Monday, July 9, 2012


Well once in a while it happens. Usually when your stretching right? I guess I was stretching a little too far when I thought I could make a frog fountain at the request of a collegue who wanted it for his fish pond.
First, I've never done anything sculptural before.
Second, I wanted to make it out of paper clay, (for strength because it is large) which I've never made before.
I made some clay from a recipe I found on line and it seemed to work well. I made a test pot with it just to make sure and that seemed to come out OK. I looked at some 'how to ' vidoes to find out how to make a sculpture from clay. All this was taking some time and my collegue was getting impatient.
I then researched what frogs actually look like and also what frog fountains look like. I started the process and it was turning out ok.
But the paper clay made it dry really slowly. I dried it for 10 days in the studio, which has been a balmy 30 degrees C this sunny summer. I was worrying it was drying too fast. And his legs did lift off the table as he dried, but once his body caught up they lowered again. (Well, his body shrank) I wanted to fire it this past weekend, but I was worried it wasn't dry enough, so I candled the kiln for 4 hours on low before I closed the lid. No more vapour came out so I started the firing schedule.
Then I went to the JASNA lunch and hoped for the best.
When I opened the kiln tonight, froggy's legs had exploded apart.
I must be growing as a potter because I didn't dry or throw a tantrum, I just sighed and vaccuumed the kiln.
His back legs must have been too thick compared to the body. His front legs were thinner and did fine even though they were essentially attached the same way. The failure came at the place I attached them. I think making them hollow the next time will help. But before I go to the trouble I think I'll ask my collegue if he still wants it.

1 comment:

Peter said...

So sad about the froggy explosion. potting is a cruel craft sometimes, there is just so much that can go wrong... and so often when you are making something for someone else! I haven't tried paper clay as yet, people do make amazing claims for it,including, astonishingly... being able to fire wet work; but your experience is a useful cautionary tale. Extra sad in your case, because it looks a most splendid frog, and you really did do everything right, in waiting for it to dry and being careful in the first few hours of the firing.
I wonder if you could tidy up the stump where his leg was and glaze fire the poor fellow, he might look quite distinguished with a wooden leg... a piratanical frog! Anyway, I know that last sentence probably sounds a bit jokey, but I am actually most sympathetic... I had a humiliating month last month with glaze tests that just wouldn't go right. Kind thoughts to you, P xx