Thursday, April 23, 2009

Clay and happy accidents





It's a bit early to know if what I'm doing now is a happy accident ... or just a temporary diversion from reality. A couple of months ago I found a 25-pound bag of brown stoneware hidden in my studio. It must have been there for more than two years. In any case, it was too hard to throw, so I cut it into a dozen roughly equal blocks and dug out each one to make twelve hollow, square cups.
Some of those cups went into my next firing, glazed in layered Shinos on the outside and my usual ash liner inside (photo above). They were lovely. I sold a couple right away, and Dan Finnegan, who was here for a workshop, said a couple of times that he liked them ... not that he was asking for one, or anything like that. So he took one home with him. And I began thinking of making more.
So I sliced up some perfectly throwable brown stoneware and left it out about 24 hours, long enough to stiffen and hold its shape when worked. I used a trimming tool to dig out the clay and dug out another dozen. And then I did another dozen, and then a few taller ones that will work as vases. And then I took the dug-out scraps, wedged them roughly and dug them out as semi-pinch pot teabowls. If that makes sense.
I rolled out some clay into footrings and attached and then threw those onto the pinch-pot teabowls. And now I've got all these odd little pots drying in my studio, alongside my thrown stuff that suddenly looks VERY conventional. Gotta work on that.
I'll make more pots in the next week or so, bisque all of it and then get to the real business of firing these things, largely glazed with Shinos. I'm looking forward to bringing one of these giant pinch-teabowls to the coffee shop and seeing what the baristas have to say when I ask them to fill it.

7 comments:

tsbroome said...

these are so great! I used the digging out technique once and really liked the way the tea bowl I made turned out. I'll try to find it and post it. It has a completely different feel than thrown or hand built cups. A very interesting thickness to the walls. I had a big mess when I finished though....

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, Tracey. Yes, there's a big pile of remnants when you dig each piece out. But I just jammed them all together, wedged them as well as I could, and did it again. Seemed to work. We'll see when they're fired.

Dan Finnegan said...

I'm still enjoying the one you gave me and the taller ones are very cool. Those forms and your way with those crawly shinos are a perfect match.

Hollis Engley said...

We'll see, Dan. But I think they'll work.

jimgottuso said...

that is some sweet shino on those square cups

Hollis Engley said...

Yeah, it is, Jim. I've got a bunch for next week's firing. We'll see if I can come close to those.

Ron said...

I really like these Hollis. Fun to try out some things we normally wouldn't do.