December 14, 2015

Cats in Distress

In an effort to salvage work that has gone awry, I sometimes ruin it.  I sometimes try to save an art object that probably should be discarded.  Such was the case with a large rattle in the shape of a feline sculpture.  I put an experimental terra sigillata surface on the piece which crazed in the bisque firing.  Another sculpture with a similar glaze on it also crazed.  I kept one piece, a sculpture in the shape of a possum, with the glaze intact on it.  But I was not satisfied with the extent of the crazing in the cat sculpture because it appeared to be delaminating in places.  So I carefully sanded most of it off.  I should have sealed this and left good enough as it was by sealing the raw clay and quitting.  But I could not resist trying out yet another terra sigillata over the bisqued ware to see what would happen.  And I could not resist throwing the whole thing in a fire without sealing the terra sigillata in a bisque firing first.  The results were interesting, but the terra sigillata glaze began to delaminate again after it cooled.  I started sanding it off once again, but got so tired that I just decided to trash the piece.  But taking a hammer to bowls and whistles is one thing, and smashing a sculpture staring back at me with wide open eyes was another.  I could not quite bring myself to do it after this descent in to animistic sentiment.  Fortunately a friend agreed to take the piece off my hands.  The distressed feline is en route to her now.
A second rattle also did not make it through the bisque firing as it separated into two pieces at the juncture where it had been originally fitted together.  What to do to save it?  I almost threw the piece away.  Then I thought that I might sand down the edges and call the small sculpture “two cats caught in quicksand.”  Finally I resolved to put kitty humpty dumpty together again with a bead stuck inside so that it would make a rattle noise when shaken.  I covered the cracks with silver acrylic for yet another experimental effect.  I don’t think I’ll go this far to attempt to save work again!

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