"The chief source of art is man's pleasure in his daily work, which expresses itself and is embodied in that art itself."
William Morris (1834-1896)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The making of a Lotus

There is a special beauty of a pot just decorated. It is what it is. You can feel confident that you've done your best and appreciate your success. Subconsciously I often consider the piece finished at this stage. The amount of control I have is larger. Once it is bisque fired, there is no more manipulation of the material only glaze application and firing. Glazing and firing are the more scientific side of ceramics. They are extremely important because obviously, if the glaze quality doesn't match the quality of the craftsmanship of the pot, then it fails as a piece. It is also a bit of a gamble, less so with experience but still there are variables that can go askew. Materials can vary as mines become depleted of chemicals you use in the glaze. You can space out (!) while you are mixing the glaze and end up with a disastrous glaze. (You can not see the glaze colors until after they are fired.) Thickness of the glaze is an intuitive thing too. We use a hydrometer to measure the thickness of a new batch of glaze but after that, it is really by feel that you decide the glaze is good to go. Kilns fire differently depending on the number of pots you put in the kiln and their placement within the kiln not to mention the firing schedule. Fortunately, kilns themselves are much more controllable today than in the 1970's because of the ability to digitally program your firing schedule, once you decide on it.

I was working on a Lotus today. It really turned out beautifully. Take a look.

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