Friday, August 17, 2012

Hand Built Pottery Forms

October 26: 11-12:15 a.m. I will do a handbuilding demonstration in East Windsor, New Jersey. I'm part of the live entertainment at a best-in-state senior art show. I didn't enter this show as it is for 60+ (a few years to go yet!) but was contacted to do the demo. Should be fun!

Since I mostly work at the potter's wheel, this became an opportunity to play freely with slabs of clay for a change.

Vegetable server

Ice cream bowl

Textured serving plate

Dessert plate

Square saucer

For these simple projects I used texture tools like a paint stirrer, carved wooden coggle wheel (an actual pottery tool!), onion bag netting, and a dried leaf skeleton. On the ice cream bowl, I added sprigs made by pressing bits of clay in a butter mold and in the carving along the edge of a picture frame, and sprigging them onto the oval bowl.

The bottom three pieces were actually formed very easily, by draping textured slabs over unadorned wooden picture frames. I cut the edges freely to give them a livelier, hand-formed quality. The vegetable server was formed by draping a textured slab over a hump mold I made by casting plaster in a small oblong meat tray.

Textures, forms, play, effort-  it's all grist for the mill! My first workshop in the renovated studio, probably in February to help some of you out of the winter doldrums, will be on making simple slab forms.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"I can't wait to see your new pieces!"

It's been heavy, dirty work in my studio. I haven't produced a finished piece of pottery in a few months. Prep, prep, organize...many verbs have peppered my days since the studio reno was done enough for me to work. (This is where a studio elf would come in handy.)

I've planned to make bisqueware molds (forms that will not be glazed, used for supporting handbuilt work as I construct it) and "trimming chucks."* I began to wedge the "chuck clay" I reserved to make these chucks* and molds-
from this nasty looking slop

30 lbs down and just 150 lbs more left to wedge. (Day at a time!)  
wedged (kneaded) into this nice looking clay

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Potter, Pottery, Rawware: Notes on the Potting Life

 Photo update: My friend came by and took a new photo for my website
 Here I am, doing what I like to do- make pots.
Trimming a bowl. Photo: Maddy Hoffman

It engrosses a sizable chunk of my life. In our home, there is pottery of one sort or another in all the rooms.

One nice perk I get from being a potter is that I keep seconds, and also anything I like too much to sell. After a meal, this is a pretty typical sight in the kitchen dish drainer. There's something about using handmade dishes that is very satisfying!

Different clays, glazes & forms over the years

I have rawware drying at the moment, and there's a fired load of bisqueware to unpack from the kiln and glaze. (There's hardly ever just one thing going on.) Today's freshly trimmed bowls (below), for the next bisque kiln, are approximately 7.5" tall x 10" diameter, and will shrink a little with firing.

Trimming, and decorating with my homemade stamps  
Happily, it's a typical day in the potting life!