So I went from making round lanterns that could nicely sit on a shelf, to tall pillars, to my newer obsession: Lanterns That HANG! Yes, they're slightly less practical since flame is potentially dangerous when swinging in the air. However, I'm frequently on the hunt for forms and uses that will set me apart in this crazy ceramics world. A glistening, glowing, shadow-casting luminary floating in the air is simply magical. It walks the line between elegance and whimsy (my favorite kind of tight rope!)
When I first went to throw a hanging lantern form, I considered opening the bottom completely, and then creating a closed form by bringing the sides up and slowly bringing them together to create a hollow ball. I'd done this to make jars that have perfectly fitting tops. At the same time, a friend in the studio was trying a similar form for a different purpose. I watched her struggle repeatedly, but the force was too great on the wall connected to the bat. Without a foot, the clay had little strength. So, I forged ahead and just made regular bowl forms but with extra clay at the bottom to give me some flexibility when I trimmed. I'm glad I did. The extra clay helped continue the round curve. It was also liberating not trimming a foot!
Next the carving. At first I carved these unwieldy round forms like my pillars: from top to bottom. I do this because the thinner clay at the top dries faster than the rest of the body. Unfortunately, without a foot to support the carving, the round globe-like lantern just wanted to crumble by the time I got toward the bottom. I now carve them upside down. This gives me a lot more structure to work off of as I press and pull the clay with my knife. Drying isn't a problem, either, since my occasional water spraying travels down towards the lip anyway.
Taking a break from Moroccan themes, I tried a floral print recently. I was inspired by a Youtube video of 4 Korean pottery masters. One man did a much more involved floral carving with layers of underglaze. I decided to try my own take on this. My worry is that my familiarity with all of these underglaze colors is not complete. I just know some of them are going to fire too bright, and some of them too dull. However, during the long painting process, they were pretty. Why long? 3 coats of underglaze are necessary for full coverage. Honestly, I think I only did two with most colors.
It just came out of the bisque fire and looks the same. I just glazed it in clear....I'll let you know my results!