Saturday, September 15, 2012

Twisty Turny Bud Vases on Etsy!


Wahoo, just got done with a bunch of new mugs - well, the first step, anyway! The mugs were thrown, trimmed and had handles attached. I also managed to trim a bowl until the clay was so thin it just broke through - THAT was exciting. :P

One of the things I love about clay is that there is always something new to try. Last week I received a box of about 30 different colored underglazes, and with these new mugs I plan to play with color in a way I haven't done before. I may even play with PATTERNS!

Meanwhile, I'd like to show you some of the different new projects I now have in my shop. New designs are springing full-grown from my head all the time - it's a good thing I have an outlet, because I think things would get mighty crowded in there if I didn't have a creative release.

The vases can be grouped in lots of different ways.
These fun twisty turny bud vases are the result of a new tool in my studio, a Northstar clay extruder. The extruder takes soft clay and presses it through a die, taking on the shape of the die. These particular vases are slowly turned as the clay is pressed out of the extruder, and then cut to various heights. After the clay becomes a little firmer and easier to handle, I add a bottom slab to the vases. After painting the sides with colored slip (runny clay that has color added to it), the bud vases are allowed to dry slowly in my studio. After they reach a bone dry stage, they make their first trip to the kiln, to be fired to roughly 1600 degrees F. This first firing drives the remaining moisture out of the clay, and makes it much stronger.

The next step is glazing. This set of vases was dipped in a clear glaze, and then fired again, this time to 2150 F or so. The higher temperature causes the clay to vitrify, making it more durable and waterproof.

One of the things I find so wonderful about clay is the endless possibilities. Perhaps some day I'll run out of ideas - but it's not going to be anytime soon.

Yet another view of the twisty turny vases. Natural clay colors the interior, covered by a clear glaze.

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