Friday, September 18, 2015

Chicken eyeball weather

I moved my wheel back outside a few weeks ago and reclaimed the foyer for regular foyer duty. With the move came a new idea for chicken use (to be revealed only if it works), so I've been preparing a new flock for that. This involves throwing egg shapes off the hump, forming the eggs into chickens, and adding beaks, eyeballs, and feathers. Because these are Orpington-inspired birds, I'm using a dark brown-black clay (Standard 266) and making the wee eyeballs out of porcelain. If the weather is too dry, the porcelain eyes dry out and crack as I form them between my fingertips, or they crack when I add the pupils with a needle tool. Very frustrating. But one morning last week, the weather was warm and so foggy-humid that the porcelain stayed beautifully hydrated. Prefect chicken eyeball weather.

This past weekend, a cold front moved in, and the weather is no longer perfect for chicken eyeballs--it's just plain perfect. Clear, crisp, cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon; lovely all around. This makes it easier to work outside with Standard 266. It's a relatively heavy clay, and tends to soak up lots of water. It's pretty gummy in humid weather, but quite nice to work with on drier days like today. This morning I decided to make a few teapots, and I set the pots-in-progress in the sunlight on the porch to speed up drying. Woe! After a mere 30 minutes, they were toasted almost beyond saving. Here's hoping all the parts stay attached to all the right places! Toasting wouldn't have happened during chicken eyeball weather; nonetheless, I'll take crisp and sunny over hot and humid any day.

A flock of chickarinas mingles with New Idea chicklets and assorted zigzag pots.

Toasted teapot: will all the parts stick together?

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