I started the new year with a great walk up the hill in the fog to the ridge road above Berkeley, and passed these sculptures as I often do, but this morning they seemed to call to me to take their pictures. Most of them are bigger than life although the gargoyle-like lady on the top is about 4 feet high. I don’t know anything about the artist, except that he or she (I’m guessing it is a she) has been working in clay for a long time. The exuberance of these pieces always gives me a smile and more energy to keep puffing up the hill.
I tried to get a jump on 2009 by making New Year’s resolutions early. I resolved to stay on one idea or theme for awhile. To get used to thinking in this way, I posted the resolutions both in my car and also my kitchen (either because I have a poor memory or a resistance to authority even if it is my own!) So, to practice thematic working, I did 2 bowls with a similar design over majolica. The one on top has been fired (cone 5) and the bottom one has been painted but not yet fired. Now that I look at the photo, I see I need to adjust the colors in the center.
There are so many possibilities with clay and glazes that I am struggling with the idea of staying with one theme for awhile (and how long is a while, anyway?). I am going to continue to use majolica glaze, but the “majolica glaze ” category could be so huge – majolica on bowls, heads, lamp bases, boxes, etc. Should I limit myself to doing 2 categories and using only majolica glazes?
And then there are the low fire majolicas to explore. David Gamble has a great demonstration of painting with majolica glazes. You can see what he does at CeramicArtsDaily.org.
I have started some test tiles using his techniques, but I need to improve my rate of big tiles lost to cracking during firing before investing hours into a painting. I hope that slower cooling after firing will help, but I am also going to construct my tiles with a frame around them to raise them up from the kiln shelf.
Clearly, even if I choose to do only heads and tiles with majolica glazes, there will be so many directions to go that I am going to have to really refine my intended limitations. But maybe I don’t have to do it today. After all, it’s only the first day of the new year.