Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Dove Tree Platter

I was happy to be back at the studio today.  I took the first 30 minutes just moving around some of my pieces from the Tony Clennell workshop, and getting myself settled and ready to start something new.  I decided I would do a leaf imprint platter using one of my styrofoam hump moulds which I made last year.

Unfortunately, I didn't have Linda's extrusion pattern which I had last time, to make the feet and rims, so I did my best with one which was there, but it needed some cutting and altering to make it work.

I was so busy, I forgot to take a photo of the foot while I had it flipped over.  My first photo is once I force-dried it a bit with a hair dryer, so that I could turn it right side up:
Beautiful leaf imprint ceramic platter in progress, pottery by Lily L.
The leaves are from my beloved Davidii involucrata (dove or handkerchief tree).  The dots are from the back of my sharpie.

With only 30 or 40 minutes to spare, I decided to go for it, to extrude and attach a rim.  I'm glad I did, although it was a lot of work to clean the extruder, and my table area, so I ended up being a bit late in cleaning up.  I didn't feel too bad, as a few others were even later, but I don't want to get into that habit of running overtime.

Here is the final piece, before carrying it downstairs to dry slowly :
Beautiful leaf imprint ceramic platter in progress, pottery by Lily L.
It's a bit faint to see in the photo, but I've got some lovely textures there.

I have two options in my mind for glazing it.  One would be typical of me, to brush Deep Blue (leaves) and maybe Amber Celadon (dots) glaze and rub off with a sponge, to highlight the texture.  Then spray the whole thing in Clear or Celadon.  The second would be to dip or spray the whole thing in the newly formulated Tam's Green, which is quite a rich colour, but would break nicely on the texture.  I think it would be more subtle, but still could be quite a statement.

I wish I had two platters, so I could try one of each.  Maybe I should make another one next week.  We'll see.  I have an abundance of good leaves this time of year.  I had wanted to do a fern one, but somehow  couldn't get a layout I liked.  So maybe that will be next week's challenge.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Finished Non-Soda Pieces : Bubble Glazing and Other Techniques

With both a soda class and a regular throwing class this term, I got a lot of pieces.  I was glad to be able to pick up most of my non-soda pieces last week.  The first one was already posted previously.  Here are the remainder :
Bubble glazed pottery by Lily L.
B) This is one of my bubble-glazed pieces, and I think it turned out spectacularly.  This vase was the one I threw in Jay's class, as an exercise, following another student's drawing, and then I added the carving decoration around the middle.  It was thrown from 1900g of 570 white clay.  It was glazed Deep Blue in the middle band, then white above and below, and inside.  Then bubble glazed with Deep Blue.  I had help from my friend Cindy, who turned the vessel and caught the bubbles, as I focused on blowing them without laughing (which was tough for me).

Bubble glazed pottery by Lily L.
C) This was another bubble-glazed vessel, thrown from 1000g of reclaimed mixed clay, with a bit of 440 brown clay swirled in.  It was thrown with a thin bottom, so not requiring trimming.  It was glazed all over with White, and then bubble glazed with Deep Blue and Amber Celadon.

Bubble glazed pottery by Lily L.
D) Continuing with my bubble-glazed pieces, this one was thrown from 1800g of white clay.  It was glazed with Gordon's Shino, which pretty much went white everywhere except on the rim and inside, where there are hints of orangy-brown.  It was then bubble-glazed with Deep Blue, and I added Deep Blue to the little rectangular accent in the center (which makes for a nice finger hold when picking up the vase).

This one made a nice house-warming gift for my friend Helen yesterday.  I filled it with peonies from my garden (complete with the usual accompaniment of ants) before taking it over :

Bubble glazed pottery by Lily L.
E) I really love this one.  The colors remind me of chocolate syrup on maple ice cream.  It was the bowl which I originally threw (1900g of grey clay) to be a foot for my enormous dragon bowl.  But when I assembled the other two pieces, they already looked large enough, and they seemed too heavy to rest on this open bowl.  I have since learned, at the Tony Clennell workshop, that a closed foot would be a better choice (such as that provided to my big vase).  So I ended up taking this big bowl, and carving some texture on the side, and then glazing in Bamboo, with Amber Celadon sponged onto the texture, and bubble-glazed onto the remainder of the bowl.  I love how the glaze ran a bit, and pooled as a rich dark brown in the center, on the softer yellow/brown of the Bamboo.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
F) I had 6 little yunomi or tea cups I had thrown and textured from the soda clay.  One had made it into the soda firing (see #1 here), and the others were glazed and sent to the cone 10 gas firing.  This is my favorite non-soda piece.  It was glazed with Amber Celadon and Deep Blue, which were gently wiped off, and then sprayed with Clear Glaze (including on the Inside).

