Friday, January 29, 2010

And Today, tea bowls.

It is a cold and blustery day here in Cape Breton. The windows are rattling, and the trees are bending over in a rather beautiful dance. And it is Fricken cold in my studio! so today, I build tea bowls at the dining room table.I am experimenting with some slipwork, and teabowls give me just the right size to experiment a bit with different methods.
The school where I am teaching has a new facility, only two years young, and as such, there is little in the way of samples, and glaze recipes, for the students to study or experiment with. And by little I mean zero. zilch. nada. I am finding it quite a challenge to encourage experimentation with the students when there are no examples to show them. Last term I cleaned out my cupboards and brought in some of my collection to show them. For the past couple of years they have had a selection of slips, that are ok, but not spectacular, and a few glazes which are again, ok, but not spectacular. So in a way we are starting with a clean slate, which is good, but also, it is hard to not just teach them what I do to my pots. Sooo, I am breaking outside of my little comfort zone and making experimental teabowls for my students. Wish me luck!
Many long hours later.........
These are the first two slipware teabowls. The one on the left is a sgraffito technique, and the one on the right is paper stencilled. The slips are simply the same clay body I used with the addition of Mason stain. I am not thrilled with the texture, but may re sieve it and add some more water, it is fairly thick, like pudding at the moment. I am fairly certain that this slip will work out fine but would happily take suggestions for a nice black slip...... I am tempted to just order commercial black underglaze but it is so expensive.
I found the sgraffito very easy, and could get into doing some more. The paper resist gave me some trouble, but I think maybe my clay was a bit dry, and I had trouble getting the newsprint to stay put. I may give it another whirl tomorrow. Next on the agenda will be inlaying slip, and then possibly doing monoprints on the clay. if there is enough time I will paint freehand as well. I'd like to get at least six different designs done for bisque fire on Monday,