Monday, March 12, 2012

Ceramics is a Many Splendored Thing

The ceramic process is indeed a lengthy process. There are so many options, and there is so much to consider. And, the steps each require a variety of different skills. The first step involves working with wet clay. It is an area for much problem solving and creativity. The second step is an occasion for a lot of patience and waiting! Before the first firing, the project needs to be bone dry. It must not be cold to the touch. Absolutely no water inside the clay body allowed!

Once the piece is bone dry, it gets bisque fired in the kiln. The next step is glazing, which takes me the greatest amount of time and effort. Once glazed, the piece goes into the kiln for a second firing. Afterwards, I apply several underglaze washes. Then, we're ready for the third, and final trip to the kiln.

With all of these steps, it's important to organize the order of my work. I have to evaluate where each piece is on the "spectrum of doneness".  Some pieces channel through the whole process together. It's a wonderful network of connection. Sometimes it's easy to procrastinate and for work to stall out in one part of the process.

Right now, I'm working on some giant bead poles that will be supporting a corrugated tin awning on my clay shed. All of the beads are in various stages of the process. We'll see how the whole project comes together! After my temporary shade structure blew down in a recent storm, there is renewed interest in this project. I am keeping this quote by Thomas Jefferson in my head: "Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any."

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