Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Tortoise, Cracks, Flowers
Finally had my camera ready when the gopher tortoise came out of his tunnel and Gary ran outside and got this shot. He was on the lawn when Gary went out and he was already in the woods ready to go underground by the time Gary made it out there. These tortoise move really fast. This one is about one foot wide and one and half feet long. I recognize him because the back of his shell has some damage on it. We have already seen two more different tortoise each with their own territory.
The floral motif large bowl I made with frost clay has developed many cracks, on the sides, in one handle, beside the other handle. I hate spending so much time making a piece, then decorating it, and then having it crack. It's not so bad if it cracks during bisque or glaze firing, but when it cracks before I even bisque it, well that's too temperamental for me. I want a clay that's easy to work with and it doesn't have to be pampered. I don't want to keep making things over and over again if they crack when they are green. So I won't be using frost porcelain. Maybe that's why some potter's use slip over different clays. They can have the clay they like to work with and the glaze results from the slip over the clay, something to think about.
Meanwhile the white stoneware I've been working with is doing fine. I have pinch pots, plates, lidded boxes, and bowls in various stages of drying. Here's a few of them I snapped a photo of. This clay still has to pass the test for firing and glazing and how the stains look on the clay, but it definitely handles well and isn't too groggy. Large handbuilt pieces, like the birthday cake, do well and also bowls, platters and pinch pots, just what I like.
Gay of Sister Creek Pottery and my friend Carroll suggested I use glass jars to store my mason stain slips. I looked everywhere for inexpensive glass jars and finally purchased a vegetable pack of baby food jars just to get started mixing up small amounts for several projects I am working on. Then a young father called from a craigslist ad I placed and said he saves all his baby food jars and I was welcome to have them. I'll be going over there this week to pick some up and bring him a piece of pottery.
I'll leave you with this shot of a tiny lavender flower I saw in the woods, not much taller than a few inches. It looks like a miniature lily or orchid. Does anyone know what it is? I'd like to learn more about the native plants of Florida. I am headed to Bennett's Pottery to pick up more clay. More stories later this week about Gary's trip. Comments and suggestions are welcome.