Sunday, 9 September 2012

Playing with clay

Way back here I shared how excited I was to have enrolled in a ceramics class, as I'd been wanting to do one for quite a while.

Progress has been slow and surgery meant missing a couple of classes but I wanted to share what I have been playing with - first though, a warning! Especially to all those lovely talented potters and ceramic artists out there... bear with me, I am a beginner and am still very much in the experimenting stage.

The ceramic studio - love the exposed beams!
I haven't been learning to use the wheel, I think I'm more of a hand-builder. So I've been using moulds that are available in the studio...

 Above: hand built (using a mould) and hand painted

Above: hand built (using a mould). The yellow and mauve ones are impressed with lace and I used a brush to paint the glaze on. The mauve one was then sponged down to remove alot of the glaze, only leaving it in the imprint. The leaf one is also an imprint but the leaf was very soft and didn't leave much of an impression, very subtle. I also then painted the underside of the leaf with glaze, positioned it and fired it with the leaf in place...

 Above: hand built. The 'plate' was just laid out over an upturned bowl to give it a hint of shape. I then imprinted it with leaves, glazed over the whole surface but wiped it down with a sponge so that it was darker in the imprint. The little bowl was done in the same way but formed using a mould

Above: hand built. A very organic shape for the 'plate' (and yes, I know it has a crack in it). The bowl was formed using a mould. I hand painted the glaze into the imprint alone with a brush and much prefer this effect.

I've been discussing what I want to achieve with my lovely teacher - there are two things: 1) imprinting the clay and 2) printing on the clay.

As the imprinting will need me to hand build every form this could be quite time-consuming and not commercially viable at this stage. Also, I would want to imprint my own designs, as nice as lace is, it's been done and the whole purpose of pursuing ceramics is to eventually introduce some pieces into my range of products.

Printing on clay is much more achievable for my skill level right now and this way I could even buy green ware or bisque ware to transfer my designs onto... alternatively, another thing we've been discussing is for me to make my own moulds and use the slip-cast method. This way my shapes are more consistent and much more 'polished'. We used some studio moulds last week to do some slip-casting and I will see how they turned out after firing this week.

It's all very exciting and rewarding... and the term has just swooshed by... only 2 weeks left but hopefully I can go back next term and keep working towards my goals.