Thursday, August 7, 2008

What's New in Pottery?

Lots! I have been working on several different skills and here are the results.

Soup mugs. Trying to make a pair of something is hard. You get one right, but duplicating the effort isn't easy. I'm very happy with this one, glazed in my always favorite "blue rutile."

but the second one ended up smaller than I wanted, and the glaze came out differently. It is right on the inside

but too brown on the outside. Glaze is affected by how thickly it is applied, where that piece is in the kiln, what other pieces are in the kiln with it, and by the mood of the kiln gods.

Another soup mug, this one glazed in "sea foam," with "ocean runner." Ocean runner has no color of its own, it just affects the color of the primary glaze. I'm still learning how to work with this glaze. Here, I applied it in drips around the rim.

Racheal glazed this companion mug of the set. She needed a pot to use to teach glazing to another student, and I let her use this one. Same glazes, but she dipped the upper portion of this soup mug into the ocean runner after she applied the sea foam. See the different effects?

Another skill set I am practicing is making narrow-necked pots, in this case, pump dispensers. You buy the little pump parts, and use the cork to help gauge the size of the opening. This is blue rutile again. The inside, which you can't see, is that soft denim blue of the above mugs. The flower images were achieved by pressing an old-fashioned decorative button into the wet clay right after throwing.

This color is called "grape jelly," from a line called WonderGlaze. This brand of glaze is unique in that it can be fired at two different temperatures. Most glazes are "high fire" or "low fire," and if you put a low fire glaze into a hot kiln, you burn out all the color. (Made that mistake once!) In this case, if I had fired this piece at a low temp, I would have gotten more purple. Firing it in a high-fire kiln brought out more blue, making this sort of "periwinkle" shade.

I had two bowls of similar shape with the same glaze, one large and one small. I decided to make a set of three, so I threw another one in an in-between size. The bowl came out great, and the glaze, "chun plum" is terrific.

The size and shape is right to make a stacking set of three bowls. But, when you put the set together, you can see a slight variation in the color of the middle sized bowl. Kiln gods again!

How do you like this color? It's called "hot tamale," and is another Wonderglaze product, with the option for high or low firing. I only applied two coats, and low-fired it. If I had used a third coat, I might have had better results with the white speckled effect of this glaze. I don't think you can tell, but I pressed a stamp with a sort of Celtic knot design [edit: Chinese symbol. Thx, sis!] into the bottom of this bowl. If you click to enlarge, you might see it.

Please don't ask me what the difference is in high- and low-firing of the kiln. All I know is, greenware (raw, dried but unfired pots) goes into a low-fire kiln to produce bisque pots (first firing) and then the second firing is based on the glaze requirements. All I have to do is put the correct color-coded tag on my piece and Peggy takes care of the kiln. Learning to throw and trying to figure out the glazes is hard enough. I can't begin to think about the kiln!

Bisque pieces at home awaiting glazing include another pump dispenser, a bowl, a sugar bowl and creamer set, and a couple of things that I'm not sure what they are. At the studio, I have a set of four "dragonfly plates" that I threw Tuesday night. I made four plates about 7.5" in diameter, and pressed a rubber stamp of a
dragonfly into the center of each one. My plan is to glaze each plate in a different color (probably chun plum, forest satin, blue rutile and grape jelly) and then put a thinner layer of "Saturation Gold" over the base glaze. I am hoping for an iridescent shimmer, like a dragonfly's metallic gleam. Wish me luck!


Lynne said...

Good luck on the dragonfly plates- can't wait to see them. I really like the "hot tamale" glaze color with thw white speck. Very pretty.
I'm impressed with the things you've made. Are you planning on a fall sale?

Lisa said...

Your "Celtic" symbol is Chinese - one of the luck/longevity/prosperity symbols, although I couldn't tell you which one.

Mary C said...

Every one of your plates, bowls, and pumps, etc. are beautiful. And the colors are wow! I love your idea of the dragonfly plates; I sure do wish you luck. I'm sure you'll do fine. It's looks as though you're becoming a pro at this. I'll ask the same as Lynne -- any plans for a fall sale?

nina said...

You've inspired me to do a post on pottery.
Take a look

KatDoc said...

Nina: Back atcha.

Mary C and Lynne: No particular plans at the moment. Timing is hard for me, since most craft shows are on weekends, and I work most Saturdays.

There is a festival in New Richmond this month called "River Days," and some women from the studio are talking about showing there. They have asked me if I want to add some of my stuff to their sale table. I'm checking out the details today.


Dog_geek said...

Wow - I think every last piece is beautiful! My grandmother used to make wonderful pottery, but she was such a perfectionist about having each piece match exactly - which worked out well for me because I got all of the rejects with their imperceptible flaws.

KatDoc said...

Dog_Geek (Love your handle!): Thanks for the comments and the compliments. I'm still pretty bummed that my pieces aren't as perfect as I would like them to be, but I see definite improvement as I go along. I keep on giving pots to everybody I know, and they are kind enough to say thank you, even if they don't mean it. Some day, when I am famous, they can say they own an original piece of Black Kat Pottery, LOL!

Others: The River Days festival is out - three full days (they don't let you do one day only or half-days) that last until midnight, then we would have to pack up the booth each night and set up again each morning. The vendor booths are outdoors with no secure way of protecting your stuff from theft or vandalism. BUT, there is a craft show in Anderson Township this fall that we might get into. Details later.


KGMom said...

I really like the "chun plum" glaze. Such a wonderful color.
I enjoy reading these pottery blogs--I had no idea there were so many variations in potting.

holly said...

Ohhhh...dragonflies! I have always loved them, since they tend to hang out at the lake in Maine. I have several necklaces of varying dragonfly designs, my favorite being an amethyst chunk with a handcrafted overlay of silver dragonfly, bought at the MD RenFest several years ago. My favorite cousin embroidered a man's white shirt with dragonflies for me when I was a teen, which I still have. I can't wait to see yours.

Your pieces remind me of Fiesta Ware, with the lovely colors.