I go through phases with the demonstrations I choose to do for my classes... With many of my students returning session after session, I sometimes struggle to keep my demos fresh and interesting. Other times I feel like I could demonstrate a technique or form for weeks on end. There are countless reasons I go either direction. Recently I decided to experiment with colored clay and sodium silicate. Basically, after throwing a thick cylinder, the colored clay and soda silicate are brushed on, heated, and stretched to create a crackle effect. This is by no means a new technique, and has probably been shown in most teaching studios across the country. Of course I had seen it before on finished pieces, but never thought it would complement my forms... I couldn't have been more wrong. The wider you stretch a piece (for me, usually in the belly) the wider and deeper the cracks stretch, and more solid where the walls are touched less. This creates a gradient effect to pieces, which for me make the wide belly look wider and the tight feet and neck look tighter, a tension I just cant get with the raw clay.
Best part about this demo? Every student, in all three of my classes, tried this out the same during the class I showed it! A first for me.
I typically fire all of my work in the wood kiln, however, I am into anything that has to do with pots and fire. I fired a good bit of my work in the raku kiln at Towson while I was there, and I am still interested in the process. September 17th I am leading a raku workshop at The Little Pottery Shop on East Street in downtown Frederick. It will be a day long firing workshop, although we will also talk about making techniques, and I will show slides of my own and other potters work. Check it out!
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