Hooray for new pottery! I hadn't been down to St. Pete Clay to do anything substantial in months. Seriously. It annoyed me greatly. And with the coming budget crunch I won't be a member there much longer, though I'll stay through December. That will give me time to make a few things I've had on my list for a while--a sugar bowl with a spoon notch to replace the one we use now, a jug to replace the jug I made as a wedding gift for friends of mine, a set of teacups (maybe with saucers?) and perhaps a couple of flowerpots. If you'd like me to make you anything, and I know who you are, now--as in, right now, today--would be a good time to request it.
Many many more pictures are after the jump.
All right. Many things to look at, so little time. First, a mug! It's an important mug. I made a mug for somebody a while ago, and it broke. I don't know how it broke, but it was a sad thing because it was big, and kinda nifty. I was never happy with the glaze, but, you know. Well, since it broke, obviously I had to make a new one. I'm very happy with this one. It's a bit bigger, too. So, Rick, you just have to come out here and get it.
These are two other smaller mugs. They're what you'd call normal sized. Nothing special about either of them, but I dig the glaze job. That was the theme of this kiln: the glazes all came out great. I really enjoyed going through these.
Here's a skinny jug. Not a big fan of the piece, but it's a jug and I can't bring myself to not fire a jug if it's at least halfway decent (and this one is about halfway decent. Maybe like 3/5. Tops). Black glazes are cool; this isn't actually black since we don't have a shop black. We have temmoku, which, applied thick, comes out black. And really shiny.
I did not like this jug prior to glazing. But I had already bisqued the piece, so I couldn't recycle it. I suppose I could have shot it. More on that later; anyway, now that I think about it, there is a giant bisqued platter that needs to be shot... Anyway, the glaze is called shino. I've never used it because as a rule I don't like shinos. They're very unpredictable; I don't mind the spotting, and I quite like the color variation, but our house shino can craze to the point of break apart into dust--which it did on this jug. But it looks cool! So I like it now.
This is a platter. It is meant to go under a flowerpot, which I don't have a picture of in this collection because it's a pretty standard flowerpot, nothing special (although it does have a nice plant in it). But this platter, this is cool. Certain friends of mine may recall my driving need to develop an amber celadon in college. I never succeeded, and although this isn't really amber celadon either, that's what it's called, and it's kinda nice. Someday I will return to my glaze chemistry studies and seek the honey-amber I've been looking for, but for now this is nice.
Here is a largish bowl. It's not special or anything but it's fairly attractive and I do like the glaze job. A glaze called Mel's Base on the right, with our regular house celadon on the left. This is a nice pair of glazes; I used to overlook Mel's because I wasn't sure what to do with it.
Here comes the really cool stuff (although I think the entire firing was a smashing success). This is a plain red jar, not even very well made. The red glaze is called Ohata Khaki. The yellow glaze is amber celadon. Where they met (and I don't recall which was on top but I think it was the amber) they made this great black line. How cool is that? I'm a big fan of glazing by dipping; too time-consuming to do spray and everything and I don't have the hands for painting. Dipping two glazes is always nice for contrast, but until this kiln I hadn't found good pairs to use. This is the first good pair; believe me, I'll be using this again. It's rather fortuitous; I only started using khaki two firings ago because I could never get it to fire nicely before--but I've figured out the rule (put it on damn thick), and now I can make really nice stuff with it.
I am absolutely in love with this pitcher. It's not very big--certainly no more than six inches tall. It's more of an oversized creamer--a creamer for Lucky Bob's giant coffee-and-tea setting, perhaps. But it's so pretty! I almost took this one home but decided against--not sure what we'd do with it (though of course if Smittygirl wants it I'd be happy to bring it home). But it is pretty. Celadon on the left, temmoku on the right; another excellent pairing.
