Friday, January 29, 2010

Some Yes Some Almost

White Feather by Linda Starr
coiled, burnished, slip, unglazed, cone 4
9.5 x 3.75 inches

All the pots came through their final firing, which is something to celebrate with this cone 4 cassius basaltic clay. Not all of them like I envisioned, some yes some almost. They have a nice ring to them when I tap them with my finger, like the sound of crystal. I love, love, love this ebony black clay. I love how it looks and I love working with it. Hey, did I say I say I love this clay. I bought the last three bags in stock. When I get where I am going I'll have to have it shipped to me.

Aside: I'm reading the James Patterson book Sundays at Tiffany's. If you read it you'll know why I put here in the middle of the post. It's not his usual murder mystery either. That's all I'll say about it.

Thai Jar by Linda Starr
pinched, unglazed, cone 4
5.5 x 4.5 inches

The unglazed clay tends to pick up dust on the surface. Does anyone know if there is such a thing as spraying a sealer on the clay to keep the dust from penetrating the unglazed surface? Ideally I would like to keep the matt look of the clay. I also wonder if I can pour some type of sealer on the inside of pots to make them water tight for flowers and perhaps keep the outside natural. Maybe I'll have to make some terra sig out of this clay and see how that does. I'll have to make test tiles of this clay when I get situated to see what I can find out.

Eggplant by Linda Starr
pinched, unglazed, cone 4
6.75 x 3 inches

Petal Bowl by Linda Starr
pinched, slip, unglazed, cone 4
3 x 4.5 inches

I rubbed green slip in the crevices of this pinched petal vase and expected it to look like weathered copper instead it looks like worn leather or suede, but I like that effect and would like to use it on a square box to simulate something made from hide.

Sun and Moon Pot by Linda Starr
pinched, slip, unglazed, cone 4
4.5 x 7 inches

The white slip contrasts very nicely on this black clay. It has a rough texture and the brush strokes can be seen but I like that. I wish I had used finer slip for this pot. Next time I'll refine and improve the quality of my slip for this pot and the others where I used slip.

Snowflake Bowl by Linda Starr
slap built, slip, unglazed, cone 4
1.25 x 6 x 7 inches

Bubbling Stream Bowl by Linda Starr
pinched, slip, cone 4
3 x 4.25 inches

Green Ring Dish by Linda Starr
pinched, slip, unglazed, cone 4
1 x 5 x 4 inches

Boat Basket by Linda Starr
slab built, unglazed, cone 4
4.75 x 9 inches

I used the same handle for this basket as I did for the other just to show what it will look like with a handle, but I will be changing this the handle for this basket when I get a chance.

Almost Moon Craters by Linda Starr
pinched, slip, glaze, cone 4
3.75 x 8.5 inches

I almost got moon craters, but not quite. Can you see a few of them developed but not like I wanted. I've determined the only way to get the craters is to pour the glaze in and let it sit for a while and then pour it out. If I brush on the glaze it doesn't soak in and won't bubble up like I want. You should have seen the pot before I fired it with the white glaze showing where the shiny triangles are, it looked great. A wonderful contrast of the white slip against the black clay. The folks who fired my work got some splatters of red glaze and debris in the bottom of some of the pots, especially this one; I really need to fire my own work. More experiments are needed but there is good potential for future pots with this clay, with and without slip and glaze. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  1. Hi Linda,
    I love the dark clay! I bet that is fun. Is it black or really dark brown? Where did you get it?

    You sure have been busy. I like what you have created. The petal bowl is just darling. :)

  2. Just lovely! There is so much personality in each piece.

  3. Look at all your LOVELY work Linda!! I really like the feather piece and that darker clay is intriguing...

  4. Linda I really like these pieces, coils and pinch pots, of course I'm going to like them! The Thai jar is my favorite! As far as sealing the surface, try some paste wax and to seal the inside for water, Thompson's water seal from the local hardware or paint store can help but it's not 100%. For vases that I want to put water in, I make them a size that a glass jar can fit down inside of or you could make a glazed stoneware insert. Steven Forbes deSoule does this for his Ikibana vases and they are kind of a cool feature for his pots. Pinch pots are great for the road, I would definitely keep up on those!!

  5. Great pieces, liked the petal bowl and the boat basket best. keep up the good work.

  6. Hi Donna, thanks. The clay is definitely black, a kind of dusky, gun metal black. it is called cassius basaltic and should not be fired above cone 4, most folks do not use it for any functional work since it has manganese and it also does not take glaze well at all, subject to the effect on the last piece. I got it from Clay Mix in Fresno who distributes for Aardvark clay in LA. Aardvark makes the clay. Here is their website

    Cassius is the blackest clay I have found on the market and I love it. It works very well for hand building and is soft yet firm and doesn't get those fine cracks when I am working with it. It doesn't have too much grog and what it does have is very fine. As I work it - it gets softer and I have to be careful not to overwork it so is doesn't slump.

