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Up, Down, and Sideways

I’ve been playing with my art toys – sketchbook, camera, mud. Art keeps me sane and closer to center. Art is the only time I’m not wondering if my reactions/feelings/expressions are “normal” or the result of bipolar disorder. When I play with my art toys, I’m at my most calm and most centered.

The last glaze firing, I couldn’t see the cones and didn’t know that they had fallen. For those who don’t play in the mud, cones are akin to the thing stuck into the turkey. When the thing pops up, the turkey is done. When the cones fall down, the pots are done. That left me having to refire the entire load. This time, the cones went down as planned. I decided to try an experiment. I’ve tried doing a hold for 20 minutes, 30 minutes and 40 minutes after the cones go down. My version of a hold is to lower the gas and allow the kiln to slowly cool. A 20-minute hold doesn’t give me the colors I want. A 40-minute hold gives me dull colors. A 30-minute hold gives me colors that are alive.

On Saturday, I decided to try an experiment – 30 minute hold followed by lowering the gas a second time and holding for 10 minutes. I should have skipped the second hold. I had crystal formation in some of the glazes – but that wasn’t the effect I wanted. Because I had rushed the bisque firing, a number of my pieces cracked. I used them for test tiles to see how combinations of glaze would come out.

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I used too much glaze on the leaves, and I didn’t get the nice color run I was expecting. Instead, I got crystals and pin holing. I don’t know if I want to retire this piece with the hope that the pinholes will disappear or if I want to just leave it as it is.

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This piece cracked badly. I have been playing around with lids, and came up with this for a lid variation. I like the color combination so I’ll have to make another pot like this.

The pot on the left is how this one is supposed to look. The lid fired properly last time and I forgot that it was on the shelf rather than in the kiln. I put a lid that was in the kiln on this pot, and got the pot on the right. I like the color combination on the right better than the one on the left, but the lid on the left fits better than the lid on the right. I haven’t decided which lid I’m going to use.

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The lid was made for this badly designed teapot. Yes, water will pour out of it, but the pot piddles badly.

A second pot like the one above.

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Both pots together so you can see the size differences. I played with underglazes and pointillist technique. Then I carved stylized pine trees into the pots. Forest for the Trees. I was hoping the trees would stand out more, but maybe it’s better that you have to look for them to see them.

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I was playing around making coasters in 4″ square and 5″ square sizes. The designs are decent, but the execution of the coasters is bad. I put feet on them, but it was really hot, the coasters got too dry, the feet didn’t adhere well…. and the bottoms are ugly.

My summer studio is on the back patio and my pots are exposed to the elements and the birds. A bird left a deposit on this tile and I didn’t want to reglaze it so I didn’t scrape off the deposit. Just in case you want to know what bird poop looks like when it gets fired. It doesn’t melt or burn off.

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Another cracked pot that I sued as a test tile. I kind of like the glaze on this. I expected more flow and got unexpected crystals.

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I might be about done playing with underglazes, pointillism, and pinch pots. Still, I kind of like the one on the left.

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The last batch of soap dishes. I’ll have to see how well they sell before I make any more.

I’ve been playing with designs for temporary tattoos. I found a company in Tucson that makes custom temporary tattoos. The design on the left is a longitudinal section of plant reproductive parts. Sexy without fear of censorship. The design on the right is from my tree series pots and the design i the middle is me playing around with a leaf.

It’s cloudy today and it’s supposed to rain of and on. As long as I had the camera out, I decided to play with scenery. I took a number of photos with the camera aimed at sky for 2/3; the camera  aimed at ground for 2/3 and one with 1/3 for the sky. I’m having fun seeing what I get and am grateful that I have a digital camera. I would have gone through 11 rolls of film this morning if I were using my original Canon 35mm slr.

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This was sunset last night.

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Author:

I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at: www.debthumanart.com.