Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hand Building and Glazing

Before I talk about today, I had a second egg start to hatch :
Pretty fun.  I made the claw in the evening, and let it dry overnight, draped over a toilet roll, and added it to the egg in the morning, when it was firm enough to handle :

Today was a long but productive day again.  Our instructor, Jay, wanted to demonstrate assembly of clay lanterns / bird houses / whatever using clay slabs and wooden molds.  While I was waiting for the demo, I started the piercing of the candleholder which I will fire in the upcoming raku workshop :
It was really moist clay when I cut the little windows, so I let it firm up a bit while I made one of the lantern shapes, and then returned to clean up and finish it.  Here it is at the end of the day :
I think it will make a very nice candle holder.

I already made one of the big lanterns last year, with my elaborate clematis design.  Here it is, displayed in the garden (although it has come to live above the kitchen cabinets, indoors) :

So this year, I decided what I need more than another lantern, would be a large base for another ceramic totem, since I already have a number of totem pieces on the go and finished previously.  So I ended up making an obelisk shape :
It was pretty easy to assemble, using Jay's wooden molds :

When I decided on the obelisk shape, I looked up obelisk in Google Images, and found out that many of them featured hieroglyphics.  I had no such stamps, and didn't want to spend a lot of time hand carving hieroglyphics (even if I knew what I wanted to express), so I ended up borrowing my friend Roma's rollers, and then adding an Egyptian themed sprig (which I made in a previous course) :
I'm pretty pleased with the result.  It has a hole in the top and bottom, so will be a great totem base.

With 1.5 or 2 hours remaining after finishing these two pieces, I decided there was not enough time to make a wheel messy, and I was tired from the hand building on such a large scale (and pretty much already finished off my bag of clay), so I decided to get a head start on glazing.

It was quiet and peaceful in the kiln shed, but the glazes had not been used for a long time, so I ended up doing a lot of stirring, as I probably used 8 different glazes for the 6 pieces which I glazed.  But I was glad to make some progress, and know that some of my pieces will make it to the first gas firing.  Hopefully this weekend or next Wednesday I can do more building but also more staining and glazing, to keep pieces moving along.

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