    There is a Black Mountain cone 10 clay but it is more brown black and when fired in reduction it gets some pale speckling coming to the surface sometimes. I have never fired Black Mountain in oxidation to cone 10 so I don't know the color of it then. It has coarser grog in it than Cassius.

    Hi Cindy, thanks so much.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, I do love working with this clay. The white slipped feather on the first piece is just the effect I was striving for with the white contrasting nicely with the black clay. I want to do more pieces with this black clay and the white slip.

    Hi Tracey, thanks so much. I want to experiment with several different treatments, but not on these pieces. Once I get to the next place to fire I will make a few small pinch bowls or similar to experiment with. I also want to try making some terra sig out of this clay to see if I can make the surface more impervious to water, we shall see. I was thinking I might make some bonsai pots and those wouldn't need to be impervious to water, more testing needed there too. So many ideas and so little time (and room right now).

    Hi Max, thanks so much. I almost threw the petal bowl away after the bisque because it looked dorky, but now it looks good. I am so glad I didn't. It shrank into a nice cohesive piece with a good color and is kind of rustic looking, almost an ancient look. I want to make more of the boat baskets in different sizes and with different handle treatments with some kanthal wire and perhaps ceramic handles. thanks for your encouragement.

  7. I like those sassy lids on your jars.
    I can see more of those coming out of you.
    It is hard to let someone else do your fire.
    Soon you will be back in business!

  8. The ebony black clay is luscious – especially burnished! It looks like rich dark chocolate. I am glad to see your Thai Jar turned out so well! Sorry some of your pieces were contaminated with red splatters – I hope it isn’t long before you are able to do your own firings and have more control over the results. Making bonsai pots is a great idea! I have heard of a potter using an outdoor varnish inside his vases to seal them, but I am not sure how effective it was or how long it lasted. Good luck!

  9. I left a comment for you on my blog, I left one earlier but it didn't take and I came over here to see if I left it for you on your blog, but I guess I'm just crazy :)'s the cold, brain is frozen!

  10. Hi Meredith, thanks so much. You have reminded me I said I wanted to make the same pot and different lids to show myself how it changes the pot, perhaps I need to do that next. thanks.

    Hi Jewels, thanks, my photos don't do the clay justice, the color is slightly different in person, really metallic black. I really need to do some testing with different treatments on this clay. it just seems so precious to me. I may have to call Aardvark clay and see if there is anyplace that carries it further east.

    Hi Tracey, thanks, I'll head over there to read your comment. Don't you hate it when your comment gets lost. I have had well thought out comments disappear and for some I have started copying them before I hit the publish comment button in case they get lost in cyberspace.

  11. lots of cool pots linda... that clay is so scrumptiously black. even though the moon craters didn't turn out as pronounced as you were hoping, i still think that bowl is a winner. glad you know what to do to get it to work

  12. Your feather is to die for...more, more, more! I love pottery but know zip about pottery comes to be and am learning much from your posts, Linda...finally decided to jump it possible you could use the dung sealant Africans use? I know it doesn't sound sanitary, but, somehow, it seals without harm...lived in Nairobi for 3 years....

  13. so you really like that clay? :) my favorite is highwater's phoenix clay. there's ice almost everywhere here! such fun...

  14. What a beautiful collection! I love them all, but the petal bowl and the Sun & Moon,the bubbling stream, the Almost moon craters, the basket...I want them all!! Such nice work you are doing. A lot of things to take on the road, maybe you should hang out a shingle and have a show in the RV parks you stay in along the way.

  15. Hi Kitty, welcome, thanks so much, the white feather came from a real one I found at the top our driveway when we were desperatley try to sell our home. Thank goodness we did. Now that dung sealant sounds interesting and I willo definitely be checking into it. Perhaps when the native Americans fired their pots with cow dung it sealed them somehow.

    Hi Amy, thanks so much, sorry about all the ice you are experienceing I won't tell you what the weather here is. The phoenix clay what color is it?

    Hi Barbara, thanks so much, we should be in your neck of the woods in about two or three days, i will contact you then.

  16. that feather vase is fantastic Linda! the moon and sun one too, very nice. i like the contrast between the white and black clay.

  17. Hi Kim, thanks so much, I am so glad the white stoneware slip I made fired so white.

  18. phoenix-- it's brown, but then again a bunch of clays are brown. I recommend googling 'highwater clays' and you can find out more there.

  19. Hi Amy, thanks I'll check out Highwater clays, thanks for the tip.


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