Tag Archives: Ceramics

Gimme the bat, Marge

Just a fair warning, I think this one will get away from me.  Like a guy rambling about photos of his kids, I seriously doubt you want to read this.  I’ll try to put the more interesting stuff (the pictures) first.

On Wednesday, I threw six bowls.  Six!  They were decent too.  They took about two hours to throw and about three hours to trim.  The trimming probably could have taken very little time, except trimming fascinates me.



The one on the left I threw earlier this semester, a mere few weeks ago.  The one on the right is from a week ago.  I used one from a week ago because it was bisque fired and I wanted something close to compare weights.  Believe it or not, the one on the left feels heavier!  They are the same clay, but the one on the left has a temeku glaze whereas the one on the right has a porcelain slip I mixed up.  Here are all six together:

Wednesday 3/6/13


It’s pretty much like 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag, except it’s six heads, and there is no duffel bag or heads.  Or David Spade.  That concludes the first stage of rambling.

In the second one, I’d like to go over each piece individually, talking about the form and decoration, along with special comments I may want for posterity.



I’m new to writing things down, but since I’ve been shown time and time again that I should probably do it, I’m trying it again.  I’m more trying to commit things to memory and type them down because I hate writing so much.  Anyway, I forget the exact order I threw these bowls, but that is something I should take care to note, since that may be useful later.  Anyway, this is bowl 017.  Yes, I know that zero before the one was probably overly optimistic of me, but the engineer part of me likes to see zeros in front of stuff sometimes, ok?  Get off my back.
While the numbers don’t coincide with the order I threw them, they are left to right in the picture, so this one is the left-most one.  It isn’t easy to see in the photo, but I would say this one is more angular than the others.  It has more of a clear bottom, which I wasn’t certain I liked when I first finished it, but I like it now.  It feels like it has more structure to it, like it is the Missing Piece to my fingers’s Big O (ok, it’s not really like the story, but it’s like the title).  I tried trimming in a chuck I made of leather hard clay.  I should have let it dry more, since the moisture from the chuck was absorbed into the rim, which got deformed a bit, so that’s what that is, since I knew you were wondering.



Now on to 018.  You can see how the bottom is more parabolic, which while good in theory, doesn’t strike me as having a mind of it’s own.  I didn’t think about that until just now.  When things in nature are smooth, it subconsciously demonstrates how fluid it is, just a bag of liquid, a nothing sack.  That’s probably why Borg spaceships have a bunch of gobbledygook on the sides for no reason.  I mixed up some iron filings into some porcelain clay to make my own slip, I believe I talked about that in a previous post.  I applied it to the inside of this bowl, mostly because bright things are nicer to eat out of than dark things.  That’s probably subconscious too.  Anyway, I think it looks nice, but the outside is a bit too tight, too bland.  I’m interested to see what the slip does though, that should be cool.  I also like how I treated the rim.  A lot of my bowls have an ending, a top opening, but I wouldn’t call them a rim, per se.  THIS is a rim.  Not the best, but it’s starting.



And here we have 019.  The profile of this bowl is pretty dang tulipy.  I like that about it.  It’s pretty elegant looking.  I’ll play with it a little after it’s fired to see how hard it is.  I like how the profile closes a tiny bit before opening back up again, but I really should try to combine that with a rim, especially if I’m going to be using stoneware.  I did some chattering along the side of the bowl.  It’s kind of hard to see, but it’s there.  It should show up during the firing, by having small changes the atmosphere can flow around, so we’ll see how it goes with that.  Again with the no-rim.  Crazy.



