Tag Archives: clay

Clay Creatures

Here are some clay creatures made in September, 2020.

First up, this three-legged insect creature. He’s maybe 8 inches tall or so.

You may remember the puff people I used to make – in the dozens, if not hundreds. Here are a couple, to remind you.

Here is a variation on that theme.

For both of these new creatures, I used sgraffito and scratching techniques as well as using clay stamps I made myself. The eyes in particular were made with a stamp.

How about a drama shot, to end the post?

In Which I Get Close Up to Red-Hot Clay

Today my husband and I visited a sale of ceramic work at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA. And…I had a chance to visit a wood firing at their new wood-fired kiln. It’s not something you see every day.

Interested? I posted an account on my personal blog. Click the link below.

Visiting an Art Show and Learning Something New

Clay Cubes

I made these clay cubes in my studio clay class in late winter (early in 2020). They are not boxes, nor are they useful. They are just cube sculpture, about 2-3 inches on each side.

They can be stood on their sides or lie on their backs with the patterns on the upper side. Whatever you like.

Stoneware clay, fired at cone 6, various glazes, early 2020.

Here are some individual shots. I enjoyed making the various raised patterns.

Irregular in Shape Plate

I’ve made quite a few plates in my time. I use a handbuilding technique where I take an existing plate and use it as a form for my own plate.

What you do is grab some newspaper, tear it into strips, and lay it on the plate form (eating side is up, as it would be in use). Spray it to wet the paper. Then lay your slab of clay on to the plate and trim it a bit. Smooth the edges.

You can decorate the clay when it is wet, you can wait until it is greenware dry, or you can bisque fire the new plate and then decorate it. In this case I used stenciling with underglazes and scratching into the clay while the clay was still wet.

Why do you need the strips of paper? So that when the clay dries, and shrinks as it does so, it will not pull itself apart and crack trying to release itself from where it has stuck on to the plate form.

You peel the paper strips off if you like, from the bottom of the new plate, before it is fired, but you don’t have to – they will just burn off in the kiln.

After the new plate was bisque fired, I then dipped it into clear glaze and fired it again. Now, anything that a person might use for food needs to have a glaze. In the case of this plate, I would say a person could utilize it for bread or unpeeled fruit or the like. And don’t put it in the dishwasher or microwave.

But it won’t hold up to heavy use – it is earthenware, or low-fire, clay that I have used here. If you want to eat off a plate as a regular dish, you need to use stoneware clay and fire to a higher temperature to get a good vitrified surface.

Anyway, here is the plate. You may see that when I trimmed the plate as described above, my hand did its usual thing and went wild of the mark. Therefore this place is out of round. Oh well. We all have our quirks.

Clay plate 11-19 stencil view 13

November 2019. Low-fire clay, Velvet underglazes, clear glaze, fired at cone 06.

And some closer views of the decor.

 

Front and Back, We Are Very Dressed Up

Medium cylinder people in party dress. They look as if they want to break into song.

Terracotta clay, Velvet underglazes, fired at cone 06, January, 2020.

Ruby Lips Pothead

This is a vessel made with raku clay but fired in the electric kiln at cone 06. I don’t much like the color of the clay, but I didn’t know that until I had fired the item – it was a new clay to me at the time. So I did some stripes of brown and reddish-brown on the back, and gave him some red lips as a focal point. Now he’s better looking, I think.

Sort of like a pirate with chapped lips?

Velvet underglazes and clear glaze. Made in January 2020.

Tall Skinny Pothead

This fellow was made in January, 2020. About 10″ tall, terracotta clay, Velvet Jet Black underglaze on the exterior with a clear glaze over Jet Black underglaze in the interior, fired at cone 06. The glaze interacted with the clay and the underglaze to give the interior a dark blue cast, which I like.

Triangle-Glaze Face Tile

Here is a very clear example of a tile that has been dip-glazed with overlapping sections. You can see that I held the tile by the corner and, rotating it each time, dipped it so that the glazes covered each other in some areas and covered open territory at the same time. In this way a variety of colors result from the interactions of the glazes.

There are three glazes on this tile. I planned it so that the face features would not be intersected by a glaze line as I felt it would muddy up the impression the face makes as a whole.

Standard clay 112, fired at cone 6, various glazes, about 4″ x 4″.

Clay tile three triangle face @ 4 x 4 2-20

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

Some More Tall Figurines

I showed you a glazed tall woman figurine I made at my studio class a little while ago. And I mentioned other ones I have made at home. They are quite different – I meticulously color them in patterns using underglazes, and they are made of terracotta clay, which fires at a lower temperature than the stoneware clay I use at the studio.

Enough said. Here are cousins of the glazed lady. These were made in January 2020, terracotta clay, Velvet underglazes, fired at cone 06, about 16″ tall.

First lady.

And the second lady. For some reason I don’t have a photo of the back.