Friday, February 20, 2009

Mugs and Candle sticks






Requests can stretch one. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don't, but there is much to be learned along the way. I was asked to make candlesticks, and I made three prototype candlesticks from short thrown shapes that were joined together when leather hard. Two of them worked out reasonably well, but one developed some spiral cracks near one of the joins when it was bisque fired, which was a shame, but gave useful pointers about structures and their limitations.

I threw each section of the candlesticks "off the hump" Japanese style on my kick wheel, first centring a huge lump of clay, then making each small shape one by one from the top of the mound. It is a nice way to work, especially on small bowls, as you can get well under the piece as you make it. It also works out faster than preparing and centring lots of small lumps of clay.

The candle sticks were between 15 and 16 inches high when fired (which is about 400mm).

I tested about 30 glazes in all whilst sorting out how to glaze the candlesticks, and did 3 firings of my electric kiln in the process, testing different combinations of the glazes and so on. The glazes were brushed on to the candlesticks. I used wax resist in a few places after the first glaze application, and added a second glaze over the top to make subtle stripes. The candle sticks were fired to cone 11 in my electric kiln. This is a little high for the kiln, but the clay I use is rather refractory. I also like to fire to the same temperature as I take my wood fired kiln to.

I rather liked the end result of my labours, but it was not what the person wanted, not bright enough for them, so I will have to find another home for them. I would like to make some other things, using a similar technique. Wouldn't a crazy jug or coffee pot look great!

The other things I am working on include piggy mugs! Someone requested that I had a go at making one for them. I made the piggy faces by adding a little pad of clay to the freshly thrown mug, and sculpting each one by hand. If I were to do a line of such things..., which I might as they are fun, I would make a mould of the piggy face and use little sprigs of clay. Anyway, the person that requested one is delighted thus far, I just have to get the glazing right!

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