Tag Archives: Velvet underglaze

Baby Cylinder People Greet You

Group portrait!

Terra cotta clay, fired at cone 06, colored with Velvet underglazes. They are all 4″ tall, more or less. Made in February 2019.

We Are Not Twins

…but we were born at the same time.

OK, it’s a little bit of too much to call a clay statue “born” but they’ve been together since they were formed from the same clay slab, and they did come through two firings together. Enough said.

Two clay figurines, low-fire white clay, Velvet underglazes, fired at cone 06, about 15″ tall – October, 2018.

A Regal Figure

Terracotta clay, Velvet underglazes, about a foot tall, fired at cone 06, August, 2018.

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In the round:

And some closeups:

A Glamorous Lady

Let’s view her from all angles. Terracotta clay, about 15″ high, Velvet underglazes for the colors.

And by the way this is the piece that won first prize in the 3D category at the Pennridge Gallery of the Arts Festival in Sellersville, PA, on September 16.

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In the round:

 

And how about some close-ups?

 

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 5

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

Art every day and all week.

Saturday, September 29 – This afternoon we took a trip to the Ceramic Shop in Norristown, PA. I needed some underglazes. This store is always a treasure trove. I worked my way past the shelves of glazes:

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…stopping to look some over, for future projects, before I came to the Velvet underglaze display and chose my items.

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After that I wandered around the store a little. As always, I am fascinated by the huge array of tools that can be used in clay work.

Here is a sample board showing various clay bodies sold here. Different clays fire in different temperature ranges and are additionally of different consistencies – some very smooth, some gritty. It all depends on your purpose as to what clay you chose to work with. Additionally, each clay can be fired within a range of temperatures – the different samples show the same clay fired at various levels. As you can see, this display is very useful in choosing clay.

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Here you see a selection of kiln shelves. Since each firing requires the shelves to be configured to fit the clay work being fired, there are a lot of choices.

Here is a display of pyrometric cones. You may remember me as describing a clay item as being fired at “Cone 06” or that kind of thing. Before computerized controls, each firing required the use of a pyrometric cone, created to be specific to a firing temperature, which was designed to bend or slump when the correct temperature was reached (you needed to view the cone through the peephole in the kiln wall).

These cones are still used today, even in computerized firings, for a variety of reasons – to make sure a certain item gets to the correct temperature, as kilns can have hot or cold spots; or to check that the kiln’s controls are accurate, for instance. I don’t use them, as my work is not that temperature-specific and my kiln has computerized controls – but obviously lots of people do. There is a large display of them here.

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Sunday, September 30 – My husband and I went to a play this afternoon at Allen’s Lane Art Center. You may remember other productions we’ve seen here – it’s a small theater and the seating is cafe style. This show was lightly attended, being a Sunday matinee, and we got a place right up on the edge of the stage.

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I got out my trusty sketchbook:

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but I didn’t have much time for drawing the audience as I usually do here, because I was downstairs for some time chatting with my friend Lisa, who runs the box office. Just saying. Anyway, here are a few quick things:

Monday, October 1 – I fired up the kiln. It may look like it’s just sitting and doing nothing, but that number on the front means it’s 1200+ degrees F inside. And that’s not the whole story – it will go up to about 1830 degrees…

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Let me back up a little. I forgot about these. Remember when I went through that box of little scraps last week? I pulled out some that I wanted to color. I’ve spent some of the last few evenings doing just that with my markers. I’ll figure out what happens next soon.

Back to today. I felt like slapping a little paint on a surface. I got out one of the 18″ x 24″ 1/8″ thick masonite boards I recently bought, as well as two of the 11″ x 14″. They have already been gessoed in black. I started working away. We’ll see what happens. I remind myself that the large board cost $3.50. I have nothing to lose.

Tuesday, October 2 – I opened the kiln.

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I was happy to see everything sitting in its place, nothing blown up, nothing fallen over. There is a variety of objects and tiles in this load. Tiles -(commercially made terracotta base):

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Sgraffito tiles – made from terracotta that I rolled out myself. I realized after I’d done them that they are only 1/4″ thick, and these days I like 3/8″ – but I was using up already-rolled clay, that’s why. Anyway, all good.

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Various figurines:

and remember this vessel? It came through the firing well – no seams opened up. I think I will do a little work on sanding some rough areas, and I’ll clean up the rim with a better black coat around it. Then I need to decide – will I glaze just the inside or the whole thing? Because for it to be functional the interior (at a minimum) must be glazed or it will not hold water.

Then there was this little stray tile…

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After congratulating myself and the clay items for completing a safe trip through the firing, I decided to go upstairs and work on that painting thing I’ve got going on. Today, I decided, would be ink day. I pretty much stuck to adding only India and acrylic inks to the picture, though I did put some more paint on, too.

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Where is this thing going?

Thursday, October 4 – First, a few more of those ink drawings turned colorful.

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I worked on the large painting. It continues to progress. Then I brought it upstairs to sit in front of me and let itself rest for a while.

I worked a little on the small painting, too. Really, all I did was to decide to turn it the other way around and to outline the person in ink, but…it’s still something…

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Friday, October 5 – I brought the recently fired clay into the laundry room/face painting venue to start the coloring process.

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Using Jet Black Velvet underglaze, I did my usual routine: paint the faces and other relief details in black and then wash off, leaving the color in the crevices.

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I got the whole gang done and set them on my work table. Next step: giving them a black coating all over their bodies to form the base for the bright colors I plan for them.

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I may do that this afternoon. Or I might work on that painting. Or I might sit on the sofa, watch TV, and finish up odds and ends of art tasks and paperwork. I don’t know. So I’ve decided to cut off this week’s Diary entry here. I’ll post this afternoon’s work (if I do any, as there is always option #4: I might just lie on the sofa and read) tomorrow. Happy end of the week!

