Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Earth, Clay, Glaze and Fire

earth plaster for window sills
For me it is the direct contact of artist to material which is original, and it is the earth and his contact to it which will free him of the artificiality of the present and his dependence on industrial products.                            ~Isamu Noguchi

early morning fog---burned off by 10 am---and we enjoyed it so much we stopped taking photos
We took a few days on to celebrate Earth Day. We went up to check on the windows on the P.S. ( I call it that because its a passive solar house.) I was tickled to see the buckets of earth plaster in the entryway.  I can't seem to get away from buckets filled with mud!  It was Earth Day after all!  I will have more photos on 1 Simply Home this week. It was stunningly beautiful on the coast. All the poppies and ice plants were radiant.  It was hard to come back, but we have work to do here, too.

Golden Gate bridge

Month of May I plan to test glazes.  I have changed clay bodies and with the new kiln I am finding that both changes are giving me some surprises.  Good. Bad. So So.   I know that that's part of the charm and magic of working with earth and fire.  Except I like some expectations to reach realization.  Or at least promising compromise.

The round plate is a piece of porcelain slab that dried pass the softness I usually use in a sculpture.  I have an old rusty wok that I use for a hump mold sometimes.  I decided use the slab as a test plate and formed it on the wok. The rust transferred to the slab. I liked the pattern it left, after all it is an oxide, and did some quick brushwork.  I needed to test the orange to cone 6 and some Chun I had made up.

It is a beautiful glaze finish.  Just enough shine, some pale turquoise pooling and no crazing.  The black brushstrokes are brighter than it appears in this photo. 

fresh out of the kiln today

Too bad this is on a test plate!  The glaze is beautiful on it.  Satiny finish with nice crystals and a faint sea green.  It is a cream cone 6 glaze that I made up last fall.  I had to sieve it and test to make sure it was going to work!  Some glazes don't age gracefully.  The tile was dipped in a 4 x 25 slip, bisqued to cone 04.  When it came out I did a very watery wash of 50/50 copper carbonate/RIO. Brush on some satin clear on the sgraffito.  I then brushed on the cream.  Fired to Cone 6 with a soak of 30 minutes at the end.  Slow cooling. 

glaze buckets lined up in studio

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Little Teapot, Little Love

As it has been said:  Love and a cough cannot be concealed.  
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.

~Anne Sexton

One Little Teapot came out of its first firing. Now all she needs is a little oxide wash to give a richer depth.  Clear gloss in the eyes for a contrast against the semi-matte finish of the face. Maybe a little clear satin along the division line of the lips.  The interior has a black gloss.  

I am still thinking about the egg.  I had a white porcelain egg, but it just look like a supermarket egg. Which is not a bad thing, just not right feeling for this teapot. I could make it more of a robin egg blue with brown speckles, but somehow the quirky black dots happened.  As soon as I make a decision I will glaze it into the nest lid.  That way it's down permanent and acts as a knob. 

One little teapot

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Posts not Updating

Apparently there's a problem with my posts updating.  
I was told to clear my cache.
Which I did.
I don't know if this work.

I hope I have fixed the problem.

Simply This and That with a hint of Small Things to come

We have started to replant our postage stamp garden.  We had to move some of the sculptures out of the way. Then the real rain came.  Everything put on hold.

The callas on the side of the house are in partial sun so they are little.  Along the Mendocino coast they are HUGE. I will take some of these rhizomes with me up to the house we are building.  

My attention has been split between thinking creatively with this house and what is going on in my studio.  There are so many decisions to make and balance between functionality and visual intention.  There are more photos on my blog 1 Simply Home

In the meanwhile I have kept busy cleaning the studio and finishing up some pieces for a couple of galleries.  I plan on doing some  C6 glaze testing in the month of May and probably some 04/03.  I have thrown some porcelain teacups and small bowls for this.  Just plain.  The outside needs no or nearly no trimming, but I did trim an inside foot on the bowls that have straighter sides.  The yunomi in the back was done with a little bit of porcelain leftover from throwing.  Some of these will become yarn bowls which I am donating to a Waldolf School auction. The rest I will dip into a  C6 chun glaze I need to make up.  I have used this glaze on porcelain before with lovely results.

As much as I love to throw, I still have some sculptures to finish up.  Every time I think I am done with clay it calls me back.  It takes one touch and I am done for.  What's a person to do?

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart...

                     ~ Winnie the Pooh

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