Continuing with the focus of these pieces being all about the texture and surface finish, I had lots of opportunity to experiment with making work in new ways and at a larger scales than I had done previously.
I chose three different clay bodies, a grogged red stoneware, a heavily grogged black stoneware and buff body crank stoneware to create a series of shallow, wide bowls that would feature lots of different textures in them.
I used a large shallow plaster former as a slump mould and wanted the exterior surface of each bowl to be really unique, and planned to incorporate some additions to the clay body both on the inside and the outside to explore ways to generate different textures.
I added china ball clay powder to slabs of black and buff clay and rolled this into the surface, I then dried the slabs with a heat gun and slammed and stretched the slabs onto a board so that the surface would crack and break, stretching the surface covered in white ball clay and creating fissures in the clay body that created contrasts between the white and the coloured clay.
I then tore up these lsabs into large chunks of slabs and laid them overlapping inside the slump form, blending the surface to create a smooth internal wall and a layered and cracked external wall.
I chose a different technique with the red clay, choosing to press and roll texture into the clay and then drying and stretching as above. Instead of using white ball clay powder on the outside I applied a paste of ball clay powder, molochite, grogg and porcelain slip into the centre of the bowl to create a textured uneven centre area in the vessel.
All were bisque fired, and then various commercial glazes were applied in earth tones, unfortunately the red bowl cracked into several pieces and this was thought to be down to glaze tension as the outside was unglazed. The buff crank glazed side was really interesting with lots of nice reactions between the glaze and the oxide on the inside, the outside walls didn’t quite work for me, not the aesthetic I had hoped for and it would benefit from a further glazing using oxides. The black bowl had to be glazed twice, the colour having just disappeared on first glazing leaving very little behind other than an uninspiring brown! Even on second firing I struggled to lift the ones of the bowl, though the aesthetics of the piece had improved.
In future I will apply a white slip to black clay at the greenware stage in order to try and manage the application of glazes and enable the possibility of more predictable results. I will be making some glaze test tiles for black clay to test out different glazes for colour and fit.