Lately these quiet snowy days have been helpful in the studio, where I’ve been working to design a new line of pottery to be sold exclusively at Market. This shop is inside Vertical Harvest, the amazing greenhouse that grows beautiful greens and tomatoes all year in Jackson, Wyoming.
This project has taken since last spring, working through sketches, testing glazes, and mostly just thinking about how to make colorful garden themed designs - while working on all the projects that kept me busy last year. My goal was to make garden themed pots for dining: cups & pitchers, serving & salad bowls, as well as helpful items for the kitchen: garlic keepers & salt cellars. It’s been nice thinking about garden parties during this ultra-snowy winter!
In January I finally made some actual pieces. New ideas don’t usually take this long, but this time the process is such a departure from my usual, and I was a little stumped. Usually I decorate the surfaces while the pots are still wet, using inlay and sgraffito techniques. But what was bugging me was that I wanted these images to have a gestural line feel, more like drawing. So I bisque fired the test pieces and ordered a few underglaze pencils.
A neat trick when working on bisque fired pottery is that a design can be worked out with a graphite pencil - any unwanted graphite can be washed off with a sponge but it will also burn away in the kiln. So I worked out some of my drawings with a pencil first. Then went over them with the underglaze pencil. (Which is a very cool decorating tool - it looks sketchy like a pencil and yet will fire to a permanent line!)
I drew Swiss Chard on the cups & pitchers, tomatoes on the bowls, micro-greens on the salt cellars, and garlic on the garlic keepers. Then started in with glaze - only using copper green and red right now; colorful, but not too colorful. Similar to the first colors of spring. The glazing is a bit tedious - starting with the greens, once the leaves are brushed on I went over them with wax resist. This way I can glaze with the second color right up next to the first color. Red goes on next, then wax over that, finally clear over everything.
This is how the prototypes turned out and I’ve got a whole kiln load right now that I can’t wait to see. So stay tuned for an update!