Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I thought I'd take a few minutes to explain why I decided to go with colored underglazes rather than majolica glazes.

The first reason is movement. In my experience, underglazes and colored slips (both contain clay) tend to adhere better to surfaces. I've had no experiences with it running under a final coat of clear glaze. This gives me sharper lines in my carving.

Secondly, I want strong, intense colors in my upcoming prototypes and projects. Something like this by Sharon Bloom:

The following is a wonderful majolica piece by Judy B. Freeman. As opposed to underglazes, majolica is glaze -- much more closely related to glass than underglaze. As such, it has a softer, more watercolory feel to the coloration, which definitely works on this piece, but which I don't think I could pull off with the designs I have from David:

Of course, as this life tends to work, I'm sure there will come a time when I decide I've had enough of underglazes and get brave enough to start working in the world of majolica.

Yesterday I threw a couple of plates to work on. I'm hoping to get them trimmed out today. Then, when my anticipated delivery of underglazes comes tomorrow, I can get to work on them next week.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm moving into a new world and that world contains Amaco Velvet Underglazes.

"Why?" you may ask.

I recently completed a weddding kiddush cup commission. The customer wanted it in Northwestern University purple, which is a rather intense color -- one I knew I couldn't achieve using Mason stains in slip. So, I broke down, asked around, and came up with Amaco's Amethyst underglaze.

The kiddush cup came out wonderfully!

Tied in with that was the receipt of new drawings by my artist friend David. Several of them are adorable imaginary animals that would be absolutely perfect on a baby name plate (in Hebrew, of course). But they just wouldn't look right carved through a single color of slip, which has been my hallmark technique up 'til now.

So, when I put the two events together, it helps make up my mind to try using strong pastel underglazes on my soon-to-be-made baby name plates. Since shipping info shows my underglazes are due to come on the 28th, I think I'll throw a couple of plates today so they're trimmed and ready to decorate early next week.

Meanwhile, I'm also working on a rather large plate that's a commission piece, with the tree of life around the rim and encroaching on the center, with the words Tikkun Olam in bark textured sprigs in the center of the piece. The customer wants lots of color on the plate -- but I think I'll leave the various colors on the individual letters, add brown on the tree, and I'll decide on the background once it's been bisque fired and I can get a better feel for what the finished plate might look like.