Sunday, September 1, 2013

7. more work in the studio

The rest of the week we spent in the studio working on our individual explorations.  I continued with the powder wafers, trying different firing schedules to see what difference, if any, they made.  I slumped a few of them, I tried different ways to texture them.

Catharine conducted one on one sessions with all of us and when she got to me she tactfully pointed out how stiff and lifeless they looked compared to the picture, considering what I was trying to do with them, the effect I hoped to achieve.

She suggested I try them free hand instead of using stencils.  

If you want, she says.

No, no, I'll try it.

Cause you seem a little resistant, she says (and at the morning meeting the next day she demonstrated the look on my face much to everyone's amusement, mine included).

So she showed me how to go about it, sifting some powder on the tile I was using for a kiln shelf...sift, swipe, swipe, flick, voila...a lovely sensuous shape.

OK, I can do this.  Sift, swipe with the brush, dump.  Sift, swipe, dump.  Sift, swipe, dump.  It took me four tries to be able to get beyond that first swipe with the brush.

But I persevered and and managed to get several done freehand that I was actually OK with.  They were solid forms of shifting color.  

So now, I was bored with the powder wafers and we still had time in the studio so I asked Catharine to show me how to do the powder painting that she does so well and beautifully.  

I gathered my light box, small piece of sheet glass, black glass powder, sifter, and brushes and got my picture of the head and neck of a great blue heron thinking I would put it under the glass and use it as a guide and...

Oh, no, she says, you're going to do this freehand.  

Erk.  A solid scale of a butterfly wing and a bird's head are two entirely different things.  

So, once again Catharine demonstrates and in just a few minutes, she has a great image starting to emerge.  And so once again, I sift, swipe, dump.  Sift, swipe, dump.  

I did eventually get some measure of control and ended up with an image I was happy with and quit before I further overworked it.

I'm excited about both these two new techniques and have been thinking about how I might integrate them in my next body of work which I loosely think of as 'river stories', but first I need to finish my current work.

more next post


  1. sounds like she pushed you out of your comfort zone - and i'm guessing that's one of the reasons you went to this retreat.

  2. I definitely think this retreat was well worth your time - so glad you went!

  3. Wow.. the heron looks wonderful.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.