Looking Good

The ceramics studio has announced that they are going to hold another student show in the spring. Of course I plan to enter a piece. The problem is that I can’t decide which piece to enter… I finished another orb that actually made it through the kiln. There have been some issues related to the cold weather. The kiln is in the basement of the conference center/museum and it vents to the outside. There is a damper that permits the steam to exit and then closes to prevent critters and unwanted weather/debris/miscellaneous stuff from getting onto the vent. With the cold weather the damper iced up and prevented it from closing. This allowed very cold air to flood into the kiln. It wasn’t too much of a problem when the kiln was running (took longer to get to temperature). When the kiln was no longer actively firing and the pieces were supposed to be SLOWLY cooling the cold air caused some fragile pieces to shatter, others had some ugly cracks, and a lot had the glaze craze. Crazing of the glaze is where it develops a web of tiny cracks in the glaze. It looks pretty but it makes pieces unsuitable for using for food, they may not hold liquids, and many will break if placed in the microwave or exposed to extreme temperatures. The mug makers were a tad (understatement) irate. As it was I lost a piece that I had experimented with made of half white stoneware and half porcelain. I regret now not taking a photo. It had come out of the kiln intact. Until it was placed on my cold metal shelf it looked like it had survived. Once in contact with the shelf (under the exhaust fan that draws outside air) it made a couple popping noises and fell into 5 or 6 big chunks with a handful of tiny slivers. I didn’t try to pick them up – I swept them into the trash barrel with the whisk broom.

Anyway, here is the latest survivor. It is a half white stoneware and half porcelain body with Royal Blue glaze and red iron oxide stain on the tips. It is my interpretation of the pollen of Arnica chamissonis also known as American Arnica. It is a bright yellow flower that grows native to California and blooms in June/July. It is sometimes used as an anti-inflammatory in topical applications. It is considered toxic if taken internally. Others are sensitive to the plant and find it does not have soothing properties but instead have a reaction similar to poison ivy…
    

34 thoughts on “Looking Good

  1. I had a friend that bought her own kiln. Of course they had to build another room on her house if I recall..but my recall isn’t so good.

    TX has a lot of allergens you could do any of those. 🙂 Yours are pretty but I could see no red.

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    1. The red iron oxide come out a rusty color and is only on the tips. I’d love to have my own kiln but the cost to run it is too high for me. Besides I don’t think I could justify building an addition just for ceramics…

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  2. I’m glad this one made it through the firing process successfully. Yikes — try it, and continue only if you don’t get a poison-ivy reaction! What a pretty flower!

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  3. The piece above is beautiful, definitely show-worthy, Muri. I love blue, I’m drinking my coffee out of a locally-made pottery mug almost exactly the same shade as your Arnica pollen. It’s too bad the white piece didn’t survive intact, perhaps the pieces could have been displayed as a grouping entitled “Disaster” or “Broken” or maybe “Dissection of a Snowflake.” Always enjoy seeing your latest creations, keep ’em coming. 🙂

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  4. That is a stunning shade of blue, and I like the “cups” and “folds” of the pattern. I’m glad it survived. I like Just Joan’s idea of entering a broken piece. Instead of broken, think of it as a new piece of art. Polar vortex art. The Venus de Milo of pollens.

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    1. If only I could wear that color of blue without looking sickly. I’m glad it came out in one piece. If it had broken in 2 pieces I’d consider it as Polar Vortex art but it was too busted up to consider it… I got 2 Valentine’s Day cards from you! They both induced laughter! Sparky was especially tickled by the puns!

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    1. Thanks Lyne! I intend to keep at it – I made some new pendants for necklaces that I’m going to play with. Plus there are 3 more orbs in the process – I am crossing my fingers that they survive the glaze firing!

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  5. The first time I heard of Arnica Montana was last year when I had a skin cancer removed from my upper eyelid. The doctor (an MD) “strongly recommended” its use to help with inflammation and bruising. It really worked!

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      1. Another detail — it was recommended in a pill format — place 4 little pills under your tongue and let them dissolve. Maybe the reaction is processed out in making the pills (I hope so!)!

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    1. The saying among potters is, “It’s only mud.” At least until it come out of the kiln in one piece… I’m not going to cry buckets but I wish it had survived. I’m going to try again of course.

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