Been a long time between posts! I’ll try not to do that again.
Was basically out of commission for almost 2 years due to house fun, but I’ve been back working in the studio for several months now.
Big changes lately:
Acquired a new wheel – an electric Brent C. My first electric – I’ve always used kickwheels in the past. It’s a very different feel throwing under power.
Branched out a bit – took a class last fall in doing precious metal clay pieces. This wonderful material starts out looking like clay and works like clay, but it is basically an organic clay-like binder with metal particles embedded in it. You work it like regular clay, and then fire it to remove the binder. Depending on the metal, you may have to fire it again and sinter the metal to join all the particles together, or some can be fired once to do both the binder burnoff and sintering. It really produces some nice detailed pieces – I’ve been doing a number of pendants and some earrings.
I also got a slab roller (a small one) – this is going to be handy to do hand-built works like my hexagonal bowls and some other fun things I have planned. Now all I have to do is make the time to get out into the garage and make them!
Here’s some pictures of recent work – I’ll try to put up a more detailed album shortly ..
First, two shots of the last batch of pendants I made – using PMC Sterling and PMC3 mixed to make .960 silver. They’re reversable, so have two patterns on them. I’ve also put the three surviving copper pendants in the pictures – click through for the full size.
Now for a couple of yarn bowls – one in firebrick red and one in fog. The lighting isn’t optimal, so the fog looks yellower than it really is – it’s more of a cream color.
And a batch of cups I’ve made lately. The interiors are all Fog, with about a 1/2 inch of fog on the outside, then firebrick red, textured turquoise and rutile blue respectively:
Been a bit busy with things other than pottery, so haven’t been making and firing much so far. This is the first kiln load of the year. Not sure what’s up with the textured glazes this run – came out more textured than normal, but I think that they’re very interesting.
Went to the North Carolina Potters Conference earlier this month and was inspired to do some different techniques – throwing the mugs as an open cylinder and adding a slab at the bottom later, which allowed me to do some fancy feet on them – I rather like the effect. To get the pointy feet, I carved semi-circles out of the bottom of the cylinder at three or four points and squeezed the corners together to make the point, then laid the slab over the (now curvy) bottom.
Let me know what y’all think! (Sorry if some of them are sideways – looks like my auto-rotate function on upload isn’t working)
Where does the time go? At least I had enough time to get a load through the kiln before the annual gathering trip this week. (Not to mention getting the requests out of the backlog).
As always, the pieces are all dishwasher, food and microwave safe. No experimental colors this time – just the old standbys. Megan is even starting to like the Randys Red – it has become a really fascinating textured color, and most reliable. I also have a few pieces in bisque that will be getting fancier glaze treatments – but that’s for another week.
For my friends in Mensa (and the few enemies…) we’ll see you at the Annual Gathering this weekend. Megan will bring her shawls along as well as my 7 crates of goodies.
Been running around too much lately and not having enough time to make pottery. However, got a few pieces from recent firings to show off.
These and other pieces will be available next weekend, on May 8th, at the Clay Connection Spring Show, John Calvin Presbyterian Church, 6535 Columbia Pike, Annandale VA 22203 from 10-5. Drop by, and pick up some pottery for yourself, your mother, or someone nice! There’s going to be a lot of potters there, and you’re sure to find something that suits.
Had a blast the weekend before last, attending Mark Peters‘ workshop at Glen Echo Pottery. Lots of new ideas to try out, and techniques to learn. A few of them will be showing up here on the blog this post, too. Strange, it’s nowhere near as easy as he makes it look….
This weekend was another mostly clay weekend. (Well, I did take some time off to take my daughter to the National Philharmonic’s All Brahms concert, and help Megan shop for tech toys). Spent most of the weekend working in the garage, and have a nice load of pieces to show for it. Also, got some pieces back from Glen Echo Pottery’s kiln – and they all came out gorgeous.
Been a busy weekend around here. Been a busy month, actually – three shows down, one to go. If you like pottery, please drop by the Lab School of Washington DC next weekend (December 5-6) for the Glen Echo Potters show & sale. Looks like close to 70 potters participating this year, and there’s a LOT of really nice pieces out there. I’ll be putting out the best of mine and will be there around mid day both days manning the cashier station. There’s refreshments for all, and a lot of fun to be had.
Fired up the Raku kiln for the first time this weekend, and gave it a shot. I think I overcooked most of the pieces – but a few came out nicely despite my abuse. Nice metallic copper patina on them. Will have to see what happens when I get the timing right – I suspect the glazes will be stunning. For those of you not familiar with Raku, it’s a different technique for firing that makes decorative pieces – basically a small kiln is used to fire one or two pieces at a time in about 15 minutes and then the pots are put into a combustable (like shredded newspaper) in a sealed container and left to cool there. The combination produces some nice colors in glazes, and unglazed areas of the pot turn black from the smoke. Other variants use unglazed pots and you put horsehair on the hot pot to get the reduction and blackened areas, or spray a chemical on the hot pot and put in the sealed container. Lots of fun to do – and I’m looking forward to doing more.
The other new thing this month is that I got a set of plate moulds that let me make hexagonal dishes. It’s a lot of work to do each of them, but I think it’s worth it – I really like the shapes coming out. Another one to play with and get the thickness and patterns right on. I used different textures on them, and all the textures came out nicely (you can see them in the pictures of the back of the plates).
Anyhow, on to the pictures. Click on the gallery photo for a larger view.
Copper Matte glazed vase (Raku)
Bowl #1 with wood pattern
Salad plate 3
Salad plate #2
Raku vase – copper. You can see the smoke color at the neck.
Dinner plate – Blue Rutile #1
Blue Rutile Mug
Bowl #2 showing interior (wood pattern on outside)
Raku Copper Vase – this one is lined with copper
Bowl from Raku – Interior is copper glaze, outside is white
Following the discussions on the Clayart list about slow cooling, I decided to experiment a bit. Made a number of mugs and then glazed them in combinations of every glaze I have. Then changed my usual firing pattern (which was no slow cooling for loads containing Blue Rutile/Turquoise, and a slow cool of 150 degrees/hour from 1900-1400 for ones with the chambray or light stormy night glazes in) to a slow cool with a one hour hold at 1900 degrees, followed by the 150 degree per hour cooling.
The results were interesting – the blue rutile lost all the blue, but the other glazes changed subtly – a bit richer on the turquoise, the chambray came out a much nicer blue, and light stormy night came out nicer (I still need to work on application thickness for that glaze…).