also added the crest with clip.  I really like how that turned out, it almost looks like a sprig.  The jug is a bit wonky, but I worked that to the benefit of the Bartmann, giving him a more rotund belly.  The face and crest were accented with Bob Kingsmill stain, then glazed in Bamboo.  The stain shows through quite well.  This one was trimmed (at least on the sides, then the base tapped up) and stamped.  It doesn't have any bottom cracks, probably because I trimmed it.  Maybe also since it is smaller.

Stay tuned for more pieces when I have a chance.