Friday, December 19, 2008

pottery (un)orthodoxy


craving color: green
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
this week has been the greyest, dampest week- we had a freak ice-almost-storm on monday and tuesday, bits of rain (but mostly the misty-spitty kind of rain), fluctuating temperatures- Sunday's craving color, has been drawn out, as you can see from the series of photos I put up on flickr this week.

This set of green bowls was part of my color craving photo pool- I made them for a friend's mother who asked for them this summer (egads!). She only needed three, but I made six just to be sure that she'd get them. My hurry-up-pottery method is unorthodox- I threw all of these in a two-hour stretch, pre-trimmed them while they were still on the batt, and put them under a light for 24 hours. After they dried somewhat, I smoothed the bottoms (I lost one at that point) then brought them to the kitchen and put them in the oven to speed-dry. I slowly bisque-fired them on Friday and glazed them on Sunday. They were cooled and finished by Monday afternoon. I was so happy.

You never know what's going to happen with pottery, though. As I was glazing, I noticed two very small cracks in the surface of the bowls. If I'd decided not to glaze them, I would have been left with three "perfect" bowls, depending on what happened in the kiln. I wasn't willing to risk messing up those (because sometimes unexpected stress cracks pop up during glazing, especially when you do the hurry-up production that I did with these) , so I glazed all five. When I unloaded the kiln, breath held, I saw that the glaze had filled but not deepened or split the cracks- it had essentially "healed" them. It's been my experience that glaze in cracks makes the cracks bigger- but I shoved some of the sanding dust into the cracks before I glazed them, thinking that even if they got worse (meaning not food safe) I would fill the bowls with paperwhite bulbs. All five bowls were perfect, and I was so happy to offer my friend's mother her choice of bowls. I'm even more pleased to have two left over to fill with pebbles and bulbs for holiday hostess gifts.

As I have time during the next two weeks off from working at the museum, I'm planning to start on my spring pottery- that means berry bowls. With my new hole-punch tool. I've given myself a 3-month break from making these, but our farmers' market starts back up in April and I'd like to be ahead of the game this time.

If you're one of the people who's contacted me locally to buy pottery this year for holiday gifts, thank you so, so much. It was a difficult decision not to do a sale, but I'm grateful to you for your purchases and enthusiasm for my work.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe weekend!

3 comments:

amy h said...

I have trouble healing cracks. Did you put the dust in the cracks after the bisque fire or before? Do you sand your pots? I'm always scared of the dust.

Erin said...

The bowls are lovely! Love the color and shape. Happy Holidays to you and yours! Enjoy!

bridgmanpottery said...

for anyone who wants an answer to amy's question, I sand my pots before firing and after, if they need it. I shoved bisque sanding dust (try to wear a respirator mask if you sand pottery)into the crack and glazed over it. Clay dust can cause significant lung damage, so do be careful if you sand pottery.