Heidi, our Studio Manager, walked over with a box of Cone 5 clay samples and gave them to me. There were about 15 to 20 tiny slabs of all different types of clay in the box.
“I thought you could try them out since you have been doing Cone 5 firing and like to use red clay bodies,” she said, as she set the box down on the table.
I’m never one to turn down free clay, but I do admit to finding some humor in the situation. While it is true that I have experimented a little with firing at Cone 5 (cone number is used to designate kiln firing temperature) recently, I fire the vast majority of my work at Cone 10. The studio member who fires almost exclusively at Cone 5 was sitting feet away during this conversation. She was not given any clay samples.
As I started to pull out the samples, each approximately 1/4 lb., I noticed that there were only one or two samples per clay body not enough to construct a big piece. Picking two clay bodies at random, I rolled them out and created strips of clay that I slipped and scored together in an alternating pattern … strip of slightly darker clay, strip of slightly lighter clay, etc.
Just was I was thinking of turning my striped slab into a bowl, Heidi walked by and pronounced, “It looks like bacon.” Well, what could be better than than? A Bacon Bowl. Perfect! Who wouldn’t want a bacon bowl?
I was draping the slab over a mold to create the bowl shape when I noticed the extra strips of clay. Hmmm … it might be a good idea to use a couple on the bottom to give the assembled strips a little extra support. When I was figuring out the best place for the strips I noticed something really cool. The rough edges of my slab, the alternating clay bodies and the extra strip to the bottom made it look just like a barrel!
Bacon Bowl? Barrel Bowl? I’ll let you be the judge.
I’m still waiting for this piece to be bisque fired and comtemplating glaze options. I’m going back and forth between no glaze and clear right now. Will I make more? Who knows? Might be a winner. For now I’m on to the next experiment with these clay samples. : )