Sunday, October 26, 2008

Back to Food

So I'm pretty excited about this next plate. I've been back to reading Michael Pollen and thinking about food production, oil and pollution. One of the components of that food/oil chain is in the pesticides used on crops. Hence the crop dusting imagery on this salad plate (which I was planning to pair with the grain truck plate). I'm hoping that I can fire this guy on an angle with some runny glaze that will look like pesticide spraying from the plane... we'll see if I can pull it off. I have this vision of place settings where the pieces all relate and touch on different aspects of food, food production, oil and energy. I'm still working out where these ideas are going but I feel like I've made some real progress in this past month (which is a relief after such an extended break this year!). Now that I've finished decorating the last round of plates I made, I think it's time to work in some new shapes. I'd like to develop some bowls and cups to go along with the plates, but I'm anticipating those could prove more challenging than the flat, canvas-like surface a plate provides. Maybe some wider and shallower bowls would do the trick. The cups are a little harder to envision - looks like I need to head back to my sketchbook.

I had a few minutes today to look at the huge box of test tiles - I can't wait to get them all spread out to really examine what's going on. Mel just passed along two more recipes for me to try that I think Ayumi uses on her work - she definitely gets that runny color I'm looking for.

Hopefully I'll have some winners in this group of test glazes and we can start moving forward with some actual plate-glazing! I have a feeling there is a lot more testing in my future though...

Friday, October 24, 2008

New and Improved...

I remade the housing salad plate today and I think I like it better than the first version. Practice makes perfect, right?? I had intended to have one remaining house with lights on in the first plate, but I got distracted and painted it black. I think that little change really improves the overall impression of this piece and makes it tell more of a story than the first one did.

I'm also working on a partner to the grain truck plate, I'll hopefully post that one tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Next up... back to trucks. This is a grain carrier, and was a PAIN to make a stencil of! But... I think the time and energy spent cutting these stencils are worth the outcome. I decided that there was plenty going on with the truck and all it needed was a little glimpse of the red clay with the sun up on the right. Again, it will be a different story to see these glazed, but I'm excited about what's happening in the raw state. I have plans for a side plate with a crop dusting plane...

Okay, I'm off to class!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So I was doing my usual pottery schlep today - the photo below demonstrates why it can be a pain to haul delicate things around. I had three of these plates with me, two of which were un-decorated. Of course the one that broke was nearly complete... You gotta love ceramics!! At least I know I can make another one and hopefully improve upon the design.

My glaze class at NCC is really kicking into high gear. I have over 80 test tiles waiting to be fired (phew!) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that something (anything!!) turns out. I've got a number of colorant tests going into this kiln as well as some more base glaze tiles. I think I'm narrowing in on something that will work, but I've still got some crazing issues to sort out. Scott suggested revisiting the glaze I was tinkering with at PCA which I realize should have been done at the very beginning... But, it's mixed now and hopefully will yeild some helpful results.

Hopefully I'll post some pictures of whole plates at some point soon...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Housing Continued

Here is another variation on the housing theme... whoo-boy are these time consuming! I'm liking the results here in the raw state, but I can't wait to see some of them glazed. I'm hoping that the white underglaze on the the white slip will be a bit more subtle than it is now, and that the drawings pop on the white background. The suv on this plate is so exciting for me right now (I love paper resist!!), but having some finished pots will help me see how to move forward - at this point I have no idea what will work out and what won't.

suburbia plate

suburbia plate (back)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Housing Plate

I know that it's on the minds of everyone these days, but I can't seem to take my thoughts off of our faltering economy and plummeting housing market. My "housing bubble" plate below is a continuation of my politically-themed work and an exploration of our current crisis. I'd love to turn these into a dinner set, but I'm torn as to how the decoration between the pieces should relate. I feel like if all of the components were this detailed, the dinner table would feel cluttered and busy! I think I need to work on ways to balance the detailed with the more simple, but I just love filling up all of the space...

We managed to load a glaze kiln in the glaze chemistry class I'm taking at NCC. I've got about 25 clear bases in the kiln. I can't WAIT to see the results so that I can start playing with some color. I'm thinking that the white block with the vulture and the area with the oil rig on the plate below will get a colored transparent glaze and the rest of the piece will be clear. I also need to start playing with coloring the slip - I think it could really warm up these pots a bit if I had a less stark white slip base. Yea experiements!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Next Round

To continue on my camera-happy phone adventure, here is a look at my latest plate. These past two plates are pretty directly from my sketchbook (see this post), and I need to devote some sketchbook time to developing some new image combinations. I'm building up a healthy collection of imagery for stencils and line drawings, so I should have plenty of inspiration. I have yet to use a number of the drawings - I'm pretty excited about the powerlines I recently drew. And with the current state of affairs in the world there is certainly plenty to talk and think about. I've been pondering a series of "presidential cups" with the faces of all the US presidents. And the cows, I've got to get back to the cows!! Lots to work on... I'll get back with some follow-up posts as soon as some of these plates are glaze fired.

The plate ready for bisque...

A close up of the farm field texture with slip slightly sanded away.

Detail of the off shore oil rig stencil

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My sister is my hero!

So I've been moaning and groaning about not having a camera to document my new work in progress for my blog. I realized while working the other afternoon that I DO in fact have a camera and it's almost always with me. My phone! I was momentarily elated until I realized I had no way to get the photos from the camera to my blog... boo. Enter my brilliant, techno-savvy sister who talked me through how to e-mail the photos to myself. yea! Now I can keep everyone updated on my progress and not worry about bringing a camera along to the studio... Here is a peek at some of my latest low fire work.

The start of a "history of energy" plate

A finished version...

Another variation on the same theme (I think I like the trees better in this one, but the whale better in the first...)

Oil and commodity cookie plates

I'd still like to figure out a "real" camera at some point soon, but for now, this is a fantastic solution. Back to blogging regularly!! Thanks, Maddie