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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Favorite Piece Ever... & Other Clay Stuff :)

Polar Bear~ Hand Coiled & Shaped, Ann's Soda Clay Body, Cone 10 Soda Fired,
 Satin Mint Green Modified Glaze.
Dimensions: 13" Long, 9" High, 6" Wide

I had built this bear a few weeks ago & it was one of the last of my pieces to go into the kiln. While I will generally find something that I don't like about whatever it is I'm making, when I finished building this piece, I absolutely fell in love with it. The posture, form, & shape of the bear all came together in terms of what I have been working towards. Now, you know that can all change when you do your glaze work... I have had many a piece that I have ruined with funky glazing. Fortunately, I had been testing this glaze (Yup~ Satin Mint!) in my Glaze Calc Class for the last half of the semester at least... on various clay bodies & with different variations & additions of color, so I had at least a general idea of how the glaze would look. I've included several views so you can see the glaze effects form different angles.

Click to enlarge any image for greater detail :)

I was really beyond ecstatic with the results! The guys that loaded the kiln had placed it facing the Soda... so the blueish crystal effect on his nose & foot are a result of that placement & the reaction of the soda & the glaze. While soda firing can be unpredictable, I think sometimes that is the beauty of it... and I don't think it could have worked out any more perfectly in this case!
It is my piece de resistance! Everything else I got of the kiln seemed to pale in comparison, and I had A LOT of stuff in the final firing. I will not bore you with it all, but will share a few things. I tried to do a series of bowls/cups with the dark brown clay in attempt to achieve the same results I did here. No such luck! I used the same clay body, same glaze, and same firing technique.

The two above were about the closest I got to the effect I was looking for.

But check this out- and I am not kidding you! The inner glaze on the bowls above are the same glaze on the inside, same clay body... and were in the exact same kiln!

Same thing with this bowl! This tells me two things- this particular glaze & the soda fire combination yield very unpredictable results!

This was one of my last bowls of the semester- the shape is not great, but I love the glaze... it's the Ronbeck Blue that was developed in my glaze calc class- over Bailey's Red.

This was the inside of another bowl w/ the Ronbeck Blue... I didn't have time to photograph it properly... off it went to it's new home in Seattle w/ my best friend who was here visiting.


This was the bear that I had made for a friend at work. It was supposed to turn out with that coppery somewhat iridescent finish... but It came out more of an oilslick finish. I can live with it... though it is no Satin Mint Green!

These were some of the series of little bears that I had made... I was actually going for the oilslick finish on these. These are not glazed- the effect is simply from the clay body & the soda fire. I did not photograph them all, as they would not all fit on my little background paper. I've enjoyed making them, but I think for future sculptural clay work, my plan is to keep working on the larger Polar Bear form. It's been a great semester & I feel like I've learned a lot. Though I am a little sad to see it end, I'm also looking forward to having more time to get out & about & do some of the other things I love. 
Happy May Everyone... and thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Results from Glaze Calc Class

Finally got "Big Bear" glazed & fired. Though I think the form could be just a little better (it's a process & I'm still learning how to "go big" & my skills are not quite there yet) I am crazy about the glaze results! I have been working on variations of the Satin Mint glaze in class- the results you see here are from 3 different points on a 21 point triaxial. The darker brown in between the front & hind legs is simply the clay body & the effects of the soda fire.

Bear Sculpture~ H: 8 1/2", W: 8 1/2",  L: 21" Satin Mint Glaze, Modified. High Hills  Clay Body,  Soda Fired~ Cone 10

This is not my favorite angle, (his head looks funny!) but I wanted to give you a 360 view so you could see all the variations of glaze color & texture. (Click twice to enlarge for greater detail.)

Of the 10 or so small bears that came out of the kiln, these 5 are the ones that made the cut. The others I either was not happy w/ the glaze effects, the posture of the bears, or both. The one on the left is Satin Mint green on a dark brown clay body! I find it extremely interesting how totally different the glazes look on different clay bodies.

I also got a bunch of functional work back, but this cup was really the only one I was excited about. Why you ask? Well, because of the glazes!

While I did one dip from the Shino bucket from a premixed glaze, the other 2 glazes are from glazes we mixed & modified in glaze calc class. The center stripe is... *wait for it* Satin Mint Green!! (I know, I am totally obsessed w/ this glaze!) The rim & inside of the cup is "Ronbeck Blue," a result from mixing a line blend from my glaze triaxial slop & a classmates glaze triaxial slop. If you haven't figured it out, it has been named after my classmate & I, and it's a hit! Only 1 week of classes left~ got most of my remaining work glazed Monday... just a few more pieces to do & that's it. While I'm ready for a break, I also feel classes are coming to a close just when I started getting into the swing of things. Already excited to see how the final pieces turn out!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Last Bear of the Semester... and an unintended clay break... :(

I was soooo looking forward to this week! I was to have 4 days off to finish up clay projects as the semester is coming to a close... but alas, it was not to be. I am not a big believer in getting the flu shot, for many reasons... but I may change my tune in that regard for next season. After feeling like complete hell for 4 days, I drug my feverish self to the urgent care yesterday, where they confirmed with a nasal swab that I do, in fact have the influenza A virusI've missed the entire week (don't think I did not shed a tear over this!) of clay classes... instead resigned to being in the supine position *miserable is an understatement...* just beginning to get upright again. OK, semi upright anyhow... I do admit I am blogging from a semi-recumbent position on the couch, but I digress. Here's the last bear I was working on a couple of weeks ago~

I had started it at school, but as usual, ran out of time & had to bring it home to work on.

The head came along a little easier than normal, but I realized the back was way too low...

so I had to cut it open & add more clay.

Here I reached a good stopping point for the night & put it under wraps until I could get to it again. I supported the heavier/wetter portion of the clay so the head wouldn't shift much.

And here it is drying, once I carved & shaped the finishing touches. I have to admit, out of them all, this one is my favorite! I've heard via a phone call from a classmate that he came out of the bisque just fine... and is now patiently waiting for me to get better & get on in there & glaze him.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I built him a little clay buddy, ha ha. (Actually, the brown one is a belated B-day gift for a friend & co-worker.) Cute, huh?
What else was I up to claywise, before this dreaded virus knocked me on my butt? Tons of stuff. Amidst throwing a bunch of pots, & mixing up glaze concoctions, I also got the other big bear glazed, finally! He does look a little funny to me now, but that's ok... I'm anxious to see how the glazes turn out on him in the Soda Kiln after all that testing in Glaze Calc. 

It's also the first time I've used the spray booth, so it'll be interesting to find out whether I did it too thick, too thin, or *hopefully* just right. He didn't make it into the last firing, so I am secretly hoping they're loading another Soda Kiln whilst I am regretfully away.

Isn't that a beautiful sight? It's our large gas kiln loading up last week. I had numerous pieces in this kiln, but alas, I have been unable to go in to see the results! I'm hoping by Saturday I'll be back to my old self & can get into the studio!! I had a good eight or so pieces that needed trimming that (despite covering well before I left last week) likely have become to dry to trim. :( 
I'm really bummed I missed the last week of throwing, but I do have quite a few little bears & pots to glaze before the final firing next week, sooooo... wish me luck!