I unloaded the glaze kiln this morning. Things have been fairly busy around the studio. Every surface is being used. I’ve been trying to remedy this, but with only one of the big kilns functioning it been going more slowly that I’d like. It will work out. After unloading the kiln this morning, I loaded it back up with new work ready to be glazed and started it up. Tomorrow will be more finished work.
So this kiln load included mugs, test tiles and four of these lidded jars (three of which are pictured above). They are prototypes – ideas I wanted to work out during my play days. Play days are the days that I schedule in my work flow because, unless they are scheduled days, I won’t allow myself to play and explore new ideas. The “to do” list beckons and I really, really want to get to the bottom of that list, but I also know that if I don’t work in any days to play, all the work suffers. Play is important. And whether or not anything comes of it, it ends up being important.
So I had this idea for an oval/jar/box last summer. I worked on it a little bit and discovered that my older kiln wasn’t firing quite right thanks to a burned out element in the top of the kiln. Also I wasn’t crazy about the clay body I used for those first play pieces. So around thanksgiving last fall I worked on seven boxes. Four of those boxes were in the glaze kiln unloaded this morning.
I used another clay body this time. It worked okay for the jar/oval box. However, using this clay to sculpt the greyhounds? Not so much. Too soft. Too prone to cracking while drying. But once the pieces are made and dried, I didn’t want to throw them back into the reclaim bucket. Might as well see where they will go.
So – clay? Not great (more on that later), but I love the way the glazes look on this fired clay. Yummy and not just the one above, the love the others that follow this photo too.
And this is one of the things about ceramics. It isn’t just making the thing – figuring how to construct the thing one has dreamed about – it is about chemistry. Its the chemistry of the glazes, the ingredients in the body that makes up the clay and, then, how one puts it all together to get the reaction one wants in the kiln. This makes the whole thing a lot of fun, challenging fun.
I really like the way the glaze breaks over the texture on this jar/oval box.
I prefer the figure/lid on this jar/oval box over the previous one. I like the restful feeling and how the shape of the hound visually fits the shape of the jar.
Can you see the small crack above the top running hounds head on the edge of the box where the top and side meet? Two of these boxes have cracks like that. There are three more jar/oval boxes ready to fire in the glaze kiln. We’ll see how they turn out.
As of right now, I think it was beneficial to play, and I learned something about the clay and glazes, but I don’t think I’ll make more like this. Or if I do, I’ll change the way I make them by using the potter’s wheel to throw the sides of the box and changing the way the lid/figure is constructed. And maybe a different clay body too. For right now, it is back to the square and rectangle boxes.