Sunday, 30 March 2014

To glaze or not to glaze?

I think it is fair to say that I have a love/hate relationship with glazes.
All too often I finish a piece of work feeling satisfied with the shape (and sometimes texture added) only to be disappointed when I have added a glaze - colour might not be as expected, texture often lost or the glaze run badly leaving large blobs of glaze on my kiln shelves!
However, there are times when I open the kiln and am pleasantly surprised with the results.
One of the glazes I love to hate is my marble green glaze. When it behaves itself and 'does what it says on the can' I get a beautiful 'marbled green', as in this yarn bowl.

Yarn bowl
BUT, this glaze is a great runner! You can see this in one of my latest pieces of work.

Double Koru - h~23cm
Admittedly I did increase the movement of this glaze by dribbling on some vellum off-white glaze which recent glazing experimentation has shown increases the range of colours. I had tried to leave a large area clear of glaze at the bottom, but obviously not enough, more grinding to remove glaze from my kiln shelf!

This piece of work was definitiely intended to be looked at from all angles; with different shapes, both positive and negative, appearing all the time.

One of my most dependable glazes has been 'blue-grey', giving a lovely matt finish as in this triple koru.

Triple Koru on yew base
I have found on some test pieces that cobalt oxide in textured areas under this glaze will turn green (not the blue that would be expected with cobalt oxide). I decided to use this to highlight the texture that I had added to the piece below; unfortunately the glaze covered the piece so well that most of the texturing was lost.

 Another dependable glaze has been 'vellum off-white', which I have discovered works well over cobalt oxide, so have used this over the bowl/vase below.

Bowl/vase - h~12cm, w~15cm
Still very mixed feelings about my glazing efforts, time for some more burnishing and smoking...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Stoned and smoking?

I am continuing to experiment with my own coloured slips in conjunction with burnishing and smoking; this resulted in two pieces which I felt were calling out for some different plinths, shiny black marble came to mind, not cheap!
Lots of searching on the internet and several emails later I had tracked down a local supplier of granite worktops who were willing to cut and prepare offcuts.
I was very excited to collect my first two plinths of black granite yesterday and rushed home to sit my work on their new bases...

Blue pod (burnished & smoked) on granite - h~13cm, l~16cm

Double Koru (burnished & smoked) on granite - h~16cm, w~16cm
I am delighted with the result, especially when Ken came home, noticed them and was complimentary!

Hard to believe that nearly 4 months have past since my last post; it has not been a very productive few months  as Christmas and home DIY took priority for a while. However, I am now getting back into my 'playing with clay' so time to add a few more photos of my recent efforts.

Burnished and smoked hearts

Double koru and Yew - h~24cm, w~30cm

Green 'zebra' vase (burnished & smoked) - h~23cm, w~18cm

 Smoked pebble stacks on yew bases

The kiln is on again with a stoneware glaze firing and several pieces are at varying stages of production, so watch this space...
(Hopefully it will not be another 4 months before I update my blog.)