Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Garden Pottery in Progress

We are into week 3 of the garden pottery course.  We are building pottery for the yard, which is great for me, since I have much more room in my yard than I do in my house for more pottery.  It is also great since we are allowed to build items which are far bigger than we are usually allowed.  Last year, I was pleased to make 2 large platters - see the one on student exhibit.  The intention was to build birdbaths, but large platters for holding fruit on the counter was much more practical for me.

Anyhow, one of the items I have been working on for a couple of weeks now is this large outdoor lantern.  It is about 25 pounds of clay :
I struggled with this one a lot.  I didn't want to make it look like a simple house type lantern.  I was thinking some sort of carving, of flowers climbing a trellis, or something like that.  So I originally planned to add an extruded piece on top, so the piece would be taller.  But today when I tried it out, it looked wrong to me.  So I considered making it into a base for a sculptural piece.  But finally I arrived at this wavy, more funky roof.  Which I think could go nicely with a carving.  I just need to think a bit more about the design.

The roof already had a bit of texture from the wood mold which it was pressed into, but I added a bit more texture to it, and hopefully the glaze will accentuate it rather than hide it.  For many of my outdoor pieces, I will be trying out the Sombright Green glaze, which is not considered food safe, but has a very pleasant range from brown (where thin) to chartreuse/green (where thick) :

So I ended up with some extruded square pieces, which I wanted to do something with.  I also ended up with a second roof, since I tried two different pitches, and wanted to see which one I liked better for my lantern structure.  So I combined the extras, and got this funky windblown house :
You probably can't see the detail too much, but on the roof, two sides are decorated using my dragon scale tool that I made myself, and the others are decorated with freeform somewhat wavy vertical lines.  I'll need to think about what cut outs I want on the sides, but I may stick to simple windows.  I'll see.

The fundraiser the other night was a resounding success, and we raised $250 by raffling off my 4 pottery items.  The one which got the most interest was the vase with the maple leaf imprints.  My sister really wanted to win that one also.  So I decided I need to make at least one more like it.  Today I trimmed one of the vases I threw last week in grey stoneware, and tonight I was pressing and poking to create this :
I hope to make a number more of these leaf-impressed vases this summer, while I have lots of different leaves available to me.

Another of my leaf imprint vases, featuring various types of ferns, was not only featured in a student exhibit, but is also published in the Spring / Summer 2016 Arts Program at Shadbolt Center for the Arts, in the "Ceramics - Adult" section :
Pretty cool.  It was a nice surprise when a friend pointed it out to me.

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