Scraping out a story about kiln shelves
It was time to clean kiln shelves. There was two glaze runs on this shelf. Two cups stuck. So out came the mallet and chisel (a big screwdriver, in this case.) Also a kiln shelf scraper. I got this scraper free. When Amsterdam Art Store in Berkeley was still around they had a sign on them saying anyone who could identify this thing would get it free. I had scraped some kilns from a soda firing and knew what it was. Not only did I get this one free, I got another for $2.00 which I donated to CSUH's ceramic department. That way, students could join in the fun of scraping kiln shelves free of glaze runs. So this is a fun thing I did this week.
In between scraping, washing and layering kiln wash on shelves, face mugs were made. I had a lot of scraps left from some sculptures in a small bucket. I kept the scraps moist and wedged it all into several 1 lb lumps. All the face mugs start as a pinch pot. Then coils are added as needed. The inside is scraped smooth and the next day a solid base is added and then a foot ring is carved using trimmers. I add the facial features and do not push out from the inside. I want to keep the inside smooth---no dips or bumps---so the facial features are added and sculpted on the outside only. Sometimes I use some underglaze to add color to see where each one is heading. They are really storytellers. I begin with no thought as to what each would look like. Somehow the shape of the mouth tells me a story of this particular face. Through color and texture, a story develops.
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