Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Ceramic bowls

In the ceramics workshop that I am participating in every Thursday afternoon at Signal Arts Centre (near where I live), I decided I wanted to make a few handbuilt bowls using slab and flat coil techniques. 

I used pudding bowls as formers, lined first with cling film to ease removal of the bowls when finished. With flat coil technique, one simply rolls coils and presses them into areas left after placing flat clay slabs onto the former. The slabs and coils are joined by working on the inside - pressing the joins together and smoothing. I used terracotta clay for this bowl, with a coil foot.

I made four bowls in a smaller pudding bowl with grey clay and rolled balls for their feet. This is how they look bisqued. The cracks on the outside are intentional: they show where the slab pieces have joined; these joining areas are smoothed together on the inside of the bowl. As the feet, whether ball or coil, are attached when the bowl is leather hard and removed from the former, they must be attached using slip and roughing up the surface, as with any other handbuilt pot. I like to use a bit of vinegar too, which is a strong adhesive for clay.

This is the terracotta bowl when it came out of the bisque fire.

I glazed the four grey bowls with a black glaze all over, but I wiped the glaze from the outside with a damp sponge such that the glaze remained in the surface cracks. I then spattered white glaze on the inside of the bowls. Here are the four "galaxy" bowls sitting happily on their kiln shelf prior to the final firing.

The course facilitator had picked up a new glaze - gold! I painted black glaze on the entire terracotta pot (except the foot of course), wiping the coil areas with a damp sponge before applying the gold glaze.

The gold glaze was very liquid so I applied it by carefully trailing the glaze on the slightly raised areas of the coil swirls. As with the four smaller bowls, sponging the black glaze off the coil areas, left some glaze in the deeper cracks.

Though difficult to photograph, I was delighted with the results. The black glaze actually has a bluish tinge, and the gold is a gorgeous glaze!

I was also delighted with my "galaxy" bowls. The wiped glaze technique worked perfectly for the outside of the bowls, and the results of the spattered white glaze on the inside were just as I had hoped. In ceramics the best plans can easily go astray in the kiln, so it is never until the last firing that one knows for sure whether a pot has worked or not!