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
G) This little yunomi was dipped in Amber Celadon.  It is our best glaze for breaking and highlighting texture, and never seems to disappoint.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
H) This little tea cup was dipped on one side in Amber Celadon, and on the other in Deep Blue.  I love that color combination.  You can see how the Amber Celadon highlights the texture so much more than the Deep Blue.

My notes tell me that I have two more little cups to track down, next time I'm at the studio.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
I) This planter / vase was thrown from 1500g of mixed clay, with a bottom which didn't need trimming (one of my early successes with this), but instead it was just compressed with my hand and soft rib.  It is decorated with Turquoise and Black slips, and then sprayed in Clear glaze inside and outside.  Since we don't seem to have any glazes in the studio which drip, I was glad to be able to get the black slip to drip and provide this effect.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
J) This one was my first experiment with applied inlaid sheets of clay to a vessel.  For a description of how this one was created, see the original post.  It was then glazed with Khaki inside, and sprayed Clear outside, to preserve the design.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
K) This one was thrown from 1100g of mixed clay, marbled with brown.  See earlier photo.  When I came to glazing, I was in a bit of a rush, and couldn't remember if I liked Gordon's Shino, or the Malcolm Davis Carbon Trap Shino.  One had provided great results in the past, and the other very disappointing.  I should have consulted my notes rather than listening to the advice I received, which was to use the Gordon's Shino.  It is now on my black list, and I hope not to use it again.   See #30, #31 and #32 in this post, for the shino effect I was hoping for instead.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
L) While I'm on the topic of how disappointing Gordon's Shino is to me, here is another vessel, which was beautifully marbled with white, yellow and other clays, but in my opinion, was ruined by the Gordon's Shino.  Next time I will remember (I hope!) to only use the Carbon Trap Shino.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
M) This is another of my vases which are decorated in a thick white slip.  Most of these textured vases went into the soda firing, with very good results.  But this one had a crack on the bottom (not all the way through), so I decided not to use my 2 cubic foot allotment for it, and glazed it in Ash Yellow glaze instead.  I like the result, and the bit of blush / orange on one side.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
N) This very thin plate/platter was created mainly to keep my leaf pendants/beads together in the bisque fire.  But it turned out pretty nice, also.  It was stamped with viburnum leaves from my garden, with black slip around the leaves, black stain to highlight the texture of the leaves, and then glazed Khaki on the back/underside, and Clear on top.  I like the surprise of turning over the black and white plate, and seeing the color on the bottom.

Handmade pottery by Lily L.
O) I'm still playing around with techniques to create small ceramic leaves which my friend Shelley can incorporate into her handmade jewelry.  I don't like pendants which have a blank or unglazed back, and although I have some high temperature wire, it is some trouble to use.  So these leaf pendants are stained with black stain, and unglazed.  The leaf imprints are on both sides (one side shown in the top photo, the reverse shown in the bottom photo).  I'm happier with this, but thinking I want to introduce a bit more color...  To be continued, I'm sure.

Handmade sodium silicate crackled pottery by Lily L.
Finally, this photo collage is to celebrate my little sodium silicate crackled vessel which has been on display outside the pottery studio at Shadbolt Center for the Arts (in Burnaby, BC, Canada) for about 6 months now, and has finally come home.  It was not my favorite among all the stamped and crackled pieces (see some more crackled pottery in this post), but the most famous one.  :-)

Other than those 2 yunomi cups which I need to look for, I have a few bigger pieces which I am not rushing, so they are either drying, or awaiting glazing.  So I look forward to being allowed back into the studio soon to continue.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day Four of the Tony Clennell Workshop

By the third and final day of the weekend workshop with Tony Clennell, we all realized that we had no hope of getting all 8 of our pieces completed.  So we were invited to drop in one day during the week.  I went in on Wednesday, my usual pottery day.  But funny enough, since I was planning to catch up on other things, I started out in a dark mood, not really wanting to be there.

