Friday, March 6, 2009

Clary Sage Vase


Well here is my (Linda Starr) newly built vase for a critique. I was going to post something for critique quite a while ago and kept putting it off and later I forgot about it. This afternoon I completed this Clary Sage Vase and asked my husband about it. He said "nice", which wasn't quite what I had in mind for an opinion. Then I remembered our 'critique my pot' blog. So here are some photos of my freshly completed vase.


The vase is constructed from B-Mix porcelain clay from slabs impressed with Clary sage leaves from my garden. The vase stands 13.25 inches tall and 9.25 inches wide at the widest point. In keeping with my blogs most recent post about details, I also impressed a leaf on the bottom of the vase along with my signature. I am unable to get a photo of the bottom at this point since the vase is still too soft to move about much.


This form is different from other styles of slab built vases I have made. Other vases I've made have been cylindrical in shape. Last year I made a couple of vases similar to this with pinched sides, but they were symmetrical and heavily textured. Today I had an inspiration to make a more organic shaped vase with free flowing sides and decided to give it a try. The front and back are the same shape with each side being asymmetrical. I debated whether to press the round seed heads into the clay at the sides or leave them plain. In the end I added a few randomly placed along the edges.

I'm just now looking at the photos of the vase myself. After I added the bottom to the vase I see the bottom of the lower leaf was obliterated. I intend to touch up the bottom leaf to extend to the very bottom of the vase. I'd like to glaze the vase similar to my black bamboo pitcher with a green celadon background and teadust leaves which makes a nice contrast. Either that or a mottled stain of olive, green and brown kind of splotchy on the outside and watertight liner glaze on the interior.

Anyway here's my vase, please let me know what you think. Sorry about the quality of the photos, but my studio seems to put a tanish pink tone on the all the photos and I don't dare move this vase anywhere just yet. Thanks in advance for your advice and thoughts.


Ben Stark said...

Just a quick note on pictures--there should be a white balance setting somewhere on your camera. If it has a manual white balance, you can get a white sheet of paper, put in front of your picture subject and set it by selecting the paper as the true white for that photo. Most digital cameras have the ability to set the white balance, and it will give you pictures more natural colors.

Your vase makes me think of a molded piece that was riveted together. Kind of like you slump molded each side and then connected them with rivets.

It is definitely a very organic form and has a great flow. I really like the impressions a lot, and love the detail in the leaves.

I think it would be nice to see the seam emphasized even more--maybe have the two joined pieces have different edges so that you can really see that it is made from two separate slabs. I think it would be nice as well to leave the bottom a little messier--show that slab as a separate part of the piece as well.

I can't wait to see the finished piece!

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

If you hadn't thought of it before, sometimes people put some kind of stain on the leafs to make them jump out a little, but otherwise, what can I say? Tis a pretty vase!!!!!!

Linda Starr said...

Hi Ben, thanks for the advice on the camera. I've got to figure that out. You must be right because the lighting is white in the room and I put a white cardboard behind the vase and it still comes out that color.

I took two slabs and cut them out pressed the leaves in. When the slabs were just firmed up a bit I held them up against two paint brush rollers taped together. It doesn't show much in the photo, but the sides undulate some and are not perfectly straight up and down.

These leaves have a lot of texture naturally and I just love using them for that reason.

I am trying to visualize what you mean about the edges - having one extend beyond the other? I smoothed all the edges so they wouldn't be visible at all since that's been part of my lack of technique in the past - too rough of edges. Little did I think rough edges might be a technique. The rivets idea appeals to me, I might try a look like that on the next one.

I am already thinking of making another one vase with slabs but more masculine looking with a very rough texture. I was looking at chicken wire and rope in my yard. I'm so glad you mentioned the rough edges and bottom and making the slabs more visible. I am going to try that with the next one I make.

I really appreciate your input and advice on this vase. Thanks so much. I hope I can get this to the school kiln in one piece.

Did you ever glaze the serving dish you posted here? Would love to see it.

Linda Starr said...

Hi Gary, thanks so much. I've been experimenting with stains lately and thing that would really enhance the texture of the leaves.

Ben Stark said...

Linda--I did glaze it, and it came out just ok--it got too thin in areas. I ended up giving it to my bonus mother in law and she loves it! I have yet to make another, but I will one day.

Jerry said...

Hi Linda, the vase looks good. I agree that it might be nice to leave the bottom slab a little more evident. I often do that on my pieces and like the look of it.

The only thing that caught my eye was something in the back view. I like how the piece is asymmetrical, but I think that there needs to be a leave detail or something on the wider side of the pot. Seems to be a lot of empty space on that one side of the back.

Can't wait to see it glazed!

Kyle Kunnecke said...

I love this piece - it's similar to a freeform/slab vase I just started... the only suggestion I have is that when it's leatherhard maybe undercutting the base a bit so that when you glaze it, there's a "foot" on the vase that can remain unglazed - that little 1/4 - 1/2" of unglazed ceramic at the bottom of a vase can make it look a little unfinished (in my opinion)

that being said, LOVE the impressions of leaves... :)

Linda Starr said...

Hi Jerry, thanks, I see what you mean about that one side having too much blank space. I will have to pay closer attention to that next time I make a free form vase.

I was also thinking the leaves are very regularly placed and next time I would like to make them more random - if you get what I mean. Perhaps like they are falling down - I might do that with some maple leaves and have some of them facing down, some sideways etc.

Hi Kyle, I think the vase is already past leather hard - I wonder if I can still do something with it. Do you mean I should undercut the bottom - so the foot sits back from the sides of the vase? While I was making it, once I got the sides up there and both sides attached, I had all I could do to get the thing to stand upright. Next time I think I need to think about the bottom in advance and already have that part incorporated into the bottom and then I won't have to worry about it after I get the sides held upright.

I am glad you mentioned this as I have made other vases and then when I go to glaze them there is that obtrusive line where there is no glaze which looks a little unfinished. I need to make myself a list of things to remember when I am making pieces. There always seems to be one thing I forget each time, especially since I make a different piece each time. Thanks so much.

Jerry said...

Depending on how dry the vase is, you could stick some feet on it, that would serve the same purpose as the undercut foot. Or just save that idea for the next one...

Linda Starr said...

Hi Jerry, the vase is pretty dry right now. I wonder what kind of feet would look good on it? Maybe I'll photoshop some samples. I'll probably have to lay the the thing down to attach feet.

I can't believe I am saying this, but I actually might be willing to start re-making some things I have already made to improve my work. Up to this point, I just wanted to jump from one piece on to the next because I was having so much fun making all the pieces and want to make more and more different pieces. I just posted another vase on my blog and I did the same darn thing again, I left off a foot or a place for the glaze to stop, I may be able to go back to fix the one I just posted.

This critique has been really good for me, I feel myself stretching and growing, thanks to you and to all who have given advice.

Shi said...


Paula said...

looks great!

have a nice time!