Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reverse Design

After cracks and slumping with the frost porcelain I decided to try some white stoneware, Laguna 55. Since I'm on the East coast now instead of the West, I've had to switch gears. Some of my old standby clays are not available here or if they are there is quite a delay to obtain them. My cat, Betty, is waiting for me to start working. She's saying, "Just open the bag".

Betty seems to know, sometimes better than me, that once I open the bag I'll come up with something to make, especially after I cut off a section of clay.

Once I start rolling out the clay, Betty moves to another spot in the studio for a nap. I had a few sketches for vases; I decided making a vase would be a good to test the workability of the new clay.

I rolled out the clay, it had a slight curve on one side, I decided to go with it. See that yellow plastic sculpture too, that is my very favorite tool, it's curved on the pointed end, great for smoothing seams. For most of my hand building I use that tool, a ruler, needle tool, and a damp sea sponge.

I used a paint roller for a form, it just slips out afterwards with ease. My ware board is sitting on a lazy Susan turntable I got at the dollar store. The turntable makes working with a round form much easier since I can turn the turntable instead of constantly picking up the vase.

I cut out a geometric sprig and decided to attach it to the front of the vase. I'm not sure about the shape and position, but it's already attached so I'll leave it.

After I made the vase I drew a few sketches; I like the last two drawings. I guess this is reverse design, make it first and then design an alternative. This clay is real easy to work with, I'll see how it dries and fires. Thanks Betty, you were right, that wasn't difficult. Up next our weekly trip to destination, as yet, unknown. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  1. Thanks, Linda, for pics and info about how you make a vase. I had wondered about the initial steps. Also, I'd thought clay was pretty much clay, with a few variations, but not this finite. Wow, so much involved. I've got a healthy respect for what you do and awed by your talented results.

    A sidebar: Friends gave us beautiful, long-stemmed lilies with multiple buds. Well, they all opened up, causing one of the branches to bend from the weight. The only thing I could find to hold the stem, now greatly cut, was a pitcher!! A heavy pitcher.

    Any suggestion for a vase size/proportion that would look better? Thanks, K.

  2. I think Highwater has a store in FL now. Are you firing mid-range? I've used Little Loafer's and Buncombe White (also Wonder White--but I think that is c 10). They also have a mid-range porcelain.

    I like how you show your process, drawings and all.

  3. Hi Kittie, thanks, Gary keeps saying ceramics should be worth so much more since there is so many steps to making it and each one takes a lot of creativity and skill.

    I used to do flower arranging and lilies are a challenge, careful of the pollen it stains, a pitcher is a good choice especially a large one. Check out my next post where I talk about flower bricks and other large vases, inspired by your comment.

    Hi Kari, thanks, yes mid range now, I still have my high fire glazes, I hope to find a place to take some high fire work to be fired one of these days. I have heard good things about Little Loafers and I'd be willing to try another mid fire porcelain, perhaps they sell it in St. Petersburg, I'll try there next time. I know more folks look at the blog than comment and hopefully some of my posts inspire other folks to start a journal or jot down ideas of what to make in clay. thanks again.


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