Porcelain, 8 3/4 x 9 3/4 x 7/8 in.
This does not happen with painting! when a painting is done, it's a success or a failure, but it doesn't crack down the middle; the paint doesn't fall off (well...many years ago I had problems with a white oil paint that yellowed and cracked). But when this piece, which I happen to have liked, cracked in the kiln, my friend and clay mentor, Deborah Jurist, told me "now you are a real potter". These kinds of disasters happen with clay. In this case, it was probably because the piece hadn't completely dried at the center. I prepared the image panel and frame panel separately, then put them together with slip. Happily, I realize that I prefer the clean look of the two panels fired separately then glued together––you can't see the attachment edges in these photos––so a problem like this is less likely to happen in future (I hope). I like the angled planes of this image––it's based on a farm machine photo––so I will probably attempt a re-do.
with acrylic paint
I know that some may prefer the sculpture in its original white as it comes out of the kiln, but for me white is too pure and modernist, and I enjoy color too much, to leave it unpainted. The good thing about having a ruined piece is that it allows me to feel free to experiment with paint. I was having something of a hard time using egg tempera on the fired clay, so ordered some acrylics which are recommended for painting ceramics. I tried both heavy bodied and fluid paint, regular and matte, using Golden acrylics. I found that I prefer the thinness of the fluid paint; as for finish, I like a little more gloss in the matte, and less in the heavy body, both of which can be fixed by adding some medium. I've never used acrylic paint before––I've worked with oil, gouache, watercolor, and egg tempera––so this too is a learning process.
In making relief sculpture, my greatest pleasure resides in line: in getting lines just right; in making them with straight or curved or beveled edges; making them deep in the move from one plane to another, or thin; assertive or hardly there. I love sculpting lines, the descriptors of form.