I started the past week thinking I would finish up some bisque fired bowls I had stored in the basement. I didn’t think this was something that would end up taking me back to the project. As I brushed the glaze, I thought about a meaningful discussion I had with a friend on one of my gallery shifts at the show. We looked at the work, talked about what it could be and I started to get an idea of the bigger picture.
While I knew it was probably not going to be effective on the black glaze I had applied to the bowls, I felt that it was important to work with the ideas taking shape in my mind. I started painting cat mask images with black underglaze over the unfired black glaze. My hope was that I might get a silvery image because of the oxide saturation. The fired bowls did not succeed in this way though they are quite nice in their own right.
I still had the second half of the bisque bowls stored away. Decided to try the idea again but this time with underglaze applied directly to the bisque. The drawings started out quite timidly. As I progressed, I discovered the power of bold black lines. The forms created seemed to take on an energy. I took one of these bowls, mirrored the interior design on the exterior and painted in fine hair lines. I realized after I had spent hours on it that I had in essence taken away all its power. I put in all this extra time and the bowl was diminished. So the other twenty five were simply painted black outside and the interior left alone. They are much better bowls for it.
I expect some losses in this batch. Some of the bowls are paper thin and already a bit warped. When I threw these bowls on the wheel a few years ago, I was looking at fine 18th Chinese porcelains. I made them as thinly as I could like those fine antiques.
Fired on the underglaze and burned off the wax last night. Glazing and firing the bowls this week. Should be ready by next week barring any unforeseen circumstances.