It was a fine day…warm enough to prop open the studio door. Joan and Nan are on holiday, so Gary, Otto, Pauline, Sylvia and I enjoyed each other’s company. Soon the gals will return and Pauline and I will leave. (Pauline is going to Paris!) Mark and I will be picking up my Mom en route to Bigfork, Montana, where we will spend the last of our holiday time with my in-laws. During that two-week period, I will be blogging about ceramics action in Big Sky country. Back to the studio, though. I am happy today because my “Sheaf of Wheat” tile is finally finished. After the tile was bisqued, I coated it with white underglaze, then poured Shino over it. It looks like wheat on a bright summer day! Same treatment on a “Trees” tile, which made it look like High Summer. I have molded “Wheat” and will be making thicker and thinner versions of it. Next time, I am going to write on the sides. Poetry, separate words, or prose. Cursive writing …maybe something about the goddess Ceres/Demeter. I see red wheat and a soft, spring green version, too.
What else did I do today? Think, think. I continued experimenting with the tube-lining or cuenca technique. Over the weekend, I made the outline of a Dard Hunter rose with terracotta slip on a 4×4 white clay tile. Made the slip and used an old agave squeeze bottle. The slip was thick enough but the bottle was hard on my hands. Today, I experimented on a 6×6 white tile. Pauline showed me how to darken black slip with black underglaze,
then thicken it with a few grains of epsom salts. Worked like a charm! Using a smaller squeeze bottle, I was soon making an outline that I will eventually fill with glaze and glass. I’m aiming for a stained glass effect. Once I have it down, I’ll experiment with Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts motifs. I can thicken any slip this way, but I want to stick tube-line with black at first. A chocolate-brown would be nice, too. It is painstaking work and Otto kept saying, breathe, breathe! Sure enough, I was holding my breath while concentrating. Steady hand… Since I won’t be back in the studio for almost three weeks, I tidied up in the damp room. I will have my work cut out for me when I get back, with many things to bisque and glaze. By 12:30 p.m., we were seated on the terrace of a nearby restaurant and we dined in the warm summer air; it was lovely. I noticed that almost all the snow has melted off the mountains beyond the North Shore. There was a nice breeze and trees framed the second-floor terrace. Ah, summer….