I recently purchased 2 glass-bell jars similar to this one (minus the metallic end on the rope) at Michaels. I fell in love with them and thought they would be a great addition to my seahorse series. They have a marine/seaside quality to them and will be a metaphor for the curio trade. It refers to the many dried seahorses souvenir items tourists buy from in stores (key chains, cast in resin, etc.). It is one of the many reasons why seahorses are endangered.
Below is my latest seahorse sculpture. There is a support piece under its jaw for the bisque firing. This piece is supposed to fit under the bell but I might have made it too tall… We’ll see with the final firing. I intend to glaze it with my glue-glaze, which explains the absence of texture on his body.
Test tiles are often hung on a board in ceramic studios. Early on I decided mine would keep the marine quality of my work so I opted for the shape of a fish. 🙂
I was recently told by the tech. at the studio that my work would be fired at Cone 6 only. That presented a problem for me since the glue-glaze I use achieves best results (meaning it doesn’t melt much once fired) at Cone 5. This recipe which is a favorite of mine for decorating my work was passed down to me by a fellow potter I am honored to call my friend, Leta Cormier. It is usually used to mend cracks on pots and is meant to be fired at Cone 6 to 8. However at the previous studio I was working from, firing was done at Cone 5 to minimize breakage for kids works. This is how I discovered that Cone 5 made it more interesting to me as it allows for decorative work. So now I am faced with changing the recipe to make it withstand the temperatures of a Cone 6. I used the Glaze Simulator online software to adjust my ingredients.
Glue-glaze recipe Cone 5 (original):
- 1 part EPK
- 1 part Nepheline Syenite
- 1 part Soda Ash (a.k.a Sodium Carbonate)
NEW Glue-Glaze recipe for Cone 6:
- 40% EPK
- 30% Nepheline Syenite
- 30%part Soda Ash (a.k.a Sodium Carbonate)
Hot from the bisque firing, my first 3 pieces did come out pretty unscathed (there’s always some apprehension when coming to a new studio, not all techs are careful with fragile works). Pretty pleased with the result.
Just in case someone is wondering if I have some ego issue writing my name on all my properties, I will reply that I was once robbed of a palette knife being told “I don’t see your name on it” in a painting class (I was stunned, her name sure wasn’t on it either). Sure enough someone took my sponge off my shelf the other day (can’t write on it or should I try?) and returned it thanks to the message I wrote on the board…
After learning that seahorses are on the brink of extinction within the next 20-30 years, I made this large wall piece. I decided to learn some more about this intriguing species. The more I read, the more I think I found my theme for this artist residency.
To learn more, here are some websites:
Project Seahorse (a marine conservation organisation and UBC initiative committed to the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s coastal marine ecosystems).