A few weeks ago I started working on a series of stackable cups. After experimenting with the simple geometric and more complex tessellation stamps I made last year I thought it was time to get back into doing some figurative work. I decided to translate my tessellation tiles into stamps. I’ve considered doing this for a long time but resisted because I thought it would be too hard to carve enough detail into the stamps to read well (the stamps are about the size of a quarter). Thankfully, carving detail wasn’t a problem. Whether or not they’ll read well (in reverse) when pressed into the slabs remains to be seen. Fingers crossed.
My first set of porcelain cups came out of the kiln today. They’re 3 1/2″ high, 3 1/2″ in diameter, and hold 12 ounces of liquid. Like the “prototype” I wrote about in my last post, they’re glazed on the inside and lip but the exterior surface has been left unglazed. I’ve been using the prototype every morning for my coffee and I love the way it feels in my hand – I definitely won’t put handles on theses!
Since building the slab roller, I bought a book titled 500 Cups. It’s inspired me to try a variety of shapes, textures, and glazes. This simple porcelain cup is my favorite so far. It’s about 4 inches tall and glazed with clear on the inside only. I think the stamped pieces express the softness of clay especially when left unglazed.
I’ve been pondering the idea of buying a slab roller. The problem is they seem really overpriced. So, today I came up with a simple design and built one. It’s essentially a wooden “track” with a removable canvas-covered board, a large rolling pin, and several pairs of sticks. It allows me to roll out consistent, smooth slabs in a range of thicknesses, very quickly.
Lately I’ve been tying up loose ends on a few projects but I’ve had a little time to play around with this mold I made from a glass bowl. I’m excited about the form on the right. Thin strands of clay were extruded and then draped into the mold to create this light airy nest. It’s extremely fragile so I’m not sure it will hold up through the glazing process. I’ll try other extrusion shapes to find the right balance of lightness and strength.
On an earlier post I tried to describe how I make a planter. Since I’m working on a new one, I thought it would be helpful to document the process in photos. The final steps are to add the lip, touch up details that were lost during the assembly phase, and articulate the seams. Hopefully these images explain the process better than words. This is the first time I’ve used different tiles in each row. The layering of animals reminds me of totem poles.