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Friday, March 21, 2008

Design Concepts

A year ago , when i opened the kiln and found the various pots cracked -- i was so disappointed. Strange, for now when i open the kiln and the pots are whole -- i'm still disappointed !!!
I find the designs aren't what was expected. The colors are close but no cigar to what careful calculations promised they would be. Colors do not blend. Instead of precise shading, the main color merely looks "washed out".
Such was the case yesterday when the kiln was opened.

It seems that designs which look great on paper aren't necessarily apropo for ceramics. Then, there's the color scheme. So it's a whole new ballgame.

Haven't forgotten y'all. Have been nose to the grindstone, trying to figure out design concepts which will transfer to the ceramic medium effectively. New techniques which will lend themselves to glazes and to the subtle shading necessary to highlight form and indicate depth.

In pursuit of this found Toni Platon-Tiu's site ( ) which questions how we would see our life if we viewed it on a canvas.
Toni asks: "What colors are most dominant? (On the canvas of your life.) Tell me about the figures you see, the shapes and lines that are forming. Is it abstract? Is it defined by still life? Is it set in a meadow with red poppies? Tell me what you see."

Intriguing, eh? But i didn't have time to pursue this line of thinking, for the pursuit of ceramic design and glaze coloring took precedence. Did find a link on Toni's page which led to leaves, trees, and flowers. ( )

Recently, tried Emmanuel Cooper's zinc, nickel + barium recipe #404. Trying for pinks. However, there is no latitude in his 2282 degrees F !!! The glaze did not vitrify at 2167 F. Had anticipated this might be the case, so on the other half of the plate added some Wollastonite hoping to bring the vit temperature down. This sort-a worked. But the glaze pooled in glossy globules. On both halves, the expected "pinks" came out shades of tan + brown.

The explorer in me is greater than the perfectionist. And since this was an exploration forey, i also tried woodash and strontium carb mixed in with the 404 recipe with the addition of the Wollastonite on a section of the plate.
Here were my pinks !!! Floating on top of a glossy dark brown pooled between the plate's side and bottom.

Ah sure now, and if you don't hear from me for a day or two, you'll know i'm knee deep in chemical dust trying to transfer what is in my head to plates, bowls, etc., and have it appear to be more than just a jumbled mess of colors!

Toni, still referring to the palette of our lives, says: "If you don’t like what is on your canvas, no worries. You have a palette of unlimited colors and you are in control of what colors and strokes to use."

Betcha anything, she's never messed around creating pottery !!!

Happy Glazing Days


cynthia said...

Hey Chae, I think the fact that you're disappointed means that you're on a huge learning curve right now and your work is going to advance in the very near future by really pushing yourself!

Will check out your links...

chaetoons said...

Thanks for the encouraging words!
You're right. Am in an emotional slump right now and need to get ahold of those invisible head + heart strings, pull them into some semblance of positive attitudes, and march forward with optimism.
On the plus side, several of the pottery books ordered, arrived yesterday -- reading them should help.
Have a GREATEST Easter
Love N Hugs

Natalie -- NKP Designs said...

I feel your pain!

My problem is that I drop and break things to and from the kiln ... I even stumble into shelf and knock things off .. CRASH!

But oftentimes, even when I experiment with glazes on beads, they don't come out the way I thought they would on a bigger item.

Glaze on Girl!

chaetoons said...

Natalie !!!
Thought of you early Monday morning. Precisely at 6am. When i loaded the kiln with several pieces of bisqueware and remembered having read your post about dropping a piece.
I'm quite sure YOU saved me from a catastrophe !!!

toni said...

Hi Chaetoons! Toni Tiu here. I got a trackback from Happy Nest and followed it. Nice to meet you! :D

Haha, I've never tried pottery indeed. I'm intrigued by it though! ;) I find the process quite intimate -- you literally mold things with your hands right! Sounds so lovely.

Your masterpiece can come in all shapes and forms... perhaps you'll write about that piece de resistance when you're done? ;)

Thanks for the link back and happy creating!

-Toni Tiu (Happy Nest, Wifely Steps)

chaetoons said...

Hi Toni
Great to hear from you !!!
Have developed a new process which few (at this time) are doing -- when i feel "comfortably predictable" with it, have considered writing at least an article (perhaps a book?) on the technique so others can enjoy doing it too.
Reading your article was such a timely experience and i'm so glad i found you when i did.
You are an inspiration to all artists !!!

toni said...

Great! I hope to see that article or book sometime. :) And I hope that you do share the Masterpiece entry. I am so happy it helped inspire you. Perhaps it can help others too!

Keep creating!