Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Always More to Learn

Amaco Velvet underglaze on Waxy White Glaze (recipe below), on Laguna's 900 claybody
Students are like those fabled bumblebees that didn't know they couldn't fly; sometimes they don't know they can't do a thing, so they go ahead & do it, and we all learn something! That happened in one of my classes last week.

If she had asked me, I would have told Jesse not to do it; putting underglaze on top of glaze, I would have predicted, would have crusty, unpleasant results. And I would have been so wrong! She did it, and - surprise! - the underglaze maintained its brilliant, right-out-of-the-jar colors, but took the waxy sheen of the glaze. Not all of them - blue turned watercolor-y and periwinkle, the black & brown were...not great - but the hot colors were amazing. Red & orange & yellow like I've never seen in reduction.
So I tried it, with the few underglazes I had lying around, and had the same results! All of the underglazes used were Amaco's Velvet series; I applied mine in 3 coats. (Jesse didn't know exactly but she said "thick." I used Flame Orange, Radiant Red, and Royal Blue. As you can see, the Royal Blue turned more of a watercolor-y periwinkle; the others are right-out-of-the-jar hues.
Amaco's velvet underglaze on Waxy White Glaze
on Laugna's 570 porcelain

We only tried one glaze (so far!), and that is this one:

Waxy White (not sure the origin, but I got it at Portland Pottery)
^10 reduction

4100 Custer Spar
1200 Gerstley Borate
700 Dolomite
1500 Talc
500 EPK
2000 Silica

Monday, September 2, 2019

Home Improvement

As anyone who lives in an old house knows, they always need something. Some needs are immediate: leaky roof! Furnace quit! Others wait until you have the time & money, or else the luck, to make it happen.

So it is with studio outbuildings. I have a weakness for old things, in the process of enacting the 2nd law of thermodynamics; it's hard for me to feel creative in a new, perfect space. Someone once said of the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, its own studio located in an old chicken barn: "It's conceptually impossible to mess it up." Which somehow (at Watershed, at least) makes it feel conceptually impossible to mess up. You can't make a mistake! You can only have a learning experience.

But I digress! What I wanted to tell you was, a combination of luck & time came together to provide for me a new door on my summer studio! The old one was a solid interior door Doug found in our cellar (repository of many unexpected things.) After 10 years the elements, alas, had had their way with it and it was falling apart.

In June I found an old mullion-window door at a yard sale for $5. Now, I have a few yard-sale weaknesses: small kitchen appliances are top of the list (NO LORI YOU DON'T NEED A SINGLE-HOT-DOG STEAMER) but old doors and windows call to me also. I mostly manage to resist, but this one was too perfect. The mullion panes and the very low price decided me.

Unfortunately for me there are many more things to consider when choosing a door than price! (And windows.) This door was too tall & a little too wide for any of the potential places I could use it, and the hinges were on the wrong side. Luckily we own a circular saw, and several screwdrivers! After making the necessary changes, I have a new studio door that lets in light, and allows me to see out even when its too chilly to prop it open. From the outside it lends the studio a beckoning cosiness: "Come in, Lori, make beautiful things, leave the turmoil of the world outside..."

In fact, I think I hear it right now! I've got butter dishes to finish and jaunty jars to begin.

Happy Labor Day, all! May all your labors be happy ones. And all your days.