Monday, September 12, 2011

Cold Surfaces on Once Fires

Puffer Fish
11 x 10 x 1/2 inches

Here are a few results from the once firing coated with slips, underglazes, and/or stains but no glazes. Once firing saves a firing but after the firing I add cold treatments to the surfaces of these wall sculptures with paints, or gold, copper, and silver leaf, and then a clear matt sealer. I decided not to use the cold wax surface treament. It can melt at 120 F and I reasoned a piece left in someones car might get that warm and the wax could melt which wouldn't be pretty.

Seahorse Adrift
11 x 9 x 1/2 inches

This seahorse has a small crack in his body, is it noticeable? I covered it up with black paint, but he'll be a second. The seahorse and leaves have a copper leafing which shimmers. I still have a little more touch up to do on some of the cold surfaces. Next I'll cut wood backings, burnish and seal the wood, add eye hooks and wire, then glue the wood hangers to the back of the wall sculptures.

Alligator Swimming
9 x 10 x 1/2 inches

The alligator is Gary's favorite. I've enhanced this piece with paints and a patinated gold leaf, coating parts of his head and the leaves.

Seahorse in Seaweed
10 x 9 x 1/2 inches

I'm not sure about the silver in this one. I'm partial to the first fish and the birds with the black backgrounds. None of those have additional surface treatments after firing other than a clear matt sealer. I may add more pink to the spoonbill.

5 x 11 x 1/2 inches

The weather is cooperating so I'm once firing another load of wall sculptures right now. A few aren't dry so they'll have to wait.

5 x 11 x 1/2 inches

The wall pieces in the first once firing made with red clay warped miserably; I'll talk about those soon. That was the clay that had more grog, go figure. Onward and upward.

11 x 5 x 1/2 inches

We had a grand time at the drum circle last night. I brought my once fired maracas and Gary brought a small trash can drum. There was a full moon, a beautiful sunset, and more than fifty people drumming positive energy. Up next an update on the clay plate slumped on a starburst glass plate. Thanks for all your encouragement and comments.


  1. Loving the seahorse! I meant to comment on the post about firing tiles vertically. I fire all of my tiles vertically and when I was a studio assistant that was the way the studio requested loading the kiln. I get a tiny bit of warping no matter which way they are fired, but it's more my fault and not the position of the firing. I dry them too fast and handle the clay too much, but it doesn't matter, I sort of like the wonky way they look :)

  2. These turned out great Linda. I think I'm partial to the gator also :)

  3. Hi Tracey, thanks, what do you prop the tiles up with to fire them vertically? I didn't get much warping on the white clay and I fired them flat. Right after I make the tiles I've been putting the slab directly on drywall and carving and painting the slip while they're on the wallboard to minimize warping. So far so good with that clay. We'll see with the red clay; I am firing them upside down for this load, stay tuned.

    Hi Barbara, thanks so much. That gator looks so happy swimming along. Gary said I needed some blood hanging out of his mouth, but that's a little too morbid for my liking.

  4. I did a workshop with Rimas VisGirda where we silk screened tiles & fired them vertically, he propped the tiles against each other like a house of cards (only not tall). Maybe you could try that.
    I like the silver, it makes the background look watery.

  5. the alligator is my favorite!
    the only experience i have with firing tiles propped up is with raku and we lean them on the sides of the kiln... but they have been bisqued so it's a whole other story.

  6. Hi Lori, thanks, I'll think about that for the future. That was the effect I was going for with the silver. The color I had put in the recesses was rather ugly so I covered it up with the silver. I may put some silver dots on the seahorse too.

    Hi Michele, thanks, I've seen folks prop tiles against the sides of the kiln, but I wonder when they shrink if they would slip against the element. Since I am once firing they'll be shrinking quite a bit from beginning to end. This is where a square kiln would come in handy. Oh well.

  7. All are great but really like the puffer fish. Used to like to play with them when scuba diving.

  8. Hi Patti, thanks, I didn't know puffer fish were so friendly, cool, I've never been scuba diving, never could swim good enough to want to try scuba diving.

  9. What a fun series! Love them all, but especially that alligator. The Drum Circle on the full moon sounds like a lot of fun, too!

  10. Hi Marguerite, thanks, who knew the alligator would have such personality, so glad you and others like him so much. Ha. I'll post some photos from the drum circle soon, it was a lot of fun.

  11. Yes, they are all beautiful. I know next to nothing about firing clay. All I learned from a ceramics class was that some glazes are suitable to serve food on and others are not.


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