Monday, June 29, 2009


I am glazing now, trying to get to fire all my tests. Because glazing is the part of the process that I am least comfortable with, least successful at and most dislike doing--I get there very slowly. My temptation is to rush through it all--just pour/paint/spray some glazes on the pots as quickly as I can and get everything into the kiln. But then I always regret it when I open the kiln! Of course!
Besides the little pagoda tests I have lots of test tiles I am eager to see. I am engaged in a glaze chemistry study that I am very excited about getting to do. I've wished for this opportunity for several years and tried to get a small group together to study glazes with and share the testing part of the process, but could not find anyone wanting to pursue the study with me. I have all the books, have read lots but it just has not worked till now. Now I have a programmed study and it is making all the difference! I am suddenly able to look at glazes in a totally new way. Suddenly what is in a glaze has some meaning for me. I have a load of tests related to that study and I am so eager to see what they will show me. I am almost more excited to see those tests than the little pagodas that are also going to tell me a lot--I hope!
For the pagodas I have 2 glazes to test, one pagoda has a rio slip bisqued on all over the other is plain, then I have two overglazes that I am testing over the two glazes. So the pagodas will look like patch-work quilts when fired--each side of each building will have a different variation on one of the two glazes!
So I am off to the studio to see what I can get done today before I fold up from the heat. We are having a terrible heat wave--over 100F everyday for a week. Perhaps we will get a bit of a break tomorrow with a little rain--fingers crossed. Our studio has a little air conditioner unit, which runs constantly when we are there (off when we are not) but it does not get the studio temperature much below 85F. It is great that it does that--but I wish it got a bit cooler!

Friday, June 19, 2009

a brief detour

So many questions and decisions about how to glaze my pagoda led me to make two 'test' buildings.

I was not as careful as with the 'real' pagoda and I had my patterns from the original, so these went together quickly. I really did not want to take the time to make them or to fire and glaze them before getting to finish the original. But I want to test a couple glazes and also am considering applying a stain or engobe to the pagoda before bisquing it. In spite of how dark the clay appears when wet, it dries very light--not white but a light buff. So this seemed the way to go.
Now I've got to get busy and get a kiln load of ware made so I can do the bisque firing and then glaze these 'tests'.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a good day

The first of the month, Jim and I went to Maine to visit my sister and her husband. We had a wonderful, restive, restorative week with them. I came home resolved to get back into a regular routine in the studio. Yesterday was my first 'working' day. I threw a couple bowls, some small vases off the hump and a small pitcher to warm up and get back into the swing of things.
Today I decided to tackle a project that I have long wanted to do but did not have the psychic energy to attempt. I am enthralled with a couple 'pagodas' that are in San Antonio Museum of Art's fabulous collection of Asian arts. I have longed to make one similar. So that was today's work--and I am very happy with it so far. Just hope I can be this happy with it after it is glazed and fired!

I worked on it from about 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, am dog tired--but it feels so good to be back in the groove again!