A day with Lynn Fraley!

A few weeks ago fellow equine sculptor and ceramist Lynn Fraley wrote me to say that she and Barry were going to be in Colorado, and could we get together for a day? She wanted to learn about the overglazing work I’ve been doing, and would bring a plaster ceramics mold and show me how pouring a multi-part mold works. So last Friday we spent about 6 hours together and it was a really fun day of learning and sharing. She brought the mold for her “Pepe” Arabian sculpture, and poured slip into it. Then we painted with overglazes for a couple of hours. After lunch she pulled the earthenware horse from the mold and I got to see what it looks like pre-clean up, and how it “feels” to handle a pre-greenware piece like this.

I have been told by my other ceramics friends and colleagues that I really ought to be casting my own work. I have been resisting! I really do like sculpting and glazing/painting, but I don’t care for all those non-artistic in-between steps involved in casting. At least that was my experience with casting resins: I hate cleaning them up.

Well I was pretty surprised at how pleasant the work of cleaning seams is on an earthenware piece. It was a lot like doing the final detailing on a clay sculpture. “Pepe” has a leg that must be cast in its own mold and then attached to the rest of the body, and even that work was not unpleasant. I’d have to master that because all my horses currently in England have to be pieced together from separate molds for each limb. It seems “learnable”! (Especially if someone else still makes the molds for me—that is the SUPREME ceramics skill I think I will always be glad to pay the masters for!)

Anyway I came away feeling pretty positive about the prospect of maybe doing this myself someday. And Lynn is pretty charged up about the possibilities in using overglazes in addition to her existing underglazing work on her chinas. I sent Lynn home with a bunch of baggies of the various overglaze color powders, plus a 5-gallon pail of earthenware slip. I bought two of those pails (10 gallons total) from my local resource Mile High Ceramics —it’s their “house” slip they’ve been making for years—and I had bought waaaaay more than I needed for just casting tiles. Lynn seemed to think it was fairly high quality so I was glad to send it with them!

Lynn left me with some “homework”:
I am supposed to finish the work of cleaning up all the seams and molding artifacts from the “Pepe”… Yikes!! He’s still in his baggie so that he stays moist. I’m still a little daunted by working with something so delicate. Working with ceramic bisques is bad enough!! We’ll see if I can actually do that correctly and have a piece good enough to fire to bisque.

Thanks Lynn, for a great day!