Thursday, April 19, 2007

Latest plate experiements

Two samples of 6 full-sized plates and 6 bread and butters that just came out of the kiln. An experiment in shape, slab and glazes, I used an old two-part plate mold made for poured ceramics to make these. I found a full-sized plate mold and a butter plate mold at the Goodwill and this is the first time I've used them as slump/hump one-part molds to make anything. I rolled out a slab of porcelain 1/4 inch thick, carefully laid it on the part of the mold that would have been the inside surface of the slip plate. Then I let it get dry enough to handle--about a day--and cut irregular rims, then lifted the form off the mold. Before I took the form off, though, I buffed the bottom surface with a plastic spoon-back to create a smooth surface, since these were to be fully glazed and would not have a foot ring. I did the same thing with the bread & butter sized plates and made 6 plates in each size.

I like the Cayote Glaze Co.'s shinos, so I used the light and dark for the two base colors, then took a baby ear syringe and filled it with glossy glaze, laid the plates on newspapers on the studio floor and slopped away. The plates were all fired with large stilts underneath and there was little grinding needed to remove the glaze pips on the bottom. Some warped a bit, but that's okay; goes with the loose design and spirit of the plates. They stack nicely and will wash in the dishwasher just fine.

I'm thinking about throwing some much larger plates and glazing them in a chocolate black/brown to go under these plates in a place setting. I also have two thrown bowls and used the same glazes and they look great. Can tumblers be next?
An earlier oval casserole with similar glazes was the springboard for the plates. To make this piece, I have an oval pattern (one of many rounds and ovals) cut out from plain paper with a notation about how many inches make up the circumference. I throw a bottomless rim on the wheel in the round, measure to the circumference plus a little more and allow that to stiffin up on the batt. When the bottom and the rim are about the same in dryness, I lift off the rim, carefully place it on top the oval base which has been scored and slipped and seal the rim to the base. Sometimes I have to cut the rim to make a match, but I would rather accomplish a match so that there are no breaks in the surface of the rim. I allow the piece to get to leather-hard, flip and trim the bottom by hand or roll and seal it with a little wallpaper seamroller. I buff the bottom to create a smoother surface, sign it and allow it to dry for the bisque firing.

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