Thursday, October 18, 2012

The evolution of an idea

Some times as an artist my process is a long thought out, drawings, test runs, then final product. A lot of times my process is one of inspiration in the middle of doing something else completely and I just jump feet (head?) first and usually, somehow, I come out with a really great step in the right direction.

When it comes to my series of Blessing Bowls, however, it started with a complete accident.

I was working in my studio on some bisqueware that I was going to take to the Archie Bray Foundation to fire. I had been taking a community class to dust off some techniques and they were doing some of the last cone 10 firings they were going to do before switching to Cone 6. I had my bowls laid out on the table, and I had just purchased a bottle of wax to put on the feet. After opening the bottle, I started to set it down on the table next to the bowls. As I was doing that I was also turning away to grab something else, probably a sponge. So here's me - great multitasker that I am - perfectly dropping the bottle onto the floor. Plop! The bottle landed on it's bottom . . . the wax went straight up into the air . . . and landed all over everything. I think the bottle tipped onto its side after the bounce. I think I was stunned into silence for a couple of seconds, and then my training as a Class A Cusser kicked in.

A very horrified and upset me set to cleaning up the mess. I'm just here to tell you, cleaning up cold liquid wax is kinda fruitless. You can absorb some of it into paper towels, but it never really quite gets out of the floor. Never mind bisque. When I finally got brave enough to look at the damage on my bowls, I realized that they were actually pretty interesting patterns. Knowing that these bowls were going to be fully vitrified in the firing, I thought, "what the hell, I'm going to glaze these anyway."

My husband had been wanting some bowls to catch his guitar picks and other instrument paraphernalia in, and I thought these would be perfect for that.  One of my best friends saw them and said she wanted one for her altar as a blessing bowl to keep various stones, shells and sticks she finds on her hikes. She also has one to hold her Angel cards and other affirmations. What started out as “Splatter Bowl” changed to “Blessing Bowl” because these bowls attracted people who wanted them to be the vessels that held their special things.

The way I finish these bowls as changed from using a wax resist that would leave unglazed areas on the bowl to using three different glazing techniques and in some cases adding laser printed decals. First I dip the bowls into the base - either an alabaster satin or glossy black glaze - then sometimes I hand splatter a glaze with a brush. Finally I spray the inside and outside of the rim with a third glaze.  This still conveys the original feeling of the original “Splatter Bowls” while adding another level of depth. The bowls then get their second firing, and then decals may be applied and fired.

These bowls have evolved in their size, presentation and colors.  They can be hung as artwork as well as serve your favorite soup or a dish at a gathering. Many folks have been giving these bowls as holiday gifts as well as wedding and anniversary gifts. What started as an horrified accident is now an idea fully in bloom and these pieces have become happy heirlooms.

One of the first "Splatter Bowls"
This is a shino version of the Splatter Bowl, cone 10 gas Reduction.

The foot ring allows for a wire to be wrapped so the piece can be hung.

The second step in the evolution. Loved the blue!

From here the rest are current versions of the blessing bowl. All Cone 6 electric.

1 comment:

julie cavender said...

Evolution and inspiration! Or what I like to call it, "Make lemonade out of lemons" Creativity rocks!