Not much pottery happened last week. I cleaned up the house from my weekend sale (thank you, Memphis friends who came out!), drove up to Nashville to get more clay (two new clay bodies to test, two old favorites to revisit) to replace the bad shipment of clay I got in January that crazed with every glaze I either bought or made, not even low-fire or lowest-possible-expansion ^6 glazes fit without crazing and water seeping through the cracks and wetting the clay body. (My friend Brit of Paper and Clay, a bright young thing who is really going places, and I have bought clay together from a supplier who refuses to do the right thing and admit that he sold us a bad batch of clay. We've each lost months' worth of work and hundreds of pieces because of this, necessitating a changing of clay bodies and adjustment of glaze recipes for each of us. But, ahem, moving forward.) As a result of studio madness and frustration since mid-April, I have four new clays that I've begun testing forms and glazes on. I did manage to get some glazing and shipping done last week, happily, including this piece.
Ever since I returned from Maine last spring, these striped "luck" stones have been dancing around in my brain. I have piles of the stones in a bowls and platters in my studio, in the dining room, and tiny cairns around the house. I'm smitten. This June, on the plane, an idea hit and I've given myself time to play with this idea one afternoon each week. This plate, 28, is one of the resulting pieces, the first that I've been really happy with. I used a heftier stoneware on this piece (though I have also used porcelain and will keep playing with both clay bodies) watered down and mixed underglazes to approximate the gray granite in a watercolor-like wash, carved the stripes, and inlaid tiny bits of sea glass in the stripes, hoping that they'd spread only in the stripes. My first efforts, glazed with my regular gloss glaze, weren't quite there, but last week I finally mixed up a satin/matte glaze that did exactly what I wanted it to do. I'm just tickled with this little plate (it's about 9" in diameter) and can't wait to pursue this line further.
I'm continuing to play with my sea glass collection in other applications, as well. I was recently reminded that glass can either work or not once fired- the pieces that are embedded seem to melt and adhere well, but larger pieces risk poor fit and can pop off. It is great fun to experiment with on art-pieces and on the exterior of functional pieces. My larger pieces of glass are in a vintage wooden bin on my finished ware shelving and the tiny pieces I'm using on the outside of cups and these stone pieces are separated by color in a vintage aluminum ice tray. The afternoons I spent sifting through this year's glass haul ( all but 1/2 c of tiny pieces in this photo were from this year!!) were a pleasure.
We are in the dog days of summer in Memphis. Highs in the upper 90s with at least 70% humidity means we have heat indices over 100 daily, and in the studio, this means that my work dries out quickly (everything has to go into the damp box). In terms of production, it also means that I can only fire the tiny kiln - and that at night- so things are slowing down a bit until the heat breaks in September. But this week I'm throwing all of my forms in the two new clay bodies and am getting ready for fall events and the holidays, as well as exploring options for 2016.
See you next week, friends!