Archive for April, 2012


A Portrait of Axel the Horse.

April 27, 2012

Now that I have shown how a plate is made, I’ll show you the sequence of a horse portrait.  After the bottom of the plate has been trimmed, I apply a white clay or slip to the rim and center.  I will have to let the plate dry for several days under plastic before I can scrape away the white slip to do the lettering, in this case the name Axel.  I then draw the horse in the center.  After the plate has been fired once to 1750 degrees F. (called the bisque firing), I paint the portrait with underglazes.  These are colored clays that are ground very fine and can be thinned with water and used just like watercolors.  The beauty of this process is that the ceramic colorant is permanent.   500 years from now Axel will look exactly the same.

First I paint the eyes and all the darkest darks.

Next comes the building up of the other colors.


Throwing a plate.

April 24, 2012

Now that I have discovered the slide show function, I’ll show you how a pet portrait plate is made.  (I have some photos of me painting a pet portrait so you can see how the layers of color are built up, however that will be the subject of my next post.)  Here I’m using an earthenware clay that comes from a brick factory here in Nova Scotia and is dug directly out of the pit.  I am so spoiled because it is such a fabulous clay to work with on the wheel.  In order to have consistency in the size of the plates, I weigh the balls out, here I’m using a 5 lb. ball which will give me a 12″ diam. plate.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Decorating a Large Mug with Slip.

April 22, 2012

Here is a sequence of brushing wet coloured clay or slip on a large mug.  Compare the look of the white slip on the mug to the white slip on the teapots I posted previously.  The difference is about 2 days of drying under very thin plastic.  The plastic, a dry cleaning bag, is only put over the mug after the white slip has lost it’s sheen otherwise it will badly mark the surface of the white clay.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Wet slip

April 1, 2012

I love decorating with slips or liquid clays.  I have chosen a very traditional earthenware process; to decorate my pots before they have been fired.  This has advantages and disadvantages.  The big drawback is always being aware of the humidity in the air as this controls the drying of the clay.  The pot is clay and the decoration is clay and both have to shrink at the same rate so they stick together.  The advantage is that you get to decorate on the most luscious surface.  Take a look at these teapots.  I have to let the surface dry a bit more before I decorate but isn’t that just so wet!ImageImage