Thursday, June 18, 2015

As The Wheel Turns: New Clay, New Ways.

Working with the new porcelain in my studio, I'm reminded of the old Sesame Street song that goes, "Guess which thing is not like the other?"   The new porcelain clay is definitely not like the old porcelain clay.  

This is a good thing.  Maybe.

Throwing with this new porcelain compared with the old porcelain is like the difference between driving an automatic and a stick shift.  The new clay just seems to want to 'go' and all I have to do is step on the gas.   Throwing 5 pounds with the new clay feels so easy and smooth.  The old clay took a lot more physical work.  But there are some drawbacks, of course.

Tiny bubbles make for big troubles.

Especially when you're working with clay, bubbles can throw off a bowl or cause cracks down the line destroying weeks of work.  This new porcelain seems to have more bubbles at the beginning and wedging my usual way isn't working.  I tried another method and found the bubbles were still popping up.  Yet, when I went to hand build with the clay, I didn't have any bubble troubles.  Hmm...another thing to wonder about.

Forming lasting attachments can be tricky.

Attaching handles and my sculptural leaves has been a tricky learning process with porcelain.  But I've found a way that works for me and the clay I was using.  Not necessarily so with the new porcelain.  I'm having to adjust the timing and drying methods when adding sculptural elements.  It doesn't help that it's dry and hot outside which is not porcelain's favorite weather.  

So, some of the problems I'm having might not be totally the new clay.  It might be that my old ways will work.  I'll just have to be more observant and learn what this new porcelain needs.

New clay or old, it's always good to have new ways to work.

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