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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Alternatives (pt. 1)

Currently, I've been focusing my work on what I'd call alternative surfaces and firings. This is not your standard high-fired, glazed stoneware dinner service. While I still do a few functional glazed pieces, mainly bowls and vases, most of what I've been making will end up low fired, unglazed, porous, and not food safe. Not to say it's entirely non-functional, since you can always slip a vase liner or glass votive holder inside for flowers or a candle.

Honestly, I've just never been fully comfortable with glazing. That may very well change some day when I have control over my own glaze kiln and glazes. But as things stand now, I find it difficult to get the more consistent results one would expect from glazed ware. Even then, I tend to prefer the more 'predictably unpredictable' glazes like crystalline, ash effects, and layered crawl glazes. Again, things you can't really experiment with in a community kiln, and with good reason!

My first teacher also gave me an appreciation of the bare clay surface. As you work with clay and see it through the stages of becoming a finished pot, you gain a sense of the texture of the material. For me, after a while, covering the natural surface with a uniform, hard, smooth layer of glass started to feel wrong.

Continued . . .

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