Sunday, March 31, 2013

Icy Water

No throwing today; no bathing, either, or dish-washing. We ran out of oil yesterday - Saturday afternoon, and not just any Saturday: the one just before Easter. I guess I should count my blessings that it wasn't Christmas Eve, and anyway it's no one's fault but my own: I was trying to squeak through March without an oil delivery. Well, I succeeded; but not the way I had hoped.

Fortunately it's not very cold, and I have an electric space heater for the studio, so, onward! (Funnily enough, the electricity went out for about an hour, as well: Frontier Days here on Cony Street! I try to keep a sunny outlook but I admit I started to get a little exasperated. I read by a window until the power returned.)

I did trim some more teabowls for the first test firing of my new line, which, as regular readers know, (O hai regular readers! Mwah!) will be ^6 reduction soda: same palette, same forms (or many of the same), same utility; just less propane. My hands aren't in water too much while trimming, anyway. But trimming is done now, and it seems like a good chance to try something I've had in mind for a while: sketching out some shapes and glaze schemes, with watercolor pencil.

By nature I am a mud potter: throwing, shaping, stamping, slip decorating, all the things that happen while the clay is wet are easily appealing to me. Like a lot of ceramic artists, for years I thought of glazing and firing as just something I had to do to finish the things l loved to make. I tried to choose (or create) glazes that would enhance my shapes and textures, but could be applied with simple dipping or pouring. That has been changing in the last few years, and I feel like my work has taken great strides forward - come to a new level, if I may say so - since I have been treating glazing as just as active and creative a process as wetwork. I want to see if planning out some glaze designs in advance will further develop that aspect of the work.

Watercolor pencils seem like a natural because of the analogy to soda: carefully applying the color, and then along comes this fluid force to melt and soften the marks.  It's fun! And it's a better use of icy water than throwing.



BTW, the watercolor sketches - these, and some others - are available as part of the $100 reward level for my Kickstarter campaign. Even the $10 will get you a card based on one of the sketches! I am leaning towards using the teapot for the thank-you card, but we'll see what else comes out of the brush.
EDIT: Now available for a $29 pledge: the full glaze notebook in PDF form! Also, for Canadian potters who would like a hard copy, you can get one for a $41 pledge, to cover the additional shipping.

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