Awaken the Dragon 2014 – Glaze Master Class with Janet Deboos

It was another exciting excursion for the Forgotten Potter. This time I’m off to explore the Dragon Kilns at Jalan Bahar. I would add more info here shortly. I’ve previously been here to visit Jalan Bahar dragon kiln before but … Continue reading

Glaze Testing

Time to come out of my cave!

2 months after the birth of my little one, my hands are itching to get dirty with clay again.

Because I have previously fired some pieces and packed them away to keep out the dust, I could now bring them out to test some glazes found in our studio.

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I have not made my own glazes yet but am using this time to study effects and techniques, timing as well as colours.

Lots to explore!

More than a month

It was an exciting discussion yesterday at Temasek Potters. I brought my onepoint5 month old hatchling down for a chat with our group about stands, brochures, Facebook publicity and the like.

Watch out March 2015!!

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Here’s my colleague Aida lending me a helping hand.

Foot rings

I’ve been really lazy thus far, churning out pots and forms without consideration for the foot or turning process. Many of my pots go unfired because I have got wonderful colleagues who have high standards and who know that we do not fire unless a pot is complete.

It doesn’t have to look gorgeous.
Just have to be completed. I am thankful that they uphold these principles so I can “cure” my laziness.

Throwing, trimming, turned.
In almost that order.

So one July afternoon, that was all that I did. Even to forms that have been dried out, I created the “foot” for all my pots. Too many to share here.

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Thankful to A as well who showed me how I can do it to pots that are not all dried yet. This looks like a wonderful book which I will read when I have time.

Shaping the Cradle part Deux

It becomes more interesting in this pottery business when you get all enthusiastic over a form you have never tried before, and try to make larger and larger pieces.

I did this form right after I made the Cradle baby version.

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Again I have enhanced the pictures so you can tell that from my coil work that it is not all fantastic yet. Some portions within a coil is as thick as the thumb, some as thin as the pinkie.

But all in all, I’ve learnt that when curving out, best to make your coils thicker than when you’re curving in.

Pinching

Yesterday I revisited a method which when I first started pottery, I absolutely HATED! !!

Pinching.

I hated how my forms turned out with those disgusting finger marks.

And I also hated how I could never get the finishes to end pretty.

But I asked Sensei yesterday what he considers as a good pinched pot. And he pointed out that he really liked those with the thumb marks. Although there are many ceramists who finished a pinched pot really pretty with smoothen sides. I begun then to try to see it from his perspective. Here goes:

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I enhanced this photo a little bit so that the pinched marks are more obvious on photo than on the real thing.

Starting with a lump of raku clay roughly about 1kg, soft and wedged well, the first thumb in is always interesting. You have a sort of feel for the clay there before you begin, but yet I think with pinching, you really never know how your vessels may turn out.

Working with both hands, palm on my left as a shape support and all fingers on my right as little helpers in the pushing and pinching, the ball of clay grows into a vessel, rather quickly.

I tried to appreciate the little cracks that came with raku clay, which appeared even more with it being a warm day, as the clay dried faster than normal as I went along.

Finally I got to the last part – mostly all pushed and thinned as evenly as I could.

And I was horrified. The edges were “disgusting” – a little too dried, wrinkly, and cracking.

Before I folded the whole thing back into my clay stock, I went up to Sensei again and asked what he thought. He then gave me a little tip.
Roll a coil of fresh clay, lay it on top of the edges, and “treat” the edges.
Like coiling! This method I now am familiar so I quickly tried it.

First final product – a sort of new ramen bowl for Kee.
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And the second:

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Hmm I guess now that I know how to “beautify” the edges, maybe I don’t dislike pinching after all?

The method is fast, and allows the hands to work out the vessel shape with more versatility than throwing. And if you’re still trying to work out how to throw properly like I am, pinching offers a good “break” – work the clay with your hands and fingers. Feel grounded again, before going back behind the wheel.

Well, to experiment with all the basic hand building forms again was what I decided to do anyway since having a bump. And so far I am really quite happy with my own progress, I guess that’s all that matters with pottery or A.R.T. for that matter, wouldn’t you agree?