Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Clay Portraits, Brushes & Tortoise
Just loaded up the kiln full of the latest portraits on clay for another once fire. I did a preheat for one hour just in case some aren't completely dry. I usually test dryness by placing the clay item against my cheek. If it's cold it isn't dry. But they all felt cold so I'm using the preheat setting on the kiln to help dry them out. I set it for one hour. I also put in four black clay (cassius basaltic) tiles which have been sitting around for months. They're only supposed to go to Cone 4, we shall see. What in the heck is wrong with me risking a whole kiln load with them; I have no idea. Those were already bisqued though, so maybe not too big a risk other than going to cone 5 instead of 4.
Anyway my friend Sapphire in Japan asked about my brushes in the last post so I thought I'd take a close up of them. Be sure to visit Sapphire's blog for a visual treat of the Japanese landscape and to read about Japanese art, culture, and history. There's nothing fancy about most of my brushes, I got them in a multi pack at the least expensive store, you know the one. After I use the brush I give it a swish in water and store them upright in that rack. Seems to work well. There are also pens, pencils and pencil sharpener handy for sketches in my journal.
However there's one special bamboo handled deer tail brush I have. It's the one I received from Brandon Phillips in a blog giveaway and I treasure it. It makes the best thin lines in clay slip with it's natural bristle tip. Click on Brandon's name to visit his etsy shop to see his brushes. While you're visiting his shop you can see his brush strokes on his wood fired pottery.
Remember I said I see all kinds of wildlife out my studio window. I never tire of seeing the gopher tortoise we have living here. Here's our resident big guy. He's about 10 to 12 inches across. There are others here too but they're smaller than this one. Gopher tortoise live underground and come out just a short while to eat mostly native plants and grasses. I found out they do like the fruit of the jelly palm.
I read the tortoise eat certain plants at certain times of the year when they are of optimum nutrition. This guy comes out and eats the grasses and then on his way back to the den he stops under the palm and eats the fruit of the palm even though on his way out he passes the palm first. I surmise a tummy full of grass is best before eating the jelly palm fruit. When the weather turns cold he'll be hibernating till next spring. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.