Monday, May 7, 2007


This is a funky pitcher that was hand formed with slabbed and stamped clay. It makes me laugh inside every time I see it. It reminds me of one of those dinosaurs with the flared plate around the back of the head and the spade-shaped vertical plates running up and down it's back.

Then I made "Count Olaf's Pitcher". I love Lemony Snicket's books. I like this pitcher better than the first. Both pitchers pour like champs. The spouts are a design I developed based on leaf shapes. These are variations of tropical leaves which evolved to shed water, since there is such an abundance of it in those climates. The shape at the very end of the spout also discourages drips.

In the next few weeks, other commitments are going to keep me out of the studio and away from work. I would just about prefer to eat, sleep and work at this point, but there times when it is necessary to attend to other things and shelve the work for a while. I'm trying to get ahead with bisque and large pieces that can be left on batts to dry while I'm out of my studio. It will be much easier to resume the work that way. So I'm firing my kiln tonight, rather early in the morning. It has a computerized timer which I have programmed with a delay that will begin the sequence at 5 a.m. tomorrow. It will fire all day and cool after an automatic shut off after about 12-14 hours depending on how densely it is packed. This one is packed. Even though the system is automatic, I never leave my kiln to run on it's own. I'm continually mother-henning it checking to make sure everything is working right.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Clay Jags

I'm on another 'clay jag'. It happens. I get all enthused about making a certain form--in this case, tumblers--then try and see how many different kinds I can make. Sometimes I have to race to get the ideas all down on paper before going merrily off on another 'jag'. This finished tumbler was made while taking a class by Jamie Walker some time ago at Pottery Northwest on painting on raw clay with underglazes. It's an experimental piece. (Pfuut! as if that was something new. Nearly everything I make is experimental.) The designs were lightly drawn in pencil on a slightly damp thrown piece then outlined and filled in with a brush and underglaze. I used a bit of scraffito on the wide band at the top just to see what would happen. (I love to use it because it holds a pint of liquid and has a very comfortable lip.)

So here's some tumblers in process on the current jag: They have been thrown on the wheel and altered, they are awaiting a complete dry-out before being put into the bisque kiln. The first series of 6 (really 7 just in case and to keep a reference piece) were what I'm calling Innies and Outties. They either have areas that are pronounced dents or bumpy bits added to the outside. It's amazing how interesting they are to hold. A hand diversion.

The second is pure class. I have a stamp which I used to make the center medalian. First, I stamped slabbed clay, then thought, "How can I make nice clean cuts around the shape? I know, where's my biscuit cutter!" There's an old cutter rattling around somewhere in my studio. (See, that's why you need all kinds of crap in your studio because when you need it you NEED it.) I made another set of 6 with this motif, but with more going on with the surface--nubs and dents. The one pictured here is sort of an 'out-take'.

And the final set of 6 are tumblers on small pedestals. These are thrown separately and will be bisqued as two pieces, then glazed and fused together in the final firing--another test to see if THAT will work. I'm seeing these in a reddish brown with dark chocolate brown interiors and bases. We'll see.........

I still have more designs to go. Another set of 6 with the flared lip and oriental-like stamps down one side, a set with a series of large dents and indented lines, and yet another set with an underglazed big, dark spot on one side.