Sunday, August 11, 2013

drips, bumps, indents, and other variations

Today I received a very informative email from a customer, detailing in excellent photos (shown below) everything that they saw was wrong with the custom name bowl they received. They were disappointed in their purchase. I refunded their payment immediately, it is important to me that the customer is 100% happy. But as I studied the photographs, I realized that these drips, bumps, indents, and other variations are what make gleena, well, gleena.

This bowl is so uniquely handmade by me, with my porcelain (made from scratch), with my glazes (formulated and made from scratch). This is what distinguishes my work from all the other makers: perfects, and imperfects, out there. Keeping in mind that the bowl will go to a one of a kind person, I experiment with glazing. Uniformity abounds at department stores, I strive to create a unique piece.
The drips happen when I swirl the glaze around the inside of the bowl, and then pour it out the side. Holding the bowl on the outside, I swirl the glaze around once, covering the inside completely with a light layer, then swirl it around one more time, creating the color variation.

My glaze likes to drip, and pool, it is the nature of its eggshell finish. I can scrape the drips off, even the glaze out, but I choose not to. The inside of the bowl dries overnight, and the next day I dip the outside.

The indents on the rim happen when I stamp the letters in, and then sponge the edge smooth. Each letter is stamped in individually. The suction of the metal letter pulls the porcelain in unpredictable ways. When I sponge the rim, each edge ends up being unique.

The indents and variations show up after the glaze firing. They are always a surprise. I totally enjoy the way my porcelain likes to move in the high fire (up to 2300F). Porcelain turns to liquid during high fires, and dances.

I understand that these variations are not for everyone. But they are for me, and I will continue to explore this mutable material to its full drippy, bumpy, indenty, variable self. The porcelain together with high temperature kiln firings serve up many surprises, kind of like life in general.

And one day, after I am gone, an art historian will pick up this bowl, and say, “Ahhh, these glaze drips and indents are so gleena circa 2013...look at that unique pale dusty rose, and the gorgeous vibrant orange, and the translucent silky porcelain...”

To order your very own, very uniquely handmade, custom name bowl, click here.

Please visit this post on Hella Jongarius for more thoughts on imperfections.