Friday, January 29, 2010

Glaze Crawl, then Challenge Quilt and a Couple Tools

For the past few years much of my clay work has included naked or 'almost naked' clay, meaning I've chosen not to glaze all or some of the work. The 'almost' is that the clay isn't glazed but I did put some underclothes on it; brushed on iron oxide and rubbed some off to get the effect I want before firing with the glaze load. For non-functional work I often add no glaze at all but for functional work I need a glaze. Before glazing I brush wash (or a resist) over the oxide areas so as not to get glaze on them. Sometimes though I think I miss spots where I may have splashed a little iron oxide and I believe it's flux characteristics creates a 'crawl' at those spots. Crawl is when the glaze pulls away from the pot during firing leaving a bare or almost bare spot on the pot. This also tends to happen when too much glaze is put on any area. Also an oily finger or specks of dust can create a crawl . 
I don't know which happened with this mug but I tried out a new design including some bottom fluting as well as stamping and was disappointed to get this crawl on the handle. Another one for my own cupboard! Think I'll be making up new batches of glazes too before the next firing. 

In the sewing room I've started work on my first challenge quilt! I've been making sketches all month and finally settled on one idea. Just in case it is expected that we not share too many of our thoughts and processes before reveal week I'll hold off on that but here is the evidence left under my ironing board that I was indeed at work.
And here are two tools I found so helpful this week. This hole punch allows me to punch anywhere on the paper or fabric! I'm sure you mixed media and paper artists are very familiar with such a tool but it is new to me. I found it at Tuesday morning when searching for some kitchen tools. And my new Bernina sometimes doesn't turn it's light on for me. So I used this headlight! Of course once I got the headlight set up properly on my head my machine got jealous and put on it's light for me. But I'm ready the next time it gets that sort of attitude!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Oh I see there is discussion going on over at the quilt challenge blog .... I'm headed over as I wait on my fresh soy milk (the soy milk maker is fantastic!) and then fresh tofu today!!! Love it totally fresh!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Finished! It was None of the Above

After trying out several options I finally decided on this version, using some pine needles, 'things' from the palm trees we used to have in the front yard before Hurricane Wilma, and the little square beads from my last firing. This one passed my husband's critique. He sees so much that I miss. His comment on my earlier versions was that the  fabric didn't seem related to the clay. This time he likes the fabric choices and thinks the pine needle lines mimic the textured lines in the clay. He felt it came together this time. I hope he's right! I have more clay pieces to glaze and oxide tomorrow. If I get the kiln going I should have some more pieces to work with by Saturday.

Hope you're having a great week!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Clay and Fiber In Process

There's a  constant battle going on with the draw of the clay and draw of the fabric. So after checking on my kiln this morning I headed to the sewing room.I have a few clay pieces waiting for fiber additions. I used clear thread to zig-zag together these upholstery fabrics.

I cut an index card to the size I  wanted the fabric. This time I want to cover the holes in the clay.

 The photo above shows the last piece; made from my homemade paper with onion skin; overlay of netting and free-motion stitching and finally hand stitched in place with the clay holes exposed.  I moved the card around deciding on the orientation of my fabric. A more useful tool of course is a cut-out but I didn't take the time for that.
Now I'm at the stage of deciding how to finish the fabric. I was inspired by a couple of trading card sized pieces I made with clay attachments and am thinking I'd like to add a small clay piece. Do I also add some organic materials such as petal, herbs, etc?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tea Time, Lack of Time, Time Flies, The Puzzle of Time

I just finished adding the little extras to some pots that came out of my last kiln load of 2009. Above is one of my little teapots and below a couple of clay baskets.

  As time marches on the life of this once beautiful Christmas arrangement fades but that's when I get excited as I wait for some dried petals and leaves that I haven't used before in one of my organic fiber studies. Here I've taken apart the drying arrangement and wait for everything to dry nicely so I can start mixing up the new with what I already have dried.

Sometimes the waiting projects get overwhelming. I've decided these three postcards need to be made into a wall piece.

Plan is to paint a background, perhaps adding some additional rectangles and then stitching the cards in place. When will I do it? That is the PUZZLE. And speaking of Puzzle, I signed up for the quilt challenge which has started out with 'puzzle' as the first prompt. After reading the definition several times I started sketching. Of course crosswords and jig-saws came out and then I started thinking what is my biggest puzzle and that is TIME. I don't have enough and don't know how to make more of it. My quilt will be created with that in mind. Hopefully I find the time to get it made before the deadline!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Textures of Texas

Happy New Year; welcome to two thousand and ten! I've had a nice break from the computer, the studios and even cooking. I've had a quick browse through blog land and have LOTS to catch up on. To get me going in my own blog I'll just share a few photos I took while in Texas for a few days last week.

We thought we'd stay in the warm south but turns out it was cold. We had a couple lovely sunny days in Austin where we did a lot of walking through downtown. We stayed at the end of 6th street thinking it was lined with fun jazz spots but not so. When we arrived at the hotel around dinner time we asked if we'd find a nice restaurant along 6th and the desk clerk paused a moment before tactfully suggesting perhaps walking along 5th would be a better choice. We did find a couple of great spots for dining and we even experienced our first raw vegan cafe; delicious lunch at Borboleta.  Because of the cold we took a bus tour which we normally would not do. It was fabulous; gave us a great overview of the area and a bit of history too. Finally day four we rented a car and drove to San Antonio for one rainy, very chilly evening on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. But we still saw how beautiful the Riverwalk is so will return to enjoy it in warmer weather.

I had fun cropping a few of our photos for 'Textures of Texas'. Perhaps I'll make use of one or more in a quilt or somehow with my clay.

We found a fabulous gallery totally by accident. If you are in Austin take time to visit Haven Gallery & Fine Gifts. As we walked in I quickly recognized the fabulous dress sculptures by John Petrey; he had been in a booth a few down from me at a show in Naples a couple years back. And then I saw Jennifer McCurdy's beautiful porcelain work, whose work I first saw when I visited the Fine Craft Show in West Palm Beach a few years ago. We bought an adorable little vase by Amy Sanders; it fit perfectly into our suitcase for a safe trip home.