Monday, June 6, 2011

More Skeletal Fun!

 Crap photos, I know - my new camera arrives Tomorrow!

I'm getting lots of positive feedback on the Dia de los Muertos themed plates, and have had a lot of requests for the motif on more functional ware.
I was reluctant. First, I feel these pieces should tell a story, not just be plastered on whatever. Second, well, I'm not sure how I feel about such bulky ornamentation on functional ware.

But sometimes ya just gotta jump in right?
I really just started out warming up on the wheel after a couple weeks of hand building with some mugs. I'm still figuring out proportion and scale with handles, and I need to throw every day for the next month to be ready for a workshop I'm attending next month.

So, I decided to play with a couple of the mugs and see how it went.
An artist friend wanted bunnies, so I went there and posted the pics on FaceBook here:
and have gone further with the idea here:

Started on a Boxer themed one and had it sold as soon as I posted this pic!

I'm still unsure how they'll come out of the kiln, but I'm definitely warming to the possibilities.
Not sure I want to plaster these on everything, but on these big mugs, I think they may do.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Live, Laugh, Bark, Howl

First, you can see the process of this plate coming to life by visiting my Live, Laugh, Bark, Howl FaceBook album. Lots more photos there!

Not exactly a commission.

Earlier this year I put the "Mi Casa" plate up for sale, and a dear friend bought it.

Due to carelessness on my part, it broke during shipping! She sent it back to me and I was able to repair it very well.
We both decided that rather than risk sending it again, we would wait till we were visiting and hand -deliver it to her.

Meanwhile, I hung it in the bathroom, figuring it would be safe there.
Not so - it was bumped and fell off the wall, shattering into a billion pieces! So, I'm making a replacement piece for my friend.

She is a consummate dog lover and supporter of rescue.
She's had, to the best of my recollection, four wonderful rescue boxers, and there have been a couple of very special pointy-nosed hounds in her life too. She's also gaga over hockey, and just has a giving, positive, make-the-world-a-better-place spirit.

Taking all that into account, I'm working on this plate for her.

Its currently drying, and then will be treated with a glaze wash like the Cat Plates.

And I'm brimming with more ideas!

Los Gatos Muertos

My first commission!

First, to keep up with the progress of this project, visit the Dia de los Muertos photo album on FaceBook:

I was contacted by someone who say my "Mi Casa" plate on FaceBook and was taken with it.
She wanted something for her home, and was particularly interested in something depicting cats (she and her husband have 5).

After some thought and brainstorming, I came up with an idea for a triptych of plates in porcelain, showing her cats. I wanted something with a lot of energy and chaos.
I showed her the sketch, and she gave me the go-ahead to do the plates.

The plates are completed now, and drying slowly.
I'll be adding the feed today and then they'll finish drying.
Once they're dry, I'll wash on a satin black glaze and remove most of it, then wash on a thinned clear glaze.
The plates will be single-fired in oxidation, hopefully next week.

This has been such a fun project, and it gets me back to mt roots as a 2-dimensional artist and my days of drawing. And its garnered some attention out in the real world and generated some sales and potentially some more commissions.

While I'll post a pic on the blog of the finished plates, do check the photo album link to see the process as it goes along!

Keeping it Simple, Playing with Porcelain

The last few weeks, I've taken a break from both stoneware and reduction firing.
I needed to create a wedding gift for a favorite cousin, and to make it extra special, I decided to use porcelain instead of stoneware.
Porcelain is its own beast - it contains very little organic material, so it stays very white and smooth. I tell people it is to clay what portland cement is to concrete.

Too obscure?

Anyhow, I wanted something very elegant, and I knew something very white and clean would appeal, so  porcelain and oxidation just seemed fit.
I think the cup above  - Tenmoku over Haynes white - is probably the best piece I've ever made. I'm in love with this cup, its form and its subtle glaze, and use it every day.

I'll just share a few other pieces from this little oxidation journey with you as I then want to post about a couple of commission pieces I'm working on.
I'm really having fun exploring this glaze treatment and form, so stay tuned for more in the next few months!

The Wedding Gift

My cousin and her new hubby - both of whom completed their respective doctorates the week before the wedding - are moving from the west coast to Washington DC to begin their new life. I know they entertain, but I just didn't feel compelled to make a serving dish, and I was a little unsure of their aesthetic.

So, knowing  space in their new digs will be limited, I opted for practical.
Kitchen utensil jar, spoon rest and sponge holder seemed like a good option.
Of course, I needed to practice a bit before whipping out the final product in $30-a-bag Coleman porcelain, so I made several, both in stoneware and in porce;ain, and I'm really happy with them. This white set went to the happy couple, and I also played with the set in matte white, oribe, satin black and tenmoku.
All-in-all, I'm happy with the forms and how they work individually and as a set.

I also wanted to explore the white glaze with a few other glazes and got some really interesting results.

Like this yunomi, with an Oribe glaze sprayed over the white.
The white BTW, has a rather chun-like quality, with crystals floating in it.
Its a bright white with patches of white crystals in places.

Though in the top of the kiln, it underfired slightly and remained a matte white. Still very nice I think...

And again, the white with Coleman teadust sprayed over it. This is a different tenmoku than the one in the cup at the top of this post, and frankly, I don't like it quite as much.

Then there were a couple of really unexpected results that I'm keen to play with some more!
First is that plain white glaze sprayed over a carbon trap shino. No reduction here, but the result is really pleasant!
Talk about character!
And while its tough to see the subtle shimmer and turquoise hue on this last one, the white sprayed over the satin black is really wonderful I think.

The pics are a little fuzzy because my good camera bit the dust that day and my new one hasn't been delivered yet.

And speaking of photos...
I've opened up a second Etsy shop to hawk some of my photography.
I'm definitely just someone who gets lucky with a camera on occasion. I have no real skill, and can only fumblingly adjust things like f-stops and apertures, but I have made a few sales, and 20% of each sale goes to a charity near and dear to my heart, the Boxer Rescue Foundation , so if you've a mind, please come have a look!

As always, comments, critiques and suggestions are appreciated!
Stay tuned!