Tag Archives: ceramics

I Said I Would Renovate and I Did

Remember those bowls a few days ago that I told you I had decided to glaze? All right, they have all come from the kiln and I will show them to you.

I am reasonably happy with the results. Now, this look is not my first choice, but as you may also remember, I made bowls, and without glaze, they cannot really do their job as bowls. They need glaze to be food-safe. I have decided I want to sell them, and so, I glazed them.

If I don’t want to use glaze, I need to remember to make items that are non-functional. I may want to write that down.

All right. You remember the bowls in the stage of having had glaze applied but not fired:

I fired them at Cone 06, the recommended temperature for the glaze. I had applied the glaze in 2 thin coats – I have a tendency to overdo the glaze and that causes problems with pooling and clouding. After the first firing, some of them looked great but some had areas where more glaze was needed. I applied more to those bowls and put them through again. My goodness, what some of these poor bowls have gone through!

Now we are done. Let me show you the previous versions with the new versions:

As you can see, some bowls look very similar and others are greatly changed. I noticed that the bright orange color in a couple of bowls had been completely altered by the addition of the glaze. The overall color scheme in all of the items is darkened and fine details are less visible. Now, I am not very skilled or familiar with glazing, so I think with future items, I would need to think more about the colors I use and in what combinations.

And no matter what, I never like the shiny reflectiveness of glaze. My eyes just do not take in the details of a shiny item as well.

I will also show you the outside surface of a couple of bowls. As you might remember, I spatter painted over a color on the white clay bowls and I spatter painted over the natural color of the terracotta clay on the others. These photos show you the before:

Here is a bit of the after – and please excuse the blurriness – I hope you can get the idea:

I do like the look. I’ve done lots of spattering with glaze in the past and it has never failed me. I need to write this down, too – spattering is a pleasing look with glaze.

All right. That’s the end of the renovation. I will say these bowls do look better in person than in a photo. I think they will find new homes and go on to happy times. And they will do their jobs properly and safely. That is what is important, after all.

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Renovate It, I Say

Some time ago, back in spring of 2017, in fact, I made a whole group of largish handbuilt clay bowls. I colored them according to my usual techniques of using Velvet underglazes and scratching into the layers. They were quite nice, but – you know, they are bowls, and yet they are not functional. Here are a couple of the bowls:

Bowl #3
Bowl #7

Since I didn’t glaze them, they were not food-safe. They could not be cleaned well enough to prevent bacteria from growing in the porous surfaces. Now you know why foodware is glazed, as are tiles for walls and floors. They need to be washable.

Well, the bowls sat around for a long while; some I gave away, and finally, I’ve come to the end of the road with the ones that are left – I’d like to sell them and move on. But I can’t do that because, even if I warn the purchaser they can’t be used, well, who’s gong to remember that kind of thing for any length of time, or – if the bowl changes owners…Because a bowl is meant to be used – it’s not a sculpture.

Bowl #2

So I decided to glaze them. Now, I am pretty sure I will not like the look of them as well as I do now, but – they are stuck in limbo and I like that even less. I got out my glaze and coated the whole group of them.

Then I loaded the kiln.

The lovely green color will turn clear in the firing. Wait and see!

You may notice I also have a large vase in there. It’s this item, below. Once again, it won’t hold water unless it is glazed.

I had a little bit more room so I added a tile, and I will re-fire a dish that didn’t do well in its first glaze firing.

I’m not great at glazing and I don’t love the look, as I said – it changes the colors and I also don’t like the reflectiveness of the surfaces. Well, if things don’t go so well, I won’t be heartbroken, will I? I’ll get that kiln going in the next day or so and see what happens.

Sheep and Bunny

The title tells all.

Clay tile, 4″ x 4″, Velvet underglaze on commercially made terracotta tile, fired at cone 06.

Tile-o-Rama

Here are those small tiles you have been reading about in the Art Diary. The whole group presents itself for your inspection!

Assortment of low-fire white clay or terra cotta clay, fired at cone 06. Velvet underglazes for the colors. April 2018.

Look here for Art Diary references: April 6 and  March 30 and March 23

Planetary Influences

These tiles made in January 2018 comprise a small themed group I made with the idea of “planet” and “space” in mind.

Clay tiles, 4″ x 4′, Velvet underglazes on commercially made terracotta tiles, fired at cone 06.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending March 23

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Another art week!

Saturday, March 17 – After declaring victory on my clean-up of bits and pieces and subsequent integration into ATC/postcards – I opened a drawer and found some more…bits and pieces. Oh dear. So I put some time today doing the same thing as yesterday. New ATC’s and postcards on the way…

Sunday, March 18 – busy day. After grocery shopping, I had a window of time before our planned afternoon activity. I finished up some ATC/postcards by putting a protective finish on them. I do this to all my ATC’s and postcards – it’s better for them, long term, and looks nice. I use either gloss medium or a spray, depending on what ink, paint, or crayon I used. I do my spraying out in the garage – the medium I use inside.

