Saturday, October 20, 2018

My pottery challenges

Navigating thru the clay and glaze choices 

Black clay vs a soft brown earthenware with manganese 
There are so many choices when it comes to clay.  I sort of gravitate toward the darker clays.  I just love the rich tones that come thru and the warms and browns that pop up randomly.  But this clay comes with problems.  It has to be fired to a lower cone.  People often push it to cone 6 and hope for the best, but I so heavily decorate my pieces that the likelihood of there being issues with the surface are very probable.  Still I try...sigh.

Many times I get one or two pieces back that I love, most of it is not acceptable and chalked up to "learning"and receive the hammer.  

This one turned out and I am going to keep it.  It's pleasant to look at but it didn't fully pass the Kolene test.  Are there blisters?  No,  Is the glaze smooth? yes. Does it hold water? UHHHH,  NO.  I had to put something inside it to place the flowers in.  Alas, this will be used (probably) for Christmas cards.  It really is pretty and someone would probably even buy it, but it didn't pass the test.  I am picky for a reason, folks. 

The bowls I will keep but only till I come up with ones that are more perfect, they have some blisters.   I will gift them to some friend who will appreciate them for what they are.  I should have fired them to Cone 5 instead of 6.    However, The vase is a keeper.  I like this vase and it passed all the above tests.  

These vases are pretty, very.  They hold water.  They look great, but I don't care for what they feel like on the inside.  They didn't pass.  It's really okay with me, finally, that I am not getting much back that I like.   At first I was so discouraged.  I would push and push myself, staying up to all hours, not sleeping, trying desperately to figure out what the Heck I was doing.  Now I just accept, there are rules to clay.  Until I figure them out, there will be learning curve of what not to do.  

I did not go to school for this, after all. 

This has a few issues and didn't fully pass all the tests, but it is very pretty and I am going to sell it.  It will be a table lamp when it is done and I bought a great shade off of Restoration Hardware for it!  It really looks nice next to my wall art.  

This is just plain white on the inside.  You can't see it but there was something
that fell into the glaze at the bottom, which turned it right away into a second. 

I am leaning toward letting the insides of the cups being plain without glaze, just maybe a wash.   Why try to hide that beautiful brown?  I am not going to anymore (for now).  It is just another step. 

This was a collaborative piece that I did with my friend Wanda.  She's a very seasoned potter.  Everything comes out shining colors with her.  I am so happy to know someone like her.  She's friendly and helpful and full of knowledge that she is willing to share.  Can you see the manganese in the clay?  That's the spots.  Some people love them, others not so much.  I do love this clay but think that it might be better without so much decoration.  

Thanks for looking.  When I finally have a website for the pottery, I will be ready to start selling some.  Once it makes it to that website, you can buy with confidence.  I will accept returns, but I don't have the website ready yet.  It doesn't much matter, I am not quite ready to start selling.  
Warm regards to you on this fall day. 



Christine Crocker said...

oh Kolene, what wonderful pottery...How I LOVE your bowls...blisters or not...they sing to me!
your work is so very wonderful.

yours kindly,

Kolenespicher said...

Christine! Let me know if you ever want any pottery. I have some pieces here that are not blistered. I sold a lot at wilton and was happy! K

Unknown said...

Hi Kolene!! Hope to see you back at the studio soon! Wanda