Monday, May 07, 2012

Goodbye Penland

Well, it finally happened.  Two months flew by in a whirlwind of clay activity.  This is the last sunrise I saw on Saturday morning from my bedroom window in the Craft House at Penland School of Crafts.  On Sunday I woke up at 2:30 am and was in the car by 3:30 headed for the Asheville airport.  I left with many mixed emotions.  There was sadness to be leaving such a beautiful place where I had many wonderful experiences and met tons of great people.  But there was also relief.  Being away from home for two months is quite an experience and I was feeling ready to get back.  Of course now that I am home, I miss Penland!

I wasn't quite ready for the flat landscape of home.  It seemed rather foreign after all the verdant rolling hills of North Carolina.  It is also drier than I remember and I think we are in for an early, hot, long summer.  After traveling all day yesterday I felt pretty cramped up and sore.  This first morning home I decided I should go for a hike in the park where there are actually some hills to keep my muscles active on and work out some kinks.

And here are some of the last photos I took of work I made with Helios porcelain.  Right after this pic they were bubble wrapped and packed for shipping.  I shipped home nine boxes of work and could have shipped home twelve if I hadn't run out of time.  I did all the packing on the last Friday and most of the work had just come out of the kilns a day or two before.  I did pack some stuff in my backpack and carry-on and dragged them through the airport and on and off the planes with no breakage, yay!

I had a lot of fun with these.  I was working on refining this tumbler form and incorporated three different techniques for the surface decoration.  I have silk screened slip transfers, ez-screen print transfers (which are essentially unmounted silkscreens with wider mesh) and sgraffito.  The botanical imagery was created from my own drawings and the water tower image is from a photo that I took here in Chico of one of the downtown water towers.  These are probably my favorite pieces from the concentration and I am looking forward to exploring this some more now that I am home.

I really enjoy the simplicity of these bowls.  I didn't have time to do anything decorative before they went into the bisque.  Then when they came out we were all in a rush to get everything glazed and into the final firings.  I quickly drew some lines and circles with black underglaze in a slip trailer and filled them in with tinted glazes.  Then I waxed them out and dipped into a fantastic clear glaze.  Viola, I love how they came out!

I wish I had more time to test glazes while I was there.  I am a total glazeaholic!  These dots were created by layering Steven Hill's cone 6 Strontium Crystal Magic (from the March 2012 Issue of Ceramics Monthly) with a copper tinted transparent glaze.  From tests that I had done, I figured the combo would run a bit and pull some of the black underglaze and it did not disappoint. 

It is only 9pm, but my body thinks it is midnight so I will get some shut eye soon.  Sleep well everyone:)

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