Fern Platter by Linda Starr
A few weeks ago I was catching up on my blog reading and I was struck by the way Michael Mahan had used slip on several vases from his last firing. The vases I am referring to are the three on the left in the fourth photo down on the link to his post above. The vases are so beautiful with the way he applied the slip. To me the slip looks like those cirrus clouds often seen high in the sky and the wind has thinned them out almost to nothing. The wispy look of the slip on the clay really appealed to me and I thought I would try the technique the next time I made something. Where does your inspiration come from?
Today I mixed blue and green slip together and thinned it down more than I usually do. Then I picked a couple of fern fronds from my garden and laid them on a freshly rolled piece of clay. When this particular fern frond first opens, it is a bronze color and later turns green. Then I rolled the frond into the clay being careful not to stretch the clay but pressing so the frond would lie flat. Then I took my freshly mixed slip and brushed the slip over the fronds rather thickly. Next I brushed the slip on a diagonal much thinner on the rest of the slab. Then I slowly peeled up the fern fronds. You can read more about how I've used ferns as a resist on my post fossil ferns. Next I laid the fern slab on a platter slump mold. Have you ever used a slump mold? Did you make your own or use something ready made?
For the sake of economy I try to use up every last bit of clay I have. So I also made pendants with the cut off portions from the platter. For the pendants, I added some dabs of different colors of slip, or texture, or cutouts, whatever I could think of at the time. Pendants are really fun to make and they fit nicely in the small spaces in the kiln. What do you make to use up scrap bits of clay?
My cone 10 clay is slowly dwindling away. Today I used up the only large soft bit of black mountain clay I had in the bag. Now all I have left are scraps of black mountain and B-mix and they'll have to be wedged real well to make them usable. Hey, maybe I can wedge them together. Oh no, not another idea! Up next, I'll probably be using up some scrap clay. Don't forget to leave comments or questions, I'd love to hear from you.