Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A small peek into the "Contain Yourself" exhibit

I stopped by Gallery 21 yesterday to have a quiet viewing of the "Contain Yourself"exhibit. It was nice to have the place for myself (almost) and slowly savor all the wonderful work displayed. I was able to make a quick movie so I can share with you the quality of the show. All the pieces are for sale. Some are already taken (red dot). During the movie you will see some gold stars next to a name, it denotes an award by the juror. It is unfortunate I cannot post a higher resolution, all the pieces are truly amazing. You are just going to have to see it for yourself ! But do not wait, the show is open until May 2nd, 11 am to 4pm. For more information go to 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Contain Yourself" Exhibit at Gallery 21

Exhibit Poster
The CASD-sponsored exhibit at Gallery 21 in Balboa Park is ongoing until May 2nd. It is a Clay Artists of San Diego member only show, with close to 80 original pieces on display. The show was juried by Sasha K. Reibstein, assistant professor of Art and Head of the Ceramics Department at Palomar Community College. Awards went for Vanessa Backer "Final Nesting Place #2", Sandra Burgener "Claw Box", Andy Halbert "Pinched Form #1", Sanda Hohn "Words that Got Away", Maricarmen Olimon "Precious Thoughts", and Richard L. Sted "Untitled".
I have four pieces in the show, two orchid pots, a Raku vase, and a Raku container. I was missing my camera for the opening, so I can only share two pictures my friend Vaughan took for me. I like to make pots for orchids, but sometimes I think the plant distracts from the pot too much. Certainly the case below. Smaller plants would have given more attention to the pots. Like on the poster ! Yes, that's my mine. It was one of my entries from last year's exhibit. Great poster, don't you think ?!!!

Dry Earth (left) and Starbust Raku (right)

Peacock Vase

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Some great work at our April Raku workshop

The graduating class: Fred, Sara, Yanna, and Paul

The day started uncertain, with a mix of blue skies and big menacing grey clouds. A few waterdrops scouted the parking lot behind the studio where we had set up our two Raku kilns, just as Lee was getting ready to do her Horsehair Raku demo. Air was unusually brisk for April, not a bad feature with two kilns going. Then the skies cleared up around noon, and we knew it was going to be a nice day.
And what a nice day it was ! Everyone did extremely well. Good glazing, nice pieces. Every one was patient, organized, receptive. It made the day exciting and fulfilling. Fred, Sara, Yanna and Paul all left with some wonderful pieces to remind them of the experience, as well as a new appreciation of Raku firing. Paul was so enthused he is considering converting his old electric kiln into a Raku kiln ! For her second Raku workshop, Yanna was prepared. She knew the glazes and used them to great effect on her pieces, with pleasing combinations of copper glazes and crackle glazes. Our metallic glazes had a huge appeal on Sara, embracing completely our selection of copper glazes to match her cake-decorating style. Fred had a good ol' time throughout the day, trying it all with equal glee.

Horsehair Raku lesson with Lee

Unloading the big kiln

Some postfiring work to make it more interesting

Big jar by Fred
Copper glaze

Mask by Paul
"Naked Raku" style

Layered vase by Yanna
Mix of copper glazes and white crackle glaze

Faceted vessel by Sara
Copper glaze

Our raku event was covered in an article by Chris Lavin, editor of e-news Chris, and his publisher Gina Garcia, took some really great shots of us throughout the workshop and arranged them into a 2-min slide show at the end of the article. Check it out !

Monday, April 4, 2011

Putting those the test

Lots of test tiles to choose from, so I started with my favorites. I invariably gravitate around metallic glazes. That's just me. I like the shine, the depth, the warm colors of copper. If a glaze gets completely reduced to copper metal, no matter the expected color, I am happy as a clam, doing the little "I got copper" dance around the reduction chamber.
For this round, I tried Red Luster, which requires heavy reduction (even better in-kiln), Irene's Black/Copper, which is heavy in manganese, and Silver White, a silver nitrate glaze. I also included two old favorites to try alone or in combos, Glassy Copper Sand (GCS) and Turquoise Crackle (TC) (which never gave me turquoise or crackles by the way, so I suspect I messed up the recipe somewhere).
Silver White glaze was the big unknown. It has silver nitrate, a chemical sensitive to light. I prepared the batch when I fired the test tiles last week. I kept it in the dark surrounded in aluminum foil. A week later, I took a peek and it still looked good, unlike a former batch that had turned black (no foil). It pays to be careful. Test tile was ok but not great. A good silver nitrate glaze will give you a smooth shiny quicksilver color. Interestingly the glaze turned out better on my pot then on the tile ! And it works great on top of Irene's Black/Copper. See Bolted Tri-fold and Silver Tri-fold.
Red Luster gave a rusty appearance with some good copper flashes and a few iridescent small patches. It contains red copper oxide which tends to float on top of the glaze, so applying the glaze requires constant stirring. Next time, I will try in-kiln reduction.
Irene's Black/Copper deserves its name completely. Pretty much black, safe for some copper flashing with heavy post-firing reduction. Very nice in combination with a shiny glaze like Silver White. Gold luster would look good as well. On my to-do list.
Combining GCS and TC gave some interesting results. TC has a smooth, slightly bumpy texture, while GCS is heavy on copper flashes (at least in my kiln!). The two together retain the slight bunpy texture while displaying varying degrees of copper flashing. Me like it very much ! 

Asymmetric Tri-fold
(fired twice)
Glassy Copper Sand (main panel);
Glassy Copper Sand on top of Turquoise Crackle (small panels)

Copper Tri-fold
Glassy Copper Sand;
Gold leaf (buttons)

 Bolted Tri-fold
Red Luster;
Silver White (plates)
 Silver Tri-fold Irene's Copper/Black;
Silver White on top of Irene's Copper/Black (rim)

 Tall Square Vase  Glassy Copper Sand on top of Turquoise Crackle (square bottom);
White Cackle (top)