Hey kids, you know what time it is?  020 time!  This one is quite a bit smaller than 019.  Before I sat down to throw, I measured out balls of clay, and they were all within a 1/4th pound of each other.  I guess that’s a lot of discrepancy if they only weigh about 4/2 pounds to begin with, but I’m not about to get to precise with my clay weighing.  I know a lot of ceramics is about precision, but I don’t buy it.  I like happy accidents, but that’s a topic for another day, if not just another paragraph.  Maybe this one was on the lighter side, maybe the walls are thicker, who knows.  I’m thinking now that I threw this one before I threw 018.  It has slip applied to the inside, but the application looks a bit sloppier, and it stops a little short of where the rim might be.  A rim is indicated though, so that’s a plus.  Actually, I think this one was the first one I threw that night.  It seems to be the runt of the litter.  I remember when I was trimming my tool ran into a chunk of something that seemed to be already bisqued clay.  Ah, free recycled clay is fun.  And free!



021.  This one is a beaut.  The profile is almost exactly the same as 019, which is pretty neat to me, considering that I often feel that my pieces don’t look like they are quite a set, so this is especially encouraging to me.  The inside is still plain, and there isn’t a rim per se, but it does go in a little where the rim might be, I kind of remember distinctly trying to make a rim, so that’s pretty good.  It still could use something to say “HEY“.  The application is pretty neat though.  It wasn’t that wet, and I made it with clumps in it (not really on purpose, but you have to go through a slower process to make it without clumps, and hey, happy accidents, right?), so it went on in a dry mannar that ended up looking like those anvil head clouds.  I bet I can put some colorant in future slips and say my inspiration was a sunset, or some nonsense like that.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this type of decoration with coyotes on it or something.  Oh, that’s kind of a downer.



Bowl 022.  Again, it’s very plain, I probably threw it when I threw 017 up there.  One thing to note about this one is how loose I threw it.  I think that’s why I went ahead and left it plain.  Just to teach you non-ceramicists something, let me explain.  Loose and tight (in ceramics world) refer to how a piece is thrown.  If it is ovoid when it should be circular, or not straight when it should be straight, it is considered to be thrown loosely.  Now, tight and loose is often directly compared to good and bad, but that is very often not the case.  A master potter Shoji Hamada is famous for loose bowls.  It’s a more natural form, since circles appear almost nowhere in nature, and straight lines are few and far between.  Also, as mentioned above, a loose form looks more like there is something inside.  Loose forms also look less machined.  Usually, a newcomer to the wheel will make loose pots first automatically, and later struggle to make them on purpose.  I have to remind myself that just about every time I get on the wheel to throw.  Why am I using clay?  Happy accidents, mostly.


Yesterday I helped watch a wood kiln firing.  More accurately, I ‘helped’ ‘watch’ part of a wood kiln firing.  I thought ceramics was pretty cool before, but yesterday helped teach me how incredibly awesome it is.  Next Wednesday I should have some fired pieces.  Woo!


Why don’t you stay?

That part of the song doesn’t really apply here.  Oh well.  I can’t sleep because I’m excited for a job interview I’m having tomorrow (later today, I suppose), so I may as well update this guy.

I’ve been relatively busy recently, a real good amount of busy for me.  Learning more about exercise and nutrition and juicing and ceramics and meditation, and then ruminating on how all those things are related.  They’re pretty much the same thing, if you want to look at it that way.

About a week ago I tried a new experiment.  I made a juice and then blended it with a scoop of protein powder.  I don’t really know what I was thinking, but it turned out… finishable.  It was green with lovely darker green striations.  The best way I can describe the flowing colors is basically like a green Guinness, which I know doesn’t sound that great.


Of course, the picture doesn’t show the dancing colors inside my blender, which is most unfortunate since that is far and away the best quality of this juice.  It didn’t taste that great.  It was one bunch of parsley, one bunch of celery, one bunch of kale, one Granny Smith apple, one cucumber, one jalapeno, and one carrot.  Oh, and one scoop of chocolate protein powder.  It’s a whey protein, but it’s in the other room and I forgot what brand it is.  I’m not looking now.  The yield of the juice was much too large.  I’m thinking I could have done with half a bunch of celery and half a bunch of kale and maybe no cucumber.  Those changes would have drastically reduced the volume.

Since last Monday was a holiday, the pieces I threw on the first day of class were probably way way way too dry to trim, but of course, I tried to trim them anyway.


