Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On The Road Again

We're on the road again minus quite a few dollars for a new tire, new wheel, new studs, new axles, and new U bolts. We were pushing a major head wind today and our mileage was for naught, but the further east we go, the lower the fuel prices are getting. Of course, I couldn't help but think of Willie Nelson and his song, On The Road Again.

We planned on stopping in Kerrville before San Antonio because I really wanted to see Gay of Sister Creek Pottery. For the life of us, we couldn't find an RV Park that wasn't full, or was long enough for our 58 feet of length, or had a pull through, etc. etc. I plan on writing the Texas Tourism to let them know they need better signage for RV parks along the highway.

Meanwhile, the other day I thought I should make some slip from the Navajo Wheel clay in case I needed some. Luckily I had a plastic mayonnaise jar I just emptied and thought it would be perfect for storing slip. I slaked some dry clay in a paper bowl, stirred the mixture up a few hours later, and poured it into the jar. The next day I took the jar out of the cabinet and saw it had separated into perfect layers. Hey, I made terra sig and didn't even intend or try to make it. So I decided to syphon off the top layer of mostly water with a small syringe I had in my tool box.

A few weeks ago I read that Tracey Broome had used some terra sig on one of her beautiful large smoke fired pots. Then recently I read that Judy Shreve has been using terra sig on her earthen ware with wonderful results. I didn't measure anything, I just thought it looked good and thought to myself, why not give it a try. I rolled out a couple of slabs of clay and thought I'd make a few tiles. The slabs ended up round so I thought I'd make small bowls from the slabs.

I had collected some artifacts lying about at the trailer repair business (see the rock lying on the table) while we were there and decided to use one of those for texture along the rim of the slab. Then I dipped my favorite inexpensive goat hair chip brush into the top of the mayonnaise jar. Oh, excuse me, I dipped my brush into my perfectly prepared terra sigilatta and brushed the center of the slab with the terra sig. I let it dry to the touch. I noticed it was really smooth and shiny when I applied it. I should have been making terra sig all along it's much better than the lumpy slip I have been making. The terra sig took a while to dry and I didn't want the cats to step on it so I had to proceed sooner than I liked.

I might put a black edge on the rim of the bowl or dab some black slip onto the textured surface of the rim. What do you think? I think the white edge is too light for the center of the bowl. I may have to refresh my black lines, they seem to have been blotted by the paper hump mold I used. In the photo above the indentation of the paper hump mold I used can be seen in the bottom of the bowl. Dang, they looked so good before I put them in the mold, but they were a bit wet. Next time I need to let the terra sig dry before putting them on the molds. But what can I do working in an RV with three cats ready to walk on anything left about.

It's kind of like the bird house I saw at a Texas rest stop, the sign said, "Don't Mess With Texas"; next time I don't need to mess with my terra sig till the proper time.


  1. How cool is that to get terra sig - just when you need it! I don't know how you are able to work in that rolling studio -- but those pieces are pretty neat. I like the faded aspect - really looks like a fossil.

  2. you can use a plastic shopping bag to buff the T.S and it will be very shiny and burnished. It would be so cool if you could have those pieces bisque fired, then build a nice fire at a special campground and pit fire them!What a souvenir.

  3. I love Willie and the Don't mess with texas!
    Don't get stuck in Texas- keep moving on.
    And the pots! You are always trying something new and exciting!

  4. Linda, I like your drawings on the bowls. What a great way to document your travels.

  5. Hi Judy, thanks so much, I was pretty surprised when i looked in the mayonnaise jar. I have always put my slip into a wide container and never added much water or made enough to notice it separating, but the second I looked at it I thought of you and Tracey.

    Hi Tracey, thanks for the tip, I plan on experimenting with this much more, especially with this clay because it has hardly any big lumps or grog in it. Of course I don't know what will happen when it is fired. Hopefully it doesn't flake off or something. I am sure I will find a place somewhere along the line to fire these.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, we are now in gator and cajun country. HA! Hope I get to see an alligator, but not up close. something new, wonder if I will ever settle down to one thing?

    Hi Barbara, thanks, I'm having some fun and it keeps me occupied in the evenings.

  6. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告........................................

  7. Hi 香覽,

    thanks, not sure of translation, is it Chinese? if so I used googles translation to:

    The behavior of a simple pleasure of others minds, than thousands of people to bow their heads Prayer

  8. it'd be funny if you were driving along in texas and saw a big birdhouse that said... "don't mess with terra sig", of course i guess no one would understand but a few potters

  9. Tracey is right about the plastic bag; I've seen the best results if I burnish when the terra sig is still damp but it also works when dry. Have fun with it.

  10. love the bowls! really enjoying reading about your trip...

  11. Hi Jim, thanks, yes that would be a hoot to see that phrase. We've bene driving by several quarry's and I keep looking at them and seeing clay and thinking maybe I could stop and get a sample to use. Sick really sick.

    Hi Lori, thanks, I'll have to experiment with it wet and dry over the next few days, thanks for that tip. It was pretty easy to make and so much nicer to apply without all the grog.

    Hi Laura, thanks, I think I am on to quite a few things with my experiments but not quite there yet, so glad you are enjoying my travels.

  12. Linda - wish I had seen this before you went through San Antonio! Our local clay supply - Clayworld - usually carries the Cassius Basaltic in stock. :) Did you get to see anything while here? (I am in SA, and feel compelled to apologize for the weather this week! LOL)

  13. Hi Holly, thanks, I seem to have missed so many posts, not sure where they are going not coming to my email, but this is really good information to know about that clay as if I needs some more I can get some or have Gary stop by with our treasure bus or have some shipped, thanks so much for taking the time to post this info for me. I don't have a google profile for you, do you work at Clayworld?


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