This week, my studio shelves are full again which means it's time to fire up the kiln. A bisque load is in the kiln now. While that load cooks, I'm waxing and mixing and getting other pieces ready for a glaze load. There are pieces to be trimmed and under glazing to be done.
Which brings me to my dilemma: what to do with this vase?
I threw it a few weeks ago as an experiment. I wrote about it here. But now, I need to decide how to under glaze it in a way that keeps the whimsical nature of the form but doesn't wind up looking clownish or garish.
Thanks to SketchClub, a handy dandy digital drawing pen and my iPad, I can play with no fear of permanent consequences. At least, as far as my vase is concerned.
Here are three digital design ideas. I'm not sure I'm in love with any of these designs, they all have draw backs.
The first one feels nice but maybe too much white.
The second one feels like I'm looking at two pieces instead of a whole vase.
The third one might be too dark?
Beyond design decisions, there's the nitty gritty of glaze application.
Although the idea of an overall color with is quick and appealing, it's a bit tricky to get it on the base without tainting the detail elements like the leaves and dots. To do that, I have 2 options, wax out or wipe out the detail areas. Both of these options have their drawbacks.
Waxing is a resist method. Waxing out details works well if you are very, very careful. Any wax drips or smudges anywhere else on the piece and the base glaze will not stick. I've had the unfortunate experience of naked patches appearing on what is supposed to be a solid glazed section because of wax drips. This cannot be fixed and it ruins the piece. Sigh.
Wiping is an erasing type of method. The base glaze is applied and allowed to set up. Then, I get out a sponge and a bowl of water and start cleaning the glaze off the detail areas. Any areas not well cleaned up, wind up with glaze where you don't want it. I've had this happen, too. Sigh.
If I use color in the detail areas, and clear glaze the base, I don't have to worry about any of the wax or wipe issues. It's easier in that way, but the trade off is having every little hand mark on your clay surface show up, an base glaze can cover up a multitude of clay glitches.
So, while I love playing with design ideas and pondering methods, I know I have to decide and do. That's the part that always makes me nervous because there's no going back.