Monday, February 13, 2012

Twenty One Degrees

Sculptural ceramic pottery and geometric forms keep recurring in my work. When we first moved here I made quite a large shell inspired basket. It made it through the bisque and glaze firing just fine. Later I made a pedestal container where one of the sprigs fell off during firing. It was a big disappointment. I even have a couple of pieces in the drying cabinet which I haven't fired that have been there for months.

A month or so ago I thought of making a geometric pedestal bowl, this time more of a pyramid shape and after I added sprigs I called the piece toltec transformation. I got the lower pyramid shaped portion put together just fine. The lower portion is an enclosed form so I poked a hole in the side. Then I couldn't get the upper portion to stay upright. I finally put two parts of the upper portion together and attached them to the lower pyramid shaped pedestal. At the time they were quite dry and I didn't think they'd stay together. But I was amazed they stayed together during the bisque firing.

This unfired piece is the other two parts to the upper shape which I have not bisqued yet. I thought I would pit fire this section. Maybe put some wax resist on the sprigs. I put some holes in the top I'm keeping open with toothpicks and I envisioned some feathers inserted there maybe a metal headdress, not sure what. There's a larger hole in the bottom to slide a metal rod to attach this piece to another sculptural ceramic piece after firing. But then again judging from the glaze fired one, this one will also probably separate.

I glazed the background with a bronze colored glaze and the sprigs with glazes that were supposed to run, hoping they would. But they didn't run. And here you can see the two upper sections separated during the glaze firing. Now I consider this very lucky because the two pieces could have separated completely and fallen on other pieces in the kiln but they didn't. Pyramid and triangular shapes are a recurring shape for me. I'm feeling the pull to more sculptural ceramic pottery again so I'll be working on more of those soon. The other day I was cutting up some vegetables and I cut the tip of my left index finger quite deep so I'm waiting for it to heal a few days and then I'll be back working with the wet clay. By the way it was twenty one degrees here last night. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only potter who makes pieces and then makes them sit and wait to be fired until I've completed my vision for them.
    I think pit firing that piece would be beautiful.

  2. Hi Lori, thanks, I also have a whole load of that black cone 4 clay to fire, I need to get it fired soon because all of these pieces in the cabinets are weighing down my mind. Ha.

  3. Like the idea of pit you ever have problems with work falling apart, blowing up etc. when pit firing?

    It was 18 here this morning.....but I am in New England where it's supposed to get cold. You are in Florida for heaven's sake. I know it gets cold ther....but really isn't 20 gilding the lily?

  4. Ohio was warmer than Florida last night, but your ocean is still better.

  5. Hi Suzi, thanks, the only thing with pit firing is the work isn't usable only decorative, but this isn't usable anyway so why not. A few posts ago I posted about a pit fire I did with greenware and nothing broke and I've don't quite a few barrel firings and nothing has ever broken, knock on wood. Oh I just remembered I made one barrel fired purse with a handle and it broke, but what could I expect with that it was very fragile.

    Hi Dennis, thanks, yeah our ocean is better, supposed to warm up now hopefully.

  6. I love your geometric work and especially your wall hangings. Sorry to hear about your finger! It is amazing how much getting those kinds of things wet hurts when all you want to do is play with a little clay :)

  7. Hi Julia, thanks about the wall hangings. Well all these years of cooking and I have only cut my fingers twice once at a friends house who sharpened their knives every day and I didn't know that. Then the other day a zucchini slipped in my hand and I sliced my finger, but it is better today thankfully.


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