June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

A little while ago now the glaze test tiles came out of the kiln. I was unsure of the results at first and have had them tucked away in a drawer, bringing them out occasionally to have another look. I brought them out this afternoon, moved them around into different combinations, took some away, and sat with them for a while.

I don’t know what happened to the whites: pretty much, they came out either cream or non-existent. It’s difficult to see from the photograph but the bottom middle one might be workable.

With the other colours, I was struggling with the top three. I think it’s the single colour aspect that I’m not keen on and the high gloss, although there is quite a lot of depth to them. I had all the tiles mixed in together and couldn’t really see any of them clearly. I felt that the tiles were too small and had been planning all week to make some of my own (these were done on the last remaining generic tiles at Kirkgate). Then, this afternoon, as I was photographing them for this blog entry, I put the bottom six together and realised that there was a sympathy between them.

It’s hard to see from the photographs (I couldn’t get as clear a representation of the colours as I would have liked) but they are variations on blue, blue/green, grey and black. The blues and greens break into yellow and orange, and grey smudges across their surface. To me, they are believeable representations of the colours in the sky. And this is the palette that I want to work with.

It’s interesting that this showed itself in this way today, as over the last week or so I have been looking at the work of Jim Malone and reading an essay about him by David Whiting. In the essay Whiting writes, “[Jim Malone] has long prefered to work with a limited batch of shapes and glazes which he can then get to know intimately, exploring their full and extensive range”. And I wrote in my sketchbook, ‘White and sky colours (blues, greys, blacks, pinks)’.

I had been feeling slightly in awe of the range of possible glaze colours, frozen in the headlights of too much choice and no reason to choose one colour over another except that I liked it, which seemed particularly arbitrary. Now, I feel more in control, with a framework around which to build my decisions. I can go into Kirkgate next week, make up a larger batch of these glazes and dip some of the pots that are beginning to accumulate.

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