This one is a weird little egg cup, about the size of a raptor egg.


This is a pretty decent bowl.  It seems to have warped a little while drying.  C’est le vie.


I like this one.  I had to gouge out the bottom of it, so the bottom is real ugly, and the rim is unfinished so it probably won’t be any good for drinking, but it has a nice shape I think.  I also like that scratch on the left of it there, it adds character.  Let’s see if the glaze covers it or emphasizes it.

The pieces from this class… well I wouldn’t say better, but different.


This was a really nice bowl.  I deformed it getting it off the wheel.  I’ll get to see how bad next Monday.  What a treat!


This is a pretty nice one.  My teacher showed me how big the kiln we’re trying to fill is, so I’m trying to throw larger.  Throwing larger incorporates more muscles, so it’s hard for me, and therefore probably better for me.  Price of clay is a limiting factor, but that’s metaphorically a small price to pay for nice pieces.


This one I really have no idea.  Maybe a candlestick holder?  Or a hookah base?  A good example of how throwing larger can get away from me.

When I say throwing ‘large’, I really only mean longer than my hand.  Some day soon, throwing large will be more like longer than my arm.

Anyway, Mesa Arts Center is a beautiful facility.  I am excited to be a part of the studio, and I am excited to learn more about glazing and firing (and throwing, and who knows what else).  Hopefully my pieces will be less dry come Monday, and if they’re still too dry, I’m sure I’ll figure something out.  I am sort of bummed about the limited time I can actually be in the studio, but I guess that’s a good thing to be bummed about.  My friend suggested I launch an Etsy page to sell my ware, and that may be quite a good idea.  I’ll look into it.

Ceramics again

A couple things happened today.  One, I remembered to bring my camera, and two, I realized I haven’t shown you any new ceramics since before the sale happened.  Those were the only two things that happened today.  Have a good night.



Kidding.  More than that happened.  Here are some things on my shelf:

This is that same red glaze I’ve used so many times before.  I think it’s been watered down a lot.  I don’t know what to think, actually.  I like what came out, but I have no idea how it happened.  Oh well.

This one is the Blue Green Black with a band of white slip under it.  Interesting?

Same Blue Green Black on a different clay body, I think that’s white liner on the inside.

Blue Green Black bowl with a squirt of white liner that looks like a mermaid tail.

I’ve taken a picture of this one before, but it had a goober in it, and I dremmeled that out, so now there is a gross spot down there that I may be able to refire, I forgot to ask my teacher today.

And here are a couple of forms ready for glazing:

I may wood fire these, I’m not certain.

I like how my painting is coming, but I think it looks about the same as it did on Monday.

The whites are a little hot in spots, I’ll try and tone them down a bit when I get back.

When I was walking past it, I thought it looked really neat from that vantage point, all lifelike and whatnot.  See?

Anyway, have a good Thanksgiving everyone, woo!

My last post was eight days ago?

My last post was eight days ago.

Sorry fellow followers.  Maybe some drawings will make it better?  By the way, I forgot to take a picture of my painting.  It’s done, I suppose.  I like it.  It’s beautiful, you should see it.

Also, we are having a pottery sale on the 15th and 16th of this month, November.  I will be in the pottery sale.  Well, at the pottery sale, I will not be for sale.  If there is a pot of mine you’ve been eyeing, it may just be at the sale.  If it isn’t, there are plenty of other, more exquisite pots for sale.  Trust me on this.  It’s been advertized in the Republic newspaper, so get there as soon as you can because the good stuff won’t wait forever.

Alright, so here are a bunch of gestures from Tuesday AND Thursday.

And the long pose turned out alright.


My teacher suggested I try to make him feel as heavy as he looks, to make him sink into the paper of my drawing.  So here’s my attempt.


I think it turned out pretty well, he looks heavy, wouldn’t you say?  I also changed his right leg a bit, I simply drew his left leg again from another angle.  He almost fits on the page this way!  But he has two left feet, so all he can do is walk like an Egyptian.

