At Camp Claudia McGill, art is our subject. With only one camper, me, well, I get things my way, every day. I conclude a week of camping and it’s been illuminating, for certain.
Today I decided to focus on clay, and I split the activity into two parts. Number one involved taking bisque terra-cotta tiles (really, remnants of tiles that didn’t turn out so well when I made blank TC tiles a while back) and turning them into cat portraits. The cat theme caught my attention a couple of days ago.
Secondly, I have switched to using low-fire clay. It handles a little differently than the stoneware clays I have been using, and I wanted to practice a bit with it.
So. Cats first. The pictures tell it all. I am using Velvet underglazes and scratching through to reveal the terra-cotta orange color for outlining.
Before I started working on the cat tiles, I rolled out and formed these cylinders with white low-fire clay, the same as I used for making the words tiles earlier this week. I let them stand and dry out a bit. The clay comes out of the bag very wet. I needed the cylinders to be stiff enough to hold up to some handling and not to slump over.
I have used the cylinder form as the basis for all kinds of items, especially figurines. It’s been a while since I did much handbuilding and so I started with a familiar form – the goddess figure. I have made many of these over the years.
Typically, I will squeeze together the top (the lady’s shoulders), leaving an opening into which I insert her neck and head. I decided to try something different – I left two openings, one at each end of the “shoulders”, and I put her arms into them instead. I will have to be very careful with this figure after it dries and before it is fired; the arms will be very fragile and prone to breaking. We’ll see how it goes.
I made this odd figure. No further comments!
Finally, here is a group of three.
In the past, I have usually embellished figures such as these with all kinds of relief – scraped lines, added tendrils of clay, patterns of holes, etc. This time I have left them pretty plain. I plan to add the details through color instead – using the Velvet underglazes.
These must all dry, and then go through an initial firing. Then I’ll take the next step.