Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday Critique: Dragon Egg Vase

            This is a vase. It is about 6 inches tall and about 5 inches wide. It is white stoneware fired to cone 6 in oxidation at IS183. It was thrown and then carved and incised. I used a red iron oxide wash on the outside, and a glaze called New Tyler Amber. 
            Here I would usually talk about form; to talk about form in this case I must talk about concept. This vase is intended to be a dragon egg. Therefore I threw it in the shape of an egg, although the bottom is flat so that it sits on the table. The shape is easily identified as an egg, but it is not so clear that it is a dragon’s egg. I feel that there is little to be done about this in terms of form – if I want this object to be recognizable as an egg, it must be egg shaped. I imagine even dragons have round eggs. 

            In order to encourage the idea that this egg is a dragon egg, I incised swirls into the surface. I had hoped that the swirls would add a dimension of fantasy to an object that is otherwise easy to identify as something from our own world. I do like the swirls, but I’m not sure the effort worked. Shortly after carving the last swirl onto the vase, an onlooker commented, “So you’re making ostrich eggs?” I suppose it is about the size of an ostrich egg. I think that the swirls would work better if there were more of them, so that they became the texture of the egg’s surface rather than marks that were made on that surface. This egg appears to mostly have a smooth surface with occasional swirls.

            However, even if the entire surface were covered with swirls, I don’t think this object would necessarily be identifiable as a dragon egg. Swirls are fantastical and whimsical, but not particularly dragon-like. This vase is a dragon’s egg because I say so. I am aiming for a vase that is a dragon’s egg because it looks like one.

            The glaze makes the surface very smooth and shiny. I think this does help with the idea of a dragon’s egg. I imagine dragon eggs to be hard and shiny, unlike bird eggs, which are porous and not reflective. I also like this particular glaze because it has its own visual texture. Although the surface is smooth, there are darker specks throughout that provide variation to the surface. 

            I am also trying out dragon scales as a surface texture on one of these vases. I know eggs don’t usually have scales, but I think it would make the connection to dragons clearer. I am also trying other colors. This amber brown is a handsome color, but dragons tend to be red or blue or some other color. Perhaps a bolder color would make the association with dragons stronger.
            Here is one with scales, as greenware:

            I think I will try making this one green and blue, good dragon colors. 


  1. I am looking at your site because I too am considering making dragon eggs; but just the eggs, not vases. I would suggest perhaps using metallic glazes esp. those that give multiple colors like what can be done with Raku. Just a suggestion. Otherwise, they look very cool!

  2. Hmmm, raku would definitely impart a magical look to them. I wonder, do people spray raku glazes? Because I've seen some neat work at cone 6 with layered sprayed glazes, and I wonder if that plus the uneven raku effects would make an awesome shimmery effect.

    I myself don't do much with raku at the moment. I'm still working on getting what I want out of cone 6 :) But now you've got me thinking about using more than one glaze on these egg vases. Thank you!

    And have fun with your dragon eggs! I'd be interested in pictures if you want to share. Are you going to throw them or hand build them? (I throw mine, but I find it an annoying shape to throw.)

  3. I want 1 how do I order??

  4. Both of the dragon egg vases in this post are available in my Etsy shop. Here is a link to my Etsy shop: You can also find this link in the upper right hand of the blog.

    I'm glad you like them! I have several more coming along with the next firing.