In my last post, I discussed creating the initial phase of my hand built forms. Next the work begins to refine it.
After the form has been 'roughed out,' and has had time to rest and becomes dry enough to handle without straining the form, the refining begins.
I often start with a serrated edge metal rib that helps to even out all of finger/pinch marks made in the surface of the form during its initial stage. Although I love hand built work that preserves those marks, for my sgraffito pieces I want a more smooth surface on which to draw. Thus I spend a significant amount of time refining both the interior and exterior of the piece.
This process both smooths out the form and also takes away a lot of the unwanted clay, making it both smoother and lighter. Porcelain, although fussy, is an amazing clay body to work with as it can achieve an incredible surface of pure white softness. Note: We do recycle all of my scrapings either for use in Lars' work or (dried) for use in my creation of colored slips for my surface painting.
Once the serrated rib has done its work evening out the sides, I use a plain metal rib to further refine. Yes, this process can be tedious and takes some time as it is often done in stages. I will scrape, then wait, then scrape and smooth with a sponge and then wait, but the results it achieves is very satisfying. Lastly, I do lightly sand the surface with a soft grade sponge sander. Sgraffito (a process I will describe in another post) too early and you pick up too much clay, too late and it can crack the fine lines you hope to achieve. More on this later.
As for us, we are working 7 days per week, firing one per week+ to prepare for our upcoming show in Northampton, MA. Lars picked up some lousy spring cold and has been laying low for nearly a week. It's a bit lonely in the studio without him but I have Spotify and my new found love of podcasts (my fav is This American Life) that have been helping me through. Today, however, I'm happy to report, he is up and glazing!!!