Archive for April, 2014

Comments Off on Comfortzone Stretch

Comfortzone Stretch


Ocarina - Face the MusicAt some point this last year, I looked at Mitchell Grafton‘s amazing characters in ceramic enough to say, “I really need to give this approach a shot.”  Matt Chenoweth, my instructor for this last semester,  encouraged me to go beyond just brushing on underglazes and to experiment with the blending possibilities that come with airbrushing.

I’m not quite to the airbrushing stage, but I am starting to get a feel for what happens to different colors of underglaze as they are applied to bisqueware then fired to very high temperatures (Cone 10).  Parts of me like the idea of applying a material to a piece that actually fires out at the same color…that certainly isn’t the case for many ceramic glazes.  Parts of me aren’t crazy about the results because I am not yet comfortable with the fit between color, form, and control that show up on the finished product.  There is a fit out there somewhere, evidently beyond my comfort zone, where a series of ceramic musical instruments with varied human facial expressions will communicate my vision of a Face the Music series.

It isn’t a stretch to connect music and human emotion.  It isn’t a stretch to understand that not all of those emotions/expressions are the same.  What remains for me to see is whether a new approach with more color under better control can take me down a path to a successful series of ocarinas like the one pictured here.

Comments Off on I Think I Missed March

I Think I Missed March


raku wall masksI would like to attribute my March writing-absence from the world of potters, ceramics, and all things clay art to something besides getting older.  There was this Madness thing going around…and my family stays up to their eyeballs in basketball when the Belmont Bruins are playing.  Then, there are these little guys (and one princess) that are called grandchildren that seem to provide an endless source of entertainment. Then again, old man winter kicked me out of the studio for an extended period…I could go on.

Surprising to me, is the amount of clay work that I have accomplished in the last few months.  I re-discovered the hypnotism of doing raku firings and have enjoyed my venture into the world of whimsical masks that have been raku fired.  Those pieces now outnumber any other artwork hanging in my office.  I fully anticipated that it would be something else (like several ceramic musical instruments)…but, no.

And, after a year of procrastinating/pondering the use of custom decals, I have made several, applied them to test pieces, and successfully fired them.  It took a little digging, but the discovery that my old HP LaserJet printer ink contains iron in the pigment, made it a good candidate for water-slide-off, paper decals.  Like so many things in the word of ceramics, making one’s own decals takes a bit of planing and set-up time, but the results are simply cool.  If I can quit jumping up-and-down long enough, I might even get images of new cityscape bottles online with the decal embellishments.

So. March is gone. It was the best of Madness. It was the worst of missed writing opportunities. It was the age of procrastination. It was the age of re-discovering lost arts.  I evidently missed the Dickens out of March!