11 August 2008

more problems with pots

Throwing pots is never a straight forward exercise. From the outside it seems simple - you create a form on the wheel, it dries, you fire it, glaze it and fire it again. A simple series of processes.

But every stage of the process is littered with problems and pit falls.

Creating the form is perhaps the easiest and most satisfying part of the equation. The drying stage reveals problems, a too think base will give you nasty S cracks in the bottom. Turning done too dry will reveal hairline cracks in the rim.

There's some tidying up to do - spongeing, application of a dinky transfer if I'm in the mood. Then it's time for bisque firing. Usually fairly uneventful.

Then glazing. Glazing is a horror. Getting the glaze at the right consistency. Choosing the right glaze for the form. Applying in a not too think not too thin fashion. Then gently dusting the surface to fill in any bubbles and smooooooth it all down and a final dry sponge of the base and it's ready to be fired.

That final firing is when everything can come undone. S cracks that didn't exist will suddenly appear, a too late reminder to keep the base not too thick. The glaze will miss behave, turn an ugly as sin colour with horrid texture... who knows what can happen.

But it's those elements of the unkown. The random and unconqurable nature of pottery that makes it so enjoyable and so frustrating.

19 July 2008

problem pots

When you take a pot off the wheel it's still damp and soft, it has a certain fragile, fluid quality. There's something about that fresh state which just looks right.

The problem with pots is that you always feel like you're trying to get back to that earlier moment, to hold onto that life... but it just can't happen. The whole process of firing and glazing just sucks that life right out of the pot.

Throwing pots seems like a constant struggle, a battle of adjustments and discoveries, that is endless. It's a series of tiny steps, each taking you a little closer and a little further away as new challenges appear.

But it's such a satisfying journey, there might be problems with pots, but that first moment when you take it off the wheel - that's what it's all about - even if you can't hold onto it!