Friday, April 3, 2009

Donuts are easier or "Dip and cross your fingers"

OK...

I guess it's time for an entry about the creative process again... it's been a while and I don't want to lose you all as I immerse myself in the POETRY challenge... so let's just take those little letters E O P R T Y ; we'll add another T. And with a little magic we get P O T T E R Y... Yea... I love word games...

Last Night was pottery class; sans M&M... Francine announced that she'd be firing soon. Of course, I was in the middle of doing something and this announcement made my heart skip a beat (in a bad way)... You see, if all my pieces aren't glazed when she fires then they won't make it into the kiln...  that's a bad thing...  I have a show coming up in May and if I don't have my pots glazed there's no show...

So there I was, elbows deep in clay, doing something else (trimming my one pound pieces - I challenged myself to working with only a pound of clay to see what I could produce and just how thin I could throw the porcelain) time to shift gears (insert terrible grinding noise)... so much for creative process...  

Time to glaze...

I've opted to have all of my work for the past year (nearly 60 pieces) glazed in a Malcolm Davis (some famous contemporary potter) shino glaze.  Shinos [pronounced (She - No) (or however you want to - I'm not the boss of you)] are this cool family of glazes that do weird things and can achieve some fabulous results.  They will pool, they will crawl, they will pit, they will trap carbon and sometimes they just look like snot...  yup...  gross...  

Let's review my track record.  While I was on the cruise last winter I got a free chip and used it on the craps table.  Since I had never played craps, I asked for a little help and the next thing I knew I had a few more chips...   ...before long, I had none.  And so it is with shino and me...

I've been trying this glaze on various pieces over the course of time that I've been doing pottery.  The first attempt was OK, but I was a beginner who wasn't very adept at throwing, so a fabulous glaze would have done little.  The next attempt was better...

Flash forward...

Well, HotDiana asked me to make her something for Christmas and I did.  I threw this wonderful jug with a clunky handle and even inscribed the bottom...  After she had unloaded the kiln, Francine called and asked me to come to the studio.  When I got there, she was sitting at the table with Diana's jug on a turntable.  I cannot adequately describe what the glaze had done.  Francine does not make comments or compliments frivolously...  So, when she turned the piece around on the turntable and said,

"This is a museum quality piece." I was in shock and she added,

"This will always be a prize in your collection of the pieces you've made."

"Except that I made it for someone else."

"Oh, you can't possibly give this away."  Such a quandary was mine, but the piece had, afterall, been made for HotDiana...

Subsequent attempts with this glaze have produced just as many different results, but never the same thing twice...

And so it is that I have rolled the craps dice of shino glazes and come out a winner; once...

Yet (and I add, undeterred) I spent last night glazing mugs and bowls hoping that one or two will reproduce that effect...  ...and hoping, beyond hope, that they will not look like they are coated in mucus or Elmer's Glue.  

Louie's rule number one is "Don't get attached to anything"...  alas...  I should have asked if that applies to a whole year's worth of work or just that one fave piece...

Maybe I'll produce stuff so pathetic that my friends will feel obligated to buy it at the gallery and maybe I'll have a kiln load of oddities...  I'm hoping for the best and at least one piece that I can put in the cabinet...

...right next to the jug that reads, "For my HotDiana".

-silly

3 comments:

Little Ms Blogger said...

Snot on a piece of pottery....have you thought about making kleenex boxes?

Clay Doodles said...

The white is not offensive, it can in fact be quite charming. The issue is that we know the potential of the glaze, so when a piece turns out white it's disappointing.

And yes, that pitcher is museum quality! Poor HotDiana.

CD

Wild Boomba said...

I am so glad you kept that piece. Do you have a photo of it you can post?