Recently I completed a commission for a family here in Grand Cayman. The client wanted ceramic bowls that evoked the wonders of the ocean that surrounds us. I thought I would take this opportunity to show you all the process from start to finish. This is what I love to do and I hope you all enjoy learning about what goes on in the studio!
To begin, I start with throwing the desired shape and size of the bowls I would like. With this commission, I was looking to make all the bowls nest-able. Therefore, I chose to make the top of the bowls starting with the smallest at 4 inches and the largest at 7 inches.
After the bowls are thrown and are in the 'leather hard' stage of drying, I carve the coral designs into each bowl. Following that, color is added to the carvings with underglaze. The client left the exact hues up to me, but made suggests of blue and red-orange. Here you will see the finished greenware bowls drying in the sun, awaiting a bisque firing. It is safe to let them dry for a couple of days to make sure all the water has left the pieces. This will reduce the likelihood of anything exploding during the firing.
When we are ready for a bisque firing, we load the kiln with every piece of greenware we are ready to fire. We choose to bisque fire earthenware to Cone 04.
Look at these beautifully bisques bowls! This is what white earthenware looks like without glaze on them. Adding glaze allows the bowls to be food, dishwasher, and microwave safe. It also gives the pieces a shiny surface instead of a matte feel to the surface. I chose a pure white glaze to allow for the colored coral design to show through. Before glazing, I covered the carvings with a wax resist, so that they would not be covered with white glaze. These bowls are then put back into the kiln for a glaze firing. We fire most of our glazes at Cone 05-06.
And the finished products! Here are close ups of the finished glazed ceramic bowls and also the bowls stacked. I was very pleased with the finished product and can not wait for the client to see them in person! They will make a lovely addition to their home.
What do you guys think? Please feel free to leave comments and start a dialogue about the ceramic process! Keepin' it real, Aimee.
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