Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Continuing in Jay's Course

I haven't quite settled into pottery two days per week, with missing last Wednesday's class due to work, and missing this Sunday's class due to the Easter holiday.  But when I do, I will surely be very productive, as I was again today.

I started first by finishing off the 5 pieces which I threw on the weekend.

The twisted piece (at the back), I just tweaked and cleaned up the bottom and stamped.  The other three pieces which were too "ordinary" looking vases, I finished with the thick white slip, just like the 2 pieces from last class.

For the final one, a pretty little sphere, I wanted to try another leaf imprint vessel, so I went into the garden yesterday evening, looking for leaves with lots of texture.  Most of the trees and a lot of perennials are only starting to bud out now, but there were a few promising ones.  Strawberry leaves, and hardy geranium leaves among the most promising.  But then this morning it was miserably rainy, so I decided to pick leaves from the scented geranium (a gift from my friend Beth) on my kitchen window sill.

The first step was to press the leaves into the sphere.  The leaves were quite resilient, and it took a bit of coaxing and rolling to get them settled into the clay, but I knew that the strength and thickness of the leaves were a good indicator of the impressions they would make.

In the past, I've textured around the leaf imprints, but this time I decided to try something new (and faster), so I painted black slip all around the leaves.

Then I let the slip dry a bit, and peeled the leaves out.  After the bisque firing, I will likely highlight the leaf textures with black (or perhaps another colour) stain.  But even now, the result is looking very promising.

I created quite a stir in the class, and a distraction to Jay as he was trying to demonstrate throwing of pitchers and other larger vessels.  I can't say I don't enjoy the attention.

After that, I decided to connect into the class activities, and participated in one which I had missed the previous week.  The challenge was for someone to sketch an idea for a ceramic vessel, and then try to throw it according to the drawing.  Then for another person to take that same sketch, and also try to throw from it.  So I picked a sketch, and this was my attempt :
I think it turned out pretty good, except that my base was a bit wider, and the belly of it was a bit lower than in the drawing.  I need to work on lifting up that belly, in future.

Anyhow, the thing ended up being far too ordinary looking for my liking, and I really didn't want to pull a spout and attach a handle, and make a pitcher, as much of the class was working on, as a ceramic pitcher just doesn't interest me at this point.  So I decided to decorate as follows :
That will make a fine vase, I think.

My next piece was also inspired by Jay's demos.  He had made a pot which was cylindrical, except it was drawn in at the center.  His was quite nice, actually.  Mine didn't turn out so beautiful, but I decided that with a bit of embellishing and a flattened shape, it could also be a pretty attractive vase.  Funny thing is that I don't seem to have any photos of it now, even though I was sure I had snapped some.  Nor do I have photos of the large double-walled vessel I threw, nor the two near-spherical shapes which I finished with a short neck, nor the smaller pieces I threw off the hump, which will be components of little goblets (or stemmed ice cream cups).

So I guess that's it for now.  I will be at it next Wednesday again.  I came close to throwing a large sphere which would have lent itself well to being carved (perhaps over the holiday), but now I'm so glad I didn't manage, since I have lots going on in my life, and I have a feeling the two days of playing with clay will be all I can manage for now.

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