Our lilacs are in full bloom, and the aroma is heavenly!
This past week it's been a madhouse here, getting everything finished and shipped to California for BOYCC for this weekend. And to my delight, Mr. Pony came through the glaze fire fantastically! If you want to see more photos, check out his photo album.
Mr. Pony with his candy coating - finished just in time!
I was worried I made his directional shading too even, but it seems I did it just fine. His features have just enough accent without being overdone. The pigment also pooled in the features just as I wanted and the tube's glaze seeped onto the tail, giving this piece the more arty look I wanted. Though I do admit that I really liked him bisque, too, and I'd love to try finishing another piece just with an oxide.
Living up to his nickname, "Big Blue" brought out the blues of the glazes and underglazes applied to Mr. Pony. You can see hints of the purples and greens on various parts of his body, and depending on the light, these colors either dampen or "pop," which I think is especially fun. And praise be! Copper Adventurine finally made a coppery effect! It's not a whole lot, but I'll take it!
Woot! Check out those lovely smears of copper! That's my studio logo stamp impressed on the back of the tube, in the lower two-thirds right hand side of the photo.
But it wasn't all fun and games - Big Al threw in some monkey wrenches just to make sure I was paying attention....
This is why kiln wash is indispensable! The glaze on this little guy unexpectedly ran off him and flowed onto my kiln shelf. Happily, I was able to pull him off thanks to the kiln wash because it creates a powdered layer that acts as a "release" for just this situation. Then I sanded off the glassy edge at his base with a grinding stone and my Dremel® tool.
And some of the glazes had a complete spaz. Yow! Brace your orbs for the horror....
I'm sending these eye sores down to BOYCC for kicks. I figure Joanie and Addie can find some unfortunate use for them.
But all the hard work paid off, and both Big Al and Maury delivered in spades...
When Laurie was here a couple of weeks ago, we spent a day playing in clay. She made a gaggle of wonderful little creatures, and I made these guys. I'm sending them down to BOYCC as fun little prizes.
And here are some of the awards I'm providing for my Challenge Classes. I'm sponsoring a bas-relief class, a Minkiewicz Challenge (large size) and a Minkiewicz Challenge (small size).
And here's a peek at some of the swag bag tiles - each one is different, and there are fifty in total!
Of course, Mr. Pony is my centerpiece contribution. Some lucky person will be taking him home! I also provided eight magnet sets for the peeps who are sitting at my centerpiece table ((below), so each person at my table gets to take something extra home.
So...what have I learned with all this, especially with Mr. Pony?
In a word: GOBS.
I discovered that I'm a really fast sculptor, and it's been my previous media (epoxy clay and oil clay) that have slowed me down. Mud is a different story - it can keep up with me. It's essentially the acrylic paint of sculpting mediums. Not only that, it also works with me, becoming a true partner in the process. Being able to just sculpt without impediment has been a thrilling experience, and this revelation is a new direction I intend to explore in earnest.
My tiles can be integrated together nicely using different hole configurations. This opens up whole new options for what I offer for sale, and even themes for new future designs.
The "slow fire" program in Big Al's computer brain is a most valuable tool. I've rarely used it before Mr. Pony, but I suspect I'll be dependent on this setting for many future projects!
Lastly, I learned to always keep an open-mind in the face of failure. If you think a process or medium is beyond your abilities, too difficult or scary - believe me when I tell you that you're probably very wrong. Very very wrong. Dive in, fearless and eager! "Success" or "failure" are empty judgments we tack onto our experience, not the truth of that experience. Whether we reach our goal or not, we gain insight that can be applied in some fashion in the future - that is the treasure. New options, new horizons, new methods, new ideas...new everything is there for the taking if you just make the leap. Take a risk. It's good for you. Certainly has been for me. I know I'll never be afraid again!
Thank you BOYCC for these invaluable lessons and experiences these past few weeks! Even though I'm unable to attend, this event still had a profound effect on me, and for that I'm eternally grateful. Thank you Joanie and Addi!
"So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." ~ Christopher Reeve