Sunday, November 18, 2012

Handbuilt Porcelain Box

Handbuilt Porcelain Box 
4 1/2" dia. x 3 1/2" high
Light Blue Celadon Glaze

Below you will see a couple of photos of my building process.  This piece is now in my "permanent collection" because I like it so much and it inspires me.  I may re-fire it as a bit of alumina hydrate drifted to the edge of the glaze on the bottom half and so I need to retouch the glaze there.  Alumina hydrate is painted on the flange to keep the two clay surfaces from fusing together during the firing. 

This photo shows the clay sheets I have rolled out and cut into sections for the wall of the box, the lid, bottom  and a strip for the flange. I have already laminated thin triangle shapes of colored slips in a pleasing pattern onto the wall section of the box and  pressed them in with a rolling pin.  After painting porcelain slip on the underside of the shapes I place more of them onto the sheet that will become the lid. The slip helps create a bond between the two surfaces.  The lid section is then also pressed with a rolling pin and trimmed into a circle.  

Just to the right of the newly formed box you can see the temporary form used to wrap the clay sheet around and hold it upright while I seam it and add the bottom section.  I had flipped it over and pulled the form up and out.  This form was made from foamcore and held together with masking tape.  When I decide if I like the shape of the new piece I will make a bisque mold from clay in the same shape and in the future use that to form the pieces around as a bisque mold releases the damp clay piece easily.  My handbuilt pieces are then dried slowly, bisque fired and then glazed fired.  I have displayed quite a few of these boxes in different sizes, shapes and colors at the Tivoli Village market here in Summerlin on Saturday mornings along with our wheel-thrown pottery and we have had an excellent response to them.  I've also been very busy in the painting studio working on oils from reference sketches and photos taken during our recent trip to Zion National Park.  We spent a few days in the park to observe "In the Footsteps of Thomas Moran", the Plein Air Painting Invitational 2012,  and to enjoy the gorgeous fall color along the Pa'rus Trail and in the Narrows section of the canyon.  Once again, the world-class color of the sandstone cliffs and foliage were breathtaking.