For a little while I’ve been using a technique for my clay tiles in which I color the background (usually in black) and then take my Chinese bamboo brush and use it and various underglazes to fill in around a shape that I see only in my mind, until it emerges on the tile. Negative space painting, kind of, and something I learned from a book in the last year.
Anyway, for this tile, I did things a little differently. I colored it with random splotches of underglaze colors and then filled around it. The person emerged, dressed in a patterned personality. So did a grid of eyes.
I cannot explain. Don’t ask me how it all happened. It just did.
Terracotta clay, fired at cone 06, colored with velvet underglazes, January 2019.
Here is an assortment of @ 2″ x 2″ clay tiles I made in January, 2019. I can’t stop making them, it seems – and why not, when they are so much fun? The small size keeps the design work simple and the sheer number of them means I can try anything I want. Just perfect.
White or terracotta clay, fired at cone 06, using Velvet underglazes for the coloring.
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.