Sunday, November 14, 2010

finally, out of the kiln

For taking such a long time to produce anything, I have very little to show. It was a very light load because after waiting so long to get this far I did not want to wait longer to get a full load. I was trying to move into a new direction with the earthenware clay. I got started with it to make some bake ware--some glazed or partially glazed, some with no glaze at all. I've liked using these pots and like the earthenware clay for its ease of throwing and the shorter firing time. But now I want to do some glazed work and some work that I can decorate with some painting. And that is the scary part. I'm not an artist, have never painted anything but want to! So here I am going in too many new directions--testing new glazes, learning to paint what and how I dream of doing it. Too much. So I've been frozen mid-stream.

So here are the first tests. As I told Jim, "Well, its not a disaster, but there are lots of lessons."
On several pieces I had applied slip before the bisque and then painted a design--some with Mason stain mixed with frit and gerstley borate after the bisque, others with colored slip before the bisque. I was also testing clear glazes.

These were slipped, bisqued and then painted with the Mason stain mixture.
On the left the clear glaze had a dulling effect, not so glossy and a bit buff tinted. On the right the glaze is clearer and more glossy. Slip was very coarse after the bisque. My friend said it was the brush I applied the slip with. It did not smooth out under the glaze though the one on the right is a bit smoother. I was using Pete Pennell's slip--I think I need to try to smooth it out somehow before applying it. Both are shallow bowls about 8" across the rim (they are the same size though the photos do not show that).

I was also testing 2 Majolica glazes and working on those. The biggest surprise was this plate:

I would not have been surprised if the RED pointsettia's had come out pink...but GREY?

The yellow chrysthanthemums came out as expected.

I painted the Majolica on the underside and sprayed it on the topside. The undersides are streaked, pinholed and have runs. The sprayed surface did well. (The pointsettia plate is 10" across, the chrysthanthemum plate is 11" across.)

But the biggest surprise was the second (white) Majolica glaze--though it is no reflection on the glaze. There are two of these little plates (8" across) and both reacted the same to the Majolica glaze.
The cause of this freakish reaction to the Majolica glaze was that I had covered these little plates with terra sig before the bisque firing--but did not see that when I was glazing. I guess the terra sig just ate up the Majolica glaze! There is a faint cloud left behind--and it did craze. Wish I had a photo of the expression on my face with I first picked these up out of the kiln! So I have to do another test of the second Majolica glaze.

The test tiles all have the Pete Pinnell slip. Two had been painted before the bisque firing (top). Two were painted after the bisque (bottom). One was painted with colored slips (Rhodes on right) and the others with the Mason stain mixtures. Because I was trying for a very thin coat of clear glaze the rough texture of the slip is very evident.

So lots of lessons--learned and to be learned.

PS Apologies for the photos--all taken with my cell phone because I would not take the time to set up for photos and get out a 'real' camera this morning! Nothing worth a great photo anyway!


doug Fitch said...

Wow, you have some very beautiful work here Gay

Judy Shreve said...

Gay -- I think you should be happy! These are beautiful. Your painting is really wonderful.

I understand your frustration with the rough slip. I had that happen to me. If you are using Pete's recipe, I think it might be too thick. If so, I would thin it down some with water. I use Pete's -- a little thicker than cream & apply 3 coats -- allowing each coat to dry. And if I'm slipping the inside & outside -- I do the inside & then wait overnight to do the outside.

Terra sig is just a 'clay skin' so I don't understand -- were the small plates bisqued with terra sig & then you applied the majolica? I wonder why the majolica reacted that way -- curiouser?

Also red is one of the hardest colors to maintain. Even the encapsulated underglaze reds need a couple of coats to come out red. I think it's even more difficult with mason stains. I don't use the majolica glazes, but I do know there are some mason stains that can't be used with some ingredients (zinc).

What clear recipe are you using? Are you happy with the coverage & are you getting any milky areas! I've decided I really don't like clears! lol

Tracey Broome said...

Gay, I think you have some great lessons here. It's all lessons isn't it? I like the Asian feel of the bottom tiles and I like the less busy pieces. The yellow one seems a bit bust for my taste but that's just me! The tiles are definitely my favorites!

Ann said...

Gay, you have a real talent (or hard-earned skill) for flowers! I think you got gray flowers instead of red, because of too high heat, or long heat work. Red is so tricky, I quit doing it.

Vicki Wenderlich said...

I hear you -- testing one new thing is frustrating enough, but trying three new things at once makes me come to a panicked halt in my work. The only way to figure things out is to test them, so it's a good thing you are diving in and learning!

Ron said...

Hi Gay. These look great. Your painting is very well done. I hope you got my email about the slip.

I've used the cadmium encapsulated red stain up to cone 10. I think there are 2 reds, one is a bit more orange. They sort of weird me out though since I'm wary of toxic stuff in general and they even smell toxic when mixed up.
The colored slips look fab.

Keep at it, I think you've made some real strides here lately!!

Linda Starr said...

Your drawing is wonderful, I really like thenm all, but am partial to the orange lily, just because I happen to like them.

Sister Creek Potter said...

Very kind words, dear friends. Thank you. Really your encouragement and support means a lot to me. I am very frustrated with the slip/glaze challenges. But you encourage me to keep on till I 'get' it!
Judy: yes, the terra sig was applied to the little plates, then they were bisqued and then the Majolica glaze applied. I'm not sure the stains were encapsulaed, but I thought so. I did apply several layers. Yes, very curious.
Ann: the poinsettias were fired to ^04--should not be too high. I'll be working with this more to see if I can figure out what happened.
Linda: The lilies are my favorites, too. I want to get other flowers to have the same 'movement' and 'looseness'. I love painting them--so maybe I'll get where I'm aiming some day! On the other hand, when I finally get what I'm aiming at I'll probably want something different.
Thanks, guys!

Sister Creek Potter said...

Tracey, I agree about the busyness of the mums plate. I did think they needed a 'frame' but I did not get what I was looking for. Also, the mums are still too stiff. I want it all to be more spontanious and more 'off center'--but not sure how to do it just yet. Good to get your feed-back. 'hanks
PS I can't count the number of times I hear you whispering in my head, "details, watch the details, people." Thanks for that, too!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Linda Starr said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Sister Creek Potter said...

Linda, I tried to respond directly but don't have an address other than your blog--that surprised me as we've exchanged personal notes in the past, or so I thought!
Thanks for your kind words. Happy Thanksgiving!