It takes a long time to find one's voice in clay, and I found mine in my soda/salt fired work. I've been in a bit of a funk after the surgery - maybe had too much time on my hands to sit and feel a wee bit sorry for myself with what I had to leave behind. As a result, I'm finding it very difficult to get my passion up to get into the studio and get to work. The thought of giving it up altogether has cross my mind more than once; but in the end I knew I would miss it terribly so it was time to analyze my current situation with a clear head, and get beyond this momentary self pity, which has not contributed anything positive to my life. It's time to analyze where I am and focus on the possibilities of the future rather than the losses of the past.
I don't feel the earthenware is what I want to do, although I love the look; but don't like the delicacy and limits of the body. My tiny soda kiln is not a viable choice for anything more than a once or twice a year firing of a few pots for myself or the family. So where do I go to find my mojo? This is what I've been pondering during this healing process, since I've been healing more than just my body. My age and it's limits are another consideration. One of the possibilities is switching to a cone 6 body that I can use for Cone 6 oxidation in my larger Skutt kiln as well as for soda. But what kind of cone 6 work do I do? My forms would translate to both but a white or light stoneware body would remove the things I love about the red earthenware, which is the use of the body color as a decorating element. I am absolutely sure that I do not want to always have two different clay bodies in the studio as part of on going work.
So here are the options: Down the line when I catch up with the current earthenware and soda pots which need firing, I can switch to an earthenware colored cone 6 body for oxidation (we have two very good possibilities here on the west coast), and go against my own "only 1 clay body in the studio". Since I would do so little work in the soda which would make it workable, and I could use some of the same slips and some of the same glazes for both.
Next option is to forget about the quest for the lovely look of earthenware but in a stronger, less problematic cone 6 body, and just use a white or light stoneware that would be suitable for both the Cone 6 soda and cone 6 oxidation.
Third option is just to hang it all up; but I've already decided that I wouldn't be happy with that.
Now that I've put it down in black and white and re-read it, and contemplated it a bit more, I think I'm leaning to the first option. At least it will be worth a try. I can use the red body the way I've used it at cone 04-03, but I can also come up with cone 6 glazes for over the white slip, and not use the body color as part of the decoration, giving me two looks for the Cone 6 oxidation.. I already have a lot of cone 6 oxidation glazes of my own and others creations, that I tested years ago, And, I can focus on form more than glaze colors so I don't have to have twenty glaze buckets to deal with. I once had 30 and that is never going to happen again - no desire and no room for them.
To that end I will be focusing on two liners, a temmoku, and a bright blue cobalt colored celadon that would work for both.. A clear for the oxidation earthenware look, and an oribe green or teal which would suit some of my smaller functional pieces and work for both soda and oxidation, and also work as an accent glaze as well.
I can use the current earthenware slips for the oxidation pots and would just have to make one flashing slip for soda (I had several before).
Now that I think I've got that figured out, it's time to get tomorrows pizza dough started and get my sourdough starter fed for tomorrow mornings sourdough pancakes. Then I'll be off to the studio after lunch and take with me a more positive, and optimistic attitude. I need to check if I have enough lined and decorated soda pots to fill that tiny soda kiln and get it fired in a couple of days. My draw rings and cone packs are made and dried and I just have to make a tiny batch of wadding and batch a cup of my blue accent glaze for a couple of the pots. It's all doable before the end of the day tomorrow.