Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Translucent dragon cups, some more

            Here are some more pictures of the translucent dragon cups. I threw them on the wheel and trimmed them, then brushed black slip on around the outside. After letting the slip stiffen, I carved out the dragons. The reason they are so translucent is that they are made of porcelain. Not all porcelain and porcelain-like clays have this property, so when I chose my clays back in the fall I specifically selected one that was recommended for its translucence.
            Having never worked with translucent porcelain before, I'm amazed with the stuff. I love working with porcelainous clays, I knew that before. But after hearing all about how difficult it is to make translucent pots, I guess I never expected it to work this well. It really worked!

            I knew as soon as I took these out of the kiln that they were even better than I had hoped. The first thing I usually do when I pull something out of the kiln is to scoot into the sunshine to get a good look at it. These cups are translucent enough that you can see the effect in normal light. You can see it as a little creamy glow around the foot in these pictures:

             I'm pleased with nearly all the pots in this firing, but these are the best. The translucence is something I can only guess at when I'm making them, so I paid a lot of attention to the other aspects. I used my tiny rubber rib to make them smooth, and worked hard on the carvings to make them clean and crisp. I also sanded them gently after both firings, so the bottoms feel good in the hand. I love my abstract dragon design; it looks good in two colors like this and I can reliably make the dragons look related to each other. I also love making them, especially the carving part. I do get tired of doing the same thing after six cups, but that's what bowls and plates (and Kickstarter rewards...) are for.
            And fussy though my camera seems to be about bright sunlight, I have to give it credit for doing a good job in the dark. All I did was click the button and hold very, very still. (It helps to rest my hands on something sturdy. A tripod would work, too.) And when I hold still enough, I get pictures like these: 

            That's what they actually look like with candles in them. It's beautiful. I also found that the sides of the cup remained cool despite the hot candle inside, so I could pick them up and move them around without worrying about hot fingers. I think at this point I have to 1. make more of these cups; and 2. make some "cups" with shades/lids specifically for the purpose of holding candles. Because, wow. Ceramics = the real magic we have in the world. I can make mud that glows.


  1. Are you going to sell these on your etsy store? They're quite cool looking..

  2. These cups are currently available at the Deer Isle Artists Association Gallery in Deer Isle, Maine. The show will last through June 13th, and any cups remaining after that will go to my Etsy shop. Thank you for your interest!