Thursday, February 18, 2016

More Twisty Magic and Warren MacKenzie Inspired Pottery

Yesterday was a brilliant but exhausting (in a good way) day at pottery class.  Here are some of the highlights.

After last week's success with the twisty pots, I decided to try another, this one with white clay (my favorite is the Plainsman 570).  Again, I started by, forming the tall volcano, and flattening the sides, and decorating with black and turquoise slip, not worrying that the turquoise dripped a bit :

Then I scraped the sides :

For the scraping, I borrowed my friend Cindy's new scraper tool, which was sold as a cake decorating tool for $2 in a sort of Asian dollar store.   Nice find.

I was happy to try it out for her, so used 3 different edges, for 3 different textures.  Then I inserted my hand and the magic happened :
Twisty wheelthrown ceramic pottery by Lily L.
I think this is my best yet.  Nice bulgy belly, great color and texture, and the rim stayed intact.

I will have LOTS of trimming next week.  It will be our last chance to finalize anything before the bisque deadline, and then the following week we will be glazing before the glaze deadline.  It goes too fast.  Good thing we're done in March, and we start again the next term in April.  I am taking another course in pottery for the garden, probably a pretty close repeat to last year's, but that's fine with me.  I have lots I want to make for the garden also, including more totem pieces and small houses / cabins for my future "lake", etc.

I had a pot from last week which was just too ordinary for me, which I trimmed, and toyed with the idea of altering, but decided to spend more time throwing, so just decorated it in a simple set of slip dots :
The dots are a bit bigger and blobbier than I would have liked, since I decided to test out a hair color bottle as a slip applicator.  At least it didn't clog like my precision applicator sometimes does, and it only blurbed once on an air bubble.

I decided to throw some pieces in sculptural (WSO) clay, since I need 3 pieces for a one day raku firing in May, and that will be upon me before I know it.  So I tried to think of non-functional pieces which I could throw.  I started with one of my favorite shapes, the sphere, and also played with throwing a sort of sculptural piece.  I don't know if I'll continue with decorating "her" or not... (with apologies for a blurry photo) :

I also threw some flatter plates / bowls, which is not a usual shape for me.  I gave them decorative slip-trailed centers, and plan to carve them to be flowers.  Carving so that the recipient will not be tempted to use the sculptural clay (which apparently doesn't hold water well, even if high fired, but definitely not when raku fired, which is at a lower temperature) for liquids.  It could still be a fruit bowl or something like that. (Again, apologies for a blurry photo.)

But after throwing the sculptural clay, which is gritty, I was happy to go back to my white clay, and throw a few more.  Did I mention that I love the P570 white clay?

One of the ideas I saw a couple of days ago, since this week is the 92nd birthday of Warren MacKenzie, and there are lots of Warren MacKenzie photos and videos posted on Instagram, was the drop-rim bowl.  Once finished, it is said to have the illusion that the bowl is "floating" above the table.  So I thought I'd try my hand at it.  How hard could it be to flop an edge?  A little tricky, actually, but here is the result :
Warren MacKenzie inspired drop-rim pottery bowl by Lily L.

I'm very pleased with my progress with throwing, and altering, and making some funky items.  I can't wait to get through the next couple of weeks, and see the final pieces.  Although I would prefer if the course never had an "end", and I could just keep playing, with no deadlines and time pressure.

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