Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mugs, mugs and more mugs

Just in time for Christmas gift giving.  I posted my latest work in my Etsy Shop this morning.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cups and Platters

This week I have posted some new work in my Etsy Shop.  It has been some time since I tackled a large platter.  I choose earthenware clay as the shrinkage is less, and I have fewer problems with the clay cracking around the bisqued form that I use as a mold.  This one has turned out particularly pleasing, has fired with no signs of warping or slumping.  I had fun decorating it in the majolica style that is popular in Italy and Portugal.
I next played around with hand forming a scalloped edge serving bowl which I first painted in white slip, then decorated in colored slips.
Four stoneware coffee mugs hand thrown in stoneware clay and slip decorated finished up the week for me.

Testing for Thermal Shock and Crazing

Coffee Mugs and Cups are particularly vulnerable to thermal shock and crazing, as hot liquid is poured into them, then when finished they are quickly rinsed under cold water. I am concerned that my pieces remain beautiful for years, and are food safe so I have devised this simple test that I run on each batch of fired cups.
First I fill the cup with ice cubes and water.  I  bring my kettle up to a full boil, and quickly pour out the iced water and fill with boiling water.  I leave in for around 1 minute, then replace the boiling water with ice cubes and cold water again.  I repeat this process, and finally leave boiling water in the cup for several minutes.  I then carefully examine the interior for any signs of small hairline cracks. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Is More!

My list of test tiles keeps growing, as I mix and test every color that I can think up.  Then when I lay them out before me on the table, a pristine white bowl waiting to be decorated, I can not restrain myself...sometimes ten, twelve or more colors will be used.  Am I going too far?  Should I rein myself in, and try to be a bit more subdued.  I tried on one small bowl, decorating it with delicate scroll leaves and small pink flowers, but then the urge hit, and I grabbed "Markus's Red No 2" - a raspberry pink-red that my 5 year old grandson actually developed.  You see, he too has the color bug..."just a bit more pink grandma, now a tiny bit of red", and voila, we had this fabulous raspberry red.  So there I was with this lovely subdued little bowl on my table, and my test tile of Markus's red in the other, and guess what happened.  Well, see for yourself!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clay and Color: More slab building fun continued..

Clay and Color: More slab building fun continued..: "I just took my Sun Goddess out of the kiln, and was really happy with the way that she turned out. Her colors are magnificent, and no crack..."

More slab building fun continued..

I just took my Sun Goddess out of the kiln, and was really happy with the way that she turned out.  Her colors are magnificent, and no cracking or undue warping.  I used a thicker slab than I normally do, at least 1/4 inch thick, and she is quite large.12 1/2 inches in diameter.  I am encouraged to make more, and am thinking of a Moon God for the patio as well.

Monday, August 1, 2011

More slab building fun

I hate having to clean up my wheel between throwing white stoneware and porcelain clay, and the red terracotta majolica clay, so have decided to keep my red clay for hand building.  I have been playing with slab building using slump and drape molds made from cheap Dollar Store plastic dishes.
This weekend, I made a Sun Goddess in two parts.  The face is molded in a shallow bowl, and attached to a flat round slab.  Once divided into equal portions, I cut the edge of the round to form the sun's rays.  I covered the entire front of the piece with white slip and then slip decorated it.  It is now ready for its first firing to cone 04, then will be covered in a clear shiny glaze and fired again to cone 06.  At least, that is the plan.  If it works out, it will have a home outside on my deck.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New work in slip decorated stoneware

These pieces were made during the last couple of weeks and are featured in my Etsy Shop

Terracotta Bird House

This bird house is slab built using texture for visual impact rather than color.  I elected to cover in a clear glaze to show off the beautiful warmth of the natural clay color.