Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New ideas and revisiting old techniques

Several things happened in the past few months that have led me revisit handbuilding and heavily textured pieces. First, the Etsy Mud Team had a clay stamp swap and I found myself pressing scraps of clay into everything in my studio to see what textures I could pick up. Then, I attended a presentation by Novie Trump (at a meeting of the Kiln Club), who showed us how she makes her textured niche sculptures. At about the same time I went through all the stuff from my in-law's house and found a treasure trove of doilies and lace. And finally, I attended a presentation by Pam Eisenmann (organized by the Clay Connection), who showed us her post-fired finishes techniques.

So I ran some clay through the slab roller and went to town using all the clay stamps, textured mats, doilies and lace that I had in the studio. The result was these boxes and I can't get enough of them! A couple of them moved in the direction of vases and I was thinking today that I could easily transform them into birdhouses.

Once they are completely dry, I will put them through the first firing. The bisque firing drives off all the water in the clay structure and burns off much of the organic material, hardening it sufficiently so that it is easier to handle during glazing. I don't know how I'm going to glaze them yet, but I will certainly try Pam's technique using acrylics and patinas. The main goal of the process will be to enhance the texture as much as possible.

This is a sort of return to the beginning for me. I used to do a lot of handbuilding when I first started on this clay journey and I also used a lot of texture on my pieces, usually marks made with found objects: shells, pine cones, twigs, buttons, etc. As I became more proficient at the wheel I stopped handbuilding. But, here I am again, revisiting textures and handbuilding.

4 comments:

CreativewithClay: Charan Sachar said...

These textured boxes are very cool. I am experimenting more and more with slab construction these days too.

Mostly Art said...

Your boxes are beautiful Graciela! I have also been wanting to pull out some of the old things I used to do. Must be in the air...

Ann said...

Love some of the textures I see you using in the slab work.

Karen said...

That looks so interesting! Thanks for sharing-