CAROLYNE HAZEL DRAKE, BEFORE THE FIRING

I've just returned from three weeks in Europe, traveling through Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. Much of this trip was oriented around art that I have been longing to see in person, and in that respect (and in almost all others) it was a rich and rewarding experience. Jacques Louis David's The Death of Marat and Fabritius's The Goldfinch were particular highlights. Swoon!
Travel adds such a wealth of images and textures to human experience! I feel so old and wise I can barely stand myself.

So now I am back to reality and joyfully back to the studio. As you might imagine, these hot summer temps can put a strain on clay. I work with Silver Falls porcelain from Georgie's, and it is beautiful. However it is also very finicky and in the heat, as thin as I like to work it, it can develop cracks if it dries unevenly. So there's a lot of love and attention and slow coaxing needed to get just the right result.

 

Attaching the foot to greenware (unfired clay). Lots of scoring, a little moisture, and firm compression is the key to a stable and structurally sound foot.


These vessels have had black underglaze drawn with a tiny slip-trailing bottle. Before the underglaze sets up, I tilt the vessels to and from to manipulate the lines and shapes. This is a reflection of the tension between control and chance that I am drawn to as a major theme in my work.



Just to make things more difficult, here I am perforating the clay within the shape determined by the underglaze. There is a high risk of crushing and shattering the vessel at this point. This is another central idea I explore in my work: pushing up against an edge to test strength and fragility.


Now the vessels are ready to be loaded into the kiln for the first (bisque) firing. More to follow!