Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pottery Studio Tour, Part 2

Open Studio Tour is coming up. Time to get busy.

I had a weekend without events or appointments so I managed to get a few afternoon hours in the studio.

Remember earlier last week I made these wall plates?

Well, it was time to trim the feet and start the mountain decoration.

This is the underside of the plate. I flipped it over onto the wheel to trim the "foot."

Using a loop tool I trim off extra clay to make the raised foot of the plate.

Since these decorative plates are meant to hang, I next make a groove in the foot that will facilitate a picture hanger. I have tried many different methods for making plates that hang and I have found that this ridiculously simply method works the best.

The hook of a picture hanger will just slip into the groove and hold the plate on the wall. Uh...I'm pretty sure, anyway.

Even though the piece isn't completely finished, at this point I make my signature.

These plates are going to be "painted" with a Mount Hood profile in slips and glazes. I will use different colored slips and glazes with different properties to try to create depth and definition of the snow-capped peak and the forested fir trees around it.

"Slips" are liquified clays. Since I have been neglecting my studio all winter, my slips all got frozen. What should look like smooth sour cream looks like cottage cheese.

So...I have to strain the slip through a sieve to get a smoother consistency. This stuff drives me nuts. I just wanna do the creative work, not the time-consuming prep and clean-up. Where's my assistant???? In China the apprentices work for the master potter for something like twenty years, doing this kind of work before they even touch the clay on the wheel. That's what I need. Not that I'm a master potter or anything but an apprentice to do this stuff would be great. Any applicants??? Hello?

Mount Hood has a very distinctive profile from the view in our little valley. Take a look at the "where I live" box in the sidebar of this blog. That's the profile. It looks completely different if you look at it from Portland or Bend, Oregon. So I am making our own well-known Northface profile of Mount Hood.

That profile was used predominantly in a salad dressing television commercial in the 1990's. Maybe you remember it. Or not.

So I cut my best rendition of that profile out of paper for a stencil.

This slip is colored blue with cobalt carbonate. What? It doesn't look blue? It will after it's fired.

Blue sky, and believe it or not, white mountain. There. The brown part. With the glaze over it, it will be white. Trust me.

This slip is green, colored with copper carbonate. Dark green. Really.

If you stay tuned right here, over the next couple weeks you will see how these brown plates will be transformed by flame and smoke into shiny, multi-colored, beautiful works of....."art". Heh heh.
God-willing and the creek don't rise. And the plates don't crack. Or the kiln underfire. Or overfire. Or warpage. Or bloatage. Or blistering, crazing or running.

So keep watching. Good, bad or ugly, I'll show you the results.

In Part 1 of this studio tour I told you how I discovered my water pipes had frozen again. So today Mr. Dirtywrench tore open the wall to see what needs to be done to get the water flowing into the sink again. It wasn't pretty.

Well, it was only a few hours this weekend but I made some progress.

Last weekend, this was all I had to show for winter time in the studio:

Not much.

Today, this is where I'm at.

Gorge Artists Open Studio Tour. Six weeks and counting...

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