Here’s another new bowl design that I plan to make more of. Instead of making it on a potter’s wheel, I squeezed coils of clay together. This “hand-building” makes for a bowl that isn’t perfectly round, isn’t perfectly smooth, plus I purposefully formed the top edge to be uneven. Something about the imperfect quality attracts my eye – perhaps it’s similar to abstract or nonrepresentational art, in that I find that it more interesting to look at and I let my eyes wander over the piece longer when my mind doesn’t quite understand it. Perhaps it’s the contrast of the bowl’s inside and outside. I’m not sure. But I like it!
The bowl is made with MTM clay that I bought from my wonderful local clay source, Paoli Clay Company. They describe this clay as “Toothy red stoneware. Rich, dark brown at higher cone.” I fire it to cone 6. The wire decor on the outside is used nichrome wire coils from the kiln at the studio where I work, Midwest Clay Project. I brought a box of used coils home and, using a hammer and pliers, broke off plenty of half-round pieces to stick into the sides of the bowl. Nichrome wire can withstand the high temperatures in the kiln, so it doesn’t melt. As you know from past blog posts, I love to recycle old metal into my ceramic work!
I placed a few seed pods inside the bowl, just to give you an idea of size. The pods, from an American Sweetgum tree, are from a stash I brought home with me from my last trip to Portland, Oregon a couple years ago. I think these pods are fascinating! According to Wikipedia, other names for these pods are burr balls, gum balls, space bugs, monkey balls, bommyknockers, sticker balls, or goblin bombs.
Here’s a bit closer look at the inside. I left the outside of the bowl unglazed. On the inside, I brushed on a coat of white slip, or thinned down clay, because I wanted a lighter colored ground for the glaze. Then I brushed on two coats of a Coyote Constellation glaze. I like the contrast of the raw, rough-looking outside and the smooth, lustrous inside. I also love how the unglazed clay on the outside “toasted” near the top edge of the bowl. You’ll see more of this bowl design in the future!