Selecting a Rocket

Selecting a Rocket

When in doubt, glaze it again…

I must admit that I was a little disappointed after the last firing.  I am sure you can understand. It is always difficult turning our dreams into reality.  For me the creative process is often like a treasure hunt, moving from one clue to the next. We get a little closer towards the goal but never really reach it.  That is the life of an artist.  And so, in the last kiln firing the glaze did not move as I expected over the stamped designs.  Too much of the pattern was covered by the glaze, and so it did not have the exciting pop I was searching for (figure 1).

So with nothing to lose, I decided to try re-glazing some of the pieces.  But wanting to add one new element to the process, I purchased some glaze liners and applied them over the already glazed patterns. But as you can see from the results (figures 2-4), there was an improvement but not the striking results I was looking for.  The surfaces still seemed muted, and inconsistent depending on the base glaze.  Some bowls even showed streaking where the clear glaze was applied over the liner (figure 4).

Don’t break away…

I was curious if the liner would do better over a fresh coat of glaze. And while the results look much more promising, you can see that in most cases the liner actually separated from the first layer of glaze causing many of the patterns to crack (figures 5-10).  The best result can be seen with white liner over a raspberry glaze (figures 5 and 10). But while most lines stayed in place, many of the stars pealed up and broke away causing sharp points on the surface of the bowl.

Did someone say Pivot…

One glaze test that surprised me was simply using liner over greenware with a clear glaze on top (which of course is the way this glaze liner was meant to be used).  While the images are plain, they do contain clean, crisp lines (figures 11-14).  The results are changing the way I think about this new series.  Perhaps I should be less focused on the glaze below, and more focused on the lines above.

One book I really enjoyed reading was the Lean Startup by Eric Ries. A key concept in the book is knowing when to Pivot.  That is, knowing when to let go of one idea, to transition towards a newer, improved version of your idea. When I think of pottery, I always think of glazes.  The rich layers of glass have consumed the majority of my focus.  But what if I decided to pivot.  What if I stopped focusing on glazes, and just used a simple clear glaze.  This would mean all my color would come from working in stains and oxides added to the clay body itself.  An interesting idea that deserves a round of testing.