Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Star(fish) of wonder

Oh, holiday season! What a blessing you are Blessing, of course, for anyone who sells things, because that's a time when lots of people buy things! Like the Grinch, I know, of course, that Christmas means "a little bit more;" but anyone who sells things for a living can't pretend the shopping aspect of the holiday season is unimportant.

One of the things people like to buy in the lead-up to Christmas is tree ornaments. These can veer into the hokey; indeed the hokeyness can be part of the charm, connecting us with generations of traditional imagery. As an artist, though, I am always looking to put a fresh creative spin on things. Stars are part of Christmas imagery? Cool, let's run with that, see where we get.

I live in Maine, which informs some of my creatives choices, so where I got with that was starfish! I took a clay cast of a dried starfish I stole from my sister's house, then used that to make multiples. They are soda-fired porcelain so the colors range from dry or glossy white to salmon to toasty brown. They resemble real starfish, actually.

They are a little fragile, but no more so than the delicate glass bulbs adorning Christmas trees everywhere. The making is pretty easy - squash some clay in the mold, pop it out, fettle & sponge the edges; drill a tiny hole. They do have a high-ish breakage rate, but they take up virtually no space in the kiln, my major expense. With all that in mind, I think I can keep the price pretty low - I'm thinking $12 retail

I'll have these for sale at the Portland Pottery Holiday Sale, December 13-15th, and hopefully some at Hallowell Clayworks.


Susan O’Hanlon said...

Hi Lori - So I'm really, really curious about how you fired these in soda. Would you mind sharing?

Lori Watts said...

Hi Susan - I bisqued them like usual, then dipped them (most of them!) in a very thin flashing slip; I loaded them in the kiln with a blob of wadding in the center, or, for some of them, small wads on each arm. They fit between bowls in what would be wasted space.

Susan O’Hanlon said...

Thanks, Lori! I've been working in soda lately, and I've not done much with creative wadding (yet!) ... you've inspired me! I enjoy your blog. Thanks so much!

Lori Watts said...

Thank you, Susan! Lately I've been trying to make taller wads, but with a smaller "footprint," to get heavier glaze on the bottom & a more dramatic contrast with the wad marks.

Not on these ornaments, of course - they are so delicate that I just put the wad wherever it will stick.