December 12, 2015

Revision can be a Subtle Thing

Revision can sometimes be a subtle thing.  I had been culling my ceramic musical instrument collection by resurfacing and tuning the older ocarinas.  Some required substantial work; sanding down an old surface, shaping, tuning, applying a new surface, firing over again, the pit firing for a smoked design.  The ocarinas that required the most work came from a lot that had not fired correctly and would melt when wet.
I was always happy to find some instruments that could be improved just by widening the sound holes and polishing.  An ocarina in the shape of a small mask already had a good sound but only a four note range.  By slowly sanding out the holes the range was increased to a full octave.   After tooling and sanding out the sound holes, I embellished the instrument a bit by adding sgraffito designs, widening and flattening out the eyes in the process.
Some small whistles could be enhanced by adding an inlay of small seed pearls after widening the indentations in the sculpture.  A before and after example is at left.

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