Wednesday, March 18, 2009

First Works

I finally got some of my ceramics pieces completed. The down side of doing this sort of thing in school, is that you have to wait for enough other students to finish their work before the large kiln can be run. So if you're fast (which I'm not), you still have anywhere from a week to a month for there to be enough work to fill the kiln.

Be that as it may, at last some stuff is done!

For those of you who have no idea how this works, I'll give you the Cliff's notes.

First, you create your piece with any number of different clay techniques. After it's done, it is set to dry out for a few days or a week, depending on how wet the clay is. When it's dry enough, it goes into the kiln to get baked.

If you're lucky and you didn't trap any air bubbles inside your work, it didn't explode in the kiln, and you can go on to the next step. This can be painting your piece (the skull I did up above has been painted, to hide the crack in his head) or deciding which glaze technique you want to use. (It's really a bit more complex than this, but I'm just starting out and have a TON to learn about glazing, etc.)
You pick your colors for your glaze, making sure you don't mix glazes that say, "Don't mix with..." on the side.
I put three coats of each type of glaze on my mutant pitcher, and Mr. ShellHawk looked doubtfully at it. "Are you sure you want to use those colors?" he asked. "Trust me. They'll look completely different when it's finished." He looked dubious, but was willing to go with it.

When that was done, and the kiln was ready to fire the glazed pieces, in they went.
The interesting thing about glazes, is that what you hope for is not always what comes out of the kiln. Heat can do odd things to glazes, causing them to run a little, or even change color. One gal in my class (who's on her fourth semester in ceramics) says she won't use glaze for that reason. She also mentioned that red is the hardest color to expect to stay true. Sometimes it comes out pink, or orange, not the fire engine red it said on the side of the bottle.

Mine turned out pretty well, though. I was expecting more of a crackle finish on my pitcher, but I wasn't at all disappointed with the way the colors turned out. The lumpiness of my beginner's work was a bit disappointing, but overall, I was pretty happy with it.

I also love the way my little pumpkin lantern turned out. I've decided to start making these and plan to sell them on eBay. I'll give you guys a heads-up when they're ready to go. I've also decided to start making a bunch of the little ceramic skulls in a Day of the Dead style (hey, I'm half Mexican. I can plunder my culture if I want!) and sell those, too. Some I'll glaze, and some I'll paint. We'll see how popular they are once they're posted.


  1. I love your work! The Day of the Dead skulls sounds wonderful!

  2. My work is improving. Mid-terms were today and teach and I had some face time. I'm not as concerned about the grade as I am the knowledge. She gave me some tips, and I'll be pursuing her much more than I have previously.
    The skulls will be fun. I can't wait to post the first one I finished...

  3. YAY! Exciting to see you experiment :) I really like concept and design choices you made for the pitcher.


In order to protect my readers, I screen all comments. Spammers will immediately have their comments deleted, so please, if you are a spammer, just go away. I will promote your blog or site if I know you, but if not, please accept my invitation to the world.