| In another brazen attempt to be not only 'cool', but also hip and funky, I used the final week of studio time to create Christmas decorations.|
these finely crafted egg shapes display all the hard effort and learning i have gained throughout the year. they're all on sale at our pottery sale this week.
I'd hope they all sell but if they don't i may well ebay the remainder - or email me and we'll work something out...
anyhoo onto the process (which is after all far more fascinating than the end result ;)
|In this case it all starts with a plaster mould. using 60 hrs worth of class time to learn how to do things 'the right way' i threw that out the window and went straight to 'the shortcut'. i worked from 2 moulds, of 6 eggs. |
I bought 6 jumbo eggs (the 70g ones. nearly as large as a duck egg - which i now wish i had of used). i hard-boiled them and then cast them in 2 moulds. on the table to the right you can see an open mould and a closed one. obviously you close the mould and tip slip into it. you let the slip sit for 10 mins (or so) then tip the whole lot upside down and let it drain into the bucket.
you then wait an hour to remove it.
|failure to wait at least an hour results in many eggs that haven't had enough water removed from them. the picture to the left shows the very first batches. i was impatient and only waited 30 minutes. after a 6 hour day in the studio this is all i had to show. my week looked like a potential disaster...|
| Luckily i settled down and got into a rhythm. the next day saw me in full swing. this was another 6 hrs worth of work. the whitest eggs were cast in the morning whilst the darkest ones were only just removed from the moulds.|
the bits sticking off them are usually cut off much earlier, but i had a grand idea to fire them all standing on the waste part. this was (not unsurprisingly) another disaster, and i quickly removed all the waste parts and fired everything as an egg
|similar to above, but showing the previous days (now) bisque fired eggs (closest to us) these are the ones that got all the testing done on them|
| after bisque firing and a bit of sanding and tydying up, they go loaded into the kiln. i had cut fire bricks into this 'I' shape, then hung the eggs from old element wire. again i lost a batch testing this theory, but as i wanted to use the glaze to best effect, this was the best way i could think of. |
It seemed to work well and gave me great results - in the end.
|the final batch to be loaded. these guys are fired, but i wanted them in again for another firing (hopefully to bring the shine out and form some bigger crystals)|
| A few of the totally finished decorations hanging on a tree. they are about the size of a normal 55g egg and look ( i recon) pretty grand.|
| did i mention my crystalline glaze? yes? ok, well this is manganese carbonate. it was meant to be manganese dioxide, but i mixed them up in my normal hurried way, but i think it makes great crystals. |
super shiny and reflective, with a nice distinct halo around the crystals.
|this guy is a little unknown. here my quality control gets a tad dubious... my educated guess is only titanium, but erm, well, i really am unsure. still a red halo is entirely hot!|
| manganese and copper in this one. a great combination and easy to do again. overall i think they've come out well. |
the crystals are on the smaller side, but i feel they are delicate and proportional to the the shape and size of the piece.
| finally these two again. the top one is pure copper and is my favourite. the bottom is cobalt, anyone attempting crystal - use cobalt, it works the easiest and best *grin*|