Monday, November 29, 2010

Scales Are Tipped

The scales are tipped; there was more bad than good in this firing. But first I'll share the good. Wonder if there's a better way to arrange this bowl set for a photo? Perhaps I should have propped up the smaller bowls? What do you think?

Here's the front of the large bowl which is 4H x 10.5W inches. The smaller bowls are 1.5H x 6W inches.

And the back. There's a lot of texture in the surface. I might try this set without texture next time.

This snowflake bowl is 3H x 12W inches, and has a soft touch with a creamy translucent glaze.

The woven tray is 2.5H x 10.5L x 9W inches. The lavender matt is good; the gold color was supposed to be mottled blue, but still works with the lavender color. I might not have put enough glaze, but I didn't want to risk the glaze running since it's an open weave.

The cake stand is 4.25H x 10W inches. Looks OK doesn't it? Well if I turn it the other way, the pedestal is off center. The two had separated during the bisque. I glazed them together, but when I moved it in the kiln I must have moved the top off center. It was a little warped out of the bisque, but I fired it anyway because I wanted to see if it warped more. It didn't. These cake stands are a real challenge, but I'll keep at it.

This 3.5H x 11.5L x 10W inch tray was a big disappointment to me because the handle on one side separated. The speckled clay and not so perfect (worn look) to the slip give it an aged look which reminds me of French country style. Darn I really like the look of this tray. Guess I'll have to make more.

Here's a shot of the separated handle. It was fine out of the bisque. But I formed the handle with a twist in it and it must have wanted to go back to it's straight shape. I notice many potter's put their handles on the inside of pieces, but I like the handles on the outside because it's easier to wash. Other handles I've made like this didn't come off, but this one did. I need to work more on my handle shapes.

The moonlit forest tray is another disappointment. It's 2.5H x 10.25W inches. I noticed some surface cracks in the clay before the bisque and I smoothed them out. They didn't show in the bisque, but came back again after the glaze. I do the slip work and then form up the sides. The B mix clay must have been too dry to bend at that point.

Here's a shot of the hairline cracks. They are only on the surface and don't go through to the bottom. Clay has a memory, too good sometimes.

This round tile is part of a mixed media grouping, but I made it so long ago I forgot what type of clay it was. It was supposed to be green, but the speckled stoneware clay turned the crackle glaze to an ugly brown. Maybe I can use the group for something else. Since I'm using several different clay bodies I might have to have a code letter on the back of each piece to remind me when I glaze them.

Not much else in this load except these glaze tests. The large trays and bowls take up a lot of room in the kiln. I suppose if I had ten of one thing and one was bad it wouldn't be so hard to take. When I have only one of something then it seems harder.

I think I'll start making multiples with different colors of slip deco or glazes, and refine and make improvements in the shapes where needed. Of course I say that now, but you know how I am, always trying something new. If you missed my previous post, there's a thanksgiving giveaway with a twist. If you win, I send the gift to someone else you choose. That's it for now.


  1. I have had plenty of those days, believe me! The raku I did a couple of weeks ago gave me about 5 good pieces out of about 25. Those days suck, but then you get the days when all goes well. The bad days are all lessons that we learn from at least!

  2. The scale tipped at our house too.Unfortunately it was due to my niece's pumpkin butter cake!

    I had about 20 pots in a wood kiln last spring.Lost every one of them.Stuff happens.

  3. If you glazed the cake stand together it may have moved while firing- glaze moves as it melts.
    Things to learn and yet some good firing results- your glazes look good!

  4. Hi Tracey, thanks, well at least I did get some good ones.

    Hi Dennis, thanks, pumpkin butter cake might be easier to take on the scales.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, I guess I can consider this lucky, the cake top could have slid off into the side of the kiln elements. I will modify my design to include an underside lip. thanks ever so much for mentioning this to me. The scales are tipping back up again as every lesson is an important one.

  5. Hi
    First of all your woven tray is very nice!! I love it! The color, the lavender-gold is fantastic! I like your larger snowflake tray(second one) too!!

  6. Hi Sapphire, thanks every so much, nice to hear that you like them; I like using some unusual glaze colors together.

  7. "Clay has a memory." I like that phrase. and I love that top pattern as well as the creamy glaze on the snowflake bowl. Yummy!

  8. I really like that bowl set. I would think there would be a market for the "almost" ones.

  9. Hi Teresa, thanks, that phrase is something potters learn early on, but sometimes forget till it happens again to them, then they remember. The bowl set is the same pattern as that vase you liked.

    Hi Patti, thanks, Gary said something about a second's sale, but I think the broken handle isn't safe (might break off and cut someone) and neither is the moonlit forest due to food contamination in the cracks; and the cake plate, well I just don't want to put my work out there unless it's much better. I really like making sets; wish I had made some small bowls to go with the snowflake bowl, that's up next. I want to make some small trays to go with the big trays too, nice for brunch or lunch with guests, back to work.

  10. sorry to hear about your disappointing firing, we have all had them but it sure doesn't make you feel any better now. i like your snowflake bowl... i bet it sells quickly (especially this time of year)
    maybe you can keep your cake plate to use at home :-)

  11. Hi Michele, thanks, yeah maybe the snowbirds will miss the snow and this kind of snow is easier to take than the type one needs to shovel. I hope to find a mosaic artist who wants some of my clay pieces to make mosaics. I would do it myself, but then I'd have one more tangent; I sure don't need any more of those. I might regret smashing some of these one day. Ha.

  12. Linda: The bowls are stunning!! Sorry about the losses. I guess it makes the good ones all that sweeter.

  13. Look at all of the work you have been doing!! Your bowls are nice -especially the snowflake one ;o) Put some holiday cookies on that Moonlight platter and you'll never see those cracks!

  14. Hi Craig, thanks for your encouragement, it means a lot to me. I was wondering when I would get a bad firing with my new kiln, my good luck couldn't keep up forever I reasoned, but lesson learned and all.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, I guess the learning curve on clay is what keeps me coming back as it is so steep it continually keep my interest.

  15. That round tile is pretty awesome!

  16. Hi Lizet, thanks so much, I do like the texture on the tile, just wanted a different color for a project I was doing. Now I'm thinking of something else to do with these, there is a set of five or six I think of different sizes.


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