Revisions and practice


I wish there was a faster turnaround to see if a color combination works. I am happy with the overall design on the finished bowl, but the colors don’t exactly pop, to coin a phrase. I think the orangey color is not bright enough for the intense yellow. and the very orange dots at the bottom of the bowl stand out too much when they should just add balance. I decided to try the general design again with brighter circles and some delineation on the yellow, so I penciled in a rough design. I don’t know, I get a kind of small thrill about being able to drawing on bisque work, making mistakes and approximations and partial erasures and knowing it will all burn out.


Here it is underglazed and penciled and I’m hoping these colors will be better. The black underglaze pencil fired to a light blue on the bowl on the left. Sometimes it is black and sometimes this beautiful blue. I don’t yet know why, but hopefully, it will go blue on this bowl, too.

I tried to focus on cylinders and bottom thickness in “Barbara’s self-taught throwing class”. Below are the next few pots drying after trimming. I think they were a little thick at the bottom, but after trimming seem to be fine.


These next ones not as warped as my picture makes them look. I think I went overboard on thinner bottoms on these. Maybe the next try will be juuuust right. The, um. let’s call them planters, on the picture above are about 7 inches tall and taller ones on the bottom are about 8 inches tall.

I can only sit at the wheel for about 45 minutes at a time till my back starts rebelling, but it’s longer than I thought I would get. I am thinking about how I can extend this time. I have tried different chairs, etc. but I am looking for a stool with adjustable legs to see if that will help.

My back was just fine till 3 years ago when I laid a stone patio. It was fun – like making a mosaic with really heavy tiles. I picked up at least 5 different stones for each one I laid, to find the one that fit just right in each spot. And who remembers about correct lifting when you are in the middle of making a giant mosaic!


6 responses to “Revisions and practice

  1. Oh its just lovely! And what a great pic below, with the bird whistle!

  2. Hi Barbara, what a lot of detail you have shown in your technique. I do like the second one better for the colors; I hope it turns out like you wish – will you post it after firing; I’d love to see it. Are you making your designs on greenware? I purchased some underglaze pencils (chalk like pencils) months ago and was afraid I would break the piece if I pressed too hard, perhaps I am doing something incorrectly? Do you color the design in like a chalk painting or is that colored slip you are using?

    I have built several rock walls over the last ten years and that coupled with landscaping for the past 20 or so has really done in my back, so I know what you mean. That’s the reason I have concentrated on hand building and have always been hesitant to do throwing for fear my back would go out when I am leaning over a wheel and when that happens I can’t get out of bed for over a week or more.

    Can you try throwing standing up? My friend brought over his shimpo and we have it stacked up on cinder blocks outside. We just put a piece of plywood on the ground stacked cinder blocks two high and put the wheel on top. He had never done throwing standing up before that day and he found it easy to do the very first time and he threw some nice pots that day. He does have years of experience throwing though. Here is the post:

    I have read lots of posts about many potters going to throwing standing up, might be worth a try.

  3. Hi Linda, the first drawing is on bisque with a regular pencil -kinda like drawing on curved paper, but the pencil gets worn down really quickly! Then I use commercial underglazes and finally underglaze pencil to outline some of the shapes. I would not use underglaze pencils on greenware.
    I would like to try throwing standing up sometime.

  4. Hi Barbara, thanks for the info, I will have to give the pencil and underglaze pencils a try one of these days.

  5. nice drawing decorations and i know what you mean about the endless trial and error to see what the colors will look like in the end. i guess we love it and hate it

  6. Having only worked in reduction-fired cone 10 stoneware myself, where glazes melted freely and color choices were mostly earth colors, it’s amazing how much color variety and control you are able to achieve. I really like the happy designs and colors on these.

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