Happiness is teaching in Taos!
A week from tomorrow, I’ll be at the Taos Ceramics Center working with students in my Shards and Santos Workshop. The class takes place on two consecutive Saturdays – here’s a description.
In this workshop, we will create personal assemblages inspired by these iconic figures of Santos. In the first class, we will construct handmade textured slab-based clay components such as heads, bodies, and enhancements. We will also learn to make hand-crafted clay press molds. These components will be fired once.
Here are some examples of assorted assemblage components that I’m taking with me – honestly, working in assemblage is just like working in collage, only a bit more dimensional:
Continuing the workshop description —
The next week, we will build our figure, incorporating found objects such as bones and shells and bleached twigs into the final assemblage and perhaps include cherished objects and hidden words. We will explore the limitless possibilities of cold finishes, such as metallics and beeswax, to enhance the surfaces of the unglazed earthenware.
These santos, below, are in progress, and I’ll use them to show how the components are put together.
Since we will not be glazing and re-firing the shard components, I’ve been experimenting with cold finishes for fired clay for the last couple of weeks.
One of the most successful combinations I’ve discovered is Pearl Ex powder by Jacquard mixed with Gamblin Cold Wax Medium. You can control the translucency and the color saturation, then buff the wax finish. It’s exciting to see how well it works on bisqueware.
Another technique I’m playing with is tube acrylic paint mixed with a bit of cornstarch to dull the finish.
In the sample below, the acrylic mixture mimics the look of Gilder’s Paste at about half the cost and with less potential toxicity.
This kind of experimentation is part of the fun of planning a workshop. And then I get to share with new people!
I’m grateful to the Taos Ceramics Center for inviting me – and at this writing, there’s just one spot left, so if you need a quick get-away, come on up to the mountains of New Mexico!