Don't you just love the shapes- Raku comes to mind!
Daniel whatshisname has that book Pottery Form and he references organic shapes for pottery, including gourds....
Hi Meredith, I've been walking past these for over a year sitting on the wash tubs and finally got around to taking photos. I wish had the money for a raku kiln, but what I lack in money I more than make up for in all my ideas and things I see as inspiration. I was doing my watering this morning (it's 106 right now) and I saw these and wanted to document them before they fall apart; I just love how they have a slightly rough lichen-type texture deteriorating while they have been sitting in the sun.Hi Gary, I think I have that book which I got at the second hand store. These really struck me as I walked by them today. I would love to try making these shapes with some flat coils (like those onggi pots), perhaps I will try that tomorrow. I intended to sand these and put on a wood varnish and then wax them, but now I am glad I didn't, I love how they have weathered and obtained a nice patina naturally.
David Stuempfle comes to mind. I see coil pots for you! Aren't they great?! I didn't have the money for a raku kiln either but I managed to get a grant for mine, and very happy to have it. Go for it! You can also build one very cheaply, look around on the internet for plans, they are very simple.
Linda, What neat forms! How big are they, I wonder? What are they? What a photographer you are. ~peace
Hi Tracey, yes I have to get on David's website again. I have seen several regular kilns for sale on Craig's list but have hestitated getting anything else hoping we would move. I was going to adapt a regular kiln to a raku kiln. With my back I would have to have Gary lift the pieces out. I do have a former classmate who does raku, I will have to contact him to see what he is up to. You got a grant - wow, you must be a great grant writer. Next place I move I am applying for some grants too. I would love to get a grant here, but since I don't intend on staying it wouldn't be fair - but with all they are saying about the economy who knows. Anyway I have to make the forms first then I can worry about firing them and if I stockpile some pieces I can always barrel fire or pit fire them this winter.
Hi Amy, these are gourds which are like a large squash, when they are dry, folks often cut the tops off, sand them down and either paint them or polish them. Some people make bird houses out of them. Some native americans weave pine needles or feathers or beads at the top - I am sure you have seen them somewhere. This is what they look like before all the clean up work is done. The largest is about 18 inches tall and the smallest is about 8 inches tall. They really have a beautiful shape. I have had these for five years and got them just before I started working in clay. I just recently "saw" them in a different light - as an inspiration for a clay form. I got them from a very old farmer around here who has since passed away. He was a real nice man. He spent an hour or two showing me his decorated gourds and all his work and then I bought these gourds from him. I have them sitting outside in my garden and I think of him every time I look at these.
can't beat the gourd... adrian saxe took them to the max though
I'm unfamiliar with his work, I'll have to look up Adrian Saxe. I am getting my ceramic education from all the potters like you on the internet, thanks so much.
These are GREAT shapes! My dad used to make bird houses out of them and my mom used to saw, paint and take a wood burning tool to them and sell them at bazaars! She would also used stains and waxes to burnish the gourds to get various finishes. It is quite an art form.
I love dried gourds - gorgeous shapes, colors and there's a simplicity about them that, oh I can't describe it properly....
Hi Cindy, your whole family is so talented; I bet your mom and dad's gourds were wonderful. Maybe I will try sanding and staining and waxing one of these now that I have taken a photo of them. You can see that one already cracked and another one did too and already threw it away. I have the stains and waxes in my garage from remodeling this house. It wouldn't hurt to try. Thanks so much. It is supposed to be 108 here today; I wish I was where you are. Ha! Have a good time.
Hi Cynthia, I know just what you mean, their shapes are somehow calming or zen like or something. The ones with the pear shape are nice too - that must be why the pear is sculpted so often, the form is so voluptuous. And then the aspect of the still life, perhaps that is why still life paintings are always put in dining rooms so folks have a pleasant dining experience.I am so glad you have commented, this idea just popped into my head. I need to bring the gourds inside and use my new graduated backdrop and take their photos (without letting them scratch it or drop dirt on it or anything). My studio siding is distracting with the lines behind them and the background color isn't quite right for them. These would really make great photos to hang - arranged in various poses. I also think they would make great photos printed on canvas. The colors are so soft and I really like the orange hues which are on the two of them. I think I'll wait till tomorrow though - it is way too hot to do anything outside now. Thanks again.
Photographs would be great! Subtle - minimal.
Thanks Cynthia, yeah minimalist.
Love those gourds. I once had an enjoyable day in Oxford, England, drawing sketches of a collection of musical instruments that were made out of gourds and bamboo. I have seen photos of pots by Carlos Versluys (in Phil Rogers' "Ash Glazes" book) that have a similar look to the gourds. The glaze was just China clay and washed and seived wood ash in equal portions. This base glaze was further modified with additions of calcined alumina and rutile, ranging 1-15%, and sometimes extra iron. The glazes were painted on in layers and wallpaper paste was added to the glaze. The glaze came out way too dry in my electric kiln when I tested it, probably really needs reduction and a long soak, but I'll test it one day in my woodfired kiln, and I think it should work well. (I occures to me now that adding a little feldspar might make something that would work in an electric kiln??)
Hi Peter, this glaze you are describing sounds wonderful, a really dry look appeals to me so. Somehow the character of the clay is allowed to shine through. In some of my work I like leaving parts of clay unglazed or contrasting some unglazed with glazed portions, but if a dry look glaze could be achieved I would love that. I really need to start experimenting with the oxidation glazes and see what I come up with. These gourds have the patina of a very dry look to them which I think is just beautiful, like they could be sanded off, which I think they could, but a glaze couldn't be sanded off. You have given me some food for thought with the ingredients you have listed. I was thinking today of trying some experiments this winter in my barrel firings. I have some rice hulls which I want to burn and save some of that ash and see what I can do with it. Also I want to try imbedding some materials in the exterior of pieces for texture - so many ideas and so little time. I cant' do much right now but water - it is now 112 F or 44.4 celsius and climbing. You mentioned you have several wood kilns, perhaps I can try building a mini experimental wood kiln for a pot or two. I will have to do some research with that. Ideally I would build it with the chamber at waste level and heat it from below, but make it so the heat circulated somehow. A mini wood kiln that perhaps only goes to a lower temperature, not cone 10, gee I'll have to do some research on that. Hope your construction and remodeling are going along ok.
I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment