Thursday, July 8, 2010

Zipping all over the place...

I've been working with some new clay... I usually like working with red clays, majolica being a favorite given the type work I do. However, I break out sometimes and use whites, blacks, tans, whatever.

The clay I'm using right now is a Mocha earthenware clay with a "Café au lait" color. It's stretching me a bit because it's a very wet clay. I think it would be great for throwing, but I am using it for slab which requires PATIENCE as I have to slab it then let it dry for a bit.

With my other clays I go right at it. In fact, I have to keep the slabs covered while I work, and oftentimes I have to keep the piece I'm working on partially covered or spray it lightly to keep it wet enough to flex like I want it to.

Oh, my grammar teacher would be reaching for her red pencil the way I put my sentences together these days!!! Ah well, this is pottery art, not grammar art ;-)

I am waiting on a kiln load that's about half mocha and half red to cool right now. I can't wait to see the new pieces. I should have taken some photos of the 'before' to include in here. I'll take some shots as I unload the kiln.

I also picked up some new glazes by Western, some greens. I've never tried their glazes before so it should be interesting to see how they work on both my usual red and the new mocha clay. I use a lot of commercial glazes, but I mix the colors to create my own. I flat out don't have time to work on creating my own glazes, although maybe someday I'll get back into that area. Given the wide range of colors I use it's almost counter productive to make up the small batches I'd need.

Regarding my choice of clays --- white clay is my least favorite. There's a lot you can do with it as a palette for true color in glazes, but I've never found a white clay that does what I want it to do. They all crack easier, don't flex, dry out too fast, and they just don't 'feel' right.

I've been working in the low fire range for many years. I'm getting ready to move back into mid-fire just to change things up a bit. Not that I'm bored at all with low fire, it's just that I will never be a niche artist, have discovered that my nature requires that I change things up fairly often.

I see many artists finding their slot and staying in that groove. They sell well, love what they're doing and can still experiment within the range they've chosen. They get a following of folks who like their style. I drool over some of their work, and sometimes push myself to stick with something long enough to be a master of some difficult technique after seeing their work. It's on my list of "somedays".

I have a style, too, one that many who buy my work recognize. It is one that I am still perfecting and I think I learn something new almost every time I form a piece.

However, I have a tendency to go flying way outside that range. I used to joke that when I felt like someone was getting to feel like they knew me, it was time to change... that seems to be the theme of my pottery life, too. Guess it's my wacko eclectic nature.

The list of things I want to try is way, way longer than the list of things I've already tried! Maybe the flexibility of the art of clay is one of the reasons I fell into immediate love when I first touched a ball of clay. We fit.

I was just reading back over this rambling blog. I zip from one topic to another don't I? Kind of like my ping pong mind... zip here, zip there... I work in the studio the same way sometimes. I start of a piece, stop and go water the plants, come back and work on the piece for a while, go up to the house and check my emails, grab something to drink, go back to the studio... you get the picture. Of course, more often I am very focused. I'll start working on a piece and the next thing you know it's dark, I've missed dinner or lunch and I'm wondering if I'll be able to make it to the bathroom . So, maybe that's another reason I'm attracted to clay --- it keeps me focused. Ha ha, a focused zipper...

Ah well, guess on that note, I'll say goodbye for now. I'm off to the studio to check the kiln.

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