Monday, May 25, 2009

May 25 - 31 Spraying is Hard to Do!

My spraying is improving! We talked how much concentration it takes for me to spray my pots - with all the different glazes and different thickness. I have to really pay attention to what I am doing and at the end of a spraying session I am beat. So different from before when I would just blast away with mostly one colour! Steven agreed. He also finds that spraying is the most difficult part of his process, while throwing is very relaxing.

In the fish plate that just came out this week I lost my concentration at the end and pressed the trigger a bit too hard blasting darker spots near the upper right hand side. (There is quite a bit of glare on the pot so it is not as obvious in the photo.) Once I realized what had happened, I tried brushing with a stiff brush to smooth out the spot and it might have helped a bit. The other alternative was to wash it all off and start all over again. In retrospect I should have washed it as I find that area really distracting and I had spent quite a bit of time decorating that pot.

The Hannah Blue turned out less harsh and I think it might have been due to some Stony Yellow spray on top. Again whenever I get some great results somehow I seem to have missed out in making notes on it. Note taking is hard to do as well - I definitely need to concentrate more on my notes!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Journey May 19 - 25 May Critique

Well 2 months is waaaay too long without a Steven Hill fix! I was ready well ahead of time for the monthly critique as I had uploaded all my pictures a few days before, unlike most months when I am still frantically getting it all together the night before.

We talked about how my plates had slumped on one side - I guess mainly from being drier on one side. Steven says one way that he prevents that with his large platters is to keep the pots spinning slowly on his extra wheels. I also still have trouble getting a smooth continuous curve in my shallow bowls and seem to end up with a bit of a flat bottom and if my foot in not just outside the flat area the wall will slump. As Steven says with a continuous curve it does not matter where you place the foot. He explained how he makes the continuous curve and I will try his method. I really do need more throwing practice.

We discussed how to get more of a subdued contrast between the Stony yellow and Hannah blue on my latest fish plate. Finally got one that did not slump. I had thought of lowering the cobalt but not maybe adding some cobalt to the yellow. As well I could spray some yellow on the blue. Will try both of those - I could also spray more Hannah Ochre over the yellow than I have been doing - enough to get some ash rivulets which I am not getting now and that would give me a third colour contrast.

We again discussed feet. Unlike some potters whose work is recognizable by their feet, I don't really have a standard foot - sometimes they are round, sometimes narrow, sometimes wide. Steven felt that feet should be round as rims are round and so the foot should match the rim for a unified look. Also a round foot has less surface area to touch a table top and so also less area to sand/polish for a smooth surface.

I had used the center area for my signature as I find that often it gets obliterated by the glaze. I may try rubbing in some contrasting slip or underglaze to highlight the signature.

I had been working hard on my spraying and Steven felt that I had improved in my spraying - both the fishing lady and the cylindrical pot were well glazed, though the cylinder could have had a bit more contrast on the rim. He feels that whenever you have a strong feature you should emphasize it a bit - so a touch of darker brown would have highlighted that a bit more than the thinish layer of Stony Yellow.

In order to get the rim to be continuous and still go to form the loop I had thrown a wide rim, cut it and then added it to the top of the pot, forming the loop and joining the ends on one side of the loop for a continuous look.

Well I will write up the rest of the session next week as I need to go and make some pots!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Journey Workshop April 27 - May 18 In a Holding Pattern

Well I have had a slab pot sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for inspiration for the last three weeks. Originally it was to have some figures appliqued from the "Revolution" book but I just have not been able to get my mental idea into clay. I usually try a few paper cut outs first - but nothing ended up looking right. First of all what am I doing thinking about a Revolution? It all started because I loved the style of the figures in the book made form torn and cut out paper strips.

I also think I ended up with the wrong shape for the vase - sort of looks like a sports trophy - enough to uninspire anyone. I finally tried a bunch of little people appliqued and then covered them with ladder rungs. But I think I will have to use paper clay for the ladder rungs as they will undoubtedly crack when drying.
Not sure if I will finish off properly or recycle.

Anyway it's about a week later and I have not done anything about the piece - I think I should recycle.

Spent some time glazing some work for the May gas firing - did a lot of reglazes - to get them out of the way. I reglaze by heating up the pots in an electric kiln and then spraying.

I need to work some more on my fishing lady series - so I lined up all boat/fishing lady pieces up in a row in chronological order to see where I should go next. I will try and pick out the things that I like about each piece and incorporate them into the next one. I guess that I like the taller pieces best in terms of shape. I also like the wire additions. The figures need to be a bit more contemporary - maybe use some torn clay in places.

Spent most of the last two weeks doing a lot of yard work as my husband was waiting for hip surgery so was not able to help much. Now with my husband home from surgery last week, I can finally get back to clay!