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:
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!