Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wrapping Up the Garden Pottery Course

I missed class today for an appointment, but planned to use the drop-in workshop for throwing some new pieces, which I would then finish Sunday, and then come back to glaze them when Shadbolt Center re-opens again in July, as it is closed almost the whole month of June.  But I also had some leftover clay, including recycled clay, with which I thought I would do a little hand building.

I started with glazing my tall house garden structure :
I sprayed it with a glaze called Sombright Green.  It appears brown in places where it is applied very thinly (I'm hoping parts of the roof and the birds will be brown), and a chartreuse green where applied thick enough.

After that, I pulled out my bits and pieces of clay, and started some hand building.  Pretty soon the workshop was almost over, and I hadn't done any throwing, but I had some wonderful bowls to show for my work.  In the last half hour, I realized that if I could rush them to firm up (using a heat gun) enough to put feet on them, then I wouldn't need to even return on the weekend to finish them up.  I would just wait until they dry, and transfer them to the kiln shed to be bisqued.  So that's what I did.

Let's start with the result, here are 3 of the bowls, lying upside down, with their feet attached :
Coil clay / pottery bowls by Lily L, in progress.
I'm really pleased with the result, although I don't so much like the button feet on the shell bowl, but I didn't have time to come up with fussier feet.  The others have a simple ring, to match the ring I added to the rim.

They are formed from red clay (which I finished off completely) and grey recycled clay.  I hope that the shrinkage of these two different clay bodies will be similar enough that I won't run into problems with cracking or pulling away.  I got one comment on my Instagram post already, that another potter tried a similar thing, but unsuccessfully.  So here's hoping.

The method is pretty simple, although time consuming.  They were each built inside a bisqueware mold.  This one using coils of clay:

Then I add more clay, which I smooth out (while not pressing so hard as to destroy the texture of the clay against the mold):
For the coiled bowl (top in this photo), I played with adding both red and recycled clay on the inside of the bowl.  For the other bowls, I just used one type of clay.

Here is the rough textured bowl, before adding more clay and a rim, and smoothing it out:
For each piece, I used one of my handmade bamboo tools to add some rough texture, then pressed it into the mold.

For the third bowl, I used one of my handmade bisque sprig molds to create the shell / nautilus shape, and then pressed different colored balls of clay into the sprig mold, and lined these up inside the mold.
Nautilus / shell clay / pottery bowl by Lily L.
I really wish I had more time, to come up with more creative feet for this little guy.  But anyhow, I think it still turned out quite fine.

I had one last piece I created today, but I just realized I had not taken a photo of it.  It was a rectangular bowl / plate made with a roller pattern, and then formed over a rectangular mold.  I added some nice feet to it.  I'll have to remember to take a photo when I transfer it to the kiln shed.

It feels good that I have pretty much finished everything off, and just waiting on some items to be bisqued and other items to come out of the gas firing.  I have some pieces reserved for a soda firing in July, otherwise there is nothing which needs my attention.  Which is actually a nice feeling, at this point in my life, which is otherwise quite hectic.

Stay tuned for more pottery in June, as I am signed up for a couple of weekend workshops, and I suspect that the leftover clay in my garage may not stay there all month, either.  :-)

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