|#3 of the larger Polar Bear Series- Coiled Piece|
Ann's Soda Clay Body~ Soda Fired to Cone 11
Dimensions~ H:16" W: 10.5" L: 22.5"
If you had read my last post, you know this was exactly what I was worried about. It seems the larger I go w/ the bears, the more apt they are to crack during the final firing in the Soda Kiln. I thought about it a lot & spoke w/ my instructors about why this is happening. (oh, also note the back foot... one of my friends cups was stuck to it when it came out of the kiln.)
I believe several things are happening.
One, the clay I am using is more of a throwing clay vs a sculptural clay. When I build small to medium, the clay body can handle it, but when I go bigger & add all the twists & turns that I do, I am not sure this clay body can take it. (Though I know people do large scale porcelain work- so that kind throws that theory out, but I plan on testing several grittier sculptural clays next semester.) Related to this also, I believe, is the fact that the Soda Kiln can heat unevenly- the bottom can be around cone 9, while the top (such as in our last firing) was around cone 13... perhaps the Ann's Soda Cone 10 clay body does not like that much heat!
Two, perhaps I am drying the clay too fast. Once a sculpture is finished, I have not been covering it & letting it dry slowly... I simply uncover it & let it dry. Though, on the smaller pieces, that was not an issue... I'd often let them sit outside in the dry NM fall weather where the humidity was quite low- which literally sucked the moisture out.
Three, (and I think this could be one of the main issues) because I only make 4 pencil sized holes on the bottom for venting, the outside of the sculpture is drying MUCH faster than the inside.
My Resolutions & what I will be working on next semester~
1)Testing various sculptural Clay Bodies in this large format.
2.) Drying pieces very slowly!
3.) Placing larger & more vent holes on the bottom of the piece.
4.) Building slower than I already do... covering the outside of the piece & allowing more air to get to the inside before closing.
( I invite commentary or suggestion on these issues!)
Here are a few more views. This was the first bear done w/ a batch of freshly mixed glaze... so I was glad to know that I had the right recipe from glaze calc last semester & mixed it properly. Despite all the cracking on this piece, I am still totally in love w/ this glaze!
|Close up of the glaze where it crystalized over the neck & nose of the piece.|
Below is # 4 in the Polar Bear Series. (No, I don't count "The Beast," which was a bear -no pun intended- of a project... to me, it does not fit w/ this series, nor do the smaller versions.)
I finished him up about a month ago & he has been through the bisque kiln w/ only minimal cracking. He is larger than all the others- wet measurements were 23 inches tall, 20 inches long & 14 inches wide. I was afraid that if I glazed him up & put him in the Soda Kiln, he'd just crack up like # 3. Actually I am very certain of this. He'll be in storage over winter break until I decide whether to go for it & begin to learn about post- production crack repair, or maybe leave him in the bisqued state & do some sort of "cold surface" treatment like painting and/or staining.
In other clay news, our Community College Clay Club Sale was a success! We had some 39 clay students that participated & brought in just over $14,000 in combined sales! 40% goes to the clay club (for things like advertising, bringing in outside artists for demos, rebuilding of the beloved soda kiln & so forth,) 60% to individual artists. Below is my table of... you guessed it... pots & bears.
While I myself did not get rich, (ha ha) I did bring in about $680 which would translate to about $400 after 40% to the clay club... which, considering it was my first sale~ was not at all bad. Although the hours were long (about 11 hours each day for 2 days,) & I was quite exhausted by the end... I think overall it was a good experience- it provided some exposure for my art, and it was fun to be a part of this larger clay community event. (It also generated some post sale sales from co- workers, which is awesome!) Special thanks to my instructors & the Clay Clubbers for putting on this event... there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen, and thanks to all who stopped by to say hello & purchase a pot & a bear or two!
I've just finished for the semester & am back to working full time through the holidays AND I'll be moving yet again... so I don't know if I'll be blogging much for a while... though I'll try to get out w/ my camera for an evening walk or two... I love all the lights & farolitos up around town this time of year. I promise to share if I do.
Happy December! May it be a peaceful one.