Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pillow Vases V: Sea Urchin

Techniques for applying the decoration can vary. When possible, I score and slip the vase's surface - this works quite well with the "Frosted" design because the decoration is always located around the opening and at the vase's "waist". (I use a large round cookie cutter to plot the line of decoration on the tiny vases with multiple openings.)

Since I have learned that scoring marks not covered by decorative elements can still be visible after glaze firing, I score and slip the underside of the decorative elements of the "Scrolls" and "Rosettes" designs instead. Due to the size and arrangement of the elements for the "Sea Urchin" designs, making sure the vase is plastic enough to take the decoration and then gently pressing it on after it has hardened somewhat seems to help prevent separation. There is no applied decoration for the "Lace" or "Plain" vases so the issue is moot for those designs. I then set the pieces to dry slowly before the final preparation for bisque firing.

Once I find a technique that works for me, I tend to push them as far as I can to see what else I can do. In terms of the slip-filled pastry bag, that was expressed in investigating as many different workable decorating tips as I could.

Not all of them work very well, but I did find that the plain round tips (of various sizes) and the ribbon tips are pretty useful. I use a medium to large round tip for these Sea Urchin vases, so called because the decoration resembles the surface of a sea urchin. I start off with a circle of "dots" of slip placed evenly around the opening, then another, larger, circle of dots, alternating between each of the dots in the first row, continuing to alternate down to the vase's "waist". (Vessels have "anatomy" which relates back to human physiology - with "necks", "shoulders", "waists" and "feet".)

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