Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What I've been up to... a little Clay this & that.

Got an email from a friend of mine the other day, telling me to get to work... not the work kind of work, but you know, the clay kind of work. Well as usual, I am trying still trying to find the balance between the work that keeps a roof over my head & food on the table, and the work I'd love to be doing pretty much all the time... the clay work. So here's what I've been up to~
Working on bowls in my Wheel Throwing class... which seems to be going painfully slow.   Some people are naturals at this, but for me, I can throw & throw & throw and still it seems I can't reach any level of consistency in my work. Yeah, I can sit down, center a piece & make a bowl... but can I repeat that process to make, say, several identical pieces? Uh, that would be a no, Bob. I think part of the problem is that I just don't have a lot of time to get in there out of class time. Perhaps if I had the time to spend, and could sit down day after day after day... I'd finally get it. 

But let's just say for now, that I'll probably never make it as a production potter. 

Moving on~ Glaze Formulation! This class is just a little bit over my head, but I'm soaking in what I can, and I have to say I find it all very interesting. Below are results from our first test tiles. (Kinda crummy pics, but click to enlarge for a bit better detail.)

What I found particularly interesting about these first tests is that our glazes were made solely of 2 ingredients. A natural clay body found semi- locally & a flux. (The flux is what helps to melt the glaze.) That's right folks! A clay & a flux mixed together & fired makes a glaze! How amazing is that? Learning something new everyday I tell ya. And to think, before this class, I was just using glazes with really no idea as to what really makes them work. 

Mixing certain percentages of clay & flux results in totally different glaze effects. Pretty cool if I do say so myself. We took a vote on our favorite glaze from the tests above, and then began to add color to do a line test in different percentages to achieve different variations. These are unfired, so of course they will look totally different when they come out of the kiln.

Everyone tested a different color addition & in various increments, so I'm sure we'll have some interesting results!

I've also been working on some more bear sculptures at home... still trying to find the one that works. This one didn't.

As usual, I could see the finished result in my head, but there seems to be quite a disconnect going on between idea & result.  I thought adding a bit of texture might help. It didn't.
So I took it to school today & threw it in the recycle bucket...

and went back to my earlier, simpler form of bear, and was much happier with the result, plus they're just fun to make... and let's face it~ fun is good!

I also got my larger bear out of the kitchen & onto my shelf at school today. He did fine riding across town in my trunk. 

Oooops, how'd these get in here? 

No, I have not gotten my good camera back yet~ not for another week or two (aaarrrgh!) but luckily I had my little point & shoot w/ me the other evening to capture this awesome display of super-cloud-coolness. 
I believe this formation to be the Stratocumulous Undulatus, though it is possible it could be Altocumulous Undulatus. (No, I can't identify all clouds by their scientific names... but this was so cool I had to look it up!)

One last thing- this was posted on the SFCC Clay Club facebook page & it resounded w/ me. It's a good read for those creative types that think that perhaps their work is not quite coming along quickly enough. ( Who, me?) Give it a read if you are so inclined.



Kate said...

Hi Becky, This last post of yours is VERY informative, and I respect your tenacity in working out all the glitches and problems that you encounter. I think that your progress is terrific and despite all the hard work ad occasional frustration, I know that your are learning and lot and enjoying yourself!

Barb said...

Hi Becky, You're a one-of-a-kind gal. I can see why you can't mass produce. Sure glad to see Mr Bear sitting on the school shelf waiting to be fired. It's so interesting to learn what you're doing in class. It makes me appreciate the glazes in pottery even more. Those clouds look like fork tines in the sky. I couldn't see the last thing you tried to post (just came through with a ? in the middle).

Wanda..... said...

My son-in-law used to test multiple glazes on a piece of his pottery that he wasn't satisfied with. Can't tell you the number of unwanted items I ended up with! :)
Love the sky photos.

marianne said...

i am so in awe of what you do that i can't even tell you. it's always so interesting to read another artists' process & learning curve. bet that if you are dying to master throwing pots on the wheel you will. but it may be like me & drawing. the glaze class sounds fascinating, can't wait to see what comes of that. and can't wait to see the fired bear. lastly, love the ira glass quote! (oh, and the sky shots)! look forward to the next installment.

Anonymous said...

HI Becky, I have enjoyed seeing your recent work, and the photos of the clouds.
One thing for sure, you are always busy doing something neat.

I saved the cloud info, and may post some photos there.

Tammie Lee said...

how wonderful that your clay is somewhat local. love all the testing and learning you are doing.
everything looks great to me, even the piece that ended up in the scrap bucket.

and those clouds, glorious.

Randy said...

Great post. The bowls looks great and I am loving the bears. I can't wait to see the finished works. Great sky shots too.