Glazing mysteries

Glazing, or coloring, a piece requires an enormous leap of faith. The raw colors look nothing like what they do when fired to temperatures of around 2000 degrees (I guess, what does?).

On a recent piece, I decided to have a little fun with a pool of color. I knew this particular green was sparkly when it was thick. It also runs, or melts, so I had to control the effect I wanted by keeping it contained. As most of my pieces play with a seabed image, I wanted this one to be sitting in a puddle of color.

The first picture below shows the piece bisqued and glazed but unfired. What a yucky looking pool of raw glaze. The second is lustrous, though more so in person than in a photo.  I’ll be playing around with this idea some more.

image
Glazed but not fired. Dull, eh?

image

Seabed Worlds

image

image
I wish I could figure out how to capture these lovely, delicate trimmings…

My teacher Cynthia (see link at right) says I’m the first student in 1,000 that has used the trimmings from the pots back with the pots again.

Trimmings are the clay bits that you carve or spin off when the pot is “leather” hard. Basically, you get to reshape your pot at this point. It’s not that I’m into saving everything — I just love texture and all these bits add lovely texture to my boxes that represent the seabed my pots lie in.

image

Edmund de Waal

I discovered Edmund de Waal at my friend Lida’s house: She had a copy of The Hare with Amber Eyes. Haven’t read it yet? It’s a must.

I next ran across him on the front of the New York Times Sunday Arts section in 2013.  He’s not only a really nice writer, he is a potter of small porcelain pieces arranged into lineups that, in the words of his dealer, look like lines of poetry. Look at his stuff — it’s great.

Here’s his website (it’s a bit slow to load).

There’s an interesting documentary about him on a BBC Four show called “What do Artists Do All Day?” (great title or what??). This one from Youtube doesn’t seem to be the full 1+ hour show, but you’ll see why I like it.

And, yes, all my painter friends immediately mention Morandi….

 

Inspiration

My father was a voracious reader and self-educator. We had books on everything around the house. I was like 8 when I discovered the Provensens’ Iliad and Odyssey. Their somewhat classical-but-not-quite illustrations have stuck with me always.

Thanks to Pop’s subscription to Time Life books, I could pore over pictures of classical archaeology, of Pompeii and Greek cities. As I started to try to interpret ancient pots in my work, it seemed natural to give them a setting.

When I construct my little worlds of shards and broken pots, this is what I’m picturing (scroll down to second image). Someone made these pots. The ship transporting them sank, and the pots rested on the sea bed for thousands of years before they were seen again.

 

Art and exercise

For the past year, I have devoted my energies to art and exercise.

The exercise portion isn’t all that interesting (except the tai chi and the belly dancing…), but the art may be.

image

Began with a visit to the studio of my pottery teacher Cynthia Curtis for inspiration on glazes. Ended with my getting utterly seduced by seeing her tiny bud vases. That reignited my love of classic Greek vases. Only in my hands they are 2-5-inch versions, riffs really.

image
Bisqued pots drying