Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Piggy banks stage 4: first lustre coat

Since I am pretty much a newby painter, I know you can use lustres in different ways, but since my mentor likes to drip lustres because you get very interesting results, that's the only technique I have used, which is fine, because I quite like how you're always surprised by how it ends up.

Also, since I went with technical precision on the designs, I wanted the free flowing nature of dripped lustres to counter-balance the rigidity and soften the overall result.

How do you drop lustres? Well, on a flat surface it's incredibly easy. On a shape like these piggy banks... quite difficult.

First you need the lustres, and a high-grade clean turpentine:

Essentially, you drip several drops of lustre on the piece, then drizzle turpentine on top, and smear it around with your fingers. If you put on too little turpentine, it doesn't mix well and the lustre is too heavy and will burn off in the kiln. If you put too much turpentine on, it pretty much just runs off the piece and the lustre will be super thin or non-existent.

Earlier, I made a lustre test plate because I had a whole bunch of lustres, and I didn't know what they looked like, or whether any of them were contaminated.

On a relatively flat surface, dripping lustres is an easy task.
Quite the difference, eh? I waited to decide which lustres I was going to use on the pigs until after the test plate was fired.
On a pig-shaped piece... freaking hard. One word: gravity. Everything runs down so fast I didn't have time to mix the turpentine with the lustres before 99% of it had already run off onto the table. So I kept adding more. And more. And couldn't tell how thick the lustre was, or if there were any bare areas, and since I could only touch the red-resisted areas, I had to hold the pig in one hand, and drip/mix/touch-up with the other.

Also, the lustres are sticky... and as they started to dry, they made the red-resist sticky... which then wanted to pull off when I needed to readjust the pig in my holding hand.

Long story short, I managed. Here's what they look like just before the first fire. You have to let the red-resist dry thoroughly before you can put the lustre on, and then you have to let the lustre dry completely before you can fire it. By the end of my fourth day, I had only gotten this far and had to leave before they were fired, so I didn't see the result until several weeks later.

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