I recently attended a pottery workshop with my son. We had a great time making some stuff out of air dry clay but I was left with a thirst for more. I’d made a small pot, which came out looking a little African, Noah’s pots were fantastic, considering his age – using moulds and just playing with the clay with varying results.
I devised a plan to imitate some ceramic place mats I’d bought in Crete some years ago. I’ve now got some clay at home and I’m beginning to mass produce (with varying results). The plan is just to create the right rectangular shape and then to create patterns for each tile that are unique. These will then be fire using raku firing methods to develop a slightly cracked result. I’m not aiming to starve the oxygen to create a silver sheen as happens in many raku firings.
My first clay tile has warped as it has dried, so I’m starting to use compression in the drying process.
Some are easily more successful than others; I think I have started to get used to the technique that will carry most successfully. I began by using finger and pencil to score the marks into the clay, but have now upgraded to actual ceramic tools. It may be obvious which are which!
As it is my first firing I may just go with the flow and see what comes out – the potter Sue Barnes (no relation) will hopefully help me through this process which everyone keeps telling me is not difficult. First step is the biscuit firing, then on to the manual raku event.
An alternative to Raku firing is to use a cracked glaze. As I am not after a burning effect but simply a cracked colouration I have found a likely alternative matt crackle glaze for stoneware.
The pieces were fired after I’d painted glaze over them but problem was, I hadn’t realized that I would need several coats of glaze as they absorb or burn off unless there is a significant amount on the piece.
I decided to repaint each tile so that the colours would be more vivid.