As you may remember, I’ve been slowly working my way through a set of hand-built bowls and plates I made a little while back. I’d recommend looking at the previous posts for background – I’m not going to recapitulate the earlier steps here, but knowing what they were might make this post more interesting to you! Here they are, in order:
All right, back to where we are now. First of all, I’ve applied underglaze to a couple more bowls. I now have two plates and a bowl left to do.
Two of them are my usual “more is more” design work; the third one, well, I poured some yellow underglaze into the bowl and swirled it around, thinking that I’d then add more elements. I saw it and liked it and said – enough.
All right. I decided to work on the outside of the bowls. To do so, I turned them all over.
You can clearly see their construction from this side. Remember, to make them, I laid strips of wet newspaper into a couple of commercially made bowls that I used as forms (the newspaper keeps the clay from sticking to the form and cracking as it dries). I then laid rough-cut clay slabs any old way into the form and pressed it all down to a uniform thickness, smoothing the exposed side (which became the inside of the bowls). But I did nothing to the outside – just let it dry as it was. You can see the slabs, their rough edges, and some newspaper crinkles. I like it.
Next, I chose some underglaze colors for the backgrounds of the white clay bowls. I decided to leave the terra-cotta bowls with their natural color. It’s hard to apply underglaze to get a smooth opaque covering when you brush it on, as I need to do here. Since I will be applying the “shiny” glaze later on in the process, I have to be careful – glaze shows up any light or spotty areas.
I applied three coats.
These bowls have no “foot” to them – I made them just to sit their bottoms right on the table. So, I will need to make sure I leave no underglaze on the bottoms, or a bowl may stick to the kiln shelf in firing. It’s not like glaze, which WILL DEFINITELY adhere an item, probably permanently, to the shelf; but the underglaze on the bottom has to be cleaned off before firing. I will show this process later on. For now, though, I wanted to make sure I got color down the side of the bowls as far as I could, so I painted underglaze over the edges on to the bottoms.
Now. Let’s remember who I am – Claudia McGill, no straight lines, things get messy. I know I need to compensate for the fact that my solid underglaze layer might not be as even as I like (I try, I try, but…alas. I know myself). So I had decided to spatter paint the outsides. I figured the total confusion of a lot of spatter will hide any unevenness in the solid color. Plus, I like to spatter.
Here you see the results of the whole group. I think I used every color I have.
And some close-ups.
It’s enough to make you want to go and spatter…everything, isn’t it?
All right. I let them dry overnight. Then, I needed to clean the bottom of each bowl.
I took a wet rag and set it on the table. I put the bowl on top of it and then rubbed it back and forth, rather vigorously. I held it flat, so that the part that would be touching the kiln shelf would be scrubbed well.
Then I rotated it just slightly to go bit up the side of the bowl. When I glaze, I will need to stop the glaze short of the bottom – it can run a bit. Now I will now where to stop.
I then examined the bottom and used a wet rag to wipe any stubborn areas. It’s ok if this much underglaze is left – it won’t stick to the shelf now.
At this point, I could put the glaze on now and save a firing . But, I’d like to fire the underglaze on and see how it comes out. If repairs or improvements are needed, I can make them. But once I put the glaze on top of the underglaze and fire it, it’s not as easy nor are results as predictable. I would rather go through the extra step to make sure.
So, I will work on the remaining items and hope to get a firing done pretty soon. More later.