April 14, 2009

Decorating and Glazing The Porcelain

porcelain cups painted with
black and white slips

I spent a few hours last night decorating/painting the porcelain I had just bisque fired (to cone 07). I am firing these pots in the electric kiln to cone 9! I'm not sure what they will look like, I did a lot of guessing. My basic strategy evolved as I went along. First, I wanted to use the amber and copper glazes with black and white slips/under glazes. One of my immediate reactions was to the whiteness of the surface. I recalled a conversation I had with an App. State student I had interviewed earlier in the day about the blank canvas. I told him that when I draw I could only begin after I had smeared charcoal over the whole surface. There's something about process and about self consciousness that made me feel uncomfortable with the blank clean paper or canvas. I had the same feeling with the clean white surface of the porcelain. So I began most of the cups with a wash of black under glaze. Sometimes I would use a sponge to smear the under glaze on the surface. I did this with some of the insides of the cups as well. Then I went in with the brushes and painted some crisp clean marks of vines and such as I am accustomed to do. I went back and forth with the black and the white slips, not sure which will dominate under the glazes. My big fear is that the designs will be too stark and lack the variation that I get in the wood kiln.

Some dots that have been smeared in several directions.
Whether or not the "tails" will remain after
the firing is anyone's guess. We'll see!