Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hope They're Perfect But...

A while ago I made balancing circles, two circles and three circles from clay. I stained them with oxides and fired them and they both made it through the firing. Unfortunately someone dropped the three circles on the concrete outside the kiln and it broke, but here you see the two circles balanced upright. These circles will balance, but you've got to have a lot of patience to get them to stand up. The circles aren't perfectly round, but they still work as I intended them. Even though the three circles were broken, I'm glad I have the two circles to show for my efforts.

Here's a bowl from the last firing. Unfortunately a piece of kiln wash has embedded itself right in the middle of the bowl. With this bowl I was experimenting with mason stained slips. I covered the inside with green slip and outside of the bowl with blue slip and bisque fired it. Then I glazed the bowl with a Blue Flambe glaze and fired it to cone 10. The edges of the bowl turned a beautiful deep turquoise. I put two coats of the slip on the edges of the bowl. The outside of the bowl where the glaze was put on thin turned a metallic silver. Even though the bowl isn't perfect I learned glaze applied over slip can give some unexpected color results.

Remember the pillow boxes that cracked at the seam and I patched it with slip? I put the box up on stilts to fire it. The glaze ran and stuck the stilt to the bottom of the box. I was going to heat the glaze up and separate the stilt, but I noticed where I patched the seam with the slip there is a small crack along the outside of the seam, the stress point of the piece. I'm still going to attempt to remove the stilt by heating it with a torch as a practice, in case I have dripping glaze in the future and I want to save the piece. I'm glad I happened to glaze this box with the runny glaze since it was the one that cracked and the other one came out perfect. I am also going to modify the design of the box by adding some feet. Sometimes things happen for the best.

When we lived in Arkansas, we had a huge magnolia tree in our front yard. I still remember shade it provided and the sweet lemony fragrance wafting through the air. When we moved here I decided to plant a magnolia tree, hoping to recapture that memory. Here's the first blossom of the year from the tree I planted four years ago. I had to hold my camera above my head to get a good shot of the flower because the tree has grown four feet since I planted it. The flower isn't perfect. There are insects holes, the stamens have fallen on the petals, and the sun has scorched the petals. But I noticed there are many more blossoms on the tree about to open. So I'm off to the studio to make some things in clay and hope they're perfect, but... if not I'm sure to learn something and I might just recapture a memory along the way.


  1. The dreaded dingles/doodads that embed in glaze work...kiln wash and other flying debris. Doesn't that just stink?

    Someone I know uses clay wadding like for soda firing in regular firings so that one can glaze all over - afterwards the wadding is just removed and it's pretty attractive. I'll have to see if I can find the info...

    Magnolias are gorgeous - I see a few hear and there in Denver, but they're sort of spindly.

  2. Hi Gary, yes thats how I feel about the bowl, although this bowl I had trimmed down before firing and it was an experiment.

    Hi Cynthia, thanks, the kiln flake is actually embedded right in the glaze in the bottom of the bowl, Gary and I are going to practice heating it up this weekend to see if we can remove it and see what it looks like underneath. My magnolia is kind of spindly too - I think it takes them some time to get mature and nice looking.

  3. A street near me is lined on both sides with magnolias. My kids used to collect the beautifully sculptural inside of the flowers after the petals fall off. Not sure what part it is but every year we would have a pile of "perfect ones" with none of the little hooks broken. Nice recaptured memory!

  4. Hi Barbara, I think a street lined with magnolias is just wonderful. Hot Springs Arkansas' main street near the bath houses is lined with magnolias. I think one of those pods would made a great clay sculpture.


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