Part of the reason is that my curiosity was piqued to learn more. I'm not planning on becoming a potter, but I wanted to see how pots are thrown on the wheel. I wanted to try a little slab building and I wanted to spend more time with clay, without feeling like I was taking Marion away from her own work. I also really wanted to explore a wider variety of glazes, under the guidance of an instructor.
Marion uses Mayco Stroke and Coat glazes, which are perfect for her design style. They are quite flexible, regarding what temperatures they can be fired at. They stay right where you put them and don't run, which is perfect for the very detailed work that Marion does.
I was super confused about which glazes could be used at which temperatures and with which clay bodies. I couldn't figure what the difference was between an under glaze and an over glaze, except when you applied them. I pestered all my AJE ceramic peeps with what seemed like billions of glaze questions (thank you guys!). I knew what I wanted, but didn't know how to get there.
So for the past month I have been traveling to Tacoma, WA every week to take a ceramic class at Throwing Mud Gallery. I have learned how to make press mold dishes, slumped trays & draped bowls. I have watched people work on the potters wheels and have played with glazes. I've also made pendants that I will be bringing with me to Bead Fest Philadelphia in a few weeks!
On Tuesday, I brought home my first kiln goodies. Karen Totten asked me if I felt satisfied with the outcome of my bowls and pendants. I wasn't sure if the word "satisfied" described my feelings, but maybe it does. I knew that some of my pieces had too much glaze on them. We did dip glazing in class, and I left a number of things in the glaze a few seconds longer than I should have. But it is part of a learning process and I was surprised and delighted to discover that nothing emerged from the kiln that was so ugly that it needed to be tossed out! In fact, nothing was ugly at all!
It is more of a process of refining my technique to bring it more closely into alignment with the vision I have in my mind. The bowl on the upper left is exactly what I was striving for! There is a beautiful molted blue on the flat surfaces, which breaks into a warm brown color on the raised surfaces. I was ecstatic when I saw how it turned out! The brown/tan bowl on the other hand, would have benefited from less glaze. Parts of it have the look I was going for, but it is not consistent. But even with that bowl I was excited, because I can see that I am moving in the direction of my dreams. I can see a glimmer of my goal, even in the less than perfect pieces. And yes, I'm satisfied with that, at this point in the journey.
I used the same types of glazes on my pendants and charms, too. It looks and works a bit differently on such a small scale.
Till then, I'll leave you with a picture of some of the ceramic components that I have so far. I won't be listing any new ceramics in my Etsy shop until after Bead Fest, but I will have a small selection of items for sale at Jennifer Cameron's table #473A, in Artisan Alley.