Thursday, January 22, 2015

Epoxy Time

I have a show in Seattle next month, Mechanical Botanicals at CORE Gallery. I had originally planned for this show to feature sabbatical work from last fall, but I was also hoping I might finish some new work this summer. The short work time of the summer months doesn't leave me quite enough time to build, glaze, and put together the complex mixed media work, so I have tried to get it glazed and fired during the academic year.

A clean table surface makes it much easier to clean and organize the parts.

During January I finally got a chance to start putting together the bike parts and the ceramic parts. It had been months since I was planning the pieces, so I had to remember which pieces went with which gear or bike part. I also had to clean the metal parts because several had clay finger smudges on them from when I was building.

Ceramic pieces laid out to measure attachments with bike parts.

None of the pieces are completely finished yet, since all have several levels of attachments. I put one level together and let the epoxy set before it is strong and stable enough to attach the next level.

Two levels of one sculpture taped or braced against the windowsill for stability.

A big change I made this summer was on my attachments for my bike wheel piece. I build the bulbs to be slotted in place, so I had to unscrew the spokes and feed them into the holes of the bulbs. I added a bit of epoxy so that they wouldn't slide around.

Bike wheel with spokes passing through the bulbs.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mechanical Botanicals

My first show at CORE Gallery in Seattle opens next month on February 4, 2015. The show runs through February 28 with a reception for the Pioneer Square First Thursday Art Walk on Thursday, February 5.

My show will feature work from my sabbatical, and, if I get things done in the next two weeks, new work from this past summer.

I will be in Seattle for the first Thursday Art Walk from 6-9pm. The gallery is open Wednesday-Saturday 12:00-6:00pm. If you would like a postcard (and I haven't already gotten you one, send me an e-mail with your address. I will also plan to get some to Larson Gallery on Tuesday.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tape Resist Plate

Over the holiday break I glazed some plates I had thrown the week before. I used my tape resist method. I sprayed on mostly one glaze, camel, I think with the tape resist lines in place. 

glaze sprayed on tape resist

 Then I peeled off the tape and sprayed on clear glaze to coat the white spaces.

clear glaze sprayed after tape was removed

On one plate I dripped another color of glaze while the tape was in place. I use a dripping method a lot in the studio at YVCC to mix colors.

drips of a second color of glaze

I gave a couple of the plates as gifts and, like with the small pots, didn't take good pictures because I was sick. I also have one left to fire, since I ran out of room in my small kiln. 

glazed work after firing (gifts)

The rest turned out fairly well. The one with the drip has a tiny bit of kiln wash or something on the top. I'll have to try to load next time when I'm feeling better so I can be more careful.

the dripped plate with the kiln wash mistake

Friday, January 9, 2015

Tiny Pots

I visited Oak Hollow Gallery before Christmas and saw some tiny turned wood vases. My daughter really liked them and, when we got home, asked me to throw some on the potter's wheel. I was already planning to thrown some plates and lidded pieces, so I thought I'd give it a try.

One tiny vase after trimming.

Throwing small pieces like this looks like maybe it should be easy, but it's difficult to get the clay so thin and small while still holding a steady shape. It's easier to throw a piece about 3 or 4 inches tall than to throw a piece just an inch high.

Tiny vases after trimming (with a penny for size comparison).

Still, I was able to get a handful of pieces thrown, maybe 15 or 20 pieces total. A few of the vases I threw ripped through the bottom and, of the three or four bowls I threw at this size, I was only able to trim a foot on one or two.

Taking tiny pieces out of the bisque kiln.

The pieces dried pretty fast and I bisque fired them before Christmas. I ran out of detail tape before I could get any of the little pieces taped. (I was taping them on Christmas so I couldn't replace the tape that day.) I ended up using masking tape which didn't stick as nicely as the other tape.

Tiny pieces taped, ready for glazing.

I fired the pieces after Christmas and pulled them out of the kiln right before we left to see family. By then I was already a significant way into what turned out to be almost two weeks of pretty awful suffering from tonsillitis and pharyngitis. I was in so much pain and so exhausted that I didn't feel well enough to both unload the kiln and take pictures of the work. (I'm still pretty amazed how awful I felt and for how long.) I suppose it was lucky that I felt so bad while I wasn't required to be at work.

