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Thursday, November 18, 2010

What's going on?!?!?

I read A LOT of blogs and I have noticed that the Chuck Close inspiration quote is still making the rounds. I went and found the interview and read the whole thing, trying to accept his idea about amateurs and inspiration, blah blah, still don't agree with him. I LOVE inspiration!! Here is a perfect example. I saw this photo in the new Anthropologie catalog and thought it would make a great little clay sculpture. So one day when I had nothing else to do (HA!) I sat and made one. He is below, the lone sheep survivor from the Raku. His legs are screws, thanks to the Colorado blogger for that idea from her kid's classes. So just call me an amatuer, I don't care!
I re fired a bunch of ornaments and bowls yesterday, ornaments made it, bowls not so lucky, the bottoms fell off, just the trimmed foot part, weirdest thing, I have never seen that before.
I don't know what is going on with my firings. The first day of the Raku workshop all went well. Second day the same glazes that melted fine, did not melt as well. The glazes are not melting at all now. Example: my simple tried and true Gerstely Borate/Neph Sy base does not melt on the first fire, but if I re fire it melts. I use this base as a white or I add mason stains for colors and it has never failed me. One of the workshop participants had a bowl explode the first day, so I thought maybe some of the debris was affecting the burners. Yesterday, I took the shelves out, blew out all the debris, blew out the burners, didn't help. My thermocouple also got bent during the workshop and I'm wondering if the temp is not regestering correctly. If the glazes had not melted on the first day of the workshop, I would think that maybe it was the chemicals in the glaze, but now my only conclusion is that maybe the pyrometer is wrong thanks to a bent thermocouple. It's really frustrating to lose so much work, but luckily I was able to salvage a good bit. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Maybe I shouldn't use my kiln for workshops?!
I have a bunch of ornaments now, I have tortured myself making these stars, they really are nice, but so much work and I can't charge $100 for them, now can I!? I did go up on the price since this last firing however, so if you got them at the old price of $15 you got a deal, because they are now $24, still a bargain for all I have gone through to get them to this stage. I would go up to $30 on them, and if I make them next year, they probably will be at that price. Such a pain in the ass! Every year I say I won't make anymore, but they are so pretty for the holidays.
Here was my simpler solution to the stars, although a bunch of them fried in the Raku fire. I sat them on a hard brick to fire, big mistake, they are too thin and the brick was too hot, when they came out they were charded badly. I re fired them though and they came out fine. If there is a hard way to do something you know I'm going to go down that road! I shot this photo in the worst possible morning flat light, they are really much nicer in person and will be a good price for those craft show folks that can't spend a lot, but want a little something to take home. I'll try to shoot some nicer pics of the ornaments when I'm not so bleary. It's been a long week! I'm doing a wood firing with Susan Wells this weekend, so this is the last post until Monday. Happy weekend everyone!

13 comments:

Patricia Griffin said...

That sheep is wonderful!!!!! I love inspiration too. Somehow, I've missed the Chuck Close bit so now I'm going to have to go look it up.

As the proud recipient of one of your stars, I would like to say that they are wonderful. We have ours displayed on a post in our kitchen and it looks great. Soon as I get my camera back from the studio, I'll take a picture and post. It's a year-round display piece for us!

cookingwithgas said...

Baaaaaaa- love the sheep!
I love my star and they needed to go up.
Have a great weekend before the fest next week.
I try not to think too much myself- and today all I can do is run around trying to THINK where the He** I put my cell phone.

Tracey Broome said...

I'm glad you guys like the stars!! Every time one comes out of the kiln and survives I think that I have to keep making them, but I lose about 50% and for what I was selling them for it just isn't worth it. I'm going to try them at $24 and see if they still sell..... the sheep is adorable isn't he?!

Judy Shreve said...

That sheep is so fabulous! And the stars are too wonderful for even $24 --

I am constantly inspired -- I think that's the way artists move in the world. I think ole Mr. Close is the one worried about being the amateur.

Sister Creek Potter said...

Hmmm...Inspiration vs hard work. I also missed your reaction to the Close quote. I liked it because sometimes I feel stimied for lack of inspiration--and often just sitting down at the wheel gets me going again. But I'm sure without inspiration I would not have a wheel or studio to sit down to/in. Funny how different things turn us on or off--often depending on other circumstances.
Yes, the little sheep is wonderful. Inspired, really.

Tracey Broome said...

I'm sure I'm reading that CC quote wrong and misinterpreting what he meant but for some reason it bugs me every time I read it....
I guess I need to get to work making some more sheep!!

Cindy Shake said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that sheep of yours!!! You've inspired me :o) I price my smallish metal ornaments at $24 -knowing that customers now can buy China-style elaborate ornaments for $3 and thanks to some people's good sense of aesthetics mine continue to sell well and so will yours :o)

Tracey Broome said...

Cindy, I thought about you when I made the sheep, I really love your metal ones!

Bill Farr said...

Composer John Cage felt the same way, that work leads to results.
See more ironic details here :

http://www.mountainhousestudios.com/Mountain_House_Studios/Gallery/Gallery.html

Trish said...

Tracey, Love the stars!.(and the sheep).
Must be the moon, again..for the frustrating days..but these too will pass, and the kiln gods will smile again...(but still, get the equipment checked :)..have a great creative weekend. T.

Michèle Hastings said...

i LOVE your sheep in boots!
i can't remember what your raku kiln is like... do you have rely on only the pyrometer to check the glaze melt? we can peek through the hole in the top of ours and visually check to see if the glaze has melted. although we are still not always accurate
...and why is it that we like to raku fire????

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks Trish! Bill I checked out Judy's quote, I do agree that if you get to work things seem to come, but I still look for inspiration some days, Michele, yes I look inside for glaze melt but some of the matte glazes really don't show that and for some reason you can't always tell if the white has melted. I can tell as soon as I open the kiln though. I put a new battery in the pyrometer and reattached the wires so we'll see of that helps....

jimgottuso said...

the sheep is a winner and probably a whiner too if it could baaaa. i always thought that amateur meant that one never sold anything or got paid and that a professional was paid. is that definition gone?