Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wisconsin Regional Art Program - La Crosse

This is one of my entries for the WRAP exhibit here in La Crosse, WI. It is a tea caddy to compliment my two raku fired tea bowls. This piece was barrel fired. Anyway, back to the Wisconsin Regional Art Program.
WRAP was establisheded in 1940 and encourages Wisconsin citizens with a serious interest in art to make art purely for the love of it rather than fame and fortune. Its main purpose is to encourage nonprofessional artists to develop their abilities by providing workshops and exhibits.
This regional exibit is being held at The Pump House Regional Art Center, here in la Crosse. The Wisconsin Regional Artists Association (WRAA) co-sponsors the statewide exhibit and conference in Madison in September. One third of the regional entries will move on to the statewide exhibit.

Sneek Peek 2

I really had a hard time picking out two tea bowls that I wanted in the WRAP show. I fired my raku kiln for a week straight I bet. I ended up with a lot of bowls. The good news is I kept track of how many firings I can get to a twenty pound propane tank--8 full firings and I still had enough in the tank to light-up my barrel kiln the other day. Anyway, I decided to put this tea bowl in the show because it was a great example of my carving abilitiles, it had the perfect clear crackle pattern on the inside, and the exterior glaze was just too good to pass up. Unfortunately I do not have the recipe for the exterior glaze. I had two small buckets of dry glaze mixed up, but over the course of the winter the recipe tags disappeared. I didn't want to waste the materials so I mixed them together to see what came out of the kiln. I'm actually really happy with the glaze because I can produce a few different colors and effects depending how I fire and reduce. But, once the glaze is gone, its gone.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Barrel Firing Again

Yes! I'm barrel firing again. I think it has been a year since I last lit a barrel. I've been lighting-up my gas raku kiln almost everyday for the past week and I've had some pretty awesome results. You can see a few of the tea bowls on my flickr site. I'll post a few more next week.

Anyway, back to the barrel firing. I'm participating in Wisconsin's Regional Art Program Exhibit, which starts in a week. I need to drop off three of my peices to the Regional Art Center tomorrow morning. I have picked two of my raku bowls but really wanted to include a piece of my barrel fired pottery. I've been anxiously waiting for a day to light it up but the weather has not been too cooperative the past two weeks. If it wasn't raining it was too too windy . Yesterday was a bit windy but the deed had to be done.

I started right after work. At 2:45pm I filled the bottom of the barrel with about 4 or 5 inches of sawdust, placed the pots in the bottom, sprinkled my magic dust around the pots, and loaded the barrel full with an assortment of really nice wood from the wood shop. There were lots of scrap pieces of oak, cherry, maple, birch, you name it. The best part about the wood, outside of the fact that it was free, was that it was clean and free of dirt.

Usually I fill the barrel full of wood and then build a pyramid with more wood that sticks up about 24 inches above the rim of the barrel. Because it was a bit windy I didn't stack a pyramid and loaded the wood about 6 inches from the top of the barrel. The Fire was lit with my raku torch at 2:15pm. At 6:15pm there was very little flame and the barrel was half full of glowing coals. The coals will burn through the night and die out. Friday afternoon after work I'll see what the burn has produced.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hand Carved Tea Bowl

This is one of my favorite tea bowls that I have made. First of all I carved it out of a solid round of clay. I've been carving all my bowls lately. It took quite a bit of time but there is something about the process of carving and actually visualizing a tea bowl in the solid mass of clay. It is also one of my favorites because it just feels so good in the hands. The glaze is Soldner's Clear Crackle, 80% gerstley borate, 20% nepheline syenite. I have a few other new tea bowls that I have posted on my flickr site.

The Kodai

The kodai or the footring is said to reveal a whole lot about the potter who made the bowl. What does it say to you? I can see a lot of me in this hand carved kodai. I signed the bottom with a gold pen. I never really liked signing my work. I'm not sure why. When I first started ceramics I made a small plaster stamp with my initials JG on it. I loved the stamp but people who wanted to buy my work always wanted me to sign it. I can't even read my signature so I know other people can't. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Remember Me?

Remember me? Uffda! It has been a long time since I first started this porcelain mask. I'm thinking last October, and it sat around on the drying shelf until now. This mask made it through the raku firing just fine. It is broken in half because of my stupidity. Oh well. I'll start another one soon and do it again. I did post a short slide show of my raku firing process on the blog that I write for work. Just click on the link to view the post. Raku Firing Process.