Saturday, December 26, 2015

Kid Decorations on Small Bowls

in the kiln after firing

My daughter helped me quite a bit with this last kiln load. She was going to cut out some ornaments, but then got sidetracked into drawing pictures into the wet clay of a bunch of tiny bowls. Most of these are destined for particular people for the holidays so the drawings are Christmas or relative related.

lots of drawings

After the drawings were done, I let the bowls dry and then applied black underglaze to the surface. I wiped away the underglaze gently with a damp sponge, which left black in the impressions and also served to soften some of the slightly sharp edges of the drawings.

two drawings

I particularly like the way my girl writes the sound a cat says. Her airplanes apparently look like unlikely Bert Rutan creations (that's my husband's assessment; I had to look up the guy).

a cupcake with gingerbread men leaning against it

The bowls mostly exist because I was making some bowls for teabags at my brother's request. The project took off, but my daughter points out that the bowls can hold nuts, cookies or a single satsuma.

bowls in action

My daughter was at school when I was finishing the decorating, but the whole batch of work is still pretty much kid oriented, with primary colors and plenty of trucks. 

more trucks

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cone 6 Celadon Mugs & Teabag Holders

new work just unloaded from the kiln
I fired some mugs to cone 6. I used mostly two celadon glazes and slip trailing. The results are pretty good where I avoided the non-celadon glazes.

two split rim mugs

I made a couple of mugs this summer with a sort of split rim that makes it look like there's one mug inside another one. I saw something similar in a show in Illinois when I was in the midwest for the Milwaukee NCECA in 2014. I hadn't looked at the cup since 2014, but I was able to quickly pretty quickly retrieve the image I took at the show. The artist's name is Lee Rexrode.

Lee Rexrode cups with split rims.
I just did a couple of these split rim cups. The other shapes vary based on what else I was trying out this summer. I'm happiest with the mugs with green interiors and colored slip trail "drips", but I think I could have mixed the green celadon with the colored slip trailed drips.

mugs with celadons

The newly built pieces from last week are the little tea bag holders. I made five to hang off the side of the mugs and, with my daughter's help, I made quite a few small bowls that simply sit on the table. 

mugs with tea bag holders

The hanging bowls are a bit of a mix-match because I was trying out the new glazes, new shapes, and thinking of my nephew in coming up with some of the designs. My work generally features fewer trucks than this batch of work does.

tea bag holders on their sides

A few of the pieces I glazed were neither handled mugs nor newly made tiny bowls. I had one thrown bowl with purple underglazes under the celadon, and a few handleless mugs or vases. During one throwing session this past summer I sliced the surface of a couple of pieces and then continued throwing to expand the cuts. These I highlighted with blue underglaze and it looks pretty decent with the celadons.

sliced surface mugs

As a result of the dual influence of the holiday and the kids, I made a couple of Christmas tree shakers (with tiny balls inside to make noise). The noisemakers got stuck inside the big one, but my daughter has claimed that one anyway.

tiny Christmas trees

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December Firing

small bowls or tea bag holders

YVCC finals ended last week but the kids still have school this week. That means I had some time to either clean the house or work in the clay studio. The house is still messy.

bisque mugs after slip trailing but before glazing

I had some mugs and bowls leftover from the stuff I made this summer for they Archie Bray workshop. I had fired a low-temperature load earlier this fall, but I didn't have time to get all the cone 6 stuff glazed.

my home glazing station

I glazed a shelf full of functional work, but I used up almost half the kiln with new work. My daughter and I made some ornaments and I made some items that might be gifts if they turn out ok.

glazed tiny bowls

My daughter drew some pictures on some of the small gift/ornaments, but because we didn't plan a lot of time, these had to be once-fired, meaning I glazed everything before it had been bisque fired. I only have four cone 6 glazes, so I used mostly a couple of celadons and some underglaze colors.

tea bag holder designs being glazed

One of the new forms I tried in this round is a portable teabag holder. The idea is that it can hang off the rim of the cup while the tea is carried to a different room and then it can be set down on the table with the tea bag inside. I tried two different designs, one that contains the teabag best when being transported, one that hangs when empty but must be set down to hold the tea bag. Since I didn't have time to bisque, I'll have to try them once they are out of the kiln so see if they work well.

the mostly-full kiln before firing

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Santa's Workshop

Next weekend, Sunday, December 13 at Larson Gallery, join us for the 3rd Annual Santa's Workshop Event. Santa, Crafts, Cookies, Fun and it's all FREE!

Santa at last year's event

Bring your camera for pictures with Santa. Bring your kids to make some fun crafts. If you don't have kids, bring your parents or your friends or your neighbors and they can make crafts, too. 

tree ornaments made in preparation for the event

There will be cookies to decorate, and eat. There will be crafts to make, but you shouldn't eat them. We will be collecting for Toys for Tots, so bring a new unwrapped toy for a kid in need and you can get some used toys of your own at the Christmas rummage sale.

