Sunday, June 8, 2014

To Decorate or not to Decorate that is the Question - Or in Search of the Simple Pot

Well during this last mentorship with Dan Hill I have been struggling with my platters- I really do love the undecorated, simple pot - but somehow when I try to do that it just does not work for me. I have tried to make the "frames" for my platters without so many curves to simplify - make them look more industrial. So then the interior of the platters I find needs something. However as I look at all the platters below I see that I may not have decorated some of them in the middle but because of the frames they are hardly plain simple pots - they again have a lot of stuff going on. To make a plain simple pot is much harder than I thought - and I'm still searching!
Platter with curvy, complicated rim, inside colour grading from
dark blue green to lighter green in the middle. However that rim says to me it needs
something inside to relate to the frame design. For me the plain interior does not
match the rim
Shino glazed platter with Kanthal wire additions. Some carbon trapping in the middle. Again not quite sure what to make of plain interior. I do like the circle with the Kanthal wire - will try to do more to get a more industrial look and maybe tie into some of my nuclear theme. However it is too bland and so will add some black underglaze pen design in the middle and refire. 

Shino glazed platter with blue underglazes and reglazed in electric with white glaze. With this one I feel the frame ties into the interior decoration - the "rock" on the left part of the frame works well with the forest.

Way, way too much going on - shino frame clashes with the slip and white glaze interior. I think it would have been better if it was all the same colour - either all shino or all white. 

Torso Pots

With my clay applique vases I use a lot of people imagery. So to get a more free-form abstract design I decided to use again printed slip designs from paper for the people imagery. However I found that the figures did not stand out enough - so had to scraffito in the outlines - sort of defeating the purpose of those abstract slips.

I did like the the shape of the vase - went well with the figures and the hands and then added the Kanthal wire for the hands. I was worried that with clay hands they would bread off if bumped.- plus I like gimiky things.

Again the slips did not work out well after glazing. I used a black Bringle slip for the background, topped with blue slip for the dresses, and a rutile slip for the hands and feet and face as well as a bit of red underglaze for the scarves and belts. With a white glaze on top the colours ended up a mostly greyish brown - very dull. I reglazed with a white glaze and black Albany glaze in gas again and the colours were a bit better, but still rather sombre - not what I was looking for.

Front of printed slip vase with underglaze
and scraffito

Back of vase

So to go more abstract I decided to get the pot to become the actual torso -  just the torso. I did put on some slips and wire accents. I used a patchwork design with the slips, stitched together with scraffito lines in black underglaze. This time I used some old cone 6 brown stoneware but had to reglaze as results were not great. After reglazing with Stoney White, Juicy Fruit and Licorice in cone 6 electric the results were better, but the original design of a patchwork dress were lost. - I was sort of looking for the Cinderella effect - patchworks dress on an elegant torso.

Garden Ladies - electric on right with slips and gas on left but reglazed in electric.

On another vase I decided to add a head to the torso - again not that abstract! The head is actually a planter and the whole vase could be used for a small succulent planter. Talk about cutesy and gimmicky! The original shino glaze ended up bland and I had made a mistake in mixing up a new batch of Dan Hill blue slip and it ended up metallic black instead of blue and so did not react the same way with the shino.
So reglazed again with the Stony White, Licorice and Juicy Fruit in electric which improved the results a bit.
I still do not have a really good idea of how to get where I want to go - really strong edgy abstract designs. Its hard to break out of my mold into something new that I am pleased with.