Tiny pieces out of the glaze kiln.

I can't take many more pictures of the work now because I gave several away as gifts (and my daughter claimed the rest). I don't even know who I gave which piece to, as my daughter did the actual selection and distribution (while I moaned in pain), and I was perhaps even less aware of my surroundings when people opened their stockings and pulled out the pieces.

Tiny glazed pieces.
Maybe my relatives will post pictures of the ones I gave them. Or maybe I'll eventually throw a few more. I know that several of my students are also working on tiny mugs or tiny vases. It must be a trend.

More tiny glazed pieces (claimed by my daughter).

Monday, January 5, 2015

Top Pottery Blogs of 2014

This year again I made the top pottery blogs list on Pottery Making Info. My blog is listed at #12 of 14 blogs honored. Actually, they list a bunch of honorable mentions, too. If you visit my blog because you're interested in pottery, you might check out their whole list for a bunch more blogs about pottery.

Regardless of whether you read my blog because you love pottery or for some other reason. Thanks for reading!

Also, coming up soon: a post about tiny pots, a post about plates and my show in Seattle in February:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mugs Out of the Kiln

I pulled some glazed mugs out of the kiln the other day. I taped them with two kinds of tape resist during the holiday break. I glazed them with mostly two colors of low temperature glaze and clear glaze over the tape resist lines. 

The resist results are better on the pieces on which I used the better tape, something I knew before I fired the pieces. The glaze results are better on the pieces where I used just one glaze and the clear over the top after I removed the tape.

On several others, I sprayed a second colored glaze over the top after the tape was removed. These pieces are less bold, though they have some more subtle color variation.

After these pieces came out, I glazed some plates I had thrown during the break. I used mostly one colored glaze and the clear over the top to replicate the results with more contrast.

Friday, December 26, 2014


I've fired several kiln loads of work over the past few weeks. These loads have consisted mostly of small pieces with no base and therefore no logical ending place for the glaze. When I apply glaze on all sides, I need to stilt each piece so that the glaze won't melt and stick the piece to the shelf. 

stilted pieces in the kiln after firing

Most of my shelves have kiln wash on them, meaning they've been coated with a layer of material that keeps glaze from sticking to the shelf. If I were to get glaze on the bottom of a piece, the glaze would melt, stick to the kiln wash and later lift off the shelf easily with a bit of kiln wash on the bottom.
checking the fit of the stilt before loading into the kiln

If I put glaze on the bottom of a piece that is loaded on an un "washed" shelf, the glaze will melt, sticking the piece to the shelf. Removing the will take a bit more effort, and may result in part of the piece sticking to the shelf and breaking away from the piece, or vise versa. Glaze on an unwashed shelf usually results in damage to the piece or the shelf.

four point metal "jacks" stilts and a variety of ceramic stilts with metal points

To prevent damage to the piece from kiln wash and to prevent damage to my unwashed shelf, I load these small, bottomless pieces on stilts. I have a wide array of stilts, including metal pointed stilts with three or four prongs and some four-pointed metal stilts that look a bit like jacks. I can arrange pieces so that they each have a stilt or two or three. More points of contact between the stilt points and the piece makes the piece more stable and less likely to tip off the stilt during loading or firing.

the white spot is where the glaze melted to the shelf after this piece rolled of its stilt during firing or loading

After firing, the glaze has melted, but, assuming the glaze hasn't run down past the point of the stilt, the metal leaves a tiny hole in the glaze that is more or less invisible. If you look carefully at "China" dishes that have a shiny surface inside and on the foot, you can see three or four tiny holes in the glaze on the bottom. These holes are the marks of the stilts used to hold up the pot in the kiln. If your dishes have a matte surface on the bottom, but are shiny on top, they were "dry footed" during the firing and never had glaze applied to the bottom so that it wouldn't melt during firing. These pieces didn't require stilts to keep them from melting during firing.