Fortunately, I had my friend Mariana there, to keep me company, and to cheer me up.  So by the end of the day, it was a good day, and I was glad I had come.

Surprisingly, my highlight was putting handles on my 4 mugs.  Here are a few photos :
Ceramic mug in progress, handmade pottery by Lily L.
This one looked somehow incomplete, so I added a button of clay, and borrowed one of Mariana's flower stamps.  I really like the effect.

Ceramic mug in progress, handmade pottery by Lily L.
So I kept going with the stamps.  This one, one of my handmade stamps from a long time ago, but a perfect match to the swirl inside.

Ceramic mug in progress, handmade pottery by Lily L.
This one is also a stamp from my handmade collection.

Ceramic mug in progress, handmade pottery by Lily L.
And this one, too.  One of my handmade stamps.

By the end of finishing those 4 mugs, I felt a sort of euphoria, and realized that I was so happy with the results, that I will need to make more mugs in my near future.  I had told myself, after making way too many mugs and other items with handles in my second ever pottery course (I think it was entitled "Get a Handle on It"), that I would never make another teapot or mug.  But it has been long enough.  At least for the mugs.

I forgot to take a photo of my casserole dish, but I added handles to the sides, trimmed and added a handle to the lid.  It turned out pretty good.

Ceramic footed mountain bowl in progress, handmade pottery by Lily L.

The mountain bowl, I ended up cutting the foot a bit shorter, and then it looked perfect, and I didn't want to ruin it by adding handles.  It has a really nice feel to it, when you put your hands under to lift it up.  I managed to repair the center, which I cut through when I tried to remove it from the bat.

The big vase with rough slip on it, I was planning to add 2 big handles to it, but in the end, ran low on time, and decided that the smooth handles against the rough textured vase would probably not suit my aesthetic, so I decided to leave it as is.
Ceramic textured vase in progress, handmade pottery by Lily L.

My footed basket to which I attached the top and side handles last week, the top (thrown) handle was fine, but the ribbon side handles popped off while drying.  So that's the way I decided it will stay.  So it seemed like I worked all day, and only got handles on my mugs and that one casserole dish.  But I feel satisfied with the outcome, and feel like it is done.

But that didn't mean it would be my only adventure in clay.  I had more of that Columbia Buff clay, which I didn't particular like the groggy feel of, when throwing, but it seems a great clay for sculptural work.  So I threw much of the remainder of it, and took it home to decorate :
Ceramic leaf imprint vessel in progress, handmade pottery by Lily L.
If it was larger, with more cut-outs between the leaves, this would make a funky candle holder.  But I decided it will just be a table decoration.

In a future one, I want to layer the leaves over each other, to give it a multi-dimensional look.  Stay tuned, and you'll see what I mean.

With the clay I cut out from the piece, I ended up making a handmade spoon.  Fun.  I've never made a spoon before.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Day Three of the Tony Clennell Workshop

When I got home yesterday, I was too exhausted even to post photos.  Good thing I had a massage booked for this morning, before work, since I was also in some pain.  It was a very intense, but exhilarating three days.  I didn't come close to finishing my 8 pieces, but then again, neither did any of the other students.  So I was glad that I was able to keep up the pace with so many experienced potters.

I was looking through the photos, and although we worked hard yesterday, we don't have much to show for our progress.  We had time consuming tasks to do, such as trimming and attaching bases to our big pots :
Tony Clennell workshop, June 2017.
Although it didn't feel like much progress, it added so much class and function to the pot, being able to reach under and lift it easily.  Tony also demo'd adding handles to his pots.  Here are some of the results :
The handles on the outside of this one were surprising.  They were thrown as a ring on the wheel, which was cut in half, and pushed onto the pot.  The top one was two pulled handles stacked on top of each other, parallel but opposite.  New techniques for me to explore.

This one had the big pulled handle on the top (again, thrown as a ring, but this time combined together).  One the one he was demo'ing (the photo above was the sample piece), he also came back and added another handle just below the pulled handle, off to each side.  I forgot to take another photo afterwards.  He also added a rough slip to the sides of the pot, but I didn't know I liked the effect enough to do that to mine.

Here is the one pot which I actually finished, and left out to dry downstairs :
Tony Clennell inspired ceramic pot in progress, by Lily L.

