Archive for the ‘Works in progress’ category

Explosion

November 13, 2008

You can’t have any successes unless you can accept failure. ~George Cukor
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Just when I thought things were going well, sales were picking up for the holidays, had many custom orders, I was actually ahead of schedule…..
Having a bad day. It happens to use all. Sometimes things just go wrong, it just sees to happen a lot recently. I think that the computer on my kiln reverted to the last program I used, which was a quick , fast gold firing, instead of the very slow bisque firing I usually do. I expected the kiln to fire around 100 degrees in an hour, I returned to check on it in and hour and a half and it was over 700 degrees, with this result.I am trying desperately to stay upbeat. I stayed up late last night night working on the orders that broke. Many of them did, some, miraculously survived. I lost around 3-4 days of work in this small disaster. Life goes on. I just have less time than I thought. After all tomorrow is another day….

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~Thomas Edison

Making Chocolate Labs

November 5, 2008

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.  ~Scott Adams

No, not real chocolate, but brown colored Labrador retrievers.I thought I would show how I work on some ornaments. I usually spend ine day a week mixing up clay and making clay colors. Some colors are more difficult to make and to use. Mixing up black and brown are difficult due to the amount and type of stains used in the clay body. Brown is difficult due to the fact that it is hard to remove the stain from your hands, which gets on all of the other colors I use.picture-334

You can see the brown stain all over the finders as I sculpt. I have towels and water handy at al times and have to change the sculpting cloth as soon as I am done with the color.

After I have made a couple I add on the color details.picture-336 As you can see, my fingers were not clean enough when adding the angel wings, just touching the brown before adding the white transfers the stain. So I start over and remove the wing and replace it.

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My idea of an assembly line!

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I usually only make a few at a time, and I try to make them all different, otherwise, I would go insane! These little dogs must dry a couple of weeks, then go in the kiln to be bisque fired, clear glazed,then re -fired to porcelain temperatures of 2400 degrees! Thats for looking at how I make these little critters.

Pegasus Faerie horse-added more hair, beads….

July 18, 2008

Too frilly?

Okay, working on something new, Pegasus, mixed media

July 16, 2008

What do you think, I am trying something new here by adding fur (fake, of course!) and making wings, remember this is still a work in progress, I am not sure I like this style of hair. The body is still high fired porcelain and I added 14k gold for the unicorn horn and platinum for the pegasus hooves.

Unicorn

Unicorn

Pegasus

Pegasus

I know I need to add more hair, but not sure about this kind, I will be looking into other styles today and adding ribbons, beads, roses, what ever i can find to dress them up more.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. I enjoy reading feedback.

I guess I will go to work now, thanks for looking!

Sculpting in Porcelain, lets make a Unicorn

July 3, 2008


So, you want to sculpt?

I can’t always tell you what to do right, but I am very good at learning what not to do.I have had explosions, meltings, kiln malfunctions, and clay failure, and that is just in the past six months. Although I have been sculpting since 1992 in porcelain, the past few months have been a challenge on my ego as well as on my purse.
Why a Unicorn? ok, there are fun. You can make them anyway you want, as far as your imagination will take you. No one can tell you you made it wrong because other than resembling a horse, they have a horn. The rest is up to you to define and create.
Starting with a bag of porcelain clay…..
Ok, get out your notebooks here, Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 °C (2,192 °F) and 1,400 °C (2,552 °F). The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain arise mainly from the formation of glass and the mineral mullite within the fired body at these high temperatures . (wikipedia.com)
Got it? step one complete, -got clay.
Now, let’s sculpt.
First shape the body and add some legs, I make the legs by rolling out cylinders, then shaping the forms. Use water, as porcelain will start to crack as it dries out. When attaching legs and other parts, use a wet clay slip (really runny wet clay), it will act like a glue to keep your legs, arms etc attached.
After adding the front legs, add the back

Shape a head, attach it to the neck, obviously, unless you enjoy some sort of weird modern art.
With a reverse side of a small paint brush,, poke 2 small holes for eye sockets. I rolled two small balls of blue porcelain and inserted them in the holes.
At this point, I add a small piece of black porcelain for pupils then a white dot for a highlight.
I then swirled 2 small cylinders together to make a horn, and added ears. Remember at this point, the clay is kept soft, and changes can be made to the particular pose you may want.Is he looking at you? Behind you at the faerie, floating over your shoulder? What ever he may be looking at or thinking, think of this when adding the eye lids, too heavy, he may look sleepy, nap time. Too high, he is just surprised.
I use a small extruder for the next step, adding the mane and tail, this part is fun, you can make the hair as long, thick,this or curly as you want. There are different sizes of the dies inserted into the mini extruder, for the look you want. Squirt it out, have fun. Don’t forget to add water to the neck area where applying this, or it won’t stay attached as it dries out. A hairless horsie!

All of a sudden you have a creature looking at you, can he breathe? have you created nostrils, how about a mouth?

Here I decorated him, I guess he is now a she, with some pink flowers and green leaves, still needs a little something, so I add a bird for her to talk to.

Now the hard part, waiting she goes into the kiln after thoughly drying out, if she is wet, KAAABOOMMMMM!

Shrapnel everywhere in kiln. Pieces destroyed, a big mess to clean up, so we wait and let her dry out, usually about 2 weeks.

Here she is , sitting in kiln with the others.

Updates coming soon, watch for bisque firing, next, the glazing, then golding……..

Sculpting a Unicorn, Part 2

July 2, 2008

Well, finally at glazing day. The pieces dried out in the kin for aprrox 2 weeks. They were then bisque fired to a cone 05 (which is 1888 degrees)

I placed the pieces out on my glazing table, inspected them for cracks or damages, ( one dragon had to go in for repair )

sitting for inspection

After each piece passes inspection, it is dipped in hot melted wax to prevent any glaze from adhering to the bottom. If any accidentally does, it becomes permanently adhered to the kiln shelf, only to be removed by much breakage and swearing……

waxing

The pieces are then dipped into a bucket full of high fire glaze, which when fired will turn into a clear glass coating

Kitty litter dip (glazing actually)

Kitty litter dip (glazing actually)

Dipping into the glaze

Dipping into the glaze

Drying

At this time the work is left to dry thoughly

After the art is dry, The bottoms are cleaned of any glaze, (see above, really mad if not) Then are placed back in the kiln where they are being fired to 2246 degrees, really hot, in other words. In about a day, I can open the kiln and see what we have…………

Step 3, Sculpting a Unicorn

July 1, 2008

After the glazing, the kiln was fired to 2246 degrees, several hours, days later, I am able to open the kiln and what do I see, COLOR, the colors don’t mature in the porcelain until they hit these high tempuratures, but now we have lovely colors.

Opening the Kiln

Opening the Kiln

After removing the artwork I set them down back on my sculpting bench where I paint on the mother of pearl and 14k gold overglazes.

Applying the Overglazes

Applying the Overglazes

Lovely colors? you say. They are just tinted to see where you are applying them , because , guess what, they get fired in the kiln AGAIN…….

Back in the Kiln, Again......

Back in the Kiln, Again......

This time they are low fired, 1118 degrees, yes that is a low firing and then the pieces are completed, except for any mixed media which I add to dragon wings and pegasus wings, but that is another day another story…..

All Done!

Thanks for watching the Unicorn being born….