I sat down to work on a page in my current Large Artist Sketchbook. You may remember that the other day I glued in some stray drawings/paintings on several pages. I plan to augment the original images with…???… depending on my mood.

I decided to use pen and India ink today. The original section is that part with the person sitting on the sofa.

In the afternoon my husband and I attended a play at Allen’s Lane Art Center. I’m familiar with this place; I volunteered there some years back and a friend of mine runs the box office (we saw her today).

It’s an interesting set-up. Cafe-style, I think they call it. You sit at tables arrayed on the floor; the stage is raised enough to be easily seen.

AD 3-18 #5003

The idea is that you can bring food and drink in with you. We didn’t do that, as we were not hungry at 2 pm. We were the only ones, though. I saw a lot of elaborate tables with good-looking plates on them.

Instead, I passed the time before the show sketching the theatergoers. I am working to develop my sketching abilities. I particularly like the blind contour method, sketching while looking only at the subject, not at the paper (though I do glance down, yes, I do, but not much).

AD 3-18 #6002

Here is an assortment of my work.

A couple of the actors on the stage.

AD 3-18 play 1004

The table nearest us, photo and sketch.

People, I must tell you: what a lot of fun this was. The sketching, the play (I love going to live performances), the whole afternoon.

Monday, March 19 – I stopped by Montgomery County Community College to check out a ceramics event – Montco’s Arts and Humanities program and the Ceramics Club hosted a two-day Post Conference for the 2018 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). There were demos by three ceramicists in the theater:

As they worked, the large screen behind them showed a close up view of their activities, very helpful.

There was also a traveling exhibit parked outside in an Airstream trailer – The Artstream Nomadic Gallery. This entity has also had a display in the library through March – you could check out a mug or other clay item and take it home for your own enjoyment as an art object. Nice idea.

Tuesday, March 20 – I continue various small projects in the studio. I painted edges of recently done paintings – I give them a nice black finish, and then no frames are needed.

AD 3-20 #1006

I decided to use a set of Daler and Rowney acrylic inks I bought some time back.

AD 3-20 #2005

I’ve given very little attention to these. I like them for their transparency and intense colors. My selection of colors is not the greatest and I’ve gotten some odd results when I mix colors. That tells me I need more practice – it’s not the ink, it’s me.

I added on to this page in my ongoing artist sketchbook. The part in the middle was the original image pasted in.

I have a colorful Bristol board piece to do something with from this process – I used it to mix colors.

AD 3-20 #5002

After that I worked on ATC/postcards, adding on to items already in process. I drew various elements or people in India ink, cut them out, and glued them on, in most of these cards.

AD 3-20 #6001

Wednesday, March 21 – An all-day snowfall in progress. We ended up with about 9 inches.

AD 3-21 #8008

I made this stepping stone some years back and it is outside my back door from the studio.

So I stayed inside at home all day. I spent a good amount of time scanning and cataloging the ATC/postcard output of recent weeks. It takes time to manage images of my images, if you know what I mean, but I’m a record-keeping kind of person, so I usually find it a pleasant job, and my diligence means I have a record of the majority of things I’ve made over the years.

I am glad I have invested this time, as it gives me a library of images to accompany poetry or other blog posts, and…I have a history of my art career and interests, which is important to me to maintain.

I worked on another page in my Large Artist Sketchbook – the original pasted-in section is in color; I drew the rest with India ink and Chinese brush. I am not sure if I will color any more or add anything else. I have the nagging feeling of this composition needing just a little more…I’ll let it rest and see.

AD 3-21 #6004

I also cut up the colorful Bristol board ink blob paper into postcard sizes with some little bits left over cut up even smaller. They will come in handy sometime, I am sure.

Thursday, March 22 – Usually I go to the library for a poetry marathon session on Thursdays, but the college libraries were closed or opening late. I’ll go tomorrow instead. I spent some time shoveling…

AD 3-22 #3003

Looking out my front door.

Then I went to the gym. Along the way I encountered Easter Island art.

In the previous snowstorm, a Sphinx had appeared in this same location. I’m sure both sculptures are the work of the same people, and I really admire what they have done, both for the faithful representation of these famous sights, and for their sense of humor.

In the afternoon I decided to work on tiles. You may remember these small tiles I bisque-fired some weeks back and that have been waiting for me to work on them?

I’ve been dithering over starting with them, thinking – I need some GREAT idea brand new and never before seen on earth – for these tiles. Never mind that my original plan was to put simple designs on them and to use the process as just a way to relax into art.

Oh dear, how things get corrupted. At this rate, these tiles will never become anything. Well, I got hold of myself, sat down, and got to work. I am putting simple designs on them as a way to relax into doing art. How’s that for an idea?

Here’s an initial group.

Now that I have started I will be able to keep going.

See you next week! Thanks for following along with me.