This is kind of a silly little piece. Again, not something I liked, but I'd already bisqued it and couldn't recycle it. It's a tiny little carafe--it reminds me of and is in fact exactly the same size as the bizarre little glass carafes I sometimes get in restaurants when I order hot tea. The red here is Coleman Red, our house red, which has the advantage of looking like a barium red without actually containing any barium carbonate; this is actually a copper red. I've found that if I put Coleman's over our house white glaze, as here, I can get mauve out of a reduction atmosphere, which is outrageously difficult (my own recipe for Apple Blossom is the only consistent pink I've ever used, and even it sometimes trends red, certainly never mauve or lavender)--so this is another nice pair, though in this case where the Coleman's is over the white, it isn't pink, it's just a lighter red. Sometimes the Coleman's will also float and break away from the white; this is because the white glaze liquifies before the Coleman's in the kiln; if the kiln comes up slowly there is enough time for bits of the Coleman's to float over the white and detach from the rest of the colorant, a very amusing (but potentially disastrous) effect; that didn't happen this time but I thought I'd mention it since some of my readers saw an example of this last weekend on a hideous jug.
Wee jars! Hooray! I usually use these little guys as test tiles because they're fun to make and much more interesting than a plain old tile. But I haven't been making and testing many glazes, so these have been sitting on my shelf for a very long time. The one in the middle is the only "test" this time around; clockwise around it are plain celadon, amber celadon, my own nickel blue, and temmoku.
This is the test jar. I didn't make the glaze here, it's been sitting in our studio for quite some time and I have no idea what it's supposed to do. There's a sticker on it that says in big letters: Warning! This glaze must be applied thin!. That's been enough to scare me off of it, but I figured I had a test piece, I might as well test it. It certainly is interesting. Looks like an ash glaze, which we don't have any of in the studio (apart, of course, from this, if this is ash). It's called "Ipanema," and I'm not sure whether this is supposed to remind me of a beach in Brazil or what. It's not that I don't like it, but I don't know what I'll find to use it on. Still, may be worth playing with.
Here are four small bowls. I've been trying to make more small, easy things that I can charge less for and hopefully sell some stuff, so these bowls are part of that mission. Of course I took one of them home so I'm already breaking my own rule. Were I to glaze these again, I now have a batch of really nice glaze pairs I would use. Instead I used solid glazes on three of them and a pair on the fourth. In the back left is celadon. Back right is my own nickel blue--which I need to try pairing with some things considering how nice some of the other stuff turned out. In the front right is more coleman's red, which you'll note looks much lighter here than on the carafe. Copper reds are like that.
And here is the fourth bowl, the one I took home. I love this thing. Look at this glaze pairing, Mel's Base on the right, temmoku on the left. Look at that gorgeous olive green where they meet. Makes me feel good every time I eat out of it. I'll be using this pair again, no question.
And here is the item you've all been waiting for. Remember that martini shaker I just loved? Oh, how I loved that martini shaker. I was lost for how to glaze it so I settled on temmoku, since I figured it would be shiny if nothing else. You'll have to forgive the sunlight in this picture; the thing is actually quite black in some lights, but with sun reflecting off it it really shines. Isn't it nice?
It is indeed a functional item--though I'm not sure I'd put ice cubes in there. Chipped or crushed ice, sure. As you can see, there are little strainer holes in the top to pour your martini out of. I thought of everything... except the lid on a cocktail shaker usually goes over the base, not inside it as I've done here. Hey, it's my own creation.
I like this picture though you may not understand why. For starters, I love the color of this clay. I wasn't sure what sort of clay I used to make the shaker and though I'd been hoping it was Toast, I wasn't sure. Nice dark red-brown. But then, look inside! Look how nicely that black turned out. You can never count on what's going to happen inside a lidded pot in the kiln. I usually default to white inside, both because it allows you to see the color of the liquid you're putting in there (good if you brew tea in it, for example), but also because our house white is consistent and will produce a nice glaze even if it's a few degrees cooler inside the pot than out. Using black both in and out was thus a bit of risk, one that paid off I think.
Here's a detail shot of the lid. I should say "lids," since as you can see there are two parts. The detail work on the main lid is very nice. That upper lip there, I was going to make a second lit that would go over that like a normal cocktail shaker, but it just didn't look right no matter what I did. So I shaped a nice little chunk of clay to fit in the top, and there it is. I glazed it nickel blue because one does want a hint of color (name the movie for ten points).
So there you have it. Lots of really nice stuff, and I'm serious people, you want something you better say so now. I'll take very specific instructions (but understand the more specific they less likely it is to be exactly right), glaze colors, shapes, sizes, forms, you can say " I want a bowl," or you can say "make me something," in which case I'll suggest things for you to choose. But the window is closing. Unless I win the lottery or get a book published, and I'd have to work on the book to get it published...