Thursday, April 23, 2009

Purple Platters in the Rain

The forecast calls for more rain. Then sweeping sun and SUN and heat. Should make for a wonderful end to a very wet and windy week.

A few year ago, I made this platter for a friend. She has a thing about purple glazes. She was of the mind that purple and glazes simply weren't possible. Sure, folks have made plenty of copper red glazes and then contaminated them with chun blues. It isnt purple. It is red and blue... looks purple till you get close. She wanted a true knock-your-socks-off purple. Rich royal purple. So I played around with some ideas and came up with this one. I love the balance of the dark stormy purple against the grey lilac beside it.

Now I am working with a woman in Rochester who is also working on developing a true rich purple. This time we're working at cone 6 and trying to achieve a rich purple with Mason Stains. Sounds easy enough, but only if you've never tried it. Mason stains are wonderful in theory, but they are not nearly as simple to work with as most potters assume. About half the time, the colors come out washed out, bleached, faded, or just off. The other half of the time, they are "close" to what was advertized. For my money, they had better darned well provide the color I paid so bloody much for!

My first tussle with Mason Stains was over Pansy Purple. We spent the better part of three years trying to achieve a truly saturated dark purple... in a satin glaze. Let me tell you... there is not a whole lot harder to get. Talk about contradictions. All the things that make the glaze melt when we want, and have the surface we want... all conspire against this dark rich purple working.

In the end, it was compromise. I gave up my desire for satin and settled for almost glossy. It relinquished and relented and now we get dark purple MOST of the time. Sometimes it has more of a cranberry-ish quality. Other times it comes close to being blackberry.

1 comment:

jimgottuso said...

nice platter again... i think the black rim makes such a nice frame to show off the fireworks... i started fooling with the stains myself and have encountered the washed out effect... i don't mind using more if that's what it takes but it sure is expensive. in addition i much prefer the way certain oxides soak into the clay body as opposed to how most of those stains are just sitting on the surface.