Friday, August 26, 2016

New Functional Work: Story Bowls, Spoons, Jars, Sets

a set I was commissioned to do earlier this year

I just unloaded a batch of functional work from my new kiln. This was an array of items (30 pieces, not counting spoons) that I threw this summer and finished glazing this week. This load was mostly lidded containers, as well as some mugs and a pitcher I threw to match a lidded piece I was commissioned to do earlier this year. Of course after the firing I noticed two more pieces on a shelf in my studio--I'm not sure when those will get fired.

most of the stuff out of the kiln

Walking out to unload the kiln in the morning posed an unexpected challenge. Because my new kiln is now in the garage, I need to walk back and forth between my studio and the garage. On this morning the lawn was wet from the sprinklers, so I and my helper had to dodge the many slugs on the sidewalk while bringing the fired ceramics in and the greenware out to load the kiln.

a base with clay wads and a lid wadded in place

This load included lidded pieces because I remade some lidded pieces with spoons I had done earlier this year. I didn't like how the last batch turned out. This time I was more careful with the lids. I used clay wads to ensure that the glaze wouldn't stick the lids together. The wads allow me to fire the lids on the pieces so that the lids and bases don't warp into shapes that no longer fit together.

a lidded form with wads after firing
After the firing my young helper enjoyed knocking the little wads off of the rims of the containers. A couple of lids stuck temporarily, but a little whack with a wooden paddle got them loose. All the lids fit well, but I have a bit of work yet to do on two wads that stuck to one lid. Usually wads are dipped in Alumina hydrate so help prevent sticking, but I didn't have any handy when loading.

a storyteller bowl
I glazed most of the mugs and lidded containers with storytelling designs like the ones for the Storyteller exhibition at Boxx Gallery (Aug 27-Oct 22 at 616 Maple Street in Tieton). I also glazed some bowls with similar storytelling designs.

two storyteller bowls

The cylinder forms make a little more sense for storytelling designs because the story wraps around the outside like a zoetrope, but I am pleased with the bowl results where the design spirals around the interior in a similar fashion.

I made a whole bunch of spoons in this batch, mostly to be used in lidded sugar jars, but also just for fun. My favorite spoon worked well because I squished the handle and then applied the glazes in combination to the indents, making for more interesting colors compared to the whole batch of work.

My young helper instantly claimed the tiniest spoon, which hangs over the edge of a mug, or in this case, a miniature form that copies the design of the Rotary Commission work. 

the littles spoon and the spoon through the lid piece

I also tried out this funny method of making the hole for the spoon inside the middle of one of the lids. It's a little awkward, but fun to try. I'll have to try it in action to see how annoying it is to put the lid back on when scooping sugar. The jar itself has a flower story around it.

hand-built mugs
I also had a few hand-built mugs in this batch which I decided to glaze a little differently. I shaped the rim visually with glaze since, unlike the other rims, there wasn't a thickness change that marked the transition from rim to wall of the form. These smaller mugs aren't storytellers.

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