Rudolph the red-nosed triangle

We have two crafts planned, though there may be a surprise third craft planned by YVCC's student government. The crafts I have planned are popsicle stick ornaments in the form of trees, stars or Rudolph. Kids (or adults) can decorate them however they choose. 

wire stars of various types

We also plan to make wrapped wire star ornaments. I have some prototypes made, but I might tweak the plan a little before the event. These stars are a bit more complicated, but with some help, the kids should be able to do them. 

craft stick stars

I hope to see lots of people at Larson Gallery on Sunday. Spread the word. The event is free and the last two years we've had lots of fun!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Holiday Shows & The End of the Quarter

Happy Holiday Season
If you'd like to see (and buy) some of my work, come visit one of my galleries this month. I have some functional work and a few small pieces at Oak Hollow Gallery in Yakima. The holiday show at Oak Hollow features a range of artists and mostly small or functional works and some holiday themed pieces.

some of the work I took to Oak Hollow

I also have some sculptural work at the CORE holiday show in Seattle. The CORE show is open through December 19. 
the CORE Gallery show (with my work barely visible on the right)

This is my last month with the gallery as I am not planning to continue in 2016. It was nice to be a member of the gallery, but I've decided that it wasn't worth the time and energy to stay with the gallery. Additionally, I wasn't able to spend much time in the studio this summer and therefore I wasn't comfortable with what kind of show I would have been able to put together.

some work I took to Seattle

This summer my energies were divided between my studio, the throwing workshop I participated in at Archie Bray in Montana, and getting the new studio ready at school. This spring and summer I anticipate being able to carve out a bit more studio time than last year.

the entrance of the new building in the evening

At school were really are settling into the new building. Next week is finals week, marking the end of our first quarter in the building. I am happy to say that all of our kilns, equipment, and venting are now fully functioning. We had a surprise visit from the fire department before Thanksgiving, but there wasn't an un-contained fire; just an alarm from a sensor in the kiln room while we were firing the gas kiln.

fire fighters checking out the kiln room last week

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Palmer Martin Hall, in Use and Tour Next Tuesday

This coming Tuesday, November 10, the YVCC Art club is hosting a tour of the new art studios. We are meeting in the lobby of Palmer-Martin Hall at 12:30. If you haven't seen the studios yet, join us.

I am enjoying seeings student art displayed in the new building. Drawing, Design, Photography, and Painting classes have had work up on the walls for most of the quarter. I especially enjoy looking at drawings where the student are all working with the same subject. I think it is interesting to see the different students' approaches to the same view.

student drawing examples in the hallway last week

The wall displays are a way to show visitors to the building what our students are doing in class, they also offer students waiting for class more to look at and hopefully they inspire students in their own art making or to take studio classes themselves.

Palmer-Martin downstairs hallway

The clay students don't have as much of an opportunity to show there work. In part this is because there work takes longer to finish, but it also has to do with the lack of shelving for 3D work in the hallway. We are waiting on some shelves that can be put in the display cabinet, so I am hopeful that we will be able to display work later this quarter or in the winter.

clay studio student work shelves

Most of the other things that were not yet completed at the start of the year have now been finished or fixed. This week we fired the glaze kiln for the first time in the new building. Results seems good, though the firing was unusual. I've been firing this kiln for years, but in the new space it has significantly more venting, which impacts the pressure in the kiln and required me to adjust my firing this time around.

gas kiln in the new building

We also fired the large electric kiln for the first time this week. It had, oddly, shipped without a plug which took several weeks to be replaced, then we ran into another small problem with the controls that delayed the firing a few days.

electric kilns in the new building

Our mixer was finally fully installed a couple weeks ago. We've mixed several batches of clay and my students and work studies are starting to understand what the process is all about.

clay mixer and venting

The whole studio is starting to feel more familiar and more comfortable. Glazing started a little over a week ago and now all students have had a chance to used the glazing room and see the results of their glazes. This means, of course, that the quarter is coming to an end. The last day for students to throw is two and a half weeks from today.

glazing room

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Glaze Firing Results

I unloaded my latest low temperature glaze firing this week. It was mostly successful. Some of my color application inside is a little thin and one bowl cracked.

unloading the kiln

I decided to slip trail the same design on the cups and paint the interiors with a baby blue underglaze. I didn't get the coverage I should have gotten with the blue--probably because I was rushing, but I'm generally happy with the design.

blue slip trailed cups

 I used the same slip trailing on some of the bowls and plates.

slip trailed plates

The color is a bit irregular because these are the same plates I tried to use bubbles on earlier in the summer. The bubbles don't show up with the clear glaze on top, but some of the iron oxide drips show through the clear, making the newly fired pieces look dirty in some spots.

iron oxide bubbles

On one bubble bowl, I traced the original bubble design with my slip trailer. I actually like the design and should have done more of it. Maybe I will revisit the idea in future glaze firings.

bowls with iron oxide bubble remnants

When my daughter joined me on Sunday, I filled a larger slip trailer for her. She used it some, but there was underglaze leftover in the bottle when she finished, so I started using it. I used red underglaze in the large bottle, purple in the medium size and black in the small like the other bowls. 

slip trailing circles

A few of the pieces had some level of glaze on them already. One bowl had patchy pink underglaze on it already and I added blue over the top. It must have had a bit of glaze on it already, too, because the new underglaze took forever to dry. The retire is still fairly patchy.

blue and pink splotchy underglaze

One of the bubble pieces had green underglaze applied before the iron oxide bubbles, so it was green before I slip trailed. I like the design alright, but its certainly an odd piece in this batch.

green with bubbles and slip trailing

I had fun with the slip trailing and I came up with some patterns or design motifs I'd like to use in the next glaze batch I try.
I like the circle pattern on the rim, but with a brighter color for the large circles

I think I'll mainly use slip trailing and subtle interior glazes again on the next pieces. The glazes are different, however, so I may need to run one batch through the kiln to get used to them.

I like that these lines are not straight

I expect to take some of this work to Oak Hollow this coming weekend for the holiday show. I'll find out then what Josey wants to keep for the show. I don't anticipate the next batch of work getting glazed until December, at the earliest.

the lines on the right also wiggle a bit

My daughter also glazed some work. She prefers the slip trailer for dripping underglaze and she also liked using the round foam stamps for the red and purple. her blue underglaze application, ironically, is more even than mine.

my daughter's cups (the one on the left entirely thrown by her, too)