Monday, August 27, 2012

Salt shakers, the very last castings to be done before I load the bisque kiln, which is good because I only have enough slip left to make tiny things.

This is a teapot that I have been working on.  I'm still not sure how I feel about the lid.  The lid and the pot itself are inverted bowls.  I made the spout and handle molds specifically to make the teapot and I'm quite happy with them.  You may notice that I decided the spout would also make a good salt shaker.

This is one of the surface design options I came up with for the Arrowmont set.  It was inspired by a shirt my husband was wearing he other day.

This is another surface option for the same set.  I doubt I will replicate it often, but it is something I have done on other pots and enjoyed.  It took me about 6 hours to do a set of four (there is a pitcher to go with that already made it's way into the kiln).

Lastly I am contemplating what to do with these forms.  I don't want to get overly complex.  I am tempted to leave them undecorated with simple one color glazing, but minimalism hasn't ever been part of my work before.  It feels like I am imitating someone else to have minimalist pots.  The stripe pattern is an attempt at compromise between the 2.  The stripes go around the bottom as well.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I haven't posted in awhile because I've basically been doing the same two things over and over again, making molds of the triangular shapes and casting from the molds I've finished.  However, I have finally come to the end of my mold making for the summer.  It was great fun when I started, but by the end it started to wear on me.  In spite of that, I still have many ideas for new forms and if I wasn't pretty much out of plaster I would probably continue to make molds.  I can easily see myself ending up with so many molds I won't have room to do anything in my studio (no danger of that yet though).  These are the last three molds just completed, still wet from sanding.

I have also finally gotten around to completing my glaze tests.  Unfortunately the camera I used to take this image doesn't do the best job of recording color from life, the red isn't quite that orange and the blue green on the far left isn't really that blue.  I'm too lazy to get out the good camera and rephotograph, I'm sure I'll have better images of the glazes in use.

From the tests I selected these 4 to mix up, they really aren't quite as subtle as they look in this image, but I did choose mostly the more subtle colors.  The highlighter yellow was a bit too much for me.
My shelves are starting to fill up and I should be ready for a bisque firing soon.  Then I can play with the new glazes and see how they come out.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I was bold and did make a drop-out mold of the pitcher.  At first I thought I had made a mistake, because I had trouble getting the model out.  It was moving about a quarter of an inch, but no matter how much I banged on it the model wouldn't move any more.  I didn't give up though because I knew I could make a drill bit to get the model out.  With the excellent help of Mitzi Davis our ceramics studio technician and one of the technicians from SCAD's industrial design department I now have a screw welded to a threaded rod which I can put in a drill to help remove models that have gotten stuck.  I wish I had pictures of the process, but it took both Mitzi and me to make it work, and there was no one else there to hold the camera.  In the end the model popped out and with a tiny bit of patching to repair the small damage from all of my banging I have an excellent one part mold.

I took a break from the mold making for a few days and started casting from the finished molds.  As you can see the pitcher comes out well, as does the little dish.

I am still working on how I plan to decorate them.  My original plan was to use a printing technique involving xerox copies and slip, but after I tried that I really didn't like it.  These were decorated using mishima inlay.  I have been mixing up slips using the same clay body as my casting slip. (I had some trouble last year with commercial underglazes and how they interacted with my glazes.  I think the fluxes added to commercial underglazes cause them to block absorption of water from the glaze significantly more than my casting slip does causing uneven glaze application.  I am hoping that mixing my own slips will fix the problem.)  I like the way the mishima looks, but it is very labor intensive and I wonder if it is a good idea for production.  Perhaps I am just being lazy, but I am thinking about making some silk screens instead.  I also still haven't worked on developing the new glaze.  How that turns out will make a big difference.  I've been reading up again on proper firing of glazes and optimizing the results from an electric kiln.  It makes me wish I had a computerized controller, or at east a pyrometer instead of just relying on cones and a kiln sitter.  I know I can still fire the kiln correctly, it will just take a lot more babysitting the kiln than I want to do in the dead of summer in Georgia.  I'll post results when I have them.

I have also been casting the triangular dishes that I made from sledging plaster models.  The casts look good so far.  I'm still working on completing the molds of all of these.

These are some of the last molds I made, today I will finish the last mold of a sledged object.  Then I have a few more things to make molds of and I will be done.  Ha, yeah right.  Every time I think I am coming to an end with this I come up with new ideas.  I guess this is a good thing, it means I am still excited by the process, but I need to control myself if I am going to get some finished pieces before the  end of the summer.