Sunday, January 27, 2013

It’s all about the line

Heron Vase before firing.
The black ink on the decal contains
iron oxide which will leave a rust-red
marking when the rest burns away.

    In experimenting with these decals, I kept getting disappointed by the dullness of the filled spaces.  The decal bubbles and leaves a gap, but it’s otherwise unimpressive, a sort of faded rust.  What excites, and what the decal can do nicely, is produce a precise line.  Even if it fades or is interrupted by a bubble, the movement of the line survives.  So I reverted my images back to the original path of that dulled dental needle through the clay.  I cleaned it up on Photoshop, printed it out big,  exaggerated the line with pens, scanned it, cleaned in Photoshop, repeat.  (I’m making some great wrapping paper in the process).     
    The day it occurred to me, on a therapeutic visit to the ocean, I stayed up late into the night and awoke rooster-early the next morning to continue.  What has resulted is a design consistency that I believe can satisfy sets of dishes, or of bowls, cups or tiles.  I think I've found my use for the decals!… and it’s only going to get better from here!  So many pots to be saved!  Look out Salvation Army Outlet, here I come!

The process in detail:

1. Here is the original image: of a bowl freshly painted, not even fired yet (which is why the slip color is dull grey rather than black)

2. Then I altered it in Photoshop to a striking black and white.

3. To work on the white lines (like on the wing), I invert the image, print it out and redraw them with pen.  Scan it back again and invert back.

4. Then I hollowed out all the solid spaces and turned them into lines in Photoshop.  Print out. Alter with pens. Scan again.

5. Then I cram as many of these images as I can onto one sheet of label paper. (Sorry, about the image, but after all that work, I wanted to make sure no one would easily steal all my work)

Living Room Table/Workspace
Coming soon......

6. Finally, I cut out the decals (printed with my HP LaserJet), drop them in a bowl of water to free them from the backing, and apply them to a pot.  And I cross my fingers that when I fire them they don't explode or bubble the glaze or otherwise self-destruct.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

new REDUX line for 2013!

REDUX, sounds like "reduce", sort of, defined as “Brought back; returned. Used postpositively.“ 

     As a potter contributing to the non-degrading mass of ceramics on this planet, it pains me to find mountains of discarded clay-wares landfill-bound simply because they have passed fashion or lost a useful home (see my previous post "Viva Ceramica")  
     All the while I work my tail off to create new ceramics that may too soon face the same demise. I smash up broken or too hideous pieces for mosaics, drainage and ground cover. But there are many plain pots that I can revive into functionality with decals I create from my own designs and fire into these rejected compatriots. 
    The first load was a bit disappointing.  I was able to wipe off the design and some of the glazes bubbled into strange tracks.  Of course some cracked too.  

  I read some articles, consulted some online forums, and took the firing up to a higher cone.  Much better!  Clearly not a perfect process, but it gives me a deeper understanding of the entire process. 

They will be a lower cost product (see my etsy link below)  which is not necessarily the most brilliant business move, but they help alleviate the concern about my own contribution to the indestructible heap.  

Please, tell me what you think!