Tuesday, May 22, 2007

getting focused

I have been stuck trying to plan for the show/sale in July. I’ve asked several people for help—but we just got into disagreements about my motivation: art vs. sales. It was discouraging to me because I did not see it the same way others seemed to interpret my quest. Yesterday, over lunch with Chris, I tried again to get some help. Chris seemed to understand—but he comes from the selling/display angle where the others I asked came from the art perspective. He could relate to my wanting to create a cohesive body of work for the display. Which I think is compatible with my focus on functional ceramics. Setting the table or arranging food on the plate are also acts of creating a display—a creative expression in itself. Anyway, after lunch I looked through some magazines to try to get some focus. The point of focus turned out to be my color palette. That led me to “Calico Corners” where I looked at fabrics for an integrated color palette. I found 2 pieces of fabric that helped me determine what I want in my color palette and I am pretty fired up now! I have been doing lots of glaze testing but it has just scattered me all over the map. Focusing on these colors gives me some sense of continuity—and they are the colors I like and have had luck producing! I would still like to get an earthy red glaze which would be a nice complement to the greens and blues I am focusing on.

The other interesting thing I've encountered is some research about glaze making. I discovered in Val Cushing’s “Handbook” an outline of various glaze types—calcia, magnesia, zinc, etc—and the effect the glaze type has on colorants (besides determining the surface quality of the glaze). Wow—that was news—and I think it is news I can work with. Then in the new Ceramics Monthly magazine there is a VERY interesting article on the effect various cooling cycles have on the colors obtained from iron oxide. That was big news, too. And it may help explain how/why I’ve had such varying results from some of my glazes. I’ve been experimenting with different firing cycles but have not known how to evaluate the results: why or what effect the changes were having. So there is another big help in learning to understand my glazes! Very exciting.

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