Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ceramics workshop

It was very exciting to get back to the ceramics workshop last week and find that a number of items I had made in the last few classes of 2017 were bisque fired and now ready to glaze. I was busy with a new project though, and didn't have time to glaze these things last week, but hope to do so this week.

When working with clay, whether hand-building or working on the wheel, it is important to wedge the clay heartily; i.e. knead it to remove air bubbles (so finished pieces do not explode when fired!).

This is a plain draped slab pot: after wedging and rolling out some grey (stoneware) clay, I trimmed the sides and draped the slab over a paper-covered block of wood. I created two small rectangular feet to raise the platter form.

This is a more free-form draped slab pot. It was created in the same manner as the platter above, but I wedged some terracotta clay with the grey clay in order to produce a marbling effect. This will be glazed with a transparent glaze in order that the marbling remains visible.

This design of tree branches was created by the sgraffito method. After wedging, rolling out, and trimming a slab of grey clay, I painted the slab entirely with a terracotta slip. At the leather-hard stage. I scratched out the drawing with a sharp tool.

This tile of tree branches was also created using sgraffito.

The stone designs of the following three tiles were created using the mishima technique. After wedging, rolling and trimming the slabs, a design is incised in the leather-hard clay.

At this stage the clay is still moist enough to accept a layer of slip painted over its surface. I used a terracotta slip.

When the tile is nearly dry,  the slip is scraped away from the surface uniformly such that slip that had filled the incised design, remains to show the drawing. I plan to tint a clear glaze so that the designs remain visible after their final firing.

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