Bowls and Plates – Update

A few weeks back I mentioned some clay work I had done – functional work, for a change. I showed it to you as it came out of the kiln.

I’m slowly beginning to work on it. I’m not in any hurry, and so I don’t know when I’ll finish the group. That’s fine, I like to take my time when I am glazing clay.

I decided to do a preliminary step in a few cases – make some simple designs using wax, right on the clay. The wax acts as a resist to anything put over it, vaporizing in the kiln. What will be left, in the way I did things, are marks showing the original clay color.

You can use the wax technique on underglaze colors, too – paint one color, apply the wax, paint another color, and you’ll end up with a design featuring the original color.

Anyway, on some of the pieces, I applied wax (which looks green in this stage of things, don’t be confused) and then put black Velvet underglaze over it.

On the others I simply painted the black underglaze, as you can see here.

Then I started to work on the pieces. I am using various Velvet underglazes, as I do with my tiles, and then scratching through the colors when wet to the black layer to form lines. I have some plates and a couple of sizes of bowls I’m working on.

I can only do a little work at a time. This type of glazing takes a toll on my arthritic hands. I don’t work on it for more than a couple of hours and I don’t do it two days in a row – I’ve learned from my tile work I suffer if I don’t follow this plan. That’s ok. It keeps me from hurrying through the process.

I have done maybe half or so of the inventory I have waiting. I need to finish the “fancy” side and then turn them over to do the outsides – those, I think, will be something simple, maybe spattered. I’m more interested in the top sides.

Once they are ready, I will fire them again and see how things turned out. After that, I’ll make any underglaze adjustments and then glaze them. Yes, I will put “shiny” on these. Since they are functional pieces, I need to make sure that they are food safe, in case someone should decide to use them in that way. Then they will be fired again.

OK, I’ll keep you up to date on this project as things progress.

31 thoughts on “Bowls and Plates – Update

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. But wait, they will look different once they go through a firing and the wax is gone and the clay color shows through. They will have different personalities with shiny glazing, too. Many mysteries yet to be solved!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. If they come out ok, which could be some time from now, at the rate I am moving, pick one and I’ll send it to you. I just made these for fun!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I find it a natural fit with my love of making patterns and mixing up all kinds of colors together. Fingers crossed on how they turn out, but whatever it is, that will determine the next step. Clay has its own mind…

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Yes, that is always the thrill – will they come out as I thought, or did they take on their own personality? And you can never guess which it will be?

  1. Carol A. More

    These are fantastic, Claudia. I love the periwinkle blue and green (squares) – those colors are so calming. What a talented – and interesting – artist you are. I so appreciate your careful introspection as you create.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. Glazing clay takes a calm and steady hand and mind, I need to get good coverage (although imperfection is my middle name and things go awry, I try to do justice to the piece!). I value clay for putting me in this frame of mind. Thank you so much for what you said, it made me feel good.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Well, when they are done, I’ll send you the one you like, I’m not selling these, just making them for fun and giving away if any one wants. I caution you, wait until they are done, you may change your mind as there is no telling how it all will end …a good friend who taught me a lot about clay told me: “Don’t fall in love with your work until it’s done.” Because with clay there are many pitfalls on the road to finishing them!

  2. agnesashe

    That’s really interesting regarding your process – the resist method – I know about it for textiles, but I hadn’t realised it was a clay technique too. Am looking forward to seeing the finished results. Will there be surprises? I often find my silk layering is not what I have expected when it’s finished after the final steam and all the colours are set and the resist is removed.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Yes, clay is full of surprises in just about every stage, I could go on and on. With these underglazes I can be pretty sure of the color outcome but not how it will look with a glaze on top. And the resist method, sometimes I am happy with the look and other times it just doesn’t work – wax resist gives a certain result, kind of soft-edged, and sometimes I work well with it and other times…I am thinking of putting on colors of underglaze and using a new layer of resist in them, somehow. And that will really up the chances of crazy! It is hard to visualize what will come out and at some point I just throw up my hands and try.

      1. agnesashe

        I think experimenting and seeing what unexpected results you get is a refreshing change from attempting full control over one’s work.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I think my clay work is easy in some ways, I seem to have no expectations and that may be it. I continue to try to hone my technical expertise with it, as far as getting good glaze coverage and so on. But I like doing it and I also like the degree of unpredictability there is to it.

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