Monday, August 31, 2015

Getting out of my comfort zone...

 A while back I signed up for Carolina Claymatters summer workshop. It's free for members and at the time I thought, what the heck, by August 30th we should be done moving and a workshop will be a real treat. Yeah, right. That didn't happen. I really had no business taking a day off and driving to Charlotte, but I did it anyway. It was a long day, but a good diversion from the stress of getting our studio moved.

The workshop presenter was Allison Luce. She is ceramic sculptor, works in raku clay, and fires to ^2. Her work really has very little relevance to what I make but I was able to take away some interesting techniques, as well as new ideas for my own non-functional work.

The focus of the workshop was creating depth in the work by layering oxides, underglazes, acrylic paint, and shoe polish. Yes, you read that right... shoe polish.

 Cream shoe polish can be purchased in a multitude of colors. The brilliant colors of many of these sea life inspired pieces, were obtained with shoe polish. The shoe polish is applied after the final firing.

 One idea that is now bouncing around in my head, is incorporating underglaze and shoe polish into the finish of my orbs. Typically, I have wood fired the orbs. That means I only make them about twice a year. I am definitely going to give this a try. It's never too late to learn new tricks.


  1. shoe polish......! I remember an instructor advising us to use ink on raku pieces to increase the crackle lines! :)

    1. I have heard the ink trick too. We have used black shoe polish on raku pots if there were areas that were supposed to be black but came out more gray.

  2. I think those finishes would look great on your orbs. You should definitely try it.

  3. Another nice finish over the shoe polish would be paste wax.
    I used to like taking workshops that had no relevance to what I was doing. You can always pick up so many helpful hints and apply them in your own way. Hmmm, gots me wanting to take a workshop :)

  4. thanks for sharing these tips, I'd like to take more workshops but distance, time and cost prevent that.


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