River Bowl by Linda Starr
The Tule River originates in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains and eventually flows behind our house. In many places the Tule River drops hundreds of feet in a very short distance and over time has carved through hills leaving behind smooth granite boulders. Today I thought about making a couple of pieces in clay having been inspired by the nearby river.
I'm using up the last of my cone 10 Black Mountain clay and decided I would make a platter and bowl. I rolled out two slabs and then slumped them into forms. I started out with the platter (third photo) and thought I would do a repetitive pattern of blue lines and circles with a stylized reference to the river and boulders. With the platter I made the textures after I slumped the piece into the form. Then I applied stained slip to the textured portions and again ran a texture tool through the blue slip. Unfortunately the platter photo doesn't show the colors very well because I used the wrong flash setting on my camera. I've already closed up my studio and am back in the house and don't want to walk out there in the dark, so this photo will have to do. But I think you can imagine the true colors by looking at the bowl colors.
River Platter by Linda Starr
Next I started making the bowl (which is the first photo). With this piece I made the texture and then applied the slip to the river and boulders and then slumped the piece into the form. As I was slumping the slab into the bowl I saw the slab was much bigger than the bowl and I wished I had a much larger form. I kept saying, "I hate to cut it off, I just hate to cut it off". A good part of the river and boulders were cut off and I am still feeling bad about it because it looked so much better as a larger piece. I guess I'll have to make another one of these river bowls in a larger size. I better measure the inside of my kiln to see how large a piece I can actually fit in there. I always do this, I start making something with clay and I forget all about everything else except for what I am making.
Although the river is probably 200 feet from our house, we can't see it at all due to the dense tree cover. Most of the trees growing along the river are willow, oak, cottonwood, and sycamore. I took the photo above in our backyard a couple of years ago after an unusual summer storm when we had two rainbows form. You can just see the beginnings of the second rainbow forming in the upper left hand corner of the photo. The taller trees you see in the background are along the banks of the river. The mountain behind the trees is Snail Head Mountain and it is littered with giant granite boulders.
This last photo is from my garden with the chaste tree, Vitex agnus-castus, in bloom in the background and a California Quail on the granite boulder. Be sure to check back next time when I post about a creature in the night. Comments or questions are always welcome.