Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In the Carving Zone

The weeks have passed into a couple of months, and what busy months they've been! My studio stood almost abandoned in favor of major family events, religious observances and celebrations, and travel. I have been contemplating web marketing and show possibilities. I applied to a co op gallery. In general, I've been considering what is the real potential for profit. But my hands have touched very little clay and no glaze at all.

I decided to revisit an old favorite pastime. As you saw in the photo from August of the bowl with the bridal bouquet in it, I used to carve pots. The bowl in the photo is over a decade old, from a time I tried carving into bowls some semblance of those leaves and vines I love to draw so much. You need to work out before you can lift one of those carved bowls. Since they were made very thick (too thick, maybe 3/4") to accommodate deep carving, they are extremely heavy, maybe 10 lbs each. No one bought them, either because I had too high a price on them to reflect all that work, or because they are so heavy. I keep them stowed away gathering dust in the kiln room now, their fate undecided.

Finally returning to the studio last week, in a contemplative mode, I threw a group of new vases on my trusty Lockerbie kickwheel. The belly portions of these vases were thrown thick, perhaps 1/2" instead of the usual 1/8" or so. Next day, I trimmed foot rings on the bottoms of these, got out my carving tools with their variously shaped cutting surfaces, and set up a comfortable padded stool beside my wheel. Hands, head and carving tools entered the spontaneous zone, and the vases pictured are the result.

I kept carving till they felt light enough in weight and seemed "done." You probably know that "done" is an unquantifiable state if you start getting abstract in your design. There were no guidelines but my gut feeling. These individuals were so much fun that I lost track of time. A blank canvas can be a joyful thing.


  1. Thanks,Lita! Don't know yet how I want to glaze them, though, which will make or break 'em...

  2. They are AMAZING! Some colorful glaze and those are show-worthy!

  3. Have you thought about doing some wax resist to get neighboring carved areas to be different? Two contrasting bright colors might be great in neighboring indentations...

  4. Hi Anonymous (who are you..??)
    Can you describe the wax resist technique you are thinking of? Do you mean cover the area to be decorated on the raw pot with colored slip or underglaze, then wax resist it, then carve a design through the resist and the color? Then, when the pot is glazed and fired, the uncarved, colored area looks different under the glaze than the carved, clay-colored area?