Winter Cairns

Fetishghost Totem

Fetishghost Totem All right… it’s started moving into the “it’s really cold, wet, and rainy” time of year for my studio. This is still Northern California so the temperature, at its best, generally is topped out in the middle of the day at 55 degrees, (and I count myself really lucky it’s this warm). This is the down side to working in an old Garagio. It really is cold… and work takes many, many days to dry, and sometimes… things freeze! So aside from the bit about things freezing, things are fairly manageable… I can boil water for my throwing bucket to keep myself warm… (that’s really nice….) the slow drying can be an inconvenience if you’ve got small work trying to dry, but it’s really nice if you have larger thick walled projects that appreciate being slow dried.

Fetishghost Totem Fetishghost Totem Or…. you can see if your friends will let you hang out in a spot in their toasty warm studios during the winter cold snaps. I like this option… they’ve got better hot chocolate, and… oh yeah… heating. Being a decent guest you might be expected to do a little wedging, maybe some trimming, definitely some story telling…. It’s all about that winter camaraderie thing.
So I’ve been spending to past week getting started on creating a series of Cairns for this spring’s exhibitions. These are large(ish) decorative ceramic post markers, and due to their size and complexity, they can be tricky to get across the finish line in a stately manner… (Understatement). Luckily, they really like to be slow dried and they make use of a lot of the techniques I’ve been playing with this year.

For me, these forms provide a more sculptural surface for developing more complex narratives and they also provide a glorified test tile for exploring studio archenemy. This could get really fun… we’ll see… I’m hoping to pick through the results of this winters work and gallery mount a few finished pieces for spring’s and summer’s exhibitions. I guess we’ll have to see…

Fetishghost Totem

This is the cobalt slip…

Fetishghost Totem and a view of cutting the stencils with a razor blade.

Fetishghost Totem

This is the proposed slip & glaze combo I’m planning to use… it’s a cobalt slip and MoonCrater White glaze.

Fetishghost Totem

Fetishghost Totem

Working through the form….


Fetishghost Totem Fetishghost Totem Applying the stencils & sponging on the slip…

 

Fetishghost Totem

 

All most there…

Fetishghost Totem

Hallmarked and now we let it dry S-L-O-W-L-Y…

Advertisements

Throwing Lids for Canisters

I’ve been taking up some loose time this week with filling inventories for November. My kiln blew an element last week and now I’m passing time until the replacement part arrives. I’ve been throwing canisters for my local farmers markets.

So… this post is about lids.

I know a lot of potters hate throwing lids, I hear professionals and students alike grump their way through this chore. I’ve been lucky, I’ve really enjoyed developing my approach to throwing this type of lid. It’s taken a few years and a few hundred lids to work out most of the kinks, but the time spent was well worth it.

Throwing Lids
My lids are made with heft, durability, and functionality in mind. They have got to stand up to at least a family’s worth of use. They are truly a functional item that need be well crafted to fit to their companion well. Still, at the same time, I create these with an eye on my personal decorative athletics of strong curvilinear lines, clean tight surfaces juxtaposed with textures, and with a well formed knob on top.
The carved out concave in the center in the bottom of the lid is purely functional, it helps even out the drying of the form, decrease the weight, improve it’s balance, and, well… I like it.

 

Throwing Lids

This is a deceptive shot. I’ll usually throw a series of 7- 15 canisters in a sitting. All of the galleys are made to meet whatever my current predetermined inner diameter is. This is a ritual of studio covenience for me, this way I’m free to explore a body’s form and the lid will essentally fall into place as it moves through the studio. This piece shown is almost 12 hours old. Shrinkage at this scale makes a huge difference… so pay attention to the “wet measurements” of those openings. Take notes and figure out your shrinkage scales of the clays you choose to use, it really pays off.

 

Throwing Lids Throwing Lids Throwing Lids
Let it dry to leather hard before trimming….
Throwing Lids
I throw a fresh trimming chuck to softly hold a green lid and slowly enlarge it as I work though a lid series.
Throwing Lids

This is the finished fit for a lid in a greenware canister. I don’t approve of excessive slop in the play between the lid and galley. When I throw 15 canister bodies I throw 20- 25 lids and mix and match to fit the greenware.

To get a feel for the entire process, check this out.