Today I snuck out of the house early and went over to Rhea Del Rosario’s Plum Pottery Studio located at the Peace Dale Guild. I have this concept in mind and it is going to take a few tries to perfect it. The concept is a bib or crescent shape pendant you can wear as a choker. For over ten years I designed drawer pulls and floral jewelry out of polymer clay, so the decorative elements came easily. The challenge, as usual, is the technical aspects of this pottery medium which are still all too unfamiliar to me.
First problem – pottery clay shrinks. This is going to take some testing to get the correct size to go around a person’s neck. I also had to curve the forms to fit the body. I achieved this by drying them on an upside down bowl. Next, pottery clay is heavy. I have to consider whether anyone would wear these pendants due to their weight. These are all variables I have to consider and they will take a bit of time and resiliency to overcome.
Step two is the under glazing. In this photo you can see the first layer of color being applied. On the left are some extra pieces I am trying out. When finished, the stripes on these pieces should be rich and glossy. In the second photo you see two bib pendants with a simple black under glaze. This is because I will get all the color and richness after these have been fired and the regular glazes are applied. I can’t wait to see how they come out. I’m excited about the middle ones. The third photo shows a few small pendants and a floral bib I am creating with color. I am going to add a whole second wave of colors when these get fired and glazed a second time which will hopefully make them very rich as well.
I hope this blog brings to light all the different steps involved in the pottery process. It takes hours and hours of time. So the next time you are at an artisan show or gallery, do not wince at the price. It probably should be more!
Here is another thing to think about. The next time you are at Target, Walmart or any other place you can find a $5 dollar dish or bowl consider who made it. How much time did it take? What are they getting paid? Is it worth it to Americans or third world countries that we pay what we pay?
I think about it daily. When will American artisans and third world artisans all be paid what they are worth? Humans are humans no matter where they are born. A bowl should be worth what a bowl is considered worth no matter where it is made….
Messed up politics….money to be made…. These are tough problems to overcome – really tough. I guess eventually globalization will level the playing field.
On that depressing note. Hubby is making French onion soup for supper. I better go choose just the right bowl!
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