Monday, October 26, 2009

Journey Oct 19 - 23 Journeys End - A Celebration! Part I

Well I got all the pots packed - the 4 plates were stacked and packed into a cloth bag for carry-on. It should fit under the seat, though I hope not to have too much walking as the pots are really heavy. I dread the Chicago airport - coming from Ottawa I am not used to these huge airports with miles of terminals.

After a delay due to bad weather at the Chicago end my plane arrived 2 hours late. Fortunately my fellow journey women, Ann and Marion had not given up on me and I was able to share the rental car with them to Center Street Clay.

It was a great to be back - some changes though with Kenyon replaced by the new resident Richard who has hair just like my son and in fact in profile looks just like him. It was amazing!

Steven got us all to work, unpacking our pots and getting them into the studio. Looking at his agenda sheet we saw we were in for a busy weekend! It was great to see Lindsay and Sarah again and to see all the progress that everyone had made in a year. Ann and Rob had been in the Oct 08 workshop so this was the first time that I had a chance to meet them and see their work.

After a great chili supper with corn salsa we talked about our pots. We had to number and price our pots and with a list take them up to the gallery. I priced my big wall plate higher than the appliqued vases even though in terms of work, vases take way more time. But plates sell at a higher price - as they are considered wall art and so people will pay more for them.

Friday morning we all got together in the studio to talk about our individual journeys while Kim set up the gallery with our pots. It was interesting to hear what everybody else had gotten out of their year long experience. I think we all felt that this had been a very worthwhile experience and it had definitely changed our work for the better. Steven remarked to me that he had looked at the pictures of my pots when I had applied and what a difference a year had made!

In the afternoon we gathered in the gallery for critiques. Here is my corner with some of my pots. I think that I reached part of my journey goals and that was to develop a more unified look, concentrating of form and design. However the other part to develop an appropriate palette for the forms - I think I still have a long ways to go.

I still need to improve my spraying - I need more control when changing colours and perhaps an airbrush would help. Also it always seemed to me that there was something not quite right with my fish plates and Steven felt that the fish looked like dead fish on sand - so I will try a blue version of the stony yellow on the fish area. The stony blue should be a more subdued blue than the blue ash.

I found that whenever I tried to use the blue ash the rivulets competed too much with the fish stamp and the design was lost. As well when the stamped design is done in a darker colour you also seem to lose it. An impression done in a lighter colour makes it stand out, especially when you have some contrasting color in the impression.

That evening we went to the national juried Clay3 (clay cubed) exhibition. Sarah, one of the journey participants had two of her pieces in the show. All pieces were exhibited in 1 foot plexiglass cubes and made for a very effective display. No iron speckled pots (my favorite!)in that show! My favorite was "Overlapped Bowl on Pedestal" - handbuilt and soda fired by Marcia Tami Paul. Some really great pieces and lots of new ideas. I liked the little cricket cages as something new. There was also a great talk by Mary Kay Botkins, who was the juror.

To be continued.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Journey Oct 11 to 18th Time to pack!

This week was the last firing for my journey and the kiln opening was on Wednesday. I thought that I finally had a winner in the fishing lady pot - the appliques were simplified (no applique where I will have runny blue ash!), the glaze all the right thickness and in the right spots. However a few hours after unloading I examined the pot more closely and saw that there was shivering on the rim! The replacement blueberry pot which did not have good glazing again - however had no shivering.

What had happened I think was that I had sprayed white and blue slips on the greenware pot to brighten the colours a bit on the stoneware clay. However once bisqued, I realized that I had too much blue (I had been tying to tone down the blue - so what was I thinking spraying on blue slip?)and so resprayed again with a thin layer of the white slip. I had used the slips on bisque ware before with no problem, but I think the second time the slip did not stick as well to the bisqued slip layer and so there was some shivering on the rim. However I had used Tuckers Smoothstone which has a lower expansion than their other clays so that could have had an effect.

The blueberry picker which had the same treatment with slips still has not shivered -and it was out of Smoothstone as well. So not sure what is going one. As I was in a rush to get this pot finished I did not applique on a person - just the blueberry bucket. I think maybe it leaves more to the imagination this way- still have the spilled blueberries and shoe on the back.

The landscape plate - I finally got some of the Hannah Ochre ash to run - this complements the runny blue ash . The problem has been that if there is any Stony Yellow present under the Hannah Ochre it stops the rivulets from forming. When I spray I try to get intermingling around the different glazes and so the Stony Yellow tends gets under it. This plate was the one that turned out the best - unfortunately it had cracked on the foot.

I spent yesterday trying to figure out how I will pack the pots - I will carry on the plates, put one of the fishing lady vases into a computer bag. Then I found a hard sided suitcase that was being thrown out by the second hand store next to our Potters Guild and it will hold 2 largish cardboard boxes. My soft sided suitcase will hold another two cardboard boxes. By surrounding the boxes with bubble wrap and clothes I should end up with the double box effect necessary for safe transport. I do have a direct flight to Chicago so that should minimize baggage handling.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Journey Sept 28 - Oct 10th One last firing left!

Well journey's end looms on the horizon. Looking at my stash of pots that I have I ready I find that I do not have any that I am really satisfied with to take to the final get together at Center Street Clay. If the glazing is good then the pot has a crack and if there is not crack then the glazing is bad. The few that I am satisfied somewhat with are the plates. Unfortunately all the large plates - 14" and up with the woman/fish ended up terribly glazed and it was only the small 10" one that only turned out OK.

In the last week I speed built replacements for the fishwoman and blueberry picker - building and speed drying the slabs pots in three days. They bisqued OK without any cracks except for a small one on the rim of the blueberry picker which I tried to mend by rubbing in a patch of sodium silicate with bisque dust. I also added an extra layer of glaze to see if that would also cover the slight crack.

The kiln opens tomorrow morning and we'll see. I need about 10 pots I guess - about 3 or 4 major ones with some smaller ones. Pots that show a unified look - as that was what I was looking for in this journey.