Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Altered forms and shellac resist

I'm doing two demos in class this week - one is altering your thrown forms using tools, and the other is using shellac resist on greenware. 

Lori Watts of Fine Mess Pottery had this post on how she made an altered serving bowl. I wanted to show my students how they could use things like CDs and cut up credit cards as tools for shaping and adding interest and texture to their pieces, so I cut a wavy pattern in the side of a card to make the ripples on the outside of my bowl. Check out the blog post to see how she made her bowl, it's much nicer than mine. I love it when potters use darts in their work! I know that making pottery that looks like fabric is a big trend right now, but there's a reason for it - it looks so awesome!
Darted bowl

Side view

Really does look like a woman's top, doesn't it?
Here's a little bowl that I shaped on the inside with a CD to make it perfectly round, then combed texture on the outside and warped the shape.
Combed texture on the outside, and changing the shape with my fingers and wooden tools.
Top view
Here's a bottle I decorated with Jim Gottuso's shellac resist technique. (Jim's blog Sofia's Dad's Pots was featured on here a couple weeks ago.) The shellac protects the clay you want to stay in place, and then you wipe down the piece with a really wet sponge to wash away layers of clay. You can end up with really delicate raised patterns on your surface if you take your time. Once again, the master's work is so much nicer than my attempt. But it's a very cool technique. Click the image of his bowl for in depth instructions on how to try this yourself.
Painting on layers of shellac.
My finished bottle. Needs some blue engobe, I think.
Jim Gottuso's beautiful calligraphic surfaces
One thing I learned - you absolutely need to wear a respirator or mask while using the shellac. I did not bother, even though it was right there in the instructions. The fumes made me feel very ill, and I still feel a little sick today. So do as I say and not as I do, kids!

How about you? Do you have a favorite tool or technique that you use in your work?

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