Okay, I don't think I'm gonna find time to download and sort through (and comment on!) the gazillion pictures I took during the sessions at Potter's Council, so I'll just summarize the "Demos" we went to while we were there.
First, we got to try Aluminum Foil Saggar-firing with James Watkins. I couldn't find a specific website for him, but found lots of references!
I had created a bunch of plain ol' coasters - hoping to get them into the Saggar - but I was a day late on getting them up to the studio (actually, they loaded the bisque a day early!) so I ended up buying a lovely urn and I saggar'd it instead. I learned some cool techniques about applying ferric chloride (nasty stuff!), copper sulfate, salt, spanish moss and gauze soaked in copper sulfate prior to wrapping the piece in aluminum foil and low-firing in a raku kiln.
I think my urn came out quite nicely (although I wish it had been a piece that *I* created).
Then we attended a session with Sharon Smith. She shared lots of ideas about surface textures - which was cool. And "re-purposing found items" which - at times - seemed a little "Out There." But I truly enjoyed her presentation and "Think Outside The Box" methods. Her stuff is mostly made with paper-clay and is low-fired, so I didn't come away with a whole lot of stuff that I would use (I tend more toward mid-fire or high-fire - and more "functional ware").
Margaret Bohls does extremely "detailed" work with slabs rolled onto gridded plaster molds. Her stuff is amazing and she's definitely got the "Engineer Mindset" kickin'! I don't think I could hold my attention-span "still" long enough to crank out the kind of stuff that she makes, but it is amazing and I did come away with ideas for creating textured plaster molds.
Jake Allee is extremely "high-energy" and I really enjoyed watching his demo. He starts his pieces by throwing on the wheel, then de-constructing and re-constructing thrown forms. While I'm not a huge fan of the wheel, he did "inspire" me to buy a small wheel because - let's face it - there's some stuff you just can't achieve using slabs alone (and I think I can handle throwing a cylinder or two!).
I think, by far, my favorite presenter was Claudia Reese. She does simply amazing things with colored slip on wet slabs - with a bit of "finish work" on the wheel. The colors on her pieces are absolutely breathtaking! Almost 3-dimensional! Her work is mostly mid-fire (which I can handle). Some of her pieces are almost too "busy" for my tastes (lots and lots of patterns!), but I came home and immediately started working on a set of 4 plates that were inspired by her "style."
Currently, I'm working on a set of 4 square, footed plates - using paper-shredder poopies as sort of a "reverse stencil." I don't have colored slips mixed up yet, so I'm working with under-glazes. Here are some pictures of the first plate (the other three will utilize the same colors - but in different configurations). Unfortunately, I've only gotten 3 plates done, so far - and I've run out of underglaze (Oooops!). I have to wait until my order arrives before I can work on the last plate. Then I *hope* to get them all fired at the same time (and, maybe even in the same part of the kiln!) so they'll mostly match!
Nope. Still not done :-( I started painting the kiln corner with a bunch of random greenery. Haven't finished it yet, but I will - SOON!!!
Oh my Goodness - is my garden looking HAPPY! I am stunned and amazed - given the utterly crap-tastic weather we've been having (low 60's fergawdssake!). One good thing about cool-ish weather is that it's not too terribly challenging to complete my garden chores! I did manage to plant my herbs into last years' upside-down planters on the patio.
I left one of the tomato plants, hanging upside-down, in the planter. Bear in mind that last season was an utterly suck-tastic year for tomatoes and I don't think I got squat. But, so far, this year it's looking surprisingly promising!
My Birds of Paradise and Cannas are also looking quite spectacular! In fact, I think I need to dig and divide the BOPS because they are outgrowing their planter!
Wandering back to the Garden-Garden... Fruit trees are looking *quite* happy!
Early-Bearing White Peaches (Early-July, maybe??)
Santa Rosa Plums (No Satsumas this year, unfortunately)
Yellow-Peaches - should be ready around August
As are the raised beds....
Brandy-New Raised Bed #1
Bed #2 - lookin' good!
Ooh! Green Beans ready to harvest already!!
And even the Straw-Bale Bed is kind of surprising me. I did lose all but two of the lettuce plants (too hot across the front bale). And all of the sunflowers are gone (not sure why). Ditto the Straw-Bale Beans. But two tomato plants and two squashes (not sure which kind) are still hangin' in there!
I still have a 6-pack of corn to plant - and no place to plant 'em, so I think they'll end up in the Straw-bale bed. No clue how/if they'll work - but I've *yet* to harvest any corn - despite my repeated attempts at growing it!
Anyway, I think the Straw-Bale Bed is not going to be a complete failure. So that's encouraging!
Hopefully we'll start to get some halfway decent weather in the weeks to come. Hell, we haven't even been able to open the pool yet! (I want my money back!!!!)