Thursday, March 29, 2012

More shellacky shellackery...

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…well I sure hope so. I have been working away on my shellacking and have found out quite a few things in the process. One, don’t be so impatient. The first few pieces I shellacked, I was so anxious to find out if it actually worked I may have begun the abrasion process a wee bit early. The shellac did feel like it dried really quickly and I even went to far as to dry them with a fan for a while, but once I started wiping them down with the wet sponge, I could definitely see a loss of detail as the shellac started to dissolve away with the clay. I did get some interesting results, but not enough depth to the texture. I was acting a bit like a kid on Christmas eve who could not wait to get into all the loot under the Christmas tree. I will admit that I have some experience with this as well, but no amount of subterfuge and precision re-taping on my part could ever fool my Mum. So after some so so results I managed to curb enthusiasm and wait it out. My last, and so far the best piece to date was a plain old tall cylindrical vase that I had coated in a purple/blue slip when still wet. I let it get bone dry and then waxed on my first initial design. I let it dry for 24 hours and then began abrading. Once I got enough depth and let it dry out. I brushed on my second coat of shellac, so that the first design was completely covered, as well as a little bit on the outside of the initial design. I waited another 24 hours, came back and wiped down again. After it was dry, I brushed on the last coat of shellac. I filled in most of the unshellacked spaces, leaving only the narrowest gap between the new coat and the previous coats. This time I waited 48 hours and then abraded again, this is where I was able to get the most depth as I wasn’t as worried about the shellac wearing off. Finally, once it had dried sufficiently, I brushed on a coat of black decorating slip that I had left over from a soda/salt firing I did at Medalta last February. It is a terra sig based slip with Mason 6600 black stain and rutile. I put on 2 coats for good measure and let it dry a bit then wiped down the shellacked areas, leaving the un shellacked areas black. When it was all said and done, it did appear very similar to Jim Gottuso’s pots, albeit the brushwork is not as precise and the decoration is definitely not as well thought out as Jim’s, but for a newbie, it was not bad. I also did the slip thing to some mugs I had previously shellacked, but used various other terra sig based decorating slips that were again left over from the soda/salt firing, but had different oxides added. There was a chrome green, a blue/green and a rutile slip. None of these have been glazed fired yet, but will post some in progress pics as soon as I get a chance to take the pictures. I have been a bit sheepish in posting them, as I would never want to be accused of copying someone else’s style, but I will just have to get over it. Like I said at the beginning, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (I hope). In lieu of my bas relief pots in progress, here are some interesting little things I picked up at the studio the other day. Dave was cleaning house and had a collection of pots that he was giving away. They had actually been given to him as the original owner couldn’t sell them, and did not want to consign them to the midden heap for future archaeologists to dig up. Warning, they are very ‘70’s, so if you are easily offended by heavily reduced, dark brown groggy stoneware clay and iron spotted buttermilk glazes, please look away now ;) This little mug was made by Connie Westrom (now Connie Pike of Pike Studios), before she met/married Bob Pike I am assuming
And this slightly bigger mug is by Ed Drahanchuk
A wee little pitcher and matching sugar bowl, maker unknown...
Have a good one

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