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.

Group of Round Clay Women #3

More ladies. Fired at cone 06, white clay, Velvet underglazes, July, 2018.

Group of Round Clay Women #2

Meet these ladies. Fired at cone 06, white clay, Velvet underglazes, July, 2018.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending August 24

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


Art!

Saturday, August 18 – As you know I’ve been working on illustrations for my Minuscule book, using a Chinese brush and India ink. When I really make a mess of a picture, I wipe it out with a few swashes of the brush, loaded with ink. Then I have really nice black background papers to draw on with white or colored gel pens. They are perfect for the TV-watching kind of art-making.

I also do the same thing with acrylic inks, if I happen to be using them. Depending on the color of the ink I’ll use a pale or a dark pen.

Here are a few examples.

Here are some peeks at the images I drew for the book.

Sunday, August 19 – More TV time in the evening and more black/white design things. Oh, some green, too.

Monday, August 20 – I did the firing of my clay pieces – the weather has moderated and it was cool enough to run the kiln. You may remember I loaded it a week or so ago.

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I happened to be passing through the garage later in the day and the kiln shows its temperature as being significantly higher –

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It tops out at about 1828 degrees F. This particular firing took just short of nine hours, typical for a bisque load (because the kiln brings up the temperature slowly so as to bake out moisture in the clay very gradually, making sure that it doesn’t turn to steam instead and explode the item).

I worked on more illustrations for my future Minuscule book:

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and as always there are leftovers. I have accumulated quite a collection at this point, a nice box-full.

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I had a couple more of those black/white ink doodle things, too, from last night.

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Finally, I think I’ve finished up these 6″ x 6″ cartoony type mixed media pieces.

Wednesday, August 22 – Today I faced a task I’ve known was coming for months, and I’ve been avoiding thinking about it. What is this dreaded event? Well, I’ll be participating in the Lansdale Festival of the Arts on Saturday, and…almost every painting I have is hanging in my exhibit that opened in July. I pick them up next Thursday, but that won’t help me this weekend.

I knew this situation was coming and I made only vague plans. I just figured, well, I’ll get an idea one way or another.

I have two very large paintings plus three medium sized ones here at home. And I’ve got a modest array of small paintings that can also be hung.

What I have decided to do, to fill out the booth this one time,  is to bring out my array of small paintings that I don’t usually show – the ones I did for fun, or they have no frames, etc. etc. I took the box-full out into the garage and laid them out on a table to see what I have.

I plan to take two tables and set the paintings on them. I have small and large wire stands, which I usually use for clay work.

I have two ancient flip bins, which I used to use a lot when I made collage work – I often sold items matted but unframed, and those went into these bins. Maybe some of these paintings can fit into one of these.

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I think I can put the tiny ATC-sized paintings into an old drawer that I sometimes use as a table bin. Anything else, I can lay flat on the table. I’m hoping my display will look coherent and neat.

I re-packed the paintings and took them inside to wait with the other large paintings for Friday, when we load the car.

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You might say, why can’t you take whatever you want to the show? And/or, why didn’t you take your clay work?

First question, it is a juried show, and I juried in with acrylic paintings, so, that’s what I have to show.

Second question, you are right, I could have juried in with clay this year, and looking at what I have on hand right now, I would agree. But, I had to enter this show in March, I think, and at that time, I was more concerned with making enough work for my exhibit. See, I had purposely run down my paintings inventory over the last couple of years and suddenly – I needed work to show.

I had done the same thing for clay. My stock was quite low, tiles and sculptures. But I had no deadline for clay work, and additionally, clay takes a lot of lead time given the multiple steps in the creation process. I was not sure I could get enough clay work done at the same time as doing more paintings.

I also was at that time evaluating how many shows and events I wanted to be producing clay items for. I did not want to build up excess clay work – especially when I felt more sure of my plans for my paintings.

Now in retrospect and with some of this year’s events under my belt, I have decided to look for more shows for my clay, and keep my painting schedule stable or even reduce a couple of shows. Showing clay at Lansdale would have worked out fine, as it turns out. But – let’s look at it this way – some paintings that never get seen will now be the stars of my little show.

Friday, August 24 – I did a few odds and ends this afternoon before we pack up the car for tomorrow’s show. I painted some papers that I might use for my secret project:

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And then I went to the basement to start the process of coloring the clay work I took out of the kiln a few days ago. You may remember this process from earlier sessions. I plan to do the wild color patterns all over the cylinder figures and the puff people, but first I need to prepare their faces and give them an undercoat of underglaze. Here we go.

I brought the figures into the laundry room to work on, because I need to use water from the sink there.

First, I colored their faces with Velvet underglaze, Jet Black.

Then I took a wet rag and, holding the figure under a trickle of water, I rubbed away the black color from the raised areas – it stays in the indentations. I then went back and did the same thing for the grooved areas at the bases of the cylinder figures. These areas are created when I make the join between the figure’s body and its base with a serrated tool. I could smooth these joins out and sometimes I do, but this session, I left them.

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The faces are done and I am ready to wash off the black color at the bottom.

Here are the final results.

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I then took them out to my work table and proceeded to give the cylinder figures a coat of Velvet underglaze Jet Black. This base will form the underlying color for when I put on the colorful designs.

I will do the smaller figures another day. Until then, they will wait over on the other table.

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All right, that’s it for this week, except for packing the car, as I mentioned earlier, for tomorrow’s show.

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

Group of Round Clay Women #1

All right. First up – these ladies. Fired at cone 06, white clay, Velvet underglazes, July, 2018.

Round Woman Figurine

Clay figurine, terracotta, fired at cone 06, colored with Velvet underglazes, July, 2018.