Happy 21st Andy!

My sister’s 21st birthday is tomorrow.  Which is kind of weird, but not too weird because she was born when I was 8, and I’m 29 now.  So in a way, it makes sense.

I haven’t uploaded this thing for a while now.  It’s been nearly an honest week!  I’m not too sure why.  I mean, I am pretty sure why actually, it’s probably because I’m tired and busy and tired.  But, I have some neat stuff to show, so I suppose I should before I graduate, because once I graduate, I’ll probably not have access to stuff for a while.  Since it’s been a while, I have a load of things to show you.  Lucky you!  Boy, I wish I were you right now.

First off, a new drawing.  It’s only from yesterday and tomorrow, so I’m running out of time.

I’d say I don’t like this one, because I don’t, but I remember saying that about other ones I’ve done.  Like, every other one I’ve done.  So I’m going to go ahead and have faith that this one will turn out.  Her torso isn’t that wide, but I doubt this drawing will be about torsos, so that’s ok.

Then my painting.  I forgot to take a picture of it on Monday, so here’s one from before I worked on it today:

Now here it is AFTER I worked on it for a while:

It sure looks funky, eh?  Yeah, I added more blue.  I’d even say it needs MORE blue.  And more yellow perhaps.

I got some stuff from out of the kiln today, some nice stuff too!

This red is nifty.  The whole cup was put in the red glaze, but as you can see, one side stayed that white color.  The other side got enough reduction, I think, and turned red.  Either that, or it’s thicker on that side.  I’m not exactly sure what’s going on.  It depends on the clay body too.  That is B-mix (A-mix is too expensive) (that is a really stupid joke).  On B-mix, the white portion is smooth.  Here is the same glaze on WSO:

It looks similar (especially in these images), but it cracks a lot over WSO, which is a nice effect.  It’s too bad WSO feels so unfun to throw with.  Maybe I’ll get used to it.

This one is on Rod’s Bod.  It’s a goofy name, I know, we discuss it in class.  There is a lot more iron and itty-bitty rocks and what-have-you in the clay body, so I think the iron helps to make the glaze more red or something.  I don’t know, it’s very complicated, ok?  I’m just glad I’m not majoring in this stuff.

But hey, I’m getting more competent in throwing the stuff, that’s step one.


The show went really well.  For those of you who came, thank you.  For those of you who didn’t, I’ll pretend you were just staring at a blank wall for two hours and tried to imagine how glorious my drawings are.  You failed, by the way.

We’re going to do a closing reception for it next week.  Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.  I’m not going to be hyping this one as much, if only because I hyped the one yesterday for several weeks, and the one in one week is in one week, which is less than several weeks.

Lotta art today, and I have some things to glaze, so I’ll get down to brass tacks.

As usual, I don’t like my long drawing yet, but we have half a day I suppose.  Since my show (it was a while ago now), I have been overthinking my drawings.  Not good for anyone.  Things turn out in the end.

Here’s my painting:

And finally, some clay stuff:

I’m pretty happy with this next one:



I managed to get a big panel to paint on, but I forgot to prime it.  The results are fun, the paint reacts directly with the wood in weird ways.  We have six or seven days left in this pose, so I looked at the figures for a while, made a few brush strokes on the panel, looked at the panel for a while, then rubbed them out.

Then after class I monkeyed around on it for a while.  I think that since the wood is unprimed, the paint will dry really fast.  If I do a lot of layers like this, I might get something out of it.

In all the hubbub of my show, FLUXUS, I didn’t keep you updated on my ceramic stuff.  I think I showed you this before it was fired:

Anyway, it’s bisqued now.

I found some older stuff I did out on the shelves, among them were these two:

We did a salt fire, which I liked more than I thought I would, because I got some awesome stuff out of it:

I hope we do it again (I’m sure we will), because I got some nice textures out of it, even though I didn’t really plan anything out special.  So, next time Gadget.  Next time!


Where are my manners?