February 14, 2013

My Brilliant Ideas

I was surprised when I saw the results of the reduction firing of the mugs I made for this summer's Penland Benefit Auction. I guess surprises can be good or bad.

Half of the mugs I glazed with a shino glaze, then painted a floral wax pattern, then dipped them in the shino glaze again. All the while seeing in my ceramic "third eye" a brilliant layering of glazes, fired to perfection, with a gorgeous contrasting pattern of leaves and vines.

All perfect! Brilliant!

[cue the Jaws music, show potters laughing, sharing their pottery jokes, unaware of the hazards that this distracted moment present]

Then, in my distraction,  I went ahead with the remainder of the mugs, forgetting to dip the first layer of shino and blissfully and ignorantly, painted away my wax patterns, dipped them in the glaze, only to realize that I had forgotten a crucial step!

Oh well, there was no reset button with that wax resist, and nothing to do but submit the pots to the kiln with my sheepish grin and fingers crossed that the bare clay would look ok and the mugs salvageable!

When I saw the mugs I realized that my ideas are never as brilliant as they exist in my ceramic mind's eye. BUT, my mistakes are sometimes golden!


Not all mistakes are golden, but they are always worth scrutinizing. The mug pictured was one of the dozen or so mugs that weren't glazed like I had planned. The glaze was much redder than I imagined. I was thinking of a more tame bland shino. To my surprise the rich red/orange was a nice contrast to the bare stoneware.

The mugs glazed right, were awful, IMHO. Shiny, pattern barely recognizable, blah! I mean, they're OK, maybe I need to look at them again, after sleeping on it. But my impressions were NOT good. I didn't even want to photograph them.

Anyway, enough about that. I'll save it for my next magazine article for Pottery Psychology Today.

What a tangent!

The real highlight of the day was definitely throwing pots and talking shop with my blogging buddy, Scott Cooper. Here's Scott clip cloppin' the treadle wheel at Penland.

Scott wrote brilliantly (as he does) You can read about our little Penland symposium here.

I'm heading back up to put some handles on the mugs I threw yesterday, so I must be going for now.
It's Scott's last wet day and he's chasing plastic. Time for me get to the real work. The clock is tickin'

Chiow wow wow and Happy Valentine's Day y'all!