I’m Still Here…

Albeit not posting much lately, I am progressing in the studio. I am just wrapping up the making stage for a 2/3 electric kiln load or so along with two trophy bowl re-makes. I poured more labor than usual into some especially complex forms and several decorative processes including sprig molds, slip trailing, and inlaid slip. I’m currently drying a batch of zoomorphic ewers, new and improved teapots, butter dish prototypes, fully decked out gestural vases, etc. These newest pieces reflect a measure of an increasingly ornamental, palace-ware aesthetic. Here’s a teaser photo of some dry greenware pots.


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.

Glazed the Trophies, Results to Follow

I made an unplanned trip to Addison yesterday to the Craft Guild of Dallas to help instructor Potter James fill the gas kiln. I glazed all 12 of the horse show trophy bowls shown in my previous posts in double time, from 2-6 pm. I used my own batch of Pinnell Celadon from home as the interior glaze, leaving the outermost rim band bare of glaze. Celadon is pale jade green and transparent, which will display the decorations underneath nicely. Then I sponged on wax resist to keep the outside glaze from sticking to the bare rim and first 1″ of celadon glaze.

Example of Celadon, on a beautiful 18th century Chinese Hu vase.

I used the Craft Guild’s Ohata on the outside, a nice dark Kaki glaze. Kaki glazes use an overabundance of iron oxide for coloring, which results in a shiny finely speckled rust, brown, and black surface. This glaze is very reliable, and I though the pale jade green glaze, dark blue decoration, and rich brown glaze color combination would be appropriate for the earthy, elegant nature of a horse show. I waxed the tripod feet up to the bottom surface, allowing the Ohata to coat the cut out channel along with the outside walls and inside the foot ring.

A good example of Ohata on some faceted bottles.

Actually, Celadon and Ohata are both colored with iron oxide. Celadons use a small amount per batch, usually 2-5% of the total gram volume or so. Ohata probably uses about 15-20%. Iron oxide is extremely intense, even in the raw state it gets on everything and doesn’t wash out too easily. Which may be why over-saturating the glaze past the point of opacity with iron creates a color family similar to iron oxide stones found in nature. I’m excited to see how the trophies fire out, and I fully anticipate success. Okay, if I need to re-make one I’ll bull through it, but hopefully no more than that. I expect to be able to show you the finished pieces by Monday or Tuesday.

Trophies in Progress

Here's a bird's eye view of the incomplete Breeding Stallion trophy bowl.

I received a custom order for a regional horse show in the fall, for 12 trophy bowls. I was given full artistic freedom with the requirement of including the club logo, year, and title. I placed the logo in the bottom interior, and scrolled the text around a flattened rim. I hand-carved all stamps and sprig molds myself, then the slip-trailing was completed freehand. After all, I believe in authenticity. The slip and sprig molds are colored with blue stain, dark for the slip and medium for the sprigs. I still have 7 more to make, and these 5 still need to be trimmed. Let me tell you, this sort of decoration takes FOREVER. I really hope the pieces live up to the expectations of the club President.

Here are the five with finished decoration. There are slight variations in text placement, but I think that indicates their hand-crafted nature.

After trimming, I’ll cut out three chunks in the foot ring to match up with the three stamps on the rim band to give these a nice visual openness underneath.

P.S. I’ll be showing/selling work at two craft sales in April and May. Stay tuned for details as the dates approach.