While my gardens sleep under their blanket of snow, I am still inspired to create Sterling Clay leaves!
I only have two indoor plants at the moment- a large coleus I dug up last fall and a small primrose from my local market. Thought I might try another type of leaf to imbed in the clay. Inspiration struck as I was eating my spinach salad! Why should flowers have all the fun?
For years I have wondered about this fascinating firing technique. Although I am quite familiar with raku firing, I never tried “naked raku” until recently.
And yes, while it does sound like I am showing off for my neighbors, I am actually fully clothed while firing these pots!
Naked raku refers to the notion of using no glaze on the pots. Instead of my usual glazes, I roll the bisque fired pot in a thick layer of wet slip. The slip dries & cracks during the next firing, leaving some naked exposed areas on the pot. Once the pot reaches the desired temperature, I remove it from the kiln and place it quickly into a small container of recycled shredded paper. The fire & smoke finish the pots to form a striking black & white pattern.
A few of the advantages of this firing technique: the firing temperatures can be lower, thus resulting in faster firing times. I usually pull the pots at around 1300 degrees. The process is nearly fool proof, however, thicker slip seems to produce more pronounced patterns (and it is much easier to clean off the residue!) The best part is using all that slip I manage to accumulate!
For a bit of fun, I also experimented with rolling slip over a previously finished glazed pot (see the blue pot above) and the results were quite satisfying! Also pictured above are a few of my feather decorated pots. In place of the usual horse hair, I used some seagull feathers I found at the beach to swish onto the hot pots. They are a work in progress….
Although I only participated in a few art festivals during 2020, I tried to maintain a decent level of creative production. The most fun was experimenting with Sterling Metal Clay, sculpting leaf pendants using tiny garden foliage imprints.
My kilns work overtime firing glass, pottery and Metal Clay. These are a few of my violet leaves, forever transformed into Sterling jewelry, displayed in one of my handmade glass bowls.
Warm wishes for a wonderful new year filled with hope and good health. Looking forward….
Although I have no shows scheduled for the foreseeable future, I feel inspired each day to continue creating.
One of my favorite new discoveries is called MetalMagic- a truly fun way to transform garden leaves into wearable Sterling silver pendants.
Small leaves pressed onto the thinly rolled clay are kiln-fired to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit for 60-90 minutes. This allows the binder to burn away, leaving the silver, which is .960 pure -slightly higher than Sterling. Upon removal from the cooled kiln, I clean, oxidize, and polish the silver leaves.