Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some Informative Bowls

The following bowls have provided me with quite a bit of information about glazes, clay bodies, form, and function. The wheel thrown bowls are a collaboration between my friends Delia and Tom of the "Zen Garden" and myself.

Several of the bowls were altered to enhance their functionality. Some of the alterations aid in pouring, drizzling, or holding up a utensil. I am finding that even minor changes in a form can greatly enhance their usefulness in the kitchen or dining. And altered forms are often pleasant to look at due to their unusual shape or the way the glazes may break along the edges.

I noticed all of the ruffled edged brown stoneware bowls had glazes which either crawled, bubbled, or were pitted. These same glazes did not react this way on any other pieces in the same kiln load. This has led me to the conclusion that this clay body is not a good fit with many glazes and so I will not be using this clay again.

Red glazed porcelain, wheel thrown bowl, 3.5 h x 6.5 w inches. Not sure what the little black dot is on the interior, perhaps a concentrated piece of iron or debris in the porcelain clay, but it looks like a personal signature stamp and I like it.

Green to black satin matt glazed, creased edge, slump formed brown stoneware bowl, 2.5 h x 8 w inches. This bowl has creases on one side which help keep a spoon upright in the bowl by resting the handle against the crease. The glaze crawled terribly on this brown stoneware clay.

Non iron blue glazed, wheel thrown porcelain bowl, 2 h x 5 w inches. This bowl is a perfect size for a hand held soup or for dessert. Notice the brown speck. When I was working with the Windsor porcelain I noticed a few brown specks in the clay. At first I was picking them out and then I just left them in thinking they would burn out. The brown specks weren't gritty like grog, they seemed smooth. Now I see they might be part of the character of the clay or an anomaly. I will check with Laguna Clay tomorrow to see what they say. I don't mind the specks as I think they add character, but some folks might want a more pristine coloration for their porcelain.

Tea dust black glazed, ruffled edged, slump formed brown stoneware bowl, 4.5 h x 10 w (widest) inches. This bowl is rectangular in shape and has a cut out on either side of the widest portion which can be used to carry the bowl or to hold a spoon handle up. This stable glaze bubbled and popped in the interior of this bowl, that brown stoneware again.

Blue glazed, porcelain bowl, 1.5 h x 5.5 w inches. This bowl could be taller and would be more useful. The current size lends itself to a child's bowl or for a sauce. The beauty of a solid color glaze in reduction is that subtle color variations are achieved.

Cream and blue glazed, ruffle edged, slumped brown stoneware bowl, 3 h x 6 w inches. This altered bowl lends itself to pouring or drizzling liquid and one side of the bowl is slightly higher to keep the thumb from touching the interior ingredients while pouring. Another one of my ruffle bowls and an experimental glaze. I just can't help but make these forms as they show off the glazes on so many surfaces.

Carbon trap shino glazed, wheel thrown porcelain bowl, 2 h x 5 w inches. This bowl is the perfect size for a hand held soup bowl or for dessert. No carbon trapping here, not like my horseshoe bowl. As I understand carbon trapping is achieved with early reduction, which wasn't the case with this firing. Nice stable glaze though. A blend might bring out something spectacular, I see more experiments in the wings.

Blue glazed, slump formed, porcelain star bowl, 1.75 h x 5 w (overall) inches. This bowl is a good size for salsa or can be used to drizzle sauce or dressing. The points of the star hold a spoon nicely and also can be used to hold the bowl easily when using the bowl for drizzling the contents. I plan on using this glaze in some experiments over and under various other glazes as I can see there are multiple color variations achievable with this glaze in combination with others.

Altered porcelain wheel thrown bowl, 3 h x 3 w inches. Glazed with tea dust black on the exterior and ohata kaki on the interior. This bowl is and has two small spouts on opposite sides one to pour from and one to place the thumb while holding the bowl. This particular ohata kaki glaze lends itself to thick and thin applications. Several other pieces in the kiln load had thinner applications and were spectacularly metallic in nature. I can't wait to try this glaze again.

Blue glazed, wheel thrown porcelain yarn bowl, 2 h x 6 w inches. The hole is intentional for yarn to be threaded through. For it's intended use, this bowl could be taller and a little heavier. The idea for the yarn bowl is for the skein of yarn to stay in the bowl instead of rolling around while crocheting or knitting.

Tea dust black glazed porcelain wheel thrown bowl, 2.75 h x 5 w inches. This bowl is the perfect size for salsa or sauce and is a good weight to keep it from tipping over with a large spoon in the bowl.

Ruffle edged, slump formed porcelain bowl, 2.25 h x 5.5 w inches. Tea dust black exterior and blue glaze interior with overlapping at each ruffle. I knew there were cracks in the edge of this bowl before I glazed it and I know why they formed. I tried to impress a design on the outside of the bowl when it was too dry and I pressed too hard. But I decided to glaze the bowl anyway because I wanted to overlap the glazes and I am glad I did. I'll try this combination again.

There's a lot of work examining, photographing, and measuring all these bowls. But writing about the bowls has helped me to categorize the sizes and functions of the various bowls and will enable me to look more critically at why I make a particular size bowl in the future, what glazes to use, and what the bowl will eventually be used for.

Stay tuned for the next post where I'll show a few of the miscellaneous pieces from this kiln firing.


  1. What an amazing amount of work and study! If non-potter people only knew what goes into getting a successful form and glaze! Congrats on all of this great work!

  2. Hi Patricia and thanks. Writing about all these bowls really helped me. Initially, I didn't even notice the three ruffled edge bowls were the same clay body - I just noticed their crazed bodies till I wrote this all down. Consequently I might have missed that piece of information and used that type of clay again. I learned a lot from this exercise and so glad I did it. I also had a glitch on the blog and had all the measurements on the bowls typed in and for some reason blogger reverted back to my previous post so I had to re-measure them all again - boy was I frustrated. Done now though. I am going to be checking and logging more work much more diligently now.

  3. you're glazes are so beautiful! I wish my kiln was the size of yours and produced such lovely colors :)

  4. Hi Karin, these came out of the college kiln; I only have a small kiln at home and these are cone 10 reduction glazes which produce such beautiful colors, I am now working with cone 5/6 glazes and it's not as easy to get spectacular results, still learning those.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment