Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Another Look at the Platters

I will be away for the next couple of weeks, so dropped by the studio today just to move the 4 platters into the kiln shed to get bisque fired.  They look and feel awesome, even if I have to say so myself.  I tried to take photos in the natural light, to see the texture.  Ignore the mouldy spots and the white corn starch.
I'm really happy with how this one turned out, with the oakleaf hydrangea leaf imprints.  I think the texture around them makes the leaves stand out nicely.  I can't wait to see this one finished.  With the right glazing and/or staining, it could be pretty spectacular.

I love this octagonal shape.  At 2" deep, it should make a very nice platter for serving some sort of food.  Or could hold water and float flowers.  Again, with the right staining/glazing, the pattern could look pretty cool.

This deeper 3" hexagonal shape feels really great to hold.  I can't wait until this one is finished.

I'm also pleased with this shape, and even glad I didn't try to mess around with the sharp corners.  I can see how this one turns out, and try something different on the next one.  That's the cool thing about the styrofoam moulds, they were a lot of work to make, but now they can be used many times.  And based on the results so far, I think I have more experimenting to do, with different textures, rimmed or unrimmed, and maybe some decorative elements, and staining / glazing combinations.

When I return from my trip, I will have 3 weeks in November to finish up all my pieces, stain / glaze them, and work on anything else I can fit in (or not).  Then it will be Christmas break already.  This pottery season seems to have flown by too quickly.  But I have some sizeable pieces to show for it.  Not to mention a few hatching dragons.  I went to visit those today.  Here they are on the shelf, with my two African men looking like they are having a conversation in the background :
The process of creating is so satisfying.  I look forward to one day when I can devote more than one day per week to pottery.  Two days would be even more perfect.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Yet More Platters from Styrofoam Hump Moulds

I attended the open workshop today, and with Thanksgiving closure this weekend, and my trip to Shanghai after that, it may have been my last session before November.  So I decided to try to finish up and only start items I could finish in the single session.

So first I finished off the hexagonal platter from last time, adding an extruded rim to it :
I was very pleased with the result.  It is fairly difficult to lay down the rim in one long piece, so I ended up cutting the 6 segments and mitering the corners, but then I smoothed them out, so they look somewhere in between a continuous edge, and squared off corners.  I'm really happy with it.  So this completed my set of 4 platters from the 4 Styrofoam hump moulds that I made a few weeks ago.

I took a long and hard look at the triangular one from last time, and experimented with various decorative touches which I could add to the corners, but decided I liked it as is (as did others in the studio, who also seemed to think it was quite fine the way it was).

So that just left me enough time to make another platter, and use up all the extruded pieces I had left over (I barely made it, but I had enough for the feet).  This one, I wanted to do something different, so I pressed a set of oakleaf hydrangea leaves into the slab.  Then I wondered if they would look too bare, so I textured around them with the back of my sharpie :
I had to make a big enough pattern, to fully drape the styrofoam mould.  So that ended up being a lot of poking with my Sharpie, but I liked the effect, and I think it will hold stain or glaze really well.
I made a very beautiful hexagonal foot on it, but I forgot to take a photo before I flipped it over, so I'll need to go straight to the finished piece.  I decided this one will not have a rim (since I didn't have time to extrude more clay, and didn't want to mess around with rolling coils).  I think I like more of a rim, but then again, it is good to experiment with different variations.  So this is one of them.

Before peeling back the leaves :
And after :
I'm pretty pleased all around with these new moulds.  They were messy and time consuming to make, but they help create some really beautiful platters in a relatively short period of time.  I love all the possibilities for texturing them.  I would like to try one where I texture a slab (which will form the inside), drape it over the mould, and then texture the outside also.  That will be really fun.

I will also try a few different types of glazing.  For some I could use an oxide to highlight the texture, and then glaze in something light and translucent, like a Clear or Celadon glaze.  For others, I could experiment with using glazes (which I wipe off to reveal the texture, and then seal with a Clear or Celadon glaze.  For yet others, I would like to use a glaze like the Amber Celadon which naturally shows quite a bit of the texture.  I don't think I'll stain and leave any unglazed, though, since I think these are all pretty practical shapes, and I can imagine them holding food.  Fruit bowls, serving bowls...

Sunday, October 2, 2016

More Platters from Styrofoam Hump Moulds

Today was my first opportunity to go back to Shadbolt, to complete the three platters I had started using my new Styrofoam hump moulds.  The one I had finished previously, with both feet and extruded rim.  Today I added the rims on the final two.

Here is one of the platters before adding the rim:
...and after adding the extruded rim:
It is a slow process, but I think the rim really completes the platter.  I was pretty pleased with myself, operating the small extruder by myself (we usually work in pairs).  But then the extrusion was very narrow, so I was able to let it run all the way down to the floor, and then break it off.  For a larger piece, it needs to be guided, and would likely break off under its own weight.

Here is the other platter :
Somehow this one didn't look complete to me.  And the sharp angles of the rim looked too industrial compared to the decorative inside.  My friend Teena also thought so, and suggested I add some decorative flourishes on the corners.   I think she's right, but I decided to finish these up and start another piece, rather than agonize and spend time on this now.  So I've wrapped it in plastic so I can explore this option at next opportunity.

Here are the three finished items on the drying shelf (although I may still return to that triangular one) :

Here's the new platter which I started, and got the feet on.  I just need to add a rim next time :
This one is also stamped / textured inside (I find the stamping and rolling to be very therapeutic), and the mould was really deep (3"), so it was a challenge to wrap the slab of clay over the mould.  It took quite a bit of coaxing.  But I think the result will be pleasing.  I did a funky little double foot (although I see from the photo that it's not very straight!).  I can't wait to flip it over and look inside.  Hopefully Wednesday.