Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Third Garden Pottery Class

I have been on a productive streak in the first class and continued in the second class, and that same productive streak continued again today.

First I trimmed and stamped the two pots from last time, and allowed myself permission to recycle the third pot, that wonky one, which I started to trim today, but trimmed through on one side.

I'm still loving these double/triple feet, one of my "signature" features :
It has been fun trying to fit in my stamp on the edge of the pot, after trimming.  The sodium silicate part is too stiff, so the only place for the stamp is on the foot itself, or the edge of the foot.

Then I decided that I'm having so much fun, and such good results, with the sodium silicate, that I should throw a few more while it is available.  I ended up throwing 4 more pots, each one successively bigger than the previous one, and so beautifully crackly :

Three of them feature the "plum blossom" stamps, and one of them various sizes of circles.  Today I used green slip on three of them, and then for two of those, I touched up the stamped shapes with white slip.  It will be fun trying various ways of finishing them also, staining some, glazing others, and glazing only the stamps of others.  I am glad I threw more pots, so I have more options for experimenting now.  Also, I am very pleased with how these turned out.

A lot of my photos today turned out shaky, but here is a closer view of the one on the right, before I added the white slip.  And I wish I had a better photo of the one at the back, it is a really outstanding shape and size (2600g of clay).

I decided again to "push" these, drying them with the heat gun so that I could also trim and finish them this class.  Some of the bottoms were fairly thin, so they were not suited to the double or triple foot, so instead I trimmed a foot, and then gently pushed in the middle, rather than trimming it more.  That seemed to work very well, with the clay so fresh (not even leather hard yet).

Here are some photos from the trimming :

A lot of students were trying to make a shallow bowl / bird bath using sodium silicate on a thick slab, and then whacking the slab to stretch it out and resulting in the crackly effect.  I tried it, but my clay (the H550 grey clay) didn't respond well to the sodium silicate, the slab just crumbled to pieces, not even allowing me to pick it up.

I tried it a second time, with a very thin layer of sodium silicate, and was able to pick up the crumbly slab, and lay it into a bowl, with the crackly side out.  It split in a couple of spots, which I repaired, and then I reinforced along the rim, which was splitting also, and the result may be a pretty cool planter, if it holds together through drying and bisque firing.  I even hope to add stubby feet next week, if that is possible.  But I'm not worried either way, it was just an experiment.  If I do it again, I'll use a different clay, such as the WSO sculptural clay, which will surely hold up better :

Speaking of WSO sculptural clay, I need to make 3 pieces to fire in a one day raku course in early March.  So I've had a bag of WSO sitting and waiting for me for a couple weeks now.  I have some great ideas for sculptural pieces, one involving a penguin, but they will be quite time consuming, and definitely more than the time I had remaining in the class.  So I decided to throw some simple vessels, which I could decorate using different glazes, and using a fine tape to delineate areas (which results in the sharp black lines which I love so much : see my floral bowls from the last raku firing and the pierced candle holders from the prior raku firing).

I guess I forgot to take photos, but I ended up with two shapes, one a large bulbous vase, with a short straight neck, and another the round almost spherical shape which begs to be pierced or carved and used as a candle holder.  I will trim these next week, and then decide how I will finish these.

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