Whew! The Historical page of the Product Range section has been finished. It was a much larger job than I originally anticipated because I wasn't happy with the photos I had on hand for the original carvings - keeping in mind that many of these photos were taken nearly 20 years ago now...
So, the weekend saw me crawling around in my loft bringing down the many boxes where I'd safely packed away all the original carvings, and carefully unpacking them all so I could take a new set of photos of everything.
Just to explain, the main photos of all the pieces on the Historical page are the original carving - the backgrounds don't matter for these so you'll see them come with all sorts of odd shapes. I remove the background for the pieces I sell, or the image becomes part of a kusamono pot, as you can see in the slideshow photos.
Up the top of the page it has examples of some of the different finishes any of the below pieces can be done in. If you have something specific in mind but I don't have a photo of it, the likelihood is that I can put it together for you - just drop me a message via my eBay Store.
I've gone through the results of the New Year's Eve gloss firing and I'm broadly happy with how everything turned out. There were a lot of successes, and a handful of 'instructional pieces' (nothing's a failure if you can learn from it).
To go through a couple of the more noteable pieces...
This is the lava glaze I'm so excited about. The first example is with the rocks painted in my moon glaze (only thinly, so the crater texture didn't come through), and the second is my standard iron oxide wash, wiped back. I think I wiped back a little too vigorously on the second, as it's looking a little pale to me, so I'd like to try it with a darker iron wash - that way preserving all the detail but keeping it fairly dark.
The lava glaze itself is bringing up white patches where it's not thick enough, but I have plans to get around that next time.
In all I'd say these were 80% effective, with just a little tinkering needed to get them to where I want them to be.
I'm not all that fussed with these, to be honest. I was trying out a different colour scheme from the usual Black & Gold or ancient iron oxide look, but they just don't have the panaz I was hoping for, the detail in the white areas just gets a bit lost.
It's hard to tell from the photos, but there's metallic rub'n'buff on the coloured areas - gold and a deep brown. It does make them a little more appealing than the photos may suggest, but I'm still not inclined to pursue this colour scheme unless someone specifically asks for it.
The glass was, as I suspected, the area of the biggest disappointment. I'd hoped that dropping the temperature by 50C would be enough to fix the problems from last time, but apparently not. It's still expanding far too much and ruining the pieces, not to mention that it reacts really oddly with my buff clay (top left). 1,000C was barely enough to get it to melt, 1,200C is far too high...
At this point I think I may have to move away from that line of thought and look for alternatives. I can't realistically drop my gloss firing temperature down much further without it starting to have an impact on other things. But luckily there's always alternatives, and I already know what I'm going to try next to get a very similar effect without as much hassle.
These turned out well, I feel. The yellow sections have been touched up with gold rub'n'buff, so they shimmer nicely in the light (which the photos don't really capture, of course). A lot of time went into painting these, and they're probably not realistically viable, but I'm glad to have done them and am pleased with how they came out.
As expected, these darkened up nicely in the gloss firing. They have a lovely solid feel to them now, alongside a nice, rough texture that's so characteristic of terracotta. Most terracotta fires to earthenware temps, and call me a snob, but I just don't think that earthenware feels 'finished'. It feels too fragile and doesn't make the same nice little 'ping' when you tap it with a fingernail. So I had to search around for a high-fire terracotta that I could take up to 1,200C without it slumping, and I think I've found it. :)
Still deciding on whether to put an iron oxide wash over them to help accentuate the details. I've got another couple of pots coming through so I might trial it out on those and see how it looks.
Well I knew these would darken up in the final firing, but the depth of colour in these is really quite a surprise. Keep in mind these are body stains mixed in only at 5%, because I wasn't wanting them too bright. The recommended minimum is 10%, so I'm glad I halved that with the trial. They really are quite beautiful, strong colours, and this is definitely a result I can work with. :)
Saving the best till last...
I'm really happy with how this attempt at marbled clay turned out. With the different shrinkage rates of the four types of clay I used, there was a significant danger that they'd pull themselves apart in the final firing. But there's not a crack to be seen, they're all quite solid and show no structural issues.
The colours, particularly the black and red, have darkened up beautifully to provide contrast. I'll definitely be putting these to use in the future.