Wednesday, April 26, 2017

More Leaf Imprint Vessels

Last week I was decorating with scented geranium leaves, which I have since learned is referred to as a "mosquito geranium" (Pelargonium citrosu).  This week there are many more options, as there are many perennials and shrubs and trees leafing out now.  I decided on a Japanese anemone (Anemone hupehensis), since it had very distinctive veining in the leaves :

Here it is, in progress :
This was a bottle I threw a week or so ago, and today I covered it in "No. 6 soda slip", which is a slip which Jay formulated, so that it already has properties of a flashing slip for the soda firing.  So I think with this one, I will stain to show the details of the veins and texturing, and then leave it unglazed (except inside).  I want to try various different approaches and see which one I like the best.  Hopefully all of them.

This class, I threw 2 spherical shaped closed vessels, and accelerated their drying in the wind (and bit of sun) outside, so that I could trim and finish them today also.  For both, I decided to cut an opening off-center, so that they could be used as a funky vase.  Funny, but my instructor Jay passed by, and commented that the hole was off center.  My other instructor, Fredi, commented that she liked how the hole was off center, and the "movement" that it created.  It's fun to see different reactions and perspectives.  But most people respond positively to my work.

Here is the first one, also with the anemone leaves pressed into the No. 6 soda slip, and then black slip painted around them :

Here it is, in progress :
With the help of the heat gun, I was able to dry the slip enough to be able to handle it.

By the time I got to the final vase, I had run out of the anemone leaves, so I went for a short walk and picked some flowers and leaves of Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa).  The flowers didn't turn out so well, but I like how the leaves worked out :
(Sorry I'm too lazy to crop those photos.)

I also threw another vase with a bulbous shape, and decorated with a texture slip (I think it was the one labelled as "Arlynn's soda slip", but I don't know if it has any flashing slip qualities to it, so I may add a flashing slip on top).

The other exercise was to combine those two big pieces we threw last week, and then add a coil and throw a third piece on top.  First I had to cut off the rim of each piece, as they were a bit too thin at the edge.  Then I needed to push one out a bit, as it was no longer the same size.  
Finally I managed to get my pieces combined, but it was a long and painful process to make sure they were really connected well.
I ended up adding a coil (with clay that was perhaps a bit too dry) to the outside of the seam, but then spent a lot of time trying to smooth done the bump that it created.
Then I moistened and pulled the top, which was otherwise a bit heavy.  And added a coil, but never managed to get it centered well, so the whole thing became a mess, and I ended up cutting off at least as much as I had added, and then I rolled out the rim to make it even again.  The result was a bit too off center and uneven for my liking.  But with a bit of texture, I think I managed to recover and end up with a piece that could be quite a statement :
It was a fairly difficult process, but I'm sure I will try it again, as it makes for an impressively size piece.  Although normally we wouldn't be allowed anything over 18", as that is the constraint of the electric kilns.  It sounds like Jay will make an exception for our class, and fire them in the gas kiln.  If I didn't have so much fun with my leaf textures, I would have been tempted to throw two (or even three) more pieces, and create a shape (and size!) which I wouldn't otherwise be able to achieve.

I'm happy that I have a half dozen pieces now, which are suited for the soda firing.  With a number of others which could be used in the soda firing, or regular gas firing, depending on how I feel.  I am still waiting to receive my bag of No. 6 clay, for the soda firing.  I missed the distribution on Sunday, so will get some from the next batch this coming Sunday.

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