Snow is a white, semi-matte, semi-opaque glaze. I’ve been using Snow occasionally for over a year, but haven’t given it a name until now, and haven’t officially announced it’s arrival. Don’t let the soft-looking surface fool you. This glaze has the same recipe basis as Flannel, my light gray semi-matte glaze, and the surface is incredibly durable.
Cloud is light gray, glossy, and semi-opaque. It is brand new. I developed it for use in combination with Snow.
There is a third element that goes along with Snow and Cloud, the use of hakeme to create a surface texture underneath the glazes. Hakeme is the brushing of thin, white slip on top of forms made of dark stoneware, using a coarse brush to create fluid and spontaneous patterns. I have dabbled in hakeme for years but recently took on a greater interest in pursuing it more seriously, sparked by a pure accident. The porcelain I had been buying to make white slip was out of stock, and my supplier recommended a different one to try. This new porcelain is far better suited for hakeme! It flows better off a brush even when mixed thicker, which means it holds onto the brushstroke patterns more clearly. It also fires to a brighter white color. Once I recognized the greater potential provided by this new porcelain, I started developing Cloud to go with it.
Hakeme is hard. I still need a lot more practice at it. The slip must be the right consistency, the brush must be loaded correctly, then you basically have a few seconds to apply the slip and leave behind an interesting pattern. No do overs. So I shake out my arms and wrists, loosen my neck, try to clear my head, and go for it. I’m often not happy with the results, but trust that I’ll get better over time.
Aesthetically speaking, this is not a big departure from my current work. I’m still making gray and white pots. These pieces will play a minor role in my line for now. They fit right in with my current work, which I am not abandoning.
And there is one more conceptual step I’m taking with these glazes, which is to combine hakeme backgrounds with a new approach to carving illustrations, using a pointy tool to carve finer lines with a looser, sketcherly attitude. These rectangular trays are still works-in-progress, and will be sold at low “protoype” prices at the Open Studio. But I can visualize lots of new directions with these ideas going forward.