Not long ago, I threw a set of plates. It was something I wanted to do for a very long time and I finally sat down with one of my first teachers and she gave me a demo that really clicked for me. Needless to say, the set of plates I wound up with was extremely valuable to me - and not to shabby for a first attempt, either.
When it came time to glaze, I decided I would use these plates to experiment with glaze techniques. I know what you're going to ask. "Why in the world would you experiment on pieces that you've indicated have incredible value to you?"
The short answer is because I'm unpredictable that way. The longer answer is that I was taught early on not to get too emotionally attached to any one piece, as plenty of heartbreaks occur in the process. From bisque firing, to glazing to glaze firing, way too many things can go wrong. So, I decided to test my willingness to practice detachment by experimenting with my beloved plates.
One glaze technique I've yet to master is the art of dripping. I've seen many artists do amazing things with glazes and dripping. It adds a layer of drama to simple pieces, and depending on the oxidation occuring in the kiln, and where the piece is placed within the kiln itself, you can come up with some unexpected but jaw dropping results. The times when I've attempted to use this technique have lest my pieces looking less like magical, layered, orgies of color and more like a toddler that got too heavy handed in finger painting class. Not always a good look.
So you can imagine where this story is going. I decided I was going to drip my plates. Oh yeah. Going for the gold. I picked my colors, assembled my tools and mixed the glazes. I was going in. Moments later, I was looking at a set of plates that even unfired, were ugly beyond the limits of my imagination.
Fired, they looked worse. My most recent instructor peering around my shoulder as I inspected them with silent disappointment creeping across my face like an eclipse.
"That's the thing about dripping," she said comfortingly. "It's such a gamble if the drips aren't just right."
She wasn't kidding.
So I started looking around for some tutorials online. I'm no longer receiving "formal" instruction, so it's up to me to start looking for workshops or other material to continue learning. I stumbled across this video on youtube, and I'm thinking two things:
1. She makes it look simple. My experience is that it's never actually that simple.
2. That glaze she's dripping with looks as thick as glue. Is THAT the part of this process I am missing? Find the thickest glaze in the studio and drip with that?
Anyway, here it goes. And yes, I will be trying this soon - I've got a big collection of bowls just begging to be dripped on. Okay, not really. But I'm gonna try it anyway. Enjoy.