Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Flowers and Fish

Here's a smaller fish platter about 10 inches square I made yesterday. I took artistic liberty and painted this sailfish with some slip made from red clay. I like the expression on the fish; to me he looks unsure about jumping out of the water.

Last year I made a blue poppy bowl having been inspired by a blue Himalayan poppy growing in Cindy Shake's yard. But the bowl developed a small crack on the rim. I fired it anyway because I wanted to see how the slip would fire and how the clear glaze would look. I liked how the previous blue poppy bowl fired and how the glaze turned out, so today I made an orange poppy bowl similar to the one I made last year.

This orange poppy bowl is about 3 x 12 x 14 inches. As I'm looking at the bowl in the photo I wish I had curled or rolled the square parts down, but it's too late now because the clay is too dry to manipulate. I'm not able to get this frost porcelain clay to drape the way I want in the slump molds. I might have to get some white stoneware to work with. I'll see how this porcelain clay fires.

This is a large bowl and the flowers are supposed to be jacaranda blossoms. I had a terrible time with these flowers, trying to show some perspective. Maybe I'm more of a Grandma Moses type of painter, more primitive. I do like painting on clay with slip and emphasizing the brush strokes in the slip.

Frost porcelain isn't easy to work with. Not half as easy as some white stoneware I have used in the past like B-mix and Texas white. I'm wondering how these large platters and bowls are going to do in the firing, especially since the platters are flat without feet. I'll use porcelain sand under them and put them on the top shelf to help reduce the tendency of the porcelain to crack and warp.

The fish platter I made last week looks better now that I have darkened the black outlines.

For the textured bowl I made last week, I took a one inch natural bristle brush and wiped it over the leather hard bowl quickly with a wash of red iron oxide (RIO). RIO is a very strong colorant so I only mix a small amount in water till it's a light red and I stir the wash often as I apply it, so the RIO doesn't settle out of the water. The RIO runs into the crevices of the piece and the texture is emphasized.

I made one small bowl as a companion to the large textured bowl. It's about 2.5 x 7 x 5 inches. I plan to make three more. I also want to make a set of four small poppy bowls to go with the large poppy bowl.

Yesterday I glazed some ornaments with raku glaze and I'll raku fire them on Wednesday, so stay tuned for some finished work coming up. Meanwhile on the home front I'm still painting and Gary is chipping out tile with an air chisel, one tedious row at a time. Then there's thinset underneath to chip out. Ugh, we need a genie in a bottle around here. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  1. It's great to see you working away- and using the things around you.

  2. It's so fun to see how your environment is influencing your work. I definitely think you guys mad the right decision in your location choice. You seem very happy and inspired by everything around you! Can't wait to see how the Raku goes for you :)

  3. it must feel so good to be working in clay again without worrying about storing and transporting it. anxious to see your new pieces fired... i especially like the free form textured bowls.

  4. Like the Poppy! Fun to see how your surroundings are inspiring you :o) Lucky ducky getting to RAKU!! I'm jealous!

  5. i love the brushwork--beautiful images!!

  6. Hi Meredith, thanks, I'm really enjoying all the bright colors.

    Hi Tracey, thanks, I'm relaxing more and more each day and recovering from all the past stresses. Hopefully tonight is raku night.

    Hi Michele, thanks, yes it's good to work in clay again, but I am still transporting till I get my kiln connected up here.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, I only saw the raku once but I want a kiln, now to figure out how to get a regular kiln and a raku one, Ha.

    Hi Laura, thanks, I am enjoying depicting what I see around me here.

  7. love the shapes of those plates - and the fish one rocks!

  8. Hi Ben, thanks, no sense making everything perfectly round Ha.


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