Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Brook Trout Love - Part II

The Brook Trout Vase is finished!!!  I couldn't be happier with the results, it really came together well.  I worried the underglaze's wouldn't blend or survive the high temperature of the kiln, leaving it discolored...I worried for nothing.

There will be a lot more carving and sculpting in the future.  Currently, I'm carving a wooden three foot high seahorse in high relief for a custom home on Mount Desert Island, Me.  This piece will take a few months to complete.  I am working on it in my spare time and having fun with it! I'll post photo's later of that, but for now, the most recent pottery pieces out of the kiln....

Poppy Vase

The Luminaries are ready for summer, are you?  I sure am....here it is the first day of Spring and we have another foot of fresh snow....someone needs to go ground hog hunting!  These luminaries will dress up any room or outdoor patio area and look great during the day, like a fresh bouquet.  In the evening just flip the switch to the battery operated tea light and watch the bouquet change color while casting a soft glow.  Battery operated tea lights offer a carefree and safe alternative to wax burning candles.  They come in a variety of colors and are very inexpensive.
without tea light

with tea light shining purple
same tea light shining pink

Until next time, think Spring!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Brook Trout Love - Part I

Here is the Brook Trout vase I am working on.......

 (Female Brook Trout)

 (Male Brook Trout)

Tomorrow I hope to finish the background work which I started today (not photographed).  This piece has been a real challenge, especially with applying the underglazes, blending them and trying to get the correct coloration.   I am hoping to get the background complete tomorrow, then the lear glaze applied prior to firing later in the week.  As you've heard me say before, there are so many variables with glazes and firing, sometimes what goes in a kiln is not what comes out.  Expect the unexpected, but hope for the best!  Most often, it is fine, but there is always that anxiety of the unknown.  We'll see what comes out towards the end of the week.....stay tuned....and have a wonderful week!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Mud Madness!!

March has come in like a lion....and hopefully goes out like a lamb.  My studio efforts have followed the weather pattern.  Today it is a muddy mess outside from the thaw and a muddy mess inside from throwing.   I wasn't feeling up to par, so I wiped off the mud and unloaded the kiln....
The"Test Trout" - underglaze painting on white stoneware with clear glaze over.  I painted this as a test for a trout sculpture I have been waiting to paint and fire.  I needed to test the application of glazes to make certain when blended with others that they would hold true to their color at Cone 5/6 temps.  Sometimes the underglaze will burn out and change color.  These Amaco Velvet Underglaze remain true creating a great palette to work from.
I am very happy with the floral bowl.  The Amaco Potter's Choice Deep Firebrick (on flower petals) combined with the PC Verte Lustre glaze on the leaves really blended well, complimenting each other.  I hesitated to glaze the interior with the firebrick, but am now glad I did.
 #1) The Lupine vase came out lovely.  I love the composition of the arrangement, the color choice, but the clear glaze did not cover completely.  My error, I did not apply it thick enough, so now there are a few spots that are rough from not being glazed properly.  #2) The Lily of the Valley vase also came out fine, but I applied a white glaze that did not take to being brushed on.  It was a dipping glaze, but I failed to re-adjust the glaze consistency prior to application, (learn from my mistakes!), so the brush strokes came through in patches.  And finally, #3) The Burgundy Lily.   The background glaze is a bit darker than I had expected, but I like it.
The luminaries came out beautiful. I just love the softness of the glaze on the smaller one, but the vibrant blues accented with purple on the larger one is very cheerful and reminds me of Spring time!!
And then there was this....the extra large Poppy Vase/Bowl.  Now this was a huge disappointment! I was hoping for a fine golden finish with this glaze (Amaco Potter's Choice Saturation Gold) in the background.  What I got was a pitted mess.  The photo below shows it much better.
It's a pitty party!

Onward and upward!  Never concentrate on what doesn't work, celebrate what does!  Like the Potter's Choice Saturation Metallic glaze below......
...such a smooth and even metallic finish...very soft and beautiful glaze...just wish the Saturation Gold had come out as well! 

After unloading the kiln, I took the rest of the day off and spent time relaxing...that is, after I passed through the mud path and porch guardian.
Apollo "Pol" (the Great Dane who is well over 200 lbs.) He's looking at the path of mud that leads to the pottery shed (more mud).....he clearly has no intention on leaving the porch at the risk of getting dirty. (That's a cattle collar around his neck...we couldn't find a dog collar big enough.)  
This brave little soldier is Einstein, my extremely happy tripod Border Collie, the snake hunter! Yes, snakes.  He can smell them a mile away and will strike with lightening force breaking their necks.  He's a superhero! He literally does a perimeter check of the house and out buildings.  Nothing stops him from his daily routines, a little mud doesn't slow him down, not even a missing hind leg.  He is a rescue out of Kentucky that has acclimated to Maine weather.  As you can imagine, it took him a few winters to adjust to maneuvering in deep snow.  It's as if he's always lived in Maine.   Now, the big galoot on the porch, that's another matter....he hates it too cold, too windy, too wet, too muddy, too sunny....he likes being inside were it is just right!