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!

Thursday, November 04, 2010


"Inspiration is for amateurs.
The rest of us go to the studio and just get on with it."
Chuck Close
(Thanks, Chris!)