Sunday, April 26, 2009

Journey Workshop April 17 - 26 Stress vs Creativity

Well I cancelled my critique session with Steven this month as my husband was supposed to have hip replacement surgery last Friday. In the end the surgery was cancelled at the last minute because of lack of beds. With all our plans turned topsy turvy I was not able to refocus on pots and sort of fritted away the week with nothing accomplished. I should have re-scheduled with Steven as he suggested, but just did not have the energy to get my thoughts together, but now wished that I had as it would have helped to get my act together. Definitely stress has in impact on my creativity and focus - I really don't know how artists that are undergoing major life crisis manage, as a minor thing as hip replacement for my husband has such an effect on me.

We did do another gas firing with some good (but not excellent) and some so so results. I finally figured out how to adjust the spray gun to get just a very light spray (it's just taken me a year to figure that out!) and that has helped to stop all the drastic running with the Water Blue/Green. I just need a very light overspray with that glaze to get things moving.
I like how just a light coat of stoney yellow with .5% Fe looks with a slightly thicker coating of Hannah Ochre - nice light yellow to rich orange tones. My plate with appliqued figures turned out well, expect that it slumped. I am having problems with plates that I have thrown on hydrobats. Somehow I end up with the foot too small so it does not support the sides enough. Together with uneven drying of these 16" plates I end up with slumping on one side. Now that the warm weather has arrived and the furnace is no longer blowing hot air that should not be so much of a problem. Plus a lot of the figures had cracks - I had applied them to the plate after I had trimmed it and it was getting too dry. I think I will try several more of those and see if I can do a better job.

I made the mistake of using Leach White for the interiors of my garlic pots instead of a Temmoku and the white is just too glaring inside and also shows around the figures and seems to clash somehow with the rest of the glaze. Plus there is tiny surface crack in the bottom of one where I whacked one of the pots - you wouldn't have even noticed it with a Temmoku glaze but it is very noticeable with the white. The crack has no effect on the function as it would not leak, is not even a mm deep so is purely cosmetic. The garlic pots were glazed at the end of a long glazing session and I did not take as much care as I should have and it showed. Also the lids ended up a tad small with too much of the unglazed gallery showing.

I tired a new glaze - Caramel - which seems to look good with Hannah Ochre on top - it's smoother to the touch and runs more. The garlic pot with it was the best of the lot. Also I used Alberta Rust for the dark brown on some of the bottoms and I think that i like that better than temmoku as it's not so shiny and my spray both mix which is very dark brown but does not give a good colour with Hannah Ochre over it.

Well I have a couple of stress free weeks until my husband's May 11th rescheduled surgery so I had better make the most of it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Journey Workshop April 12 - 17 Garlic Pots

With the summer tourist season coming up I have to get some saleable items into the Valley Artisans Co-op. My page on the Artisans website has pre-Steven pots - sort of different from what I am making now.
My appliqued pots that I make now are all big ticket items - selling for $175 to $250 and in this economy and our small town are just too expensive. One hundred dollar to $125 items tend be OK and after that there is resistance.

My large garlic pots sell well for $48 and so I decided to work on some, using as before the people in the window theme - (my "parade" pots) - and seeing if I can update them a bit. Before I would make them squared off with several windows and lots of people as in the top photo of the glazed one. (Has Rhdoes 32 on it).

This time I tried various oval shapes. I put on a slab base and threw the lid and then stretched it as Steven does. I gave the pot a wack with a stick for hopefully a more contemporary look. In order to tie these in with the rest of my appliqued and stamped work I made a stamp of a window frame and used it on the pot and then cut out the window inside the frame.

With another, I appliqued the frame and the back door - all this trying for a more unified look.

I also like effect of the wack which shows the end of the stick. This resulted in a corner and horizontal line impression. I will cut the stick at an angle next time so that the line is truly horizontal and see how well the window fits into that.

In terms of function the pots with a wider top are better as your hand fits in more easily than the one with the narrowed top.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Journey April 8-11 - More appliqued pots

I've been trying to get some inspiration from the picture book "Revolution" - I love the pictures - they are made from torn paper as well as a few cutouts - but the figures are so expressive and yet so simple. However so far have not been able to transfer those type of images into clay. I did do a wall plate - with lots of little figures on it - sort of expresses conflict and hence perhaps revolution - not sure if that comes across. The picture is not very good - will see how it turns out once glazed.

I have continued with the factory ship/fisherwoman. I have tried to simplify all aspects - the shape as well as the figure. Empty net and basket vs the factory ship.

I have managed to make an improvement to the bases of these handbuilt pots. Before I would undercut all around the base. This time I am under cutting, but beveling in the opposite direction where the base curves out. This seems to gie a more polished and elegant base.

To get my point across more about the negative aspects of globalized shopping I have put some logos on the shopping bags. I have also tried to guide the viewer to the back with a different top profile on the back as viewed from the front.

I had a lot of trouble with the homeless person on the back. Just does not seem shoddy enough. At first I tried adding a scarf - but he ended up like a tired Superman. I ended with narrow scarf - though now it looks like a tie - perhaps an out of work Wall street banker?
Anyway having lots of fun with these.