Wednesday 12 February 2020

Shamrock bowls - revamped!

In 2018 I made two foliage bowls, which I was really happy with from a beautiful results point of view, but realised that I put such a huge amount of effort into their making that I wanted them to remain unique, for my own use only. Last autumn I wondered if there was a way for me to create several similar bowls that I would be happy to sell at a reasonable price. I decided that I would make the bowls using one plant and that I would make them without "feet" thereby removing the necessity to take them home in order to complete. Details of making the fern and wild rose leaf foliage bowls are here and images of those finished bowls are here. I had a pot of shamrock in bloom, so I brought it into the ceramics workshop and cut sprigs from it for my design.

I was using plastic pudding bowls (I had 3 different sizes) as formers. Each bowl need a cling-film lining and then I swirled long sprigs of shamrock inside the bowls.

The clay was wedged and rolled out into a a large slab, from which I cut random pieces, which were fitted together as I worked.

I used my fingers to press the pieces together, letting the finger dents remain as part of the interior bowl form.

From the outside, one can see how the shamrock has been embedded into the clay from the pressure of joining the pieces. The cling-film creases will also add to the final design, apparent in the glazing process.

Here are the five bowls posing with the shamrock. Normally they need to be leather-hard dry before removal from the bowls, but since I was not adding feet to the bowls I could leave them until they were totally dry and ready for firing.

I glazed all the shamrock bowls with a food-safe green, wiping the glaze on the exterior in order to allow the glaze to only be in the plant and crease areas. I liked the way the glaze worked on the interior, accentuating the finger marks, however, I thought it was a bit too pale on the outside. I did submit them to the craft fair (more pictures can be seen here) but when they returned to me, I took the opportunity to make them better bowls.

For each of the five bowls I made feet that I thought were an aesthetic improvement. I knew that once they were fired some glaze could be used as a glue and the bowls could be re-fired with their feet.

I also took the opportunity to use a darker glaze on the exterior, with not such aggressive wiping in order that the creases were more apparent as well as a stronger appearance of the shamrock. For the deeper bowls I made tall feet.

For the two shorter bowls I made feet rings that were appropriately shallow. I am quite pleased with the results.

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