I forgot to take photos of his mountain pot, but he added double handles to it also.  Here is mine with pedestal, but still missing handles :
Tony Clennell inspired pot in progress, still missing handles, by Lily L.
It doesn't look like it in the photo, but the pedestal is probably twice as tall as would suit the pot.  But I decided not to fiddle with it, and just move on.

I didn't take another photo of my casserole dish, since I added the pedestal, but still need to trim the lid, then add handles all over.  Same with my 4 mugs, I trimmed a couple of them, but need handles.

Then for the big pitcher, I posted Tony's demo piece in the last post, and this was the sample piece :

I couldn't get myself to make a spout on it, as I am so disinterested in the pitcher form, that I decided I will add two handles instead.  I love two handled pots.  Anyhow, here is my big pitcher, in progress :
The first base, I had made some sort of measuring error, and made it too small, and Tony encouraged me to just omit it, but I decided that it was sunny enough to throw another one, as it would dry quickly enough in the sun to be able to assemble it.  I'm glad I did, as I like the look of the pedestal, and it offsets the neck which is too tall for that pot.

Overall, I liked the shape, but it looked too boring, so I decided to use some of that rough groggy slip on this vase.  It gave it a whole new look.  What do you think ? :
Pottery ceramic vase in progress, by Lily L.
We've been invited to come back one day this week to finish up, so I'm glad I didn't make other plans Wednesday.  I think I will need a good portion of the day, to finish everything well.

Oh, and I should mention that in addition to me slipping out twice to sit in on my two wonderful teenagers performing their sax and flute solos at their year-end recitals, our pottery class took a break at noon to enjoy a potluck lunch, and a small birthday celebration for our classmate Cheryl.  I was pleased to be able to pick up my dragon bowl, who had just finished her stint in the student display, and showcase her as part of my chips and salsa and 7 layer dip contribution to the potluck.
Pottery dragon bowl by Lily L, taking part in a potluck lunch.
I think she was really happy to be part of the potluck.
Pottery dragon bowl by Lily L, taking part in a potluck lunch.

We didn't 100% coordinate the birthday surprise, so Cheryl ended up with 3 different cakes : a carrot cake, a lemon cake, and a chocolate-raspberry cake.  But she wasn't complaining, nor were we.  I tried both the carrot cake, and chocolate cake.
What great fun, and a wonderful bunch of people.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Day Two of the Tony Clennell Workshop

We continued at a quick pace again today, with a lot of throwing.  I had time only for trimming one cup (we'll put handles on tomorrow) between all the new assignments.

For the three shallow bowls, we threw and attached a top, and then threw / altered the edge also.  I was so busy I didn't even get photos of all the pieces.  The first one was given a jagged edge, which became a mountain scene.  Here is Tony's in progress :
It was also get trimmed on the bottom and a pedestal foot attached.  We threw the foot today, and will attach it tomorrow.  Here is my rendition of the mountain bowl :

The second one was a double-rimmed bowl with a large handle.  This is a finished sample :
Tony demo'd adding the top and throwing the double rim :
...and then throwing the "celery" handle (so named for its profile), which will be cut in half and combined together :
He also had us throw another pedestal base.  Here is my version, with the top added, and with pinched double rim :

To the third we added a top with a gallery which extends out from the pot (instead of inward, as I've always seen a gallery thrown).  I didn't get photos of this one, but I did take photos of the lid which Tony threw, upside down, and will trim tomorrow :
It will also have a pedestal base.

Then the final demo was to throw the neck and form a spout on top of that belly of a jug which we threw yesterday.  After that, the jug is attached to the foot, which is still on the bat (for additional stability, while the whole thing is trimmed).  Here is Tony's jug :
We'll see how soon we can finish our pieces tomorrow, and then he will likely give us some more projects.  I feel pretty good about how much I've been able to keep up, being a relative newbie at throwing, among a class of experts.  It has been a really enjoyable challenge for me.

I will go now and have a hot shower (I'd have a hot bath if I wasn't so lazy, and thought there may be still enough hot water available).  My arms are very sore, but it has been worth it, and I have learned lots.  I can't wait until the final round tomorrow.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Day One of the Tony Clennell Workshop

It was a long and exhausting, but very exciting first day of our 3 day Tony Clennell workshop.  He challenged us all to watch his demos and then copy his work as best we can, so we can learn his techniques.  Then after the workshop, we can do with them what we want, and personalize and improvise anything we learned.  So I took the challenge.

