Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Heart Lab: Little Flower Designs

You may remember Linda from last week... well, she's kindly agreed to be a part of Heart Lab this week and talk us through her process. I'm currently saving up for one of her beautiful tree platters (they remind me of our huge Silver Maple tree in the backyard!)

The making of the Tree Round Platter...

1. Designing (5 minutes to a lifetime!)
I tend to think about my imagery then doodle a good bit before I decide on an official design. The tree is an image I have worked with off and on for years and this fall I had to drop everything to design and make this platter. The design is actually a re-design which took me about an hour to draw out on paper.

2. Weighing the clay and rolling out a slab (10 minutes)
I weigh out the clay approx.6 pounds, then roll out a large slab on a slab roller. To get the proper thickness, I roll the slab through about 8 times, each pass a little thinner.

3. Draping, smoothing and trimming (10 minutes)
I carefully pick up the slab, minding not to bend it, and drape it over my 16" hump mold. Then I smooth the canvas marks out and trim the rim.

4. Firming Up (approx. 3 hours)
The slab need to firm up, so I let it sit on the mold for a few hours.

5. Off the mold and cleaning it up (10 minutes)
I then flip the slab with the mold over onto a board and remove the mold. Then it's time to clean up the rim - removing excess clay, and sponging the rim to smooth it out.

6. Etching (1 hour)
First I etch the fence inspired boarder around the rim - and on the back - (about 12 minutes) then I etch the tree design into the platter. I freehand the entire design so the time can vary depending on how firm the clay is and how easily the design is shaping up.

7. Drying Out ( 2 -4 days)
I usually let the platter's sit for at least 2 days before glazing - it depends on the humidity in the studio.

8. Glazing Step-One (1 hour)
I paint on underglazes for the first layer of color - I use about 6 colors in the step and carefully paint them on.

9. Bisque Firing & Cooling (32 hours)
The first firing is a bisque, this takes from 10-12 hours depending on how full the kiln is, then I let the kiln cool completely before unloading

10. Glazing Step-2 (30 minutes)
Once the platter is cool, I use overglazes which I apply like washes of watercolor to define the etched lines and add more color, some of the overglaze is wiped away with a sponge to leave traces of the color in the etched lines.

11. Glazing Step-3 (5 minutes)
The final glazing step is a dip into a clear overcoat glaze, this is quick but needs to dry and be cleaned up a bit before going into the kiln.

12. Final Firing (38 hours)
After all the glazing the platter goes back into the kiln for a final firing (14 hours) I wait for the kiln to cool completely before unloading.

13. Photographing, formatting, adding to website. (1 hour)

14. Shipping (1 hour)
Printing out the order, packing the platter and running the shipping label are the last steps before handing the package over the mailman.

15. Feeling Accomplished ( all day!)

Thanks (again!) Linda!!!


Melissa de la Fuente said... amazing, how much work goes into one platter. And what a gorgeous platter it is! I love this and love hearing about Linda's creative process!