Friday, January 14, 2011

New ceramic goals

I have discovered the dark brown clay at the studio and now it's all I want to use.  I just love it.  My favorite part of using it is that I don't feel like I need much glaze at all because I love the color of the clay so much.

top bowl
This technique I figured out by accident when I tried to wipe one of my other bowls because it had too much glaze on it.  I realized I really liked the crackled, faded look of the glaze, and so I set about to achieve it on purpose with the dark clay.

The top bowl just has one, thick coating of white glaze on it that I gently dabbed off with a sponge.  I left the inside untouched so it would stay sealed (for sanitary reasons).  The bottom bowl I made a while ago and I wasn't sure how it would turn out, so I couldn't resist dropping some green glaze on it.  I'm not sure how I feel about the green glaze, though, to me it kind of looks like someone sneezed on it.
bottom bowl

I went into the studio this week and made eight things.  I'm getting better at envisioning a shape and then creating it.  Sure, I have been able to make bowls, but their shape is largely by accident.  I've gotten to the point where I can make a decent shape and then trim it so it doesn't weigh five thousand pounds when it's finished, but now I want to be able to make what I want to make when I want to make it.  That was my task for myself when I went into the studio this week.

Not all of these pieces may make it to the finishing stage, but I am proud of them.  I don't have a picture yet but when they're trimmed and ready to fire I will take pictures!  I made four bowls, one tea cup, two mugs, and one hand washing cup (something like these, but I'm not sure of the finished shape or design yet).  I tried to make a plate but it was a disaster.  Plates are somehow so much harder than the other shapes!

My main goal right now is to make a ceramic cup.

I saw stepanka ceramics at the One of a Kind show this year and have fallen in love with her work.  I especially like the shape of her cups.  In a way, mugs are easy because they are short and wide.  Cups are hard because they are tall and narrow, very hard for me to throw right now.  Lots of people make cups this shape (usually called "tumblers") but when I saw her cups at the show I said to myself: I am going to make one of these!  Actually, I wish I had just bought one, because even when I get this shape mine will never have the same look as hers.

stepanka ceramics

Once I make a ceramic cup I hope I will decide on a new shape to conquer.  Maybe a platter.

I'm so excited that I've gotten to a level of throwing where I'm not struggling as much with the basic throwing technique anymore.  I can center my clay and generally make something out of it more often than not (on a good day).

Coming up I will show some pictures of an interesting coffee mug I designed based on an idea by my friend Jason.  It's still in the beginning stages so I might not show it until it's completely finished, but it's exciting!

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