The first demo was four mugs, which we will trim and add handles to tomorrow.  This is Tony's set :
And my attempt to follow his lead :

Then three shallow bowls, to which we will add different tops tomorrow.  This is one of Tony's :
...and a couple of mine :

The third exercise was a body of a very large pitcher, and a foot for it.  I was so busy and tired, by that point in the class, that I didn't even take time out for photos.

It was a really fun day, and I am working with some talented and experienced potters, so I am just happy to be there, and to be able to keep up.  Unfortunately my favorite P570 white clay is out of stock, so I first tried some Columbia Buff clay, which feels really beautiful (like a sculptural clay), but when I threw it, the grittiness / grogginess was too much for me, it hurt my delicate skin.  (Read as : Yes, I am a wimp.)  Then I switched to B-Mix, and was struggling to center and open it, as it is MUCH stiffer than I am used to.  My only consolation was that others in the class were complaining about the same thing, so it was not just me.

I can't wait to return tomorrow, although I'm not sure how I'll have the energy to keep up at this rate, for three days.  We'll see.  One piece at a time.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Final Soda Pieces : More Leaf Imprint Vases and an Egg

Continuing from yesterday, here is the final set of soda fired pieces from the recent soda firing :
Soda fired pottery by Lily L.

Here they are, one by one :
Soda fired and Japanese anemone leaf imprinted pottery by Lily L.
16) This beauty was thrown from 1300g of mixed (reclaimed) clay, and brushed with No. 6 Soda slip, before being imprinted with Japanese anemone leaves.  It was then brushed with black slip.  It was given a light spray of #2 soda slip, and glazed with Chum inside.  It was thrown as a closed form, and then the hole cut off center.  I like the effect, and the leaves turned out beautifully (much nicer than in the photos).

Soda fired and Davidii involucrata (dove tree) imprinted pottery by Lily L.
17) This piece was thrown from 1900g of H550 grey clay, and then brushed with No. 6 soda slip before being imprinted with Davidii involucrata (my beloved dove or handkerchief tree) leaves.  I sprayed it lightly with Gordon's #3 flashing slip, and it is glazed with Carolanne Currier's Shino inside.  It was thrown as a closed form, intentionally wonked onto its side, and then the hole cut off center.  So there is nothing regular about it.  It is funky all around.

Soda fired and Davidii involucrata (dove tree) imprinted pottery by Lily L.
18) This piece was thrown from 1900g of H550 grey clay, again as a closed form, into which a hole was cut off center.  It is decorated with Davidii involucrata leaves, and black slip.  It had a light spray of Gordon's #3 flashing slip on it.  It is glazed with Yellow Salt inside, and my notes say that I brushed Lorna Meaden flashing slip on the bottom.  I like the side which picked up a bit of bronze/gold.  The other leaves look pretty grey and stark against the rich bitter (99% cocoa) chocolate background.  It's funny, but there are places where the black slip look like it started to melt and peel away from the clay body.

Soda fired and bleeding heart imprinted pottery by Lily L.
19) This final leaf imprint vase turned out to be one of my favorites, at least from the color point of view.  It was thrown from 2000g of mixed (reclaimed) clay, and brushed with No. 6 soda clay before being imprinted by some delicate western bleeding heart flowers and leaves.  Here it is, in progress.

Soda fired pottery dragon egg by Lily L.
20) This egg was thrown from 1400g of Big White sculptural clay.  It has the eye of a creature (I was thinking dragon) peering out.  The eye was finished in Lorna Meaden flashing slip (the orange part), and black underglaze.  The egg is brushed with Cobra glaze, but I didn't brush enough for it to provide a crackled effect.  But it is still a nice texture and beautiful color.

I'm pretty happy with this soda firing.  Twenty colorful and interesting pieces is a good result.  Looking back on my previous (first) soda firing, I only got 11 pieces, and I didn't think the color variations were as dramatic.  But then again, I had different expectations going into that firing.  This time I had a more open mind, knowing that the soda is very unpredictable, and I would be happy as long as I didn't end up with too much grey, which I certainly didn't.

Tomorrow I start a three day workshop with Tony Clennell, so I'm pretty excited.  I'd better head to bed, so I won't be too tired to enjoy it!