Bowled over again

I've admittedly been making a lot of bowls lately. It's not that I'm necessarily throwing pieces in any greater quantity than I was a year ago, but rather that I've finally started keeping things. My technique is still imperfect, but at least now I can throw things that are reasonable stable and look all right when they're trimmed. Besides, I need to work on my glazing, so these pieces are as good as any for guinea pigs. 

A few weeks ago I talked about some pattern sheets that I created with my ceramics in mind. Today, I'll show you some of the bowls that have been growing out of that initial project.

These are some bowls I threw using a clay called ochre. It's relatively soft and smooth, and in its raw state, has an almost lilac tinge to it. When fired, it turns more of an orange-brown color. After I trimmed these bowls,  I drew my designs into them using a basic needle tool. Here's what they looked like after the first firing:

The last time I made bowls, I simply dipped them into a transparent glaze like lavender or celadon and let the glaze fill in the patterns. This time around, I wanted the patterns to stand out more, so I painted them in first using concepts. From there, I dipped them in celadon, a green color.

Since I was using a brown clay as opposed to white, the celadon turned more of a tan than green when fired. The dipping wasn't done evenly, as you can see by the concentrated green areas. This is another reason why I'm hanging on to more pieces: to practice my glazing and get better at dipping pieces. 

Still, they're not bad:

The squid pattern is one of my favorites because I like the way it incorporates abstraction into its design. You can tell it's a squid, but it's not rendered in painstaking detail because you don't need all that information to know what it is. I also thought the bowl's shape suited the pattern nicely. If I ever get consistent enough with my throwing, it'd be nice to do a whole set of something with the squid, or perhaps a variety of ocean critters.

The stylization of the animals on these bowls is as much about efficiency as it is aesthetics. I was admittedly going for a bit of an Arts and Crafts look, but I also wanted to save time, lest I spend several hours painting one single bowl. Like the squid, there's enough detail to let you know it's a rabbit, but it's as much a sign as it is a representation. To me, you almost read these patterns as much as you actually look at them.

Horseshoe crabs may not be everybody's favorite animal, but I like them. They're prehistoric marvels!

Flowers lend themselves to aesthetically pleasing patterns, so this iris bowl was especially fun to create. Again, I thought the forms suited the imagery well.

I was surprised at how well this pattern turned out. It's not perfect, and I can definitely tell where I switched painting techniques to make the lines cleaner, but it's better than I thought it would be.

This only represents a fraction of what Ive been making. I've already got more bowls in my cupboard now, and others drying at the studio, so there will be plenty more to see.