12
Feb

diz

I mentioned my introduction to diz earlier. They’re one of the most freeing pieces that I make because they have only a two requirements: smooooooth must have at least one hole I use diz to create tiny collages of stamps and textures that have found their way to my bench. They don’t require much for fancy equipment in their creation, unlike my wheel thrown pieces. They don’t have to match any others, unlike my buttons sets. They don’t have to be a certain size, a certain convex/concave setting, or even any specific number of holes. They are the item that allows for the largest expression of creativity in a small package. Although they aren’t demanding in equipment or design, they do make up for that by requiring several stages of smoothing and sanding to ensure that no bit of fibre will ever be caught on a rough edge. So we have an agreement: I make them look like whatever moves me today, and they just want to be smooth. I’ve tried to make them alike, I really have. One of my goals for 2014 was to create a concise product line for 50% of my items, leaving 50% for seasonal sets, creative ideas, custom orders, other types of items. In the photo to the left, you can see in the top right that I tried to use the same tulip stamp and then owls but… that was boring fast so the other end of each is completely different. Really, why buy handmade if it’s all going to look exactly the same?!? My new goal for product lines has become less exact. I now aim to carry “rectangular diz” and that should make everyone happy. Each one will be different to keep me joyous while creating, and diz-lovers can know that there will be rectangular dizzes in the shop for those that prefer that soft curve to the round convex or concave. For those of you, like myself at one time, that have no idea what the heck a diz is or why you’d ever want one, I have found a video! This video by WoolWench shows a diz being used with a hackle to blend colours to spin into yarn. The diz is used at the 1:36 mark. For people that haven’t even seen how yarn is made, this shows some great details in a quickie 3 min video. Making your own roving with a hackle and diz, by WoolWench I hope you enjoyed the video. If you’re interested in more details about diz, drop me a line. If you’re interested in more details about using a diz to prep roving, or questions about spinning, Ravelry.com has a wonderful community of fibre artists that are far more educated on the subject than I am.

02
Dec

underglazing

I picked up some really cool underglazes recently. These are the Amaco Semi-Moist Underglazes  (“SMUG”) and they go on like watercolour paint. I experimented on some porcelain and the colour on the leather clay before firing was the exact colour after bisque. Spot on. I’m completely amazed because this is a thing that never ever happens in ceramics in my experience. The colour that goes on is usually not even remotely related to what you end up with. Here’s an example of a pot before and after glazing. This is what it looks like just before going into the kiln, and just after it comes out to show that really, a potter has not a clue what it will look like until it’s all said and done. Glazing is my least favourite phase in ceramics because a few minutes applying glaze incorrectly can leave a piece unusable or… just plain ugly :   Not only do the glazes look different before and after firing, layering glazes changes them drastically and a potter cannot rely on the basics of paint colour theory to give them any idea what will happen. Blue + Yellow does not equal green in mid to high fire ceramics. In the kiln, glazes with usually copper or barium in the presence of oxygen = green end colour. To make things a little more interesting, the sequence in which you layer different glazes also matters to the end result. In this example from Mayco, the technician layered two glazes on the plate, first dipping one side and then rotating the plate to dip the other glaze to overlap the first. On the first plate, she dipped the red first, then dipped the blue overlapping. In the second photo, she dipped the blue onto the plate first, then dipped the red overlapping. Note the crazy crystals that formed when the blue was put over the red and the different result from layering in a different sequence. Glazing, she be an exercise in practice, requiring detailed notations on exactly how and in what order the glazes were brushed or dipped. Because I want to be able to reproduce results if they turn out really inspiring, I take incredibly detailed notes when glazing. Now these underglazes are making my heart flutter. The blue, yellow, green, purple and oranges on my test piece made it through green to bisque without a hint of change. Now that I’m turning up the heat 250 degrees C to 1240 C for a cone 6 glaze firing and I’m very eager to see how they do. Between my black underglaze pencil and the SMUGs, the effects that I’m getting are ones I’ve always dreamed of achieving in ceramics.  I’m drawn to charcoal shading and dark lines, light accents of variegated colour and a vast sea of negative space to frame designs. My challenge has been that I want mid to high fire ceramics because of longevity of the end product (they don’t call it stoneware for nothing). However, in the highter temps, colours run or subtle colours “burn off”, disappearing as the temp rises in the kiln, never to return. I wanted something simple in design, lightly tinted with colour with a feeling of watercolour paint on this sample set of mugs. I used the underglazes and underglaze pencil to echo an earlier design I’d etched into tea cups. I’m very pleased. I love Ceramics Canada for being able to order the SMUGs for me so I could avoid a $23 shipping fee. Cross your fingers that these mugs look exactly the same once they arise from the glaze firing. I’m more than a little enamoured with the design.

10
Sep

Post Format Gallery

Learnin’ // I’m taking a sculpture course through the University of Saskatchewan and my first challenge was an ear. In class we have moved on to nose & mouth but I’m refining some details on this ear before allowing it to slowly dry for firing. 🏻 I’m enjoying learning something completely new to me as I’ve always worked on ceramic functional pieces. The new advent of video online learning has brought Adrian Golban’s instruction and direct critique into my kitchen! 🏻 [Image description: A large ear sculpted out of grey clay on a black and plywood surface, surrounded by thin plastic.] . . . #sculpture #ceramics #humansculpture #facesculpture #pottery #UofS #EarSculpt Learnin’ // I’m taking a sculpture course through the University of Saskatchewan and my first challenge was an ear. In class we have moved on to nose & mouth but I’m refining some details on this ear before allowing it to slowly dry for firing. 🏻 I’m enjoying learning something completely new to me as I’ve always worked on ceramic functional pieces. The new advent of video online learning has brought Adrian Golban’s instruction and direct critique into my kitchen! 🏻 [Image description: A large ear sculpted out of grey clay on a black and plywood surface, surrounded by thin plastic.] . . . #sculpture #ceramics #humansculpture #facesculpture #pottery #UofS #EarSculpt Learnin’ // I’m taking a sculpture course through the University of Saskatchewan and my first challenge was an ear. In class we have moved on to nose & mouth but I’m refining some details on this ear before allowing it to slowly dry for firing. 🏻 I’m enjoying learning something completely new to me as I’ve always worked on ceramic functional pieces. The new advent of video online learning has brought Adrian Golban’s instruction and direct critique into my kitchen! 🏻 [Image description: A large ear sculpted out of grey clay on a black and plywood surface, surrounded by thin plastic.] . . . #sculpture #ceramics #humansculpture #facesculpture #pottery #UofS #EarSculpt   Nec blandit eleifend congue orci phasellus tincidunt porttitor a ut aliquam, nisl maecenas metus enim purus sollicitudin laoreet at auctor ultrices habitant, convallis id dolor mauris congue dolor primis purus vehicula velit aliquam nostra rhoncus. Malesuada ullamcorper morbi vitae rutrum iaculis in congue urna est nostra, fermentum luctus nostra magna ut purus blandit pretium est mattis, amet feugiat netus ornare arcu elementum in fringilla ligula ante metus quisque mauris habitasse. Sollicitudin adipiscing mattis ad lacus dictumst curabitur nibh donec adipiscing lobortis, augue vivamus dictumst sollicitudin sapien blandit pellentesque habitasse dui vivamus, fermentum nostra gravida ut id a platea auctor curabitur. Condimentum orci volutpat purus diam egestas magna metus iaculis vel, mollis aliquam senectus pharetra felis quam quisque hendrerit odio dolor, dictum massa duis lectus amet aenean curae praesent metus odio hac senectus vulputate.