Bowled Over

Since late January I've been taking another clay class at the RMAC and today I thought I'd share with you some of the bowls I recently made.

A lot of the pieces you've seen on here were made with a white clay, but for this class I've been trying a new kind of clay called "ochre." It's got a great, soft texture, and throws easily. In its raw state, it's a light brown with a very slight lilac tint to it. I won't switch to this clay exclusively, but I definitely enjoy using it and will probably get another 20-lb bag soon.

Here are some bowls and cups shortly after I trimmed them. I tried making different shapes to test my control over the wheel. The bowls are all on the small side, good for a modest serving of ice cream:

While the bowls were still leather-hard, I carved various designs into them. Some of the patterns I had sketched out beforehand, others were improvised on the spot. I wasn't trying to make a unified set or anything along those lines. Rather, I just needed some carved surfaces so I could see how well they would look under the glaze.

Here they are once they had dried out, but had not been fired yet:

When the ochre clay is fired, it turns a slightly reddish-pink color. Here are the bowls again after the first firing:

On another night, I dipped the bowls in different transparent glazes: lilac, blue, and pink.

Finally, they were fired a second time, turning the bowls into small, shiny vessels ready for use:

Horseshoe crab bowl in pink

Dragonbowl Z (horrific pun shamelessly intended)

Just an abstract pattern for the sake of it

Feather bowl in lavender

Squid bowl in lavender

The squid bowl is the most successful of the group in my opinion, but I still consider it primarily as a test object. The point was to see how the glazes reacted to both the clay itself and the carved surfaces, and they turned out pretty well. My plan now is to add more color to the bowls, either through underglazing or by painting on concepts after they've been fired, so that there's more visual contrast between the carved pattern and the rest of the clay surface. I'm also going to make them bigger next time. Most of what I've thrown so far has been on the small side as I've tried to get down the basics of throwing, but now I'm feeling ready to make some bigger objects.

After all, sometimes you want more than a modest serving of ice cream.