Posts Tagged 'pottery'

Shopping small day 3: for artists

My local art store (Utrecht) has changed its name to Dick Blick art supplies, but shopping there still feels a bit more intimate than a big crafting store in the suburbs. I look at the Aquarelle Arches paper, and my heart skips a beat (no, I don’t need more. It’s worse than my inability to leave sock yarn in a store.). But grown up artists and dilettantes (and young artists in preschool) all need:

  • Sable brushes are nice and these look luxurious for watercolor work (the set I want is out of stock, Santa).
  • I don’t think I’ve ever used badger brushes for any of my oil painting. But synthetic bristle brushes are sturdy, and offer flexibility for young students who are just starting to choose either oil or acrylic (set of 3 brushes). Round the set off with a stack of disposable paper palettes, a palette knife, and you’re done.
  • Drawing and sketching pencils, colored pencils, sharpeners in funny shapes. Consider jumbo crayons that are easy to grip for young artists (great stocking stuffers).

Other local art stores and craft stores: Artist and Craftsman. Love them. I’ve been to their Philadelphia branch and their Baltimore one. Service at both was excellent, and the ones in Baltimore were able to explain which things I could get as a gift for a young person who wanted to try cartooning. Shopping for people who do pottery can include lovely time poking around at: Clayworks Supplies (three locations or online), or at Dick Blick — shaping tools are helpful and welcome to potters and sculptors. Happy hunting!

Dyed in the Wool

Dyed in the Wool by rjknits
Dyed in the Wool, a photo by rjknits on Flickr.

Boo! This is artwork more appropriate for Halloween than my hallway. I’ll have a more pleasant picture tomorrow of library stacks.Via Flickr:Art ceramic using polycrylic paint, found wood, and altered nails. By Staton Davis

Sometimes a simple interior reveals much more

I hate to admit it, but I thought the interior might be a bit boring. But the inside of plain red slip took the “shine” very well, and then the black stain ended up making the interior more mysterious. The result is something that looks ageless, and sections seem to swallow the light and others reflect. I now wonder what other simple things I’ve overlooked, not noticing the emotional feel of the play of light.

Sometimes the outside of a piece of pottery is complicated


Red clay pottery, made with a hump mold (egg half), with patterns from a pine stamp on the outside, and stripes of white, yellow, red, and a blue slip. The white and the red slip shine up the best. Then it was pit fired. Like people, sometimes pieces of work you create end up looking all flash on the outside. (I’ll show the inside tomorrow.)

Treasures soaking in vinegar

After the pit fire, the pots were washed under water to get a bit of the ash off them. Then, they went for a 24 hour dunk in vinegar. Here they are, treasures in vinegar:

Pots soaking in vinegar

Firing using the box kiln

This actually was quite exciting. Hopefully there will be a nice day for photos, so I can show the results.

Clay tile carving

Clay tile carving by rjknits
Clay tile carving, a photo by rjknits on Flickr.

Air-dried clay tile with a carving of a stylized jellyfish. This is part of my terra sig work. It’s currently in the electric kiln to be bisqued. I did put blue sig on it before it went to bisque. Later on in the week it goes to the pit firing, and we’ll see if the blue sig stays on.

Element: Earth

I’ve had my hands on enough dirt now (in clay class), that I eye the mud slicks around town from runoff, and wonder… is any of that clay?Image

Here’s a terra sig pot, waiting for firing. You can see the sheen on it near the lefthand side, from polishing the clay slip. I did a tiny bit of sgraffito on the side. The terra sig that I used is hard white clay with avocado mason stain. This pot will go on to be bisqued, and then I think I’ll do a black stain on it, to highlight the pictures.

Adventures with terra sig

I”m afraid today I’m just rambling around, talking about dirt and clay. If you’d like to burble about art classes, your current yarn-y projects, go right ahead and join in the comments…

I’ve been taking clay classes since January, and I’m now taking a short summer class in terra sig (and I’m sorry, but it does sound like a villain from Dr Who during the Peter Davidson era). I’m inspired by the work of Shalya Marsh, whose work I saw at a museum exhibit (her work here).  It’s positively lovely stuff, and much larger than the photos imply. Colleen Waata Urlich has a very different style using terra sig application (I’m in love with one of her pieces of pottery: Woven Plum Branch Vessel, even though it’s been sold already to some lucky person). Other contemporary surface treatments by potters are shown in an article from Ceramics Arts Daily.

This form of pottery has been around a great long time (called terra sigillata), all the way back to the Romans in Gaul, and possibly longer. Visit the Roman Open Air Museum (Romanisches Freilichtmuseum) in Hechingen-Stein to see some examples (virtual mini tour at this link). There’s a Wiki about the technique here, with other pictures. There’s a lovely site at the Metropolitan Museum (NYC) about the history of the Roman Table, and though the pictures are quite small I still feel pretty intrigued by how the ancients might have created terra sigillata. I saw some Roman/Gaulish terra sig bowls while on a trip to Köln/Cologne, but it was behind glass, and didn’t feel accessible. (I wondered if the sheen was a reflection of the glass, or the work of a craftsman burnishing the clay?)

So, now my brain is filled with strange phrases like “deflocculant” (definition here) and “mason stains”, and wondering if I’ll get 1 piece out of the pitfire that isn’t in multiple shards. I’m learning the modern technique, and also…. I’m really, really klutzy.

Nested clay bowls

Image3 clay bowls, with different glazes. The bottom bowl is the “cauldron” — a hand-built pinch bowl with handles on either side. I glazed it with 1 coat temoku and at least 1 coat of haystack yellow. The middle bowl is the best of the lot. It was hand thrown, with a good wheel cut base. I painted that one with green slip hatch marks, and then later glazed it with a orange-white shino layer, followed by a covering of mint green over it. The smallest bowl was painted with black slip at the base (easier to see in the Flickr photos on the right, then Chun’s blue inside and on the lip, followed by shaner clear on the outside and a bit of the inside.

The Gardener was willing to be a hand model, and helped me set up a bit of old cement paving for photography. The neighbors probably have stopped looking out their windows and wondering what’s happening in our yard, after years of me crawling in it to get pictures of flowers.