Results Are In – Part 1

I have been working on a group of hand-built bowls and plates for some time. I’ve fired them with their colors and I’ll spend the next few posts going over the results. Here are earlier posts in the series, if you want to take a look back. They are listed in reverse order; read from the bottom up if you want to go in order.

Kiln Time for the Bowls and Plates
Update on the Hand-Built Bowl Project
Bowls and Plates – Update
The Future Holds a Secret

I took the bowls and plates out of the kiln. If you remember, they were in for the firing of their underglaze colors. I fired at cone 06, since I am using lowfire white and terracotta clay. No disasters and no huge failures. I breathed a sigh of relief.

I have also come to a decision. Though these are all “functional” objects, I’ve decided not to glaze them. I don’t like the look of my work when it’s glazed – the shine detracts from the intricacy and seems to hide or obscure the details. I just don’t like it, and I’ve been dreading the glazing step all along for this reason.

By skipping this step, it means these items are not food-safe, can’t be washed in the dishwasher, and so on. Well, I just don’t care. I didn’t make them for the public and I don’t mean to sell them at a show. If I let them go, it will be with written instructions along the lines I just mentioned. To me, I guess these items are “sculptures” rather than something to stack your potato salad into for a family dinner.

That means that these pieces are all finished now. What you see is what they are!

First, I’ll show you the large bowls that were made without wax resist being involved. I have a picture of each one from the top, showing the interior design, and then a side view.

Next, I’ll show you the bowls that were included the wax resist – first, the unfired bowl with resist in place, then the fired results. You may be surprised at what emerged.

And here is one bowl that didn’t satisfy me. The white dots are too much contrast for the rest of the design, I think, and too plain. Not to mention the dislike I have for that irregular blob – what happened there? I believe I will give the spots some kind of detail and fire the bowl again in a later load.

OK, I think that is enough for today.


42 thoughts on “Results Are In – Part 1

  1. debiriley

    oh my… I LOVE these!! wow.
    they all are so lovely. inspiring enough, tempting enough to nearly make me want to toss my paints away and begin to do Bowls! love love love

  2. Alice

    Congratulations on their completion, Claudia McGill! It’s been a pleasure following the process from afar…

  3. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you! And there are more in the next few days. Smaller bowls and plates. I think it all met my expectations which in clay doesn’t always happen so I’m happy.

  4. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I think my “more is more” philosophy worked out (instead of looking frantic and maybe deranged!). They were a pleasure to do.

  5. Laura (PA Pict)

    These are fantastic! I have loved watching the process. As someone who doesn’t work with clay and has zero experience of working with a kiln, it’s been fascinating. It was interesting to see how each bowl transformed in that last stage. Forced to pick a favourite, I’d plump for # 7 though I can’t really explain why. I’m glad you followed your gut about not glazing. If you think your work looks best without a glaze then you’re right to stick to that. There are many non-food purposes for bowls after all.

  6. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I felt from the beginning I didn’t want to glaze but felt “I should “. It didn’t hurt anything to plan that way but now there would be no going back. I’m happy with stopping and I don’t mind them being just objects that are nice to look at.

  7. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you.! No, I’ll put them in my studio for now, I have some shelves. Eventually who knows. They will scatter into the world, most likely, over time. After a while I get tired of them or make new stuff that needs room!

  8. agnesashe

    How fascinating. The colours change with firing not only with intensity, but also slightly in tone. Is that because some pigments become more dominant in a glaze mix with heat. Bowl #7 shows the yellows moving to warmer shades don’t you think? I know with some of my dyes this happens particularly with some of the yellows. The blues seem to stay closer to the unsteamed original colour. Your bowl sequence is an intriguing and beautiful experiment and I also agree with you about the white blobs. 😉

  9. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you, I’m not an expert but I do know that unlike paint, that dries, these undergo a chemical reaction with the heat ( colors can intensify or burn out, depending on temperature and the color). and also the clay underneath. These underglaze colors do react according to what makes up their color pigments, too. But as a rule you can count on more brilliance.

  10. Claudia McGill Post author

    Oops, more to say. With glazes, it’s always chancy. The glaze as applied looks nothing like it ends up after firing due to the added chemical reactions of glaze ingredients with pigments. And temperature always plays a part.

  11. agnesashe

    I think the process sounds very interesting, but challenging if you really are trying to get certain colours. Of course that’s where expertise and experience come in. Well, I just really loved the colours achieved in Bowl 7. Fab 😊

  12. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. Yes. Glazing is a specialty all in itself and people can achieve amazing results. I am very unsophisticated in my materials, just using basic commercial underglaze and glaze, but people make thrown, experiment with temperature, etc. it is fascinating.

  13. memadtwo

    Wow! Well #6 is my favorite….a definitely partner to Monet’s water lilies. You are giving me ideas, as you always do. (and if you ever want to part with it…) (K)

  14. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I am happy with the results, and even the one that needs more work, I can see what I want to do. A very satisfying feeling.

  15. Jeanette Clawson

    Such a lovely collection! While I think having a bowl of cereal in one of these would be a fantastic start to any day I can totally understand wanting to keep them as they are. What an exciting process!

  16. Girl in the World

    They came out gorgeous! Love #’s 1 & 7 . So with the glazes you used these are not food safe ? Beautiful as is to mount on the wall then! It’s all art 🙂

  17. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you! Yes, I would need to put a glaze over these underglazed surfaces to make an impervious smoothness to make sure no food bits even microscopic are left behind to do their bacteria thing. I figured, these can be for display. Why not?!

  18. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. From my experience i just don’t much like how glaze looks. I think the shininess is hard for me to see the patterns correctly. It is just the way I see, I think. Plus. There is so much risk in adding glaze. It is unforgiving of anything but perfect smooth underglaze application and that’s a weak point with me, hence the style I’ve developed to go a different direction. But I understand the pull to make things that could be used for food. I think if I do simpler designs- but then I’m getting away from what I like, all this detail! Aaah! Maybe in the next round of what ever I make, I’ll seriously plan for it from the start.

  19. Claudia McGill Post author

    I looked them up and I think you are right. Wow! The shells are stunning. And I do see the resemblance to the bowls. With all the colors inside. I’m flattered. Thank you.

  20. nannus

    They also have a rough outer surface that looks similar to the sprinkled surface of your bowls.

  21. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes. My grandfather used to fish a lot in local rivers and several time brought me a less vivid version of these shells- they were pale with some iridescence and greenish and knobby on the exterior. I like it that this memory has been called up as a result of your observation as well as how it enriched my view of the bowls with the connection to those spectacular shells you mentioned.

  22. ken riddles

    Great luminosity in the blue on bowl 4 – and yes to glaze or not to glaze – sometimes matt is best, I agree. Plus sculptures indeed – I’m a one-trick pony – and don’t much else other than paint (or collage) – but appreciate all these.

  23. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I have found with clay that glaze alters the color and also there is that shininess that seems to be a barrier to seeing the piece well, although I am sure my off-kilter eyesight has something to do with it. There is a challenge to working on something that’s not paper or flat that I like – trying to make my designs fit the object.

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