The last couple of posts I talked about the tall urn forms I am making, and the many steps involved. This next step is what I consider just plain boring! ( I think I need a book on CD to listen to). This is the part where I sit for hours rubbing away the clay which is not covered by the resist design. I cannot do them all in one day, I’ll go crazy. ( Maybe I should think of it as meditation instead). I take many breaks, as I have seven of these urns to complete, plus six little ones. I”ll take about a week to finish them, doing one a day, in between all my other work. Here are some photos of this part of the process. You can see the finished piece on my website.
Piece on the left with clay wiped away
Ready for the Bisque Firing
There are a number of items I make as a functional potter aside from the typical mug and bowl. Among them are butter keepers, egg cups, garlic grate dishes and salt cellars. I like to call them gifts for the “Foodie Contingent”.
My favorite item which I started making this past January are Salt Cellars. They are so tiny and elegant. Here is a photo of them drying on my sun filled work table. (It’s starting to feel like Summer!) For the finished version check my shop page at http://www.luciapottery.com/shop.php
For years I have been wanting to create a pot that does not have to be fired, but can still serve a function and be used… I guess it’s the environmentalist in me. Every time I fire that kiln I think about where is the energy coming from. I ask myself what can I make that is still considered pottery, and leave its mark on someone’s life, but will also leave just a little mark on our resources.
So what would a pot like this entail?
For the past year I have been working on this idea for an urn made of recycled paper, and recycled clay. I have been making urns for people and their pets for the past five years. So making a biodegradable urn made so much sense for me. It does not have to be fired because there is so much paper in it… so think of it as handmade paper with clay to give it form.
Here is a little slide show of the urns. I took these photos last fall in our back woods near the Green River.
See this and all of my work on my brand new website coming tomorrow at noon! www.luciapottery.com
Back in March I talked about tiles, patterns, and sketches for larger pieces. I showed a picture of a new clover leaf pattern urn drying… well here is the finished product! This is a pattern I have been using for years is various ways on clay. The repetitive stamped pattern has always intrigued me in the way it creates an optical illusion between positive and negative space.
This piece and lots of other goodies will be on the new website coming soon!
My last two posts were about lids, so this one is about the teapots that go along with those lids. With the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail only two weeks away, and only one teapot left I thought I’d better make a few more. Hopefully I’ll have them all glazed in two weeks! Yikes
One of the harder things for students to learn is throwing a lid off the hump. For you non potter’s out there, this means, throwing a small lid, cup, or bowl off a larger piece of clay. This works very well because you can thrown many repetitive pieces without having to wedge each piece individually. Below I am teaching, “Big Girl Pottery Class” how to throw a lid with a flange.
The below photo I am using back of my fingernail to create a straight line to place the wire tool. The cut comes out even if you keep your eye on one side of the line.
Maybe I’m influenced by my surroundings… ya think? I have lots of shades of green pottery, and shades of white. Everytime I look out my studio window I see the field, and woods… that’s either green or white! Ok sometimes brown… and I do have a few brown pots! The latest forms from this winter are a new series of white on white urns. The pieces are approx. a foot in height, thrown on the wheel, trimmed, dried, then the pattern painted on with a resist (like shellac, or wax). Once the shellac dries the exposed clay is rubbed away with a wet sponge. It is a long and laborious process, giving beautiful results.
White on White Vine, Lucia Pottery
When ever I make a new form it starts in the sketchbook, then goes to a “sketch in clay”. This is especially true for making very large urns. The first thing I’ll do is make a small prototype, with a lid or handle that is quickly pinched or rolled. I may do this several times to see what type of handle/lid fits with the form. I then make a another small more finished looking piece. This piece will go through to the glaze firing. At this point I can really see if the glaze I had in mind from my sketchbook drawing will work with the form. It is here that I make my decision to go for the larger form, or to scrap the idea. Here is one of the finished sketches. I have decided to move forward with this idea, and to make a variation of it which you can see in the last post in the greenware stage.
I’m making these new little salt cellars because customers keep asking for them. I wanted to know more about the history of the salt cellar so did some research and found out they are an ancient little household thing. Here are a couple of images from antiquity.
this silver salt cellar was made in the Stato Pontificio - Rome (Italy at the end of the 18th century.
Benvenuto Cellini's Salt Cellar, made in Paris for Francis I of France, 1540-1543; Gold, partly covered in enamel, with an ebony base
Here is my version… it’s no Cellini, but a little more fitting for everyday use!
As a utilitarian potter I seem to make a lot of covered containers. I really enjoy making them, yet I remember as a student they were the dreaded project. (Just as they seem to be for my current students!) They are definitely one of the more challenging forms. I remember back to my Junior Pots class at Alfred with Val Cushing; he had us focus on making those lids become one with the form underneath it, and it’s his voice that I remember so often as I am fitting those lids.
Below are a few of my cremation urns drying for this weeks bisque. These urns are approximately 12″ tall. Along side these urns are my teeny, tiny covered salt cellars, about 2″ tall. These are new little forms which I’m having some fun with.