Tuesday, February 5, 2019

behind the scenes

For me, it’s the process that keeps me making. So much beauty happens before the finished piece comes out of the final firing. Here are a few moments from behind the scenes:

The handle of the mugs is attached when clay is in “leather hard” stage, a gorgeous matt finish, which is a pleasure to work with.

After the piece is dry, it is loaded into the first firing, the bisque. I try fitting as many pieces tightly together as possible. In this firing, sides can touch without getting stuck together – there is no glaze yet. Lovely patterns emerge as each kiln shelf is filled up.

I apply wax-resist to the bisque pieces wherever I don’t want the glaze to soak into the surface. Glazing usually takes two days, the insides are glazed first, dried overnight, and then the outside is dipped.

After the pieces are dry, they are loaded into the second firing, the glaze firing. Again lovely patterns emerge as I fit as many pieces as possible on a shelf, sides cannot touch in this firing.

And opening the finished glaze kiln is always a joy. Even if pieces don’t turn out as planned, it is a learning experience. The anxiety and anticipation has not diminished over the years. Which is a good thing. Some pieces will remain with just glaze, and others will have an image applied, and fired one more time.

Lately, I am moving more toward no imagery on my work. I just love the feel of porcelain well-functioning form, with a gorgeous glaze. Simple, with a complex process.