Friday, January 15, 2010

Sketches and Plans

Everything I took to Clay Mix to be bisque fired last week came out just fine including the one sculpture which was a test piece. I wasn't sure the sculpture could survive the trip to the studio and the firing. All of the seams held. Now I feel confident to make more of this particular piece refining the design. I didn't put it through the final firing since it was a rough test example. I'll have to wait till we move to the next place in our travels because the piece is too fragile to travel in it's green state. I also took the other sculpture where I am attempting to reproduce the moon craters to Potter's Studio to be fired along with the other cone 4 work. I've got my fingers crossed hoping I get more moon craters.

While I was at Clay Mix I saw the contemporary ceramics exhibit of Tiffany Schmierer. I learned that Tiffany uses a cone 10 sculpture clay which she fires to cone 1. I was amazed to learn she fires her sculptures as one piece. Over the last several years my work has been leaning more towards sculpture and I feel I need to push myself to take more risks when working along those lines. I also ran into Una Mjurka whose sculpture work I also admire.

Two weeks ago I ran out of clay. Gary kept trying to convince me to wait to get more clay till we move to a new location. I really tried waiting. I read books about ceramics and I made lots and lots of sketches. But I realized I wasn't satisfied to just read and sketch, I need to keep working with clay. So I picked up three 25 pound bags of cone 5/6 clay yesterday. Since we are in our RV I can only work with a few bags at a time due to weight constraints. I got more Texas White stoneware, a rich red clay called Navajo Wheel, and a warm yellow/tan clay called Sculpture 50. I'd like to try sgraffito with a few of my sketches especially the cat sketch above.

Yesterday and today I was back at Clay Mix glazing my work and I ran into Craig Easter who teaches classes there. We had a nice discussion about high fire ceramics. As I was driving back I realized I miss having someone to talk with about ceramics. I look forward to finding a new place too set up my studio. I hope I can find a place where I can be close to a community studio and I can join a ceramics group or club. I am lucky to have a blog where I have connected with so many potters around the world, but I would also like to talk with folks in person too.

Since I'm in an RV I thought I'd make pieces with a low center of gravity so they won't tip over easily. I wonder if there's such a thing as a rack where tiles can be stacked to be fired? I know I've seen plate stackers but I'm not sure where. If you know where I can find such a rack, please let me know.

Today is Gary's last day at work and next week we're finally heading out on our travels. The weather predicts four inches of rain on the valley floor and more than two feet of snow in the mountains next week, so we may be delayed a bit. Needless to say we will be taking the Southern route in our travels. Come back again to see where our travels take us next. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  1. hey linda - i have plate setters in a couple of different sizes and they make loading the kiln so much more efficient. i cant remember where mine came from but i do know the sheffield ceramic supply( in massachusetts sells them. if i remember where mine came from i will let you know!

  2. Good luck with getting the adventure started--hope the weather cooperates!

  3. my brain suddenly unfroze... the plate setters came from highwater clays!

  4. Hi Michele, thanks ever so much for the info I will check both places out. I was thinking I could slip a board in and use them for drying too, I shall see. Perhaps I could use a paper tray for drying for efficiency in my RV.

    Hi Ben, thanks, Gary was getting all nervous this am thinking we'd be stuck here now that we are finally ready to leave and I told him there has to be a little break in the weather for us to head out.

  5. Continental and Bailey have tile setters too.

  6. Linda, Good luck on your journeys.
    Lana is back in class, reviving her throwing skills. I am making pendants, beads, faces, our studio. I just experimented with Glassline adding glass decoration to my pieces.

    When you get settled and find a place; we will take out Rv and come visit you. Promise. Lana would love your wide interests in pottery and potters.I love your interest in Plants. Stay well and happy roads. Joan T

  7. I love all your sketches, esp. the cat peeking out from the leaves and the cat w/the umbrella. Your cow sketch reminds me of a cute little cow face photo I took, have to go searching for it so I can show you. Exciting times, getting ready to actually begin the road trip. Hope the weather cooperates.

  8. Linda your sketches are dee-lightful!

  9. How could you not pack some clay in the RV- Just tell Gary the 150 pounds means no hitch hikers!
    I like that you are keeping your mind ready for pots- they are just going to pour out of you.
    Keep us posted!

  10. Hi Brian, thanks so much for the suppliers names, each one has something I might like to add to my clay supplies.

    Hi Joan, thanks so much, that is cool Lana has gone back to school, a great way to stimulate the imagination and get re-energized. I'll keep you posted where we move so you can come out in the RV. Hopefully we'll live near several arboreteums and I can take advantage of all they have to offer. I want to keep our landscape low key so I have more time for clay. Ha.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, I can't wait to see the cow book. I have a photo of a long horn steer I took in Texas when we were there years ago and I would love to put him on a piece of clay, he was so beautiful and his horns were so big. I got up close to a fence and he just stared at me and I was kind of intimidated by him.

    Hi Barbara, thanks so much.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, I think Gary worries needlessly. I told him just to drive slowly. Now his all worried about all the rain that is coming. I already have so many ideas but many of them are complicated and I need to wait to try them but the other onces will be filling up every available space again.

  11. hi linda, it's difficult not having someone to talk to about clay... i can relate. it's getting better but for years there was no one really to talk clay with. the blogs help but typing is not like talking.

  12. Hi Jim, thanks, that is so true, typing isn't like talking, the conversation can lag or be misintrepreted or lost. If I can find a place to live close by a community studio or even if I can take a class at a college that would be idea for me I think. I do like working alone mostly, but want to talk about clay too. thank goodness for the blogs though for now.

  13. bring bisque pieces on your trip and get a metal trash can. You can use wood at the campgrounds, do barrel firings and cook your dinner at the same time!!! The firings only take a couple of hours and you can get some great results!

  14. Hello Linda.

    I love your sketches, especially the two cats!! And thank you for sharing the exhibitions with us. Tiffany's is great!
    Take care and good luck on your new adventures!

  15. Hi Linda (waving)

    I love the barrel firing idea!

    There are a lot of different tile racks available. I am not sure how much they are made for drying over firing. I let mine dry on foamcor - they stick at first and dry flat. There is a huge ceramix supply and you can peruse

    I really like seeing your sculpture work. Nice sketches, too!

  16. Hi Tracey, thanks, I miss my barrel firings. I gave away my barrels and all of my seasoned wood and we don't have a stitch of room for a trash barrel, but once I get to North Carolina I plan on doing a couple of firings with
    Becky Story and the gang out there.

    Hi Sapphire, thanks so much. These cats are the funny little doodles in my sketch book, but they speak to me so I thought I might as well put them on ceramics as a little whimsey.

    Hi Donna, thanks, I guess I couldn't dry them on those racks as they would warp. I have never tried foam core, I have masonite and wood ware boards about 12 inch square that i've been using. I had some wall board in my studio but that is packed away now. I am not sure how much sculpture I can do on the road as it all seems to be too fragile to travel with. thanks for the info on the stores to check out, I'm trying not to look at all the stuff too closely since I may be tempted to get more supplies and overload our already overloaded vehicles.


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