Friday, November 16, 2007

This week I felt like I was a production potter. I received a commission for a pair of mugs. But, as most potters know, when you need to make two of something you need to make at least 6. I worked on 6, had the handles crack off because I let them dry unevenly, so threw 6 more the next day.

Apparently I was pushing my fingers too deeply into the bat under the clay, while pulling up. The grog on the bat filed my nails down quite nicely on the outside edge. Hard to describe -- but I'll be using a rib to throw for the next couple of weeks.

At least there will be mugs aplenty!

I also glazed a lovely pierced bowl and am waiting for another bowl with the message: "age is inevitable maturity optional" just below the rim should be going into the bisque firing soon.

Lotsa stuff coming!

Monday, November 12, 2007

My brother asked a funny question today. "How long does it take you to make something?"

I tried to figure it out and had a hard time. Ceramics is an animal that's a bit different from other arts/crafts. There are so many steps and you can't do them all in the same day.

There's throwing or handbuilding the piece. Then there's "finishing" the piece -- making sure the joins are going to hold, that there are no sharp edges, that the bottom is trimmed or smoothed, etc. Time for bisque firing and cooling time. Selecting a glaze and glazing the piece is the next step and might take a minute or two or a few days, depending on the final result desired. Then there's the glaze firing.

I usually end it there, though there are people who do multiple glaze firings at different cone temperatures to achieve varying effects.

So, how long DOES it take for a piece? I figure a thrown mug, total time, takes a bit under an hour. A handbuilt piece? Maybe 5-10 hours.

Of course, there are complex ceramic artists on the internet whose pieces take weeks to complete. A good example can be found here:

A good question with no fixed answer!