UC VI Symposium Recap: Part 2

I’m not going to wax quite as poetic about the photos today because I’m about to get crisp for a Fishbone concert in Dallas with my hubbind this evening. So here we go.

Some mind-blowing Blair Cleamo pots.

A. Blair Clemo showed me a revelation in making: hand-molded sprigs cast in plaster, then press-molded and re-applied into form molds to develop walls with thrown parts. Plus, he’s a deep thinking individual with whom I had some great, meaningful converstion. Bonus!

Close-up of the mighty tureen.

Ornamentation lovers, eat your heart out.

Cup with individual saggar by a Texas artist.

George Bowes had this piece on display in the past presenters exhibition. I have one of his super fancy ornately glazed mugs, which I almost never am generous enough to share. 😉

Precision embodied in pottery.

Love the forms, love the glaze, love the layered strap handles, and adore the big, fat glaze droplets. Shawn Spangler wins at functional potree influenced by masterful ancient Chinese pieces. He’s also a damn fine thrower, an articulate communicator, and a nice guy to boot.

The other case of Spangler’s vessels.

Computer-rendering from…

These objects.

A wall platter of considerable size.

Jennifer Allen already occupies a space in my pantheon of personal influence. This fat-rimmed platter features her signature engobe, lovely color choices, and one of the many post-war or Edo-era patterns.

More great work from a UC VI presenter.

I had seen Doug Peltzman‘s work before, and really enjoyed his discourse and process during demonstration. These really are another version of lovely. I think it’s valuable to see the variety of successful ventures in functional ware, to emphasize how important your own vision is in the face of the difficult challenges inherent in making functional objects.

A teapot, sugar jar, and tumbler.

And with that I’m wrapping up another installment. I can’t wait to get back on the wheel tomorrow!

Salt Fired Pots in September

I got my most recent batch pushed through a cone 10 reduction salt firing at the Guild. It’s primarily more ambitious pieces and prototypes, but the nice high temperature at shut-off and good quantity of salting gave me pretty successful results overall. I think the Some Bright Green did a bit too much running, but otherwise warping and cracking didn’t plague the pots. This is an ideal situation considering I use grolleg porcelain which tends to take any opportunity to warp and/or crack.

A successful teapot, with a well-fitting lid fresh from the kiln.

The colors and textures evident in the glazes are a bit different than the palette I am accustomed to. A few re-fired bowls got some unbelievable color and crystal variation, for example. The halo and richness of hue in the teapot shown above represent the overall results well. I am happy with the blue slip decoration, both inlaid and trailed, including the few pots with sufficient glaze fluxing to make the slip bleed and run.

Part of the newest batch.

The next event I know of that I’m bringing pots to will be the Fall Sale & Show at the Craft Guild of Dallas, which arrives in early November. I plan to get some more pieces completed by then. The finished pots in my studio are beginning to overflow, however, so we’ll see.

Trophy Completion Report

Well, the results came in on Tuesday, when James cracked the kiln to unload. They turned out just like I planned, for the most part. I did have 2 that touched another kiln shelf as they shrank in the gas firing, and 2 with cracking problems. I should be able to dremel, re-touch with glaze, and re-fire the 2 with touched rims, hope not to have to re-make those. Regarding the cracked pieces, 1 has a minor compression crack in the rim, the other has an impressive crack along the foot ring and outside wall curvature. That ship would sink, so to speak. I ought to re-make both, so I probably will. The re-makes will slow down my completion date, but that won’t cause any problems because they’re not due until September. They’re a time hog to decorate, though.

Ohata kaki glaze and tripod porcelain foot ring.

I wax resisted the rim and entire foot ring before applying glaze, to keep visual unity in the bowls from top to bottom. I am thoroughly happy with the glaze results, as both were reliable from piece to piece. Even the damaged bowls had flawless results.

A view to highlight the precisely flared rim.

The bowl interior features the logo of both regional Peruvian Paso horse clubs who host a regional Texas-based Peruvian Paso horse show. I carved sprig molds of all the capital letters and the relief Peruvian Paso horse in motion, then slip-trailed the rest. Helpful tip: make sure you carve all sprig molds in reverse, so they read the correct direction once you lift them out of the mold and flip them over. Of course, the current year and show title adorn the flared rim of each trophy bowl. I look forward to seeing how the successful recipients react to their prizes this fall.

Teapots: Bane of Sanity, to a Degree

From the time of my sophomore year in college, I have heard about the complexity and difficulty inherent in executing a successful teapot. “Phaw,” I scoffed, “the parts aren’t so hard to throw, and I’m good at centering. No biggie.” Right? I was so wrong.

Problem 1: Numerous assembled parts can become heavy. Tons-of-bricks-teapot + tea = unpleasant to lift.

Problem 2: Visual continuity of separately conceived parts (body, lid, spout, handle) is a difficult aesthetic process.

Problem 3: Warping of the body due to spout and handle pulling on the body during firing, trapping the lid forever.

Problems 4, 5: Glaze sealing the holes allowing fluid passage into the spout or glaze sealing the lid in place.

Problem 6: Successful glaze outcome. I have been progressing in this area concurrently.

And etc. I have been puttering on making teapots properly since I began the thrown pottery life, about 7 years now. I’m certainly not the best potter ever, so this duration may seem excessive, but I refused to put a teapot out there that did not satisfy my checklist for what I consider to be a successful teapot execution:

Proper overall weight, thin walls, good aesthetic relationship of all assembled/trimmed parts, nice pouring arc from spout, clean pouring cutoff, snug lid fit, and nice glaze job.

White stoneware teapot salt fired to cone 10, glazed with Ryan's Green-black. All parts thrown on the wheel except for the pulled handle.

 

I accidentally met all of these criteria while making a teapot for fun from a spare bag of white stoneware. It’s not absolutely perfect, and there are improvements to be made in future teapots, but this is a good prototype to lead the way.

 

Here's the other side of the same piece. Salt firing causes a lovely directional variation, and this glaze is quite responsive.

Glazing another small batch, plus trophies

I have everything packed and ready for the Art in the Yard sale in Dallas tomorrow: lots of pots, bubble wrap, shopping bags, unsweet tea, a nice shady 10’x10′ awning, etc. It’s going to be a good-looking setup.

Multi-glaze combinations on some large vases.

In preparation for the Craft Guild Spring Show & Sale in Addison during the first weekend of May, I am glazing about 20 more pieces to replenish what I hope will be a depleted inventory of pots. Here’s the majority of them, glazed in my usual limited palette of preferred glazes.

Glazed bisque mugs and bowls with or without handles.

I also have about 1/2 of the trophy bowls bisqued; so far, no cracking or shifting in the slip and sprig decoration. The tripod feet turned out well.

Bird's eye view of one of the horse show trophy bowls.

The two shades of blue slip are easier to distinguish at this stage. I hope they’re even deeper and richer after the glaze firing.

Side view.