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Using nature to add texture to pots

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  • Using nature to add texture to pots

    Has anyone tried harnessing the powers of nature to achieve interesting textures on their pots? What I'm thinking about specifically is the action of water. I'd very much like to secure a number of clay bottles either in a river or out at sea (secured in a lobster pot, or some other type of container) to see how the currents and attrition may achieve an interesting surface. I'd be interested to hear about anyone's experiences or thoughts on this.

  • #2
    Hi Jo and welcome to the forum.

    It's an interesting thought but I don't know how it would work. If the clay was unfired (and therefore malleable enough to be affected by the water movement) it would just go into a soggy mess and eventually disappear.

    If it was fired nothing would happen to it (unless you could leave it there for hundreds of years like pebbles eventually get smoothed).

    We use natural found objects a lot in what we make, bark, leaves, pebbles, I even roll porridge oats into flat clay to give a really interesting texture, but I think water by its very nature would be destructive.

    Let us know the results of any experiments!
    Kate
    www.cuckoos-nest-fairs.co.uk

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    • #3
      Hello, and thanks for the comments! It was my intention that I would glaze and fire the pots first, so they would have a nice, smooth, shiny surface, then it's my hope the abrasion of smaller gravels and particles would erode the surface, kind of like how sea glass is created. Whether or not the surface would actually be eroded is out for discussion but I guess the only way to know for sure it to experiment!

      I really like our idea of rolling clay in oats for texture. I had an interesting "mistake" once when I rested a damp pot against some bubble wrap - after I finished cursing, I noticed it was actually really effective! Pine cones are good too.

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      • #4
        I like the idea - although, like Kate, I think if the pots were fired it could take decades to notice any effect of the water on them.

        I have done enough archaeology to know that even after hundreds of years in situ, ceramic work can look surprisingly fresh and un-blemished!
        Emma
        www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
        www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
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        • #5
          Biscuit fired stuff will erode. I'm thinking of the rounded off bricks I see on the beach.

          There was a guy in France making Medievally looking wooden carvings. He put them in the sea for a year to 'age' them.

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          • #6
            Yup - but its the repetitive action of the waves and the sand that helps that process along I would imagine.

            Just the action of water over fired clay, even just to bisque, would take considerably longer I expect.

            I love the idea of it though - like Jo said, there is only one way to find out really and that is to try it!
            Emma
            www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
            www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
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            • #7
              I suspect we'd all be dead and gone before any real effect was visible but why can't you hurry the process up? A tumbler does with stones what the sea does to make pebbles. On a grander scale something like a washing machine with a bag in it with the pot and some coarse sand? All right I know that the washing machine would probably get clogged up but think along those sort of lines and maybe you will find a way of counterfeiting the effect of the sea.

              pete
              "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art" ... Leonardo Da Vinci
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              • #8
                Originally posted by bodrighy View Post
                I suspect we'd all be dead and gone before any real effect was visible but why can't you hurry the process up? A tumbler does with stones what the sea does to make pebbles. On a grander scale something like a washing machine with a bag in it with the pot and some coarse sand? All right I know that the washing machine would probably get clogged up but think along those sort of lines and maybe you will find a way of counterfeiting the effect of the sea.
                I have patented this idea already Pete,

                See Diagram below ! :-)



                Hope this helps :-)

                Francesca
                * BLOG * WEB * FACEBOOK * TWITTER *
                Watch faces, Crystal Innovations sliders and much more

                * Rome wasn't built in a day - although that was the builders original estimate *

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                • #9
                  Oh well back to the drawing board. How long is the poor guy left turning the handle for?

                  Pete
                  "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art" ... Leonardo Da Vinci
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bodrighy View Post
                    Oh well back to the drawing board. How long is the poor guy left turning the handle for?

                    Pete
                    As long as he is still hunky its fine - once the hunky-ness has gone you can just replace him with a younger model
                    Last edited by Silverthistle; 02-10-2010, 07:36 PM.

                    Francesca
                    * BLOG * WEB * FACEBOOK * TWITTER *
                    Watch faces, Crystal Innovations sliders and much more

                    * Rome wasn't built in a day - although that was the builders original estimate *

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                    • #11
                      Hilarious silver thistle! Have an old cement mixer in the garden if you want it! (cant supply hunky man he's mine!). Back to original question, think its a pointless idea potter jo to put it bluntly (sorry) but maybe try raku if you want to be 'earthy'.
                      Website: www.covegardennursery.co.uk
                      Blog: www.covegardennursery.co.uk/garden-nursery-blog/
                      Facebook: Cove Garden Nursery

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                      • #12
                        This thread just gets interestinger and interestinger! I am loving some of the creative ideas ;-)

                        I don't even want to weather pots, but if mean't getting my hands on young hunks...well....

                        Emma
                        Emma
                        www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                        www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                        www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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                        • #13
                          Peter Hayes the ceramic artist puts his pieces in the river to age them. He also treats them very roughly when firing them and glues them back together if they split apart!
                          www.toppotsupplies.co.uk

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                          • #14
                            Silverthistle - I love your idea. I'll take three please! Hilarious

                            Thank you everyone for sharing your ideas. I agree that it may take a considerable amount of time to see any discernable effects but also like the idea of trying accelerate this process.

                            I was thinking of doing this somewhere off the North Norfolk coast given the larger size of beach material. For those who don't know, the coastline have few sandy beaches and comprise of large pebbles and cobbles, so one can hope for more attrition than just sand.

                            Glazing the pots with something high in silica to produce a very glossy, shiny serface would hopefully lead to them becoming scratched in the same way sea glass does. I found someone on flickr who has been collecting pottery off the beach for some time, and it is certainly affected by the sea - I can't post links yet though as I've not been here long enough, which is a shame.

                            Another fun change to the surface could be if barnacles colonised the pot. Last year I visited Anthony Gormley's Another Place in Crosby, Liverpool and was amazed to see how quickly the statues had become encrusted with barnacles. There may even be a way of cultivating this growth.

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                            • #15
                              I know that with things like garden ornaments, you are meant to cover them with live yoghurt to encourate litchen or whatever to make them look old nice and quickly.

                              So I wonder if there would be any sea-compatible similar "catalyst" that would attract the barnacles etc?

                              I think you need to visit a fisherman / sea trawlerman forum and ask them about barnacles and how to entice them!

                              Please do keep us posted on the project though, it sounds so fascinating.

                              Emma
                              Emma
                              www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                              www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                              www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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