Well, I think I’m getting really satisfied with my ability to get the surfaces I want. I am addicted to using spray bottles. They give me quick and elegant surfaces, and with the underglazes I invest in, I am confident that the colors will stay brilliant. What I’ve found is that I prefer not to cover my colors with glazes, despite years of critiques where people suggested that a glazed surface would feel more appealing to the touch. Maybe it was true when I was using sandy red clay, but with smooth clay all it needs is some good sanding and it feels like velvet. Also, I do use a thin sprayed layer of Gerstley borate on many of my surfaces. However, with the amoeba design (above), the colors are much more bold when I don’t cover them with a flux.
I am trying to bring back one of my glaze calculation miracles, but the materials seem to be a little different in the studio here. I’ve been trying to refine zinc oxide to a more powdery form, because in the drawer it literally looks like chunks of white rock. I used a mortar and pestle the other day. I loaded a glaze kiln today with the tests in it and programmed it to my usual firing here. I did some color additions (roughly) of red iron oxide, black nickel oxide, cobalt carbonate, and chrome oxide. I even mixed the cobalt and nickel glazes together to see if I get a purple of sorts. What I’m looking for is floating crystals on the surface. When I added 3% copper and fired in oxidation with a natural cooling rate, it came to me easy. It is definitely an oxidation effect, because in parts where it got reduced the crystals didn’t occur as much.
This teapot is another kind of surface experiment– or two mixed together. I sprayed a yellow base like on lots of other pots, then used a cut-out to spray the red circle, then waxed it and carved the orchid, filled the lines with white, waxed that part again, and sprayed watered down black underglaze over the wax, letting it bead up in some areas more than others. The beads flatten down for the most part, but it gives a snake or frog’s skin look.
This starry looking slipper orchid mug was one of my favorite things out of my last firing, but it split down one side so I can’t use it unless I feel like using a big glob of epoxy 😦