It’s been a very full summer, in the studio and out! Almost time to say goodbye, but not quite yet… I plan on working outside for as long as I can. And make another ice cream cake, or two. 😉
and then I ran out of clay! Pausing at 85. Once I started throwing up to 3 pounds of clay, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish with the recycled clay I had left. This will give me time to trim all the bowls hiding under plastic and make room for the last 15 bowls to complete the challenge. I am going to need a lot more clay to finish what I started…
Adding 18 brings the total to 64…maybe I shouldn’t have taken Friday off! 2 more days to go…
Some people love this stage. I do not! Making, yes. Adding buttons, or carving into a leather hard form, yes. Firing the greenware, unloading a bisque kiln, love. Waxing and glazing absolutely. But turning a pot over and trimming it is bottom of the list. It is an essential step, and can take almost as much time to trim as it did to throw it. And it makes a HUGE mess on my basement floor, which is one of the reasons it bothers me so much. I love to procrastinate, but then you have to be careful not to let them get too dry otherwise all that throwing is for nothing! So throwing a 100 bowls in a week also means trimming a 100 bowls too…what was I thinking?!
Day 3: I threw 13 small bowls, starting at 3/4 pound but then increased it to a pound for the last half thrown. After I cleaned up for the day, I went back to photograph and saw the pile of clean tools sitting on the still dirty wheel. Can’t clean everything every time!
Day 4: The day was quite broken up: an hour before school, squeezed in a half hour after school and before pick-up, and snuck in another hour or so before dinner (that never happens!). I increased to 1 1/4 pounds for each, and had to wedge a lot more recycled clay before I could throw. With the larger size I decided I should alter a few more, especially the taller ones I plan on carving once they set up and are trimmed.
With the morning delay I had some extra time to warm up the studio and throw for an hour. This time I used 3/4 pound balls of clay, and made 11 bowls before I had to clean up and go to work. Two things I noticed…it is hard for me to NOT alter the round bowl shape, so after the first four I decided I wasn’t allowed to do anymore of this set. The second was that structurally these bowls felt better – and I didn’t want to crash them as much as I wanted to crash yesterday’s bowls!
It took me almost a year to finally make these closed forms. A fellow artist at a fair was selling them and I not only knew and really liked this potter and her work, I absolutely loved these forms and what she did with them. I loved the way they fit in my hand. I impulsively purchased a few that I have enjoyed all year round. I didn’t plan on making them myself, because well, I already purchased the perfect pair. But one day while I was thinking about demonstrating ways to manipulate the cylinder for my high school students, I sketched this form as one to demonstrate. While I was making one for practice, I knew I had to make more. So I made a couple of batches, altered some and then I started carving. Then I made some little open forms (inspired by the demo I had done for my students – they thought the forms on their way to being closed were quite cool too – I agreed!) and couldn’t wait to start carving into those forms as well. It’s becoming a bit of an obsession. 🙂
Last week I finally got some fresh bagged clay and it was time to stop putting off making some larger size button bowls. I’ve been hesitant to throw anything bigger than 2 1/2 pounds, but I could feel my strength return and knew I should at least attempt it. I started with 3 then slowly made my way up to 6 over the course of a few days before I hit my limit. Trimming and buttoning the bowls gave me a few days to rest and yesterday while I was icing my sore back I decided I needed to make some vegan chocolate mousse…and soon. (sounds logical doesn’t it?) While looking at the book’s recipe, I noticed the mousse was being served in the sweetest little ceramic bowls, that to be honest, looked like something I would make. Slightly flared and altered and glazed in what looked to be my beloved spodumene. Inspired, I went back down and threw a few one pound balls before deciding on a final shape. Today I threw 20 more, and when I was done, treated myself to some of that chocolate mousse.