February 28, 2010

Week's End

Cover Week came to a crashing end as I miserably failed to refine or update the hump molded dish I was working on for what seemed like hours the other day. I have a few boards of these dishes but called it quits when I wasn't getting the results I wanted. I had come up ,with a way of making a big loaf with the size and shape that needed very little cutting, shaping etc. I had marginal success, but wished I had made new hump molds.

Don Pilcher shared his thoughts on the covers:

They can be done three ways- a spot on
replication, a nuanced restatement or an out of the box expression. Each
has a place though I'd argue they are not equally worthy of our attention
and the life of an art form eventually requires the last.
I guess my out of the box expressions would have benefited from more time. More an exercise than an expression, the covers helped me to understand outside of my box and gave me some ideas to follow up on in the next session after I fire these. Far from complete replication, these offered me a way to throw myself off course just a little by forming unfamiliar shapes and reacting to them in a spontaneous progressive sort of way. Here are a couple of shots of my table where I did a lot of head scratching and slab rolling and hump molding.

Most of the molded dishes were tossed out, but I did save a few to fire. After the day (a week) of experimenting, I needed to make some pots that were reassuring and familiar so I made a bunch of 9 lb. bowls. So at the end of Saturday night, I felt I hadn't wasted a day chasing butterflies, but had some pots that I really needed for the upcoming firing. It's good to mix the practical with the exploratory!

The vase/bottle forms got a coating of my kaolin slip and I did some combing through the wet slip. Next I will do some brushwork on glaze these in my amber/tenmoku. This form was one of my most satisfying research project even though it started out as something slightly different.

Here are the 9 lb (4 kilograms)(0.6 stone) bowls that I made Saturday evening. Sunday was overcast and the light coming from the window to the right of my wheel was great for seeing the line of the platters I threw.

I turned off the overhead lights and was able get a good sense of the line from the lip to the center of these platters. For the past week I have been using Highwater clay's Zellastone and it took a while to retool and approach this commercial clay body. It's been a real relief and convenience to just open bags for a change. But I can't wait to get a back hoe over here to get a few years supply of the red stuff to mix in the coming spring!
The Zellastone is quite a bit more smooth that my red dirt mix and wooden tools didn't work so well. I switched over to some metal ribs and got some really nice results. The above picture shows the shadow from the nearby window that is very helpful when using the metal ribs to get the inside of the bowl just right. For some reason when I'm using the red dirt clay, wooden ribs get the results that are pleasing. Could be the smooth clay versus the course red dirt clay I normally use.
Here's the platters I threw this afternoon. The bowls from last night were turned over and then covered with plastic to even out their dampness.

I'm going into the home stretch for firing 34 and will try to keep all of you informed of the goings on around the shop. February saw the biggest traffic ever at the blog and I hope you will continue to read and share with your friends who may also like to see more pottery in 2010.

Please notice that there are a couple of new ways to share the blog with others who are yet hip to "Sawdust and Dirt" after each post. Just click on the facebook link to share to your "wall" and tweet the blog if you are so in-klined.

I'd love to continue this conversation tonight, but I'm very tired and need some sleep. Big weeks ahead. Just wanted to share a few thoughts about the week's end. Leave a comment, I'd love to know what you're thinking about.

More coming tomorrow ( a new poll) and a lot of pottery in the weeks to come!
Be well!