December 6, 2015

Revised Ocarina

As the year draws to a close, I like to think of one word or phrase that sums up a theme for the year and another key phrase to express the aspirations for the new year.  The key phrase for 2015 is: Editing, Revising and Refining Work.  This year saw the completion of the editing and revision work on three illustrated manuscripts.  I continued to revise and update drawings from my travel books.  December finally saw a culling of my ceramic ocarina collection by either throwing them out or revising them for a better musical range and resurfacing. 
Although I have been revising my ceramic ocarina collection over the last three years, at the end of this year, I became particularly diligent about making necessary changes.  This was prompted in part by seeing just how much better a resurfacing and tuning can help the art work.  For example, the red terra sigillata on the long sweet potato shaped ocarina looked a little shabby to me.  There were too many rough areas so the burnishing was irregular.   This “before” ocarina is pictured at right.  After sanding the whole thing down I expanded the four note range to a full octave by opening up the sound holes and drilling a few more.
There are more revisions to come.  For now I’m celebrating the newly dressed musical instruments coming from my shop.  Below is my “after” ocarina.
This also required adjusting the mouthpiece.  I replaced the old terra sigillata with an aged white, then added some iron oxide brush marks.  I burnished the new surface to a high sheen and then bisque fired the piece with another batch of revised and new pieces.  These were all then smoke fired in my outdoor kiln.  My efforts were for naught, as the fire reoxidized after I vented the kiln too early and all the smoke design was erased.  It happens.  But I was committed to improving this body of work so I smoke fired everything again and kept the kiln stopped up longer.  The result was a good variation of black, grey and white.  When I played the ocarina again, however, I found that one of the sound holes didn’t work.  So instead of risking more tooling around with it, I decided to fill in that hole with a fresh water pearl.  Why not?  It was a nice embellishment and the instrument still played an octave. 

No comments: