Monday, June 11, 2012

In my stu-dio...stu-dio...

Completed cloud bowl mold.
There is a lot to catch up on.  Apparently a week long vacation leads to lots of studio productivity.  First, I attempted to cast my cloud bowls.  In my experience, the first cast always fails.  Per example this one, but the second was better, and the third even better than that, after I dusted the mold with the powdered clay body.  Andrew Martin calls this calcined version Chinese dust; I didn't have time to calcine mine (fire the powered materials in the kiln to extract the moisture from the ingredients), so I just blended some cast scraps in my magic bullet blender and Voila!  America dust. :D  There are a few cracking issues in the 4th cast, but I figure that will resolve with time.
First cast.
Third cast.
Next on the agenda, to decant my white terra sig.  I found a siphon that Josh and I had used to change my break fluid and I thought why not.  It was magical; I didn't have to babysit the flow, I just set it and busied myself with other things.  I inserted one end into the orange bucket about 2/3 the way down.  The heavier particles of the EPK settle and take up the bottom 1/3 of the bucket, and I wanted to avoid picking any of that up.  I tested the white terra sig on a few pieces and it's a little different from the red.  It needs to be SUPER thin.  I applied it too thickly to the mugs that are in the picture below (beside the large bowl and vases) and there were lots of cracks in the surface.  I want to experiment and put stain in the cracks and glaze over them to see what happens.

EPK Terra Sigilatta

Eric Haagensen yunomi

In other news, I got two new mugs to add to my collection.  One from Eric Haagensen from Mudfire Clayworks.  I enjoyed some delicious Indian chicken and rice in the yunomi (I don't drink tea very often, so it's probably going to be a bowl for me).  Then another wonderful addition is from Michelle Harris, a wonderful potter from Canada. I've found this mug is perfect for my Keurig. (Big shout out to Michelle! Your cup is wonderful!) The handle is also very comfortable.  It carries the weight of the cup very well.

Michelle Harris mug

Now to the studio you may know I am part of a group show in Roswell, GA, at the Roswell Art Center West.  I had one piece completed for the show approximately 1 week ago. My goal was to at least have 2 more new pieces for the show that was scheduled to open June 8, 2012.  Here is the progress that happened as I continuously worked:

Making image and carbon copy transfers for the inner wall of the pieces.
Inner wall of Caged Fruit Bowl (some leaf impressions; popcorn, daffodil transfers). I didn't have enough time to bisque and glaze, so I once-fired the pieces.  I used Mayco Overglazes to provide color to the transfers.

Opposite side of inner wall of CFB (dandelion and peach soda transfer).
CFB after assembly, before removal of outer wall and chains.
Inner wall of Caged Teacup, Saucer, and Spoon (cat, dandelion, and Bubblicious watermelon gum transfers). Sorry these are upside down.  I didn't want to remove the piece from the bat before assembly.
Inner wall of CTSS (fried chicken leg, Bojangles logo, and Eskimo spitz doggie)

CTSS assembled before removal of outer wall and chain.
Starting to remove the outer wall.
Outer wall removed, foot carved, and loops for chains attached on CFB
Chains in progress.
Waiting on pieces to dry before loading into kiln.
Caged Teacup, Saucer, and Spoon (There is a support of clay on the outside of one of the bars because it cracked.  Not a part of the final piece.)
Close up of Spoon.
Caged Fruit Bowl
I loaded these pieces at approximately 3:00am on Tuesday, June 5.  I could not sleep at all that night. I had terrors of clay cracking and terra sig doing things that was quite impossible for it to do (crawling up sides of the pots and exploding nonsense).  I really wanted the interior of the CFB to be glazed with clear, but I ran out.  I didn't realize this until early in the morning and I didn't have time to get any else where.  There was an image of a daffodil on the inside of the bowl that is a little visible.  Note to self: red terra sig will cover up image transfers.  The image of the magnolia flower that is on the outside of the cup didn't show up.  It was a little unfortunate because it was kinda cool, but oh well.

Needless to say, I unloaded the kiln on Thursday morning and all was well.  I rushed through applying the terra sig, so it was a little dry in some places (mainly on the chains).  Since theses pieces are more decorative than functional, I decided to do some cold finishing.  I took one of the failed spoons to Home Depot and they matched the color for me. I touched up some spots that needed it, and packed my work for the trip to the show!

After finishing 2 really complex pieces in less than 1 week, I was really quite proud of myself.  I was super excited to see what they would look like in the space at Roswell.  I will post images of the show in a later blog.

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