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Figure 3: Another one finished

Because of the problems I had with glazing Figure 2 where the wax resist got covered with the sprayed on glaze I decided to try out latex to mask off some areas before glazing for this Figure 3.

I used Windsor & Newtons latex resist, which is intended for watercolours. Even though it is much more expensive than Copydex it is nicer to apply as it is more liquid. However, the areas where the resist areas touched the board underneath it was standing on have the annoying tendency to stick to the board and lift off. Not a huge problem but rather annoying as it may affect its effectiveness at masking out areas.

Instead of spraying on the glaze this time I decided to brush on the clear glaze in the hope that it would give me more control. Because of the quality and speed at which the glaze sets on bisque ware one has to work fast and in broad strokes thus loosing the ability to 'colour in' areas precisely. This meant that I - again - cover up the resist areas and was in danger of loosing them once the glaze fully dried. So, I painted an area and removed the latex resist as soon as possible while I could see it before the glaze dries completely. This however caused some different problems, i.e. the glaze has a tendency to run and was in danger of running onto the now exposed resist areas.

I tried to work as systematic as possible to ensure an even glaze covering and ensuring that I touched the piece as little as possible in order to prevent glaze transferring to my hands. That way I was hoping to have an even glaze thickness without any transfer to the unglazed areas.

Once the piece was glazed all I needed to do was to use a scalpel to scrape off any raised glaze drips to ensure an even glaze coverage. Putting this piece onto the shelf awaiting the final firing was the last thing before going off on holiday.

During my absence in was fired in oxidation in the electric kiln to about 1260° c and this is how it came out:

Initially I was very please as there were to no cracks in the clay body this time. However, as soon as I set it down onto the table part of the decorations splintered off. On closer inspection I noticed about four areas where the white slip had not properly fused with the clay body. So, what should I do?

I decided to remove all loose material by gently chipping it off. This left me with rather sharp ridges which I sanded back using some diamond sanding pads. That actually worked better than anticipated except that in few places one can see scratches on the glossy glaze when looking at it closely. Not ideal but much safer to touch.

My intention with all three Figures in this series was to be able to position them differently, i.e. that there is not definitive up or down of placing them. This is rather successful with this figures as depending on what way up this piece is positioned it becomes quite a different beast.

However, the strong white and black contrasts that it had before glazing have mellowed considerately. I'm not sure whether I didn't prefer it in its early camouflage state. It is something to keep in mind and maybe to come back to in future.

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