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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Alternatives (pt. 2)

So what else is there, if glazing isn't your thing?

You might want to explore Naked Clay by Jane Perryman.

I found it almost liberating once I took glazing off the table. It was as if the whole time I was wedging the clay, throwing the piece, shaping, trimming, drying, I was worrying 'How am I going to glaze this??'

My first expedition into the unknown was Naked Raku. It was a 7 week class taught at the art center that gave a great overview of the process as well as advice and guidance in what types of forms may or may not (there are few absolutes) work well. Most of us used an actual raku clay body, meant to withstand the shock of being pulled out of a 1700-1800F kiln into the air with tongs, and sometimes even plunged into water to cool! We weren't quite as hard on our pieces, but it's still amazing what clay can survive. The raku clay gave the pieces a somewhat rough texture.

Then I took a class on burnishing and saggar firing. I really loved it. We used regular white stoneware and burnished the leather hard pots with a stone. After firing, they were scrubbed clean and waxed with a hard floor wax. The burnished surface is silky smooth, yet still very natural.

Lately, I've been playing with using terra sigillata for an even smoother surface with less fuss than burnishing. I'm really liking the results. I can't wait to see how these pots take the color of the saggar firing in a couple weeks.

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