How I started to be a potter. 6th month. November 2020
Hi there, I am Kate, beginner potter. This is an article about the 6th month of me doing pottery. You can check the previous post here.
This month I focused on the new, more complex and non-standard forms: I made my first teapot, chess set, sushi set and several vases. I also decided on the shapes of the cups that I like and 3 sizes that I am going to practice.
I always get very excited I’m opening the glaze kiln that I forget to take the photos of the fired pots. Here are some of the survived ones.
Last month I didn’t mix new glazes, but I tried working with the underglazes which I used for creating some special pots. I will share them next month.
My experience of working with underglazes has not yet made me happy.
I bought some “Stroke & Coat” underglazes by Mayco. They appeared to be not quite standard underglazes because they become glossy themselves, if applied 2–3 layers, so you don’t have to add a layer of transparent clear glaze on top. These underglazes were pretty runny on my tiles and pots, although I fired them at △6 while they are supposed to be fired at △6–10. I tried to apply glaze on bisque and green ware, and the results were pretty much identical. Also because of their glossy nature, using one underglaze on top of another is not really possible as the coating becomes too thick and the outcome layer becomes blurry and runny.
I also bought several “Velvet” underglazes by Amaco. These underglaze coatings behave like regular underglazes and need to be coated with a layer of clear glaze on top. I used Tony Hansen 20x5 transparent glaze for this case, but for some reason some of the colors came out underfired, covered with some bubbles and pinholes. I think that most likely there is not enough boron, when you combine underglazes of certain colors from this lineup and add Hansen 20x5 on top. I’m still going to look into this question and try to use a transparent glaze from the same lineup as a top layer. This glaze melts at △04 so I expect it to behave properly.
This month I had my first cup “boom” in a kiln 🤯. It’s good that the shrapnel didn’t hit the other pots or the kiln that hard. But the bottom of the cup was almost completely ripped apart. This is because accidentally took the wrong cup which I have made just a few days ago rather than the one which was dry enough. Usually I wait for a week or so before I fire the pot. On this cup I tested some patterns with the underglazes.
I also continue studying at the Ceramic Materials Workshop course and it is coming to an end soon. I still enjoy the course. This month I had one of the most useful lectures for me. It was a lecture about boron, because I am mainly working at △6. Now I’ve got more experience at how much boron you actually need in your glazes to make sure they are well fired at the cone you need. I love this course and am going to take an Advancing Glazes course starting from January.
I have finally decided on the shape of the cups that I am going to make. Here is one of them. Now I’m mostly practicing this shape and trying to make identical mutiples.
I also did some photoshoots with some mugs.
I made my first teapot. I liked working on this form and was very pleased that the teapot turned out to be functional. Water flows from the spout normally. I am going to practice teapots in the future and I already have some ideas for the shapes.
I made a ceramic chess set. It was a pretty interesting and exciting experience. Some people asked me questions about it and I thought I would try to write an article on the process of creating it in the near future.
I tried to throw some vases. But they all turned out to be more like large glasses in shape than the vases. And now I use most of them for the tools in the studio. I think for now I will stop trying to make a vase. I still have certain problems with working with large pieces of clay.
I also tried making a sushi set. And the result pleased me. I like the way Perfect Matte glaze looks on the surface. I threw the bowls on the potter’s wheel, made the slab plates, and for the large plate I used a drape form. I’m going to tweak the process a bit and also write a separate blog post about it.
Half a year has passed since I started doing pottery! I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. Next months I want to try to describe the process of creating something with more details and write a separate article about it. Because now I equipped my studio and the blog is more about describing of what I have done in a month, rather than about something really helpful for beginners. I want to think on how to make the content more useful and varied. But I am very glad that I started this blog, because with its help I can track my progress.
Here you can check my instagram account.
Thank you for reading 🍯 ✌