16 Apr ceramic journal 4.8.15
the recent set of pinch pots helped me experiment with the surface texture. I began smearing slip on the surface of a hard clay pot, fast drying the outside with a hot-air gun while keeping the inside moist, and then pushing from the inside to create cracks on the surface of the pot. the texture was interesting, like a mistake, something weathered, closer to its earthly origins, and much more interesting to look at.
This led me to the discovery of sodium silicate, a clear thick liquid used to harden a clay surface quickly, again using a hot-air gun. Pushing the form from the inside creates an evenly cracked surface texture. the cracked surface was more interesting if no pattern was carved in it, but the crackling was allowed to happen more spontaneously.
To this form I began to build more on the wheel, throwing and creating (cereal) bowls, but learning to center, the bowls were not even, and I began to play with that element, pushing and pulling the thrown shapes to create something less symmetrical, and more organic. the forms began to look like cracked skin, or rather, our skin, and the texture of patterns it has close up, and the shape of the bowls began to resemble bodies: parts of a torso, hip or back.
With these experiments, I also began to play with iron oxide: painting the surface with different dilutions of iron oxide or yellow ochre in water, to see how it would appear when fired to a high temperatures. A high concentration of iron oxide:water solution gave me a deep rich black luster, which I could fill the cracks with, and wipe off the surface (to get warm browns) and offset that agains a yellow matte glaze. I could also play with the colors moving from the black of iron oxide, to the light cream of yellow matte glaze, through greens, blues or reds of copper glazes.
I’ve returned to make a set of cups & bowls of using the wood surface texture and then bringing some of these elements into the process as well.