Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Indoor and Outdoor, Hand Building and Wheel Thrown

I am working on a lot of projects at pottery at the moment.  I have pretty much decided to proceed with my first idea for the lantern carving, the clematis growing on a trellis.  When I got there, I realized that the lantern is not nearly as large as I remembered, so I will have only a few bars of trellis, and possibly 2 or 3 flowers on each side.

My teacher offered some sprig molds for the flower and the leaves, but neither were suitable.  The flower since it has 5 petals, not 6 (I know, but I just had it in my head to create a clematis flower), and the leaf since it is too heavily veined and too large.
So I played a bit with hand building the flower, petal by petal, but not only was it a bit time consuming, but I was not sure the flower would hold together well.  Better if it were just one piece.
In the end, I decided to make my own sprig mold, and the teacher assured me that if I put it in the kiln shed today, I'd have it out of the bisque firing by this weekend (if I go to the drop-in workshop Sunday) or for sure by next Wednesday.  So I'll wait for it.  For the leaves, I'm not worried, I can use real leaves to make imprints on clay.  Anyhow, either way, I kept the lantern wrapped, and will return to it when I will be able to make the flowers for it.  I don't want to start carving, since that will allow it to dry out faster.

I did make some progress on my wind-swept house.  I carved some windows (I ran out of time today, so will continue on next opportunity) and a door, and one of my friends, Carol Anne, suggested there should be some birds in the windows.  So I decided it will be an abandoned house, with all the windows blown out, so the birds will be sitting on the windowsills.
Another view :
I'm really liking the look of it.  I think it will be fun in the garden.

I had a few pieces from last week which I finished today.  One was a pot which I trimmed, but the shape was much too ordinary.  Until I added a gecko to it :
The gecko is much too big for the pot.  I would have liked to make him smaller, but it gets more tricky making the little toes and such.  Still, I'm fairly pleased with how this turned out, and it will be a nice surprise if someone turns the pot around and sees the gecko.  Much like my little surprise when we were in Costa Rica last month for Spring Break.  There was some movement when I flushed :

I decorated this garden totem piece with drips of coloured slip (turquoise and black) :

I also threw 6 more pieces in Plainsman 570 white clay, so I will be trimming next week, and decorating them.  I hope for a couple of them to be appropriate for the soda firing workshop which I'm signed up for in late July.
The one at the front (bottom) is a tea cup / tea bowl made from marbled white and yellow clay, then patterned with one of my handmade texture balls, and poked to make indents on the side.  I think it could turn out pretty nicely.  The one at back is another vase / pot with hollow rim.

I like the round shape of the one at front.  I hope to slip trail this one, for the soda firing.  The one at back is a bit too frumpy or ordinary, so I will probably try my hand with a poking stick.  We'll see.

The one at front is an experiment at "bringing it in" at the neck, since I tend to default to wide openings.  I think this could be a pretty nice shape once it's trimmed.  It has good potential for decorating.

Finally, I threw a large shallow bowl / plate, and played with decorating it with turquoise and black slip.  I put the hair dryer to it (on the outside) while I played, so the plate wouldn't slump.  I'm relatively pleased with the result.  It's not quite what I was trying for, but I think it could look pretty dramatic when fired and it turns mostly black.

That was quite a bit of pottery in one day.  I came home very tired, as seems to be the norm in this garden pottery class.  And I didn't even lug my big lantern up and down the stairs.  That would have really wiped me out.

Oh, I should add that I have been creating more maple leaf imprint vases, from two of my earlier pieces.  I posted one already.  Here is the other, in progress :
This is really a smart looking vase, quite rotund, and with a fat hollow rim.  I would like to throw more like this one.

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