Thursday, March 27, 2008

Making A Mixing Bowl

When I signed up for my second pottery class, I assumed it would be a continuation of the previous course. However, since there were several new students, the instructor started back at the beginning again. I have been mostly on my own, with some occasional advice from Rachel. That's OK by me, my college curriculum was a "Self-Designed" program, and I am used to working independently. I decided my plan for this 6 week session would be to make a mixing bowl.

Here is a photo of what I am trying to achieve, from a "How-to" pottery book I bought at Christmas time:

Here is the step-by-step process of trying to accomplish this goal.

First try:
"leather hard" stage, ready for trimming
glazed, awaiting final fire finished product

OK, it's not bad, but not what I wanted. Symmetrical and attractive, but not a mixing bowl. Somehow, it went wide and shallow instead of tall and deep. Well, let's call Bowl Number One a pasta bowl. Or maybe a salad bowl, or even a deep-dish pie plate. By the way, this is a paint-on glaze called "Blue Rutile," which is rapidly becoming my new favorite.

leather hard
paprika and sea foam on brown clay

Yuck. I got the height this time, but with a huge wobble at the base that skews the whole thing to one side. It's pretty rounded at the top, and the rim is all right, but I hate the way the glazing came out. It's basically a flop. I'm sure we will find some use for it. Suggestions?

Third try:
leather hard
bottom waxed before glazing
ready for final fire

finished bowl

Hmm, better. Height is getting there, nice rim, basic mixing bowl shape, still some irregularity. Trouble is, it's kinda small. Not able to mix much more than a couple of eggs in this one, or maybe a sauce. The paint-on glazes here are bamboo on the inner surface and butternut on the outer. I really like the way these glazes look on the brown clay.

Fourth attempt:
newly thrown, wet clay
needs to dry before next step

bisque fired

completed bowl; blue rutile glaze on brown clay
[flash washed out the color here]

we're getting somewhere. And, please note, I added the pouring lip and handle to this bowl. It was 7" in diameter at the top when wet. (The target bowl is 9" in diameter.)

Bowl number 5, through a series of misfortunes, turned into a plant pot. I'll feature it another day.

Final attempt at making a mixing bowl. I'm back to white clay, for no particular reason.

leather-hard, trimmed
and handle added

Please note the embellishment on the handle!

bisque fired

And here is the final bowl. This is my favorite one. The glaze is blue rutile again, this time on white clay.

Notice how the color changes, picking up golden brown highlights on the swirls in the bottom of the bowl and the textures of the handle.

I promised my sister a mixing bowl for her birthday, and foolish offered to let her choose which of the two best bowls she wanted. Perhaps I will give her the brown one and tell her I broke the white one. Oh - I forgot. She reads this blog. Just kidding, sis - you can have whichever bowl you like the best.


Lisa said...

In that case, I will take the one that you like better! MUAHAHAHAHA! (evil laugh) Actually, I think I like the handle on the first one better - even though the embellishment is cool, it looks like the thinner handle might be easier to grab. Both gorgeous, though. Good work! More, more!

Sara said...

You are creating very nice work, the bowl in blue with golden highlights is beautiful !