Fun With Underglaze

Here’s the first draft of the tourist mugs, fresh out of the kiln:

If I want them to sell, I should probably stop calling them that.

White clay, painted with underglaze, and dipped in clear glaze. The black outline was done using a glaze pen, which is a neato-cool contraption not dissimilar to a white-out pen: convenient in theory, but kinda tricky to use in practice… The mug on the left had the outline added at the greenware stage. The pen kept biting into the clay, gouging the surface and gumming up its own insides; it’s why the lines are so untidy. For the mug on the right, I didn’t even try using the pen until the clay had been bisqued. The harder clay kept the pen from gumming itself up or messing up the surface, and allowed me to get much nicer lines (if also producing a sound very much like fingernails on a blackboard). A little more practice, and I might get the hang of the thing.

Or I could, y’know, learn to use a paintbrush. But I’m crap with paintbrushes. See?

Commissions

This has been the month of commissions. A shaving bowl, a casserole, a butter dish. A possible new line of mugs. A mug for my brother’s birthday and a big serving bowl for my mom’s birthday.

Today I got to settle back into production mode. The old familiar boards full of mugs. Crowds of them, but each one just a little bit different. Thinner or thicker bottoms, taller or shorter rims, curves in different places. I think the day they all look the same is the day I give up making them.

Small Comforts

First throwing session longer than an hour since my wrists acted up. Went pretty well. I”ll stick to trimming tomorrow, to let them rest, but I seem to be mended. Tip from Alexis Templeton that I’ve finally gotten around to putting to use: soft clay is easier on the wrists and shoulders. If your clay is stiff, take it out of the bag, wrap it in a wet towel, re-bag it, and let it sit for a few days. The water will absorb into the clay and soften it.

I made a bunch of mugs for the shop and some teapot parts. Every Christmas, there’s a group show called Comfort and Joy, and that’s where I want the teapots to end up. They’re going to be a series of teeny, one-person, brightly-coloured pots called Small Comforts.

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Ta-da!

Cephalopots Mark 1 are all fired up, and deployed in the Craft Council Shop.

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I’m fairly happy with them, but will tweak the handle in the next run. I’m not entirely happy with the way the suckers rest against my fingers when I pick them up. (Two people agree with me that it’s awkward, two people say it isn’t. The two groups have entirely different mug-holding techniques; I think that’s the difference, more than any faults/virtues of the handles themselves.)

The bowl turned out perfect, though, so that’s getting scaled up to serving bowl and platter size as soon as I get my hands on another bag of reclaim. (Which we’re out of *again*. That shipment better come in soon.)

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Glazing

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The first cephalopots[1] are good to go. They’ve got a slightly modified version of the glaze on the third tile from the last post; same amount of colourant, and a wee bump in the refractories. Should give a smoother surface than the original recipe, without making it runny. I’ll take another picture when they come out of the kiln.

[1] And one Cthulhu mug, requested by my husband for his birthday. Jesse’s Green layered over Alkaline Green.