Cat Man, Sort Of

Here is a figurine I made in February 2020 in my studio clay class. It’s about 10″ tall.

Cat figurine 10 inches 2-20

Standard clay 112, fired to cone 6, various glazes and copper oxide wash.

It’s constructed in the usual slab rolled into a cylinder way – cat head added on top. It was then bisque fired.

Next, I covered the head only with a copper oxide wash. I meant to wash it off, leaving it only in the crevices, as is my usual habit, but I forgot, and I then waxed it (as well as the bottom) to form a resist because I planned to dip glaze it. As you know, the wax “resists” the glaze when I apply it – it runs right off – so that the head will not accept any glaze and stays copper.

So I did this wax bit and I dipped the figurine into one glaze color head first, another one from the bottom up, and poured two more selections over his mid-section. When I finished and was doing a gentle clean-up of stray glaze blobs on the cat’s head, the wax started flaking off.

Oops, I learned something here – the instructor told me that wax will not stick to the metal washes we use. (I’ve had success with waxing a metal-washed item before because I rinsed so much of it off when I seek to remove it except in the item’s crevices). Not the case here – there was too much copper and hence, the flakes.

Well, what was done was done. I sent the guy into the fire. You saw what came back. He looks great, I think. I like how glaze droplets (which stuck to the head where the wax peeled in the glazing process) interacted with the copper to give him shiny freckles, and how the copper migrated and left him with a spotted look to his face.

Cat figurine 10 inches head closeup 2-20

Also, here is a (blurry) closer view of the area near the front bottom of the piece. The lovely colors are caused by the overlayment and dripping of the several glazes I used during the firing process.

Cat figurine 10 inches glaze detail 2-20

6 thoughts on “Cat Man, Sort Of

  1. Claudia McGill Post author

    When we get back to the studio I am going to try a few more of these. I liked the result and…as you know…I love cats. Makes me happy to be working on a cat sculpture.

  2. Laura (PA Pict)

    I love the look of this cat-human hybrid figure. Whatever went awry in the glazing process was definitely serendipitous because the finished piece looks fabulous. I love it a lot. More of this, please!

  3. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I made this one at the clay studio class so until I can get back in there…but I do want to make more of these. I sort of feel this guy is inscrutable but somehow well-disposed to send out some good vibes for me, if I ask nicely. And the glazing, you know, I am really looking forward to more of these serendipity results when I can return to the assortment at the studio and let it all work out as it wants to.

  4. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I’m telling you, the method of glazing I use ( stick the item into several glazes, overlap them, cross fingers) fits my non-precise style and is forgiving. It’s all chemistry, as they say, and I do love the unexpected richness of the surfaces I have been getting this way.

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