Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Pottery Commission

Pottery classes started back up tonight, and I have missed them. I have been doing some independent work but it really helps to have your instructor around for tips and pointers, and to lean on when you need a hand.

Let me just say right now, when it comes to pottery, I don't do requests. At least, not yet. It is hard enough to make the clay and the glaze do what I want it to, without having to meet someone else's expectations. Still, when my sister asked me to make a specific piece for her, I had to try. After all, she has answered the call several times for me when I have wanted something made from polymer clay or natural hard-shelled gourds.

"I want a decorative bowl," she began, "something about the size of two cupped hands, glazed in that bright red glaze with white speckles."

OK, I think I can do that.

I weighed out and wedged 4 pieces of white clay without grog, a clay body called 181. 182 is the clay I started with, a white clay with a lot of grog, a fine sandy grit that helps the clay stand up to the abuse of a student potter. 181 is smoother and "softer," and I think it makes a nicer end product.

The goal was to throw four pieces, all approximately the same size, in order to obtain one perfect two-cupped-hand-sized bowl.

The first one didn't want to be a bowl. It wanted to be a mug.

This is the "Sun-Moon mug" from a previous post.

The other three all came out about the same size, 2.5" high by 4" wide with a 3" wide opening in the top. Two were glazed with Hot Tamale only. This is a glaze which can be fired at high or low temperatures, with different results.

This first bowl was high-fired. I don't know if you can tell, but it is not quite as glossy as bowl #2, with some slight pitting. Also, the red is not as brilliant in this piece.

The second bowl was fired at a lower temperature, which I had used previously. I like this glaze much better when low-fired.

Also, this bowl is structurally better than #1, though still a little heavy in the bottom. (So many of us are that way!)

Bowl #3 is the best formed bowl, although it has a little wobble. As I was glazing the inside with Hot Tamale, I had a mental image of a red rim over a white bowl, so I used Snapdragon on the outside.

This one is my fave. I think I will add some little felt cushions to the bottom. That ought to smooth out that wobble!


NCmountainwoman said...

Lovely bowls. You have already had a sale, and now a commissioned work. That (along with the nice pieces) officially makes you a potter.

Kyle said...

Wow, truly a lady of many talents. These are beautiful!

I love the look of that "hot tamale" glaze, although I'd have to pick bowl #3 as my favorite. Great spotted white over spotted red design. Plus I know what it feels like to have a little wobble...

So which one did your sister end up getting, and how did she like it? :)

Lisa said...

I want them ALL! But I've told KatDoc I have to fondle them to tell which one is right.

Dog_geek said...

They all look great to me, but I *love* the mug! I just posted some pictures of my grandmother's pottery on my blog.

BTW - thanks for the woodpecker mnemonic! It is just what I needed to remember which is which!

Mary said...

You've come a long way, baby!

You are really digging this hobby - I can tell. In time, you'll be created pieces like Dog Geek's grandmother. Wow.

Let us all know when you start taking requests!