Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zebra-clay experiment in rough shape forms

[see also update, April 28, 2013]  
I'm in the middle of making a piece (or two) made of two different clay types ("bodies") used alternatingly in flat, slab-like formation.  Lately in constructing my pieces I've been using mostly "throwing clay", which for reasons I don't fully understand, is used at our studio primarily on the throwing wheel.  Its texture is somewhere between White Stoneware and "T-1" sculpture clay, but I think it's just as strong while wet as T-1 but has less "grog" (particles of rock) and is very flexible like stoneware.   It seems to have a fair amount of iron in it, so it looks red while wet (green) and pink-ish after bisquing, and reacts a lot to glazes.  So I built this tower, meant to be a lamp-base, and matching orb (seen below), just building the forms as if I were using coils, but instead using strips of the two different clays, in irregular shapes, alternating.  Originally these two were one piece and then I didn't like how it looked - the orb is too big for this base, I think - so I severed them apart.  Due to the mysteries of how the kiln-gnomes manage their work-flow, he tower got high-fired literally 3 weeks before the orb, even though I  had them ready at the same time, so here's the finished tower next to the orb before it was fired.  I used Nelson's Celedon glaze, anticipating that it would react with the most contrast between the two clays.

The results, in terms of that effect of contrast between the two clays, was far stronger and more pleasing than I had even hoped for.   I'm thinking of making a smaller orb to pop on top of this tower and having it be a lit-from-within lamp.

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