Tag Archives: hand-built pottery

Christmas Project Progress

Standard

button tree

People, Christmas is three weeks from today. Three! I need to get serious about what I want to do and what I will be able to do before that happens. It is definitely time for a prioritized list.

First, here are the things I absolutely want to finish before Christmas:

  1. Any pottery I want for giving needs to be ready for firing by this weekend. It may already be too late–December is a busy time for the kiln! At a minimum I want to finish up some of the small medallions I made to make into magnets and complete whatever coil trees I have already built. These things need to be painted with underglaze and fired, then dipped into clear glaze and fired again. Hopefully I can get them done quickly.
  2. Blanket for my brother
  3. Button tree collage for my aunt
  4. Crocheted coasters for my mother

If I get those things done, I will be happy. If I get them done with time to spare, I will do some or all of these things:

  1. Crochet a wreath for my front door
  2. Find the shawl I started last year for a friend and finish it
  3. Make some jewelry
  4. Make homemade lip gloss
  5. Make sugar scrubs

There is a very good chance that my list of finished projects will look nothing like this list, but I like having a plan to start with at least. I feel pretty good about the first priority items, although not entirely certain.

How are your Christmas projects coming?

 

Some Finished Pottery Pieces

Standard

The pottery classes I have been taking include unlimited studio time during the class for building pieces, and plenty of time after the class is over to finish glazing and firing pieces. I have been concentrating on building things during the class time with the plan of underglazing, glazing and firing objects after the class is complete, but a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get a couple of test pieces done so I could see how they would turn out.

3pottery

The first piece I did was an underglazed Christmas tree. I actually painted this one day while I was working in the studio, waiting for a slab of clay to dry out a bit to make it easier to finish. I had a picture of this on my last pottery post:

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

This was completely unfired, with just the build done and underglaze painted on. Since then, it went through an initial firing, then I dunked it in a clear glaze and had it fired again. The colors are very different than the pre-firing colors, but they did turn out very close to what I pictured when I was envisioning the finished project.

tree

I also glazed one of my little plates, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. Because of the stamped pattern, I was thinking that I would need to underglaze the plates in order to ensure that the color got down into the grooves. I made a ton of these plates, though, so I decided to try the regular glazing on one and see what would happen.

chrysanthemum plate

As you can see, awesomeness happened, ;). I am still going to underglaze a few plates–I have at least 30 of these things–but I will be doing more like this as well. This plate has celadon as a first dip, then it is topped with lime green. I love the way it turned out!

The coaster shows me why it is good to do a test glaze. I used deep purple topped with celadon here, and how a dark purple topped with a pale green yields such a blue coaster, I don’t know. I kind of like it, though.

coaster

So, that’s all I have for finished pottery for now. What do you think? I will be making many more trees and plates, and probably some more coasters, along with a few other things. I am probably nearly finished with building for this Christmas, but I will have more things coming, too, as I still have about 45 pounds of clay to use. Any suggestions for a not-terribly skilled hand building potter?

What I did last weekend

Standard

I’m taking a pottery class! Actually, I am on my second one, but I just brought home my first finished objects last week.

I started in a wheel throwing class, which was not really a success for me. I wasn’t too upset about the fact that I wasn’t very good at it, because new skills take practice right? At least, I wasn’t upset in theory–in practice, I was simply not interested in taking the time to get better. I wasn’t enjoying the process enough. My hands felt all slimy, and I was really pretty terrible.

I stopped when it looked vaguely like something useful...

I stopped when it looked vaguely like something useful…

The instructor did most of this one.

The instructor did most of this one.

The lady teaching the class is very smart, though, and she started showing me some hand building techniques, which I enjoyed quite a bit more. So much that I signed up for a second session to learn more hand building techniques, and actually make something I like and can use (and give away for Christmas presents!)

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

This past weekend I spent a lot of time in the studio, because it takes time to get these things done. I have a ton of clay to use up, because I got 50 pounds of clay for each class, and the first session, I used maybe 10 pounds. Since I started doing hand building, I have been going through it much more quickly, but it still takes a lot of time. I can roll out a slab or a coil pretty quickly, but to get it looking like I want it to? That takes some time.

Last weekend I spent about 8 hours cranking out plates and medallions. A couple of years ago, I did button magnets for my family, and I think the medallions will make a fun addition–another kind of magnet. I didn’t get any pictures of the medallions, but I did get some pictures of the plates:

photo 1photo 3photo 4

As you can see, these are all in progress, but I you get the general idea. They were fairly easy to do in concept–roll the slab, let it dry out a bit, roll a stamp over the whole slab, use giant cookie cutters, place in mold, take out and sit on the table to flatten out the bottom in the middle. It takes a while to do though, between waiting for the clay to dry and polishing off the piece. I have not gotten any of these back from the initial firing yet, but I am cautiously optimistic that they will be awesome, ;).

Anyone else into pottery?