Wednesday, June 18, 2014

As The Wheel Turns- Good clay days.

Like a burbling stream on a sunny, summer day, sometimes studio work just flows along. 
I started out the week joining another potter at her studio to do raku.  I love raku pieces but the process I liked best in my clay classes was doing horsehair raku.  My friend Karen French loves it too, has her own raku kiln, a bunch of horsehair and the generosity of spirit to invite me over so we could raku together.  
The raku process can be tricky.  Bisqueware has to be reheated up to a specific temperature. Special glazes can be used to create copper or crackle effects, then the pieces are lifted out of the kiln and into a trash can filled with newspapers and left to smoke the pots.  In our case, the heated pots were taken out and horsehair was laid in and on them creating the look of etched black doodles.

During the process, it rained, hailed and thundered.  Outside, we pulled the kiln under the eves and did the horsehair inside Karen's studio.  Our pieces turned out well but most important, it was a fun afternoon!  
Tuesday was throwing day.  It was still raining but working in my garage with the mixed sounds of instrumental piano music and raindrops was peacefull and productive.  Even the bowl that stuck to wheel head turned into an interesting fluted star-shaped bowl.  I'll see how that ends up...maybe raku??

Today, wound up to be a combo day.  Mugs had to be taken off bats, cleaned up and set aside to dry a little before underglazing. A sculpture started last Friday was ready for the next steps; cutting the base down, attaching the top part, making roots and leaves and attaching them to the base. My raku cup and bowl needed finishing with paste wax.  My bowls from yesterday aren't ready for trimming yet.
There's still more to do, of course.  It's always an ongoing process creating ceramic work and it's easy, way to easy to feel alone, bogged down and like nothing ever gets done.  Thanks to sharing time with Karen in her studio balanced with my own studio time, this week was filled with good clay days.

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