Thursday, December 10, 2015
Saturday, November 21, 2015
The pitcher is a graceful form at its best. This one has a slightly narrowed neck and flared rim which is then indented to create a functional pour spout.
It's probably a source I should try working from again; but here is the very simple pot that was made at that time.
Here it is, holding an assortment of flowers and some green Hesperaloe pods as well.
Just a brief look at some handthrown earthenware pieces I've made... Hope you've enjoyed them!
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Pot and saucer were handthrown on a potter's wheel. Clay used is a cone 8 buff-colored stoneware; and the glaze is my version of tenmoku, the classic old dark iron-brown glaze of Japan and China. I use a single fire sequence with this glaze, e.g. the piece is glazed in the raw clay stage, then fired slowly to full temperature, roughly 1249 C.
Friday, November 6, 2015
|beginning the poncho|
So yesterday saw a little planning, and this morning saw a little more, plus some knitting.
|not shown: the tape measure!|
The rest to be in stocking stitch with a central panel of diamonds, bounded by - of course - a little more garter stitch.
|my handwriting deteriorated years ago!|
|that initial curly-cue phase...|
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
For reference, the largest is about 7.25 in high (18.5 cm). All are unglazed.
The three pieces on the left are from my first attempts at making coiled forms, using methods gleaned from traditional New World pottery. The piece on the far right is a purely sculptural work (unusual for me) made for my sister; it was wheel-thrown (completely closed), then cut open to create the flared hood.
|Photo by Sarah Myers, Copyright (C) Sarah Myers. Used by permission.|
Sunday, October 25, 2015
The sweater was worked in Berroco Modern Cotton, a worsted weight pima cotton/rayon blend. This yarn gave fairly sharp definition to the pattern stitches.
The design was developed with the idea of creating a layered effect: the cabled section opens to a honeycomb stitch yoke, which is then edged by the ribbed collar. Sleeves are worked in plain stocking stitch to allow emphasis to remain with the body of the sweater.
Construction details include a satisfactory experiment in working the sleeves directly by casting on at the armhole. There is a little shaping at armhole and shoulder (this latter done with short rows on the sleeve), but I doubt I would bother with this detail again; I think as good an effect would have been achieved without.
The piece was knit entirely in the round for convenience, though the pattern would not require this. I used knitted steeks at armholes and neck. Again, this was for convenience (dubiously, as I hate stitching steeks down!); the pattern could also have been worked flat.
Each side, front and back, consists of two panels of cables, meeting at a central, chained cable. In the front, this central cable is twisted and then parted to create the yoke. Along the edge of the yoke, the divided cable sections continue to be twisted outward.
In back the cables blend into the yoke that runs straight across, which then blends seamlessly into the collar.
The outer cables are carried to the shoulder and worked to form an accent at the armhole.
At the sides a series of ribbing keeps the texture from being too bulky.
One of my favorite discoveries on this project was a way to handle the cuff. At first I tried a normal ribbed cuff in which the number of stitches was reduced in order to draw the sleeve in at the wrist. I didn't think this looked good with the rest of the design so I ripped it out and tried a new idea. I cabled around (two twists) at the beginning of the ribbed section. This drew the sleeve in naturally with no need for stitch reduction and made a more elegant finish. If the ribbed section were longer, the cuff would flare back out, which might also be a fun way to work a sleeve design. But in this case I kept it fairly short.
The ribbing at the hem is simply the rib pattern used for the cables -- not yet cabled and worked on smaller size needles.
A big thank you to my sister Sarah Myers for the photography!
All images in this post are copyright (C) Sarah Myers. Used by permission.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
It is axiomatic among potters that a glaze applied to unfired clay must contain an appreciable amount of clay itself. It is proverbial that the glaze should be applied before the piece has dried.
In a test-in-progress I have here two free-standing test tiles (cut from a cylinder form) which have been glazed, while bone dry, with a glaze containing no clay whatsoever. The glaze surface has dried with no cracking and the tiles are very much intact.
To expand on Britt's explanation from my own experience, one of the keys to addressing once-fired glazing is to begin, not with the nature of the glaze, but with the nature of the clay body in use.
If the clay is composed primarily of fireclay and is relatively non-plastic in working properties, then it is likely very fragile when bone dry and is most safely glazed when leather-hard -- the standard practice. However, if the clay runs high on ball clay and is quite plastic, it tends to have a much higher dry strength. This type of clay may well respond better to bone-dry glazing.
So for once-firing the first question to address is the nature of the clay. The second is to match the glaze to the selected glazing sequence.
The requirements for the glaze recipe itself, therefore, flow naturally from the clay in use. The necessary clay content in the glaze will depend on whether one is applying it at the leather-hard stage or after the piece has fully dried. In this case, the key issue is that of drying shrinkage. High clay content in the glaze (assuming one is using a slop glaze) makes for significant shrinkage as the glaze dries. This is desirable when the glaze is being applied to a piece that still has considerable moisture in it as it will allow both clay and glaze to shrink together. The important thing is to remember that the shrinkage rate of clay and glaze must be compatible -- whatever that rate may be.
Glazing a bone-dry piece, despite the fact it inevitably absorbs moisture and expands during the process, requires a glaze shrinkage closer to that normal for bisqued ware. Glazing a leather-hard piece will require considerably greater shrinkage in the glaze to avoid cracking during drying.
As I make not only my own glaze recipes, but also my own clay recipes, it has been very helpful to understand these details. My stoneware clay is highly plastic, with around 11% OM4 ball clay. It has phenomenal dry strength, of the sort that almost allows one to drop it on the floor without damage! Strength at leather-hard stage, however, is not high at all. For these reasons it makes much better sense to glaze it when fully dried, and I have been using a simple Tenmoku glaze (about 7 % kaolin) that would probably work well on bisque also.
The test tiles shown above are a more extreme test, revisiting my favorite white glaze. This is a high-feldspar type, containing plenty of Custer Feldspar as well as spodumene (to minimize crazing). At .52 by formula, it is already very high in alumina from the feldspars alone, and there is no reason to add any clay! I had always bisque fired before using it, but decided this time to test it on raw clay. As you can see, there was no problem applying it to my bone dry stoneware; no cracking has developed at all.
These tiles are part of a larger test to check behavior of my glazes in a slow cooling cycle following firing. I must go glaze the rest of the test pieces now...
|This pot is glazed in my white feldspathic glaze using a normal cooling cycle.|
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
|Building the pot|
|Shaping the interior|
|Smoothing and refining the surface|
All photos Copyright (C) Sarah Myers, used by permission
Sunday, September 27, 2015
The initial attempt was, not surprisingly, a complete failure, but it was extremely useful as it revealed the main areas to be focused on.
Accordingly, my first completed pot was mainly a study in how to pull the form inward as the height increased. This is, of course, a prominent factor in wheel-thrown work, so I should have been prepared for the same need in coiling; however, the techniques used are - at first try, at least - considerably different. My beginner's version is a bit heavy-handed! But I did end up with a pot...