Monday, 24 August 2015

New clay...

...not exactly new as I bought myself a bag each of grogged pink and heavily grogged black clays from Bluematchbox with my winnings from 'Best in Show' at our West Forest Potters annual exhibition in May 2014. A year later I started to experiment with both of these clays.

I began with small 'pinch pot' bowls to try out slips and glazes and to get used to handling much rougher clays. Due to the strong colour of the clay, I soon found that glazes worked best over several coats of white slip, as in these small bowls using the pink clay
And these in the black clay
Time then to move on to making some planters, my intended prime use for these new clays.
small black planter - d~15cm
I formed the hemisphere by moulding the slab of clay over a mould then gave more texture to the surface by pressing in a piece of bark.

large black planter - d~25cm, h~20cm
This planter was made using flattened coils built up from a slab inside a large cicular mould, a new technique for me. On this planter I smoothed the joins of the flattened coils both inside and out, then scraped the outside to bring out the texture of the clay.

large pink planter - d~25cm, h~20cm

Once again I used flattened coils but did not smooth the outside, instead used a square edged tool to accentuate the steps.

 I then decided to experiment with a combination of pink and black clays. I had thought that cracks at the joins might appear due to different contraction of the two clays, but all joins have remained intact at both bisque and stoneware firings.

pink and black bowl - d~18cm

black and pink bowl - d~16cm

Whilst playing with my 'new' clays, the new shoots, koru, of my ferns were growing rapidly in the garden, time to make use of them. I decided to make some cylinder vases, pressing the koru into the clay before forming the cylinders. I also made a feature of the joins by making an outward curl of slab at the join. The koru impressions were highlighted with copper oxide and marble green glaze was used inside the vases and on the outside of the curls.

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