In the Studio: 18 February

I fired my kiln over the weekend, to cone 04. I’m a bit impatient about the process, in large part because I don’t have set times to devote to my work at this point in life (Although this looks to change in a month or so, when I should be able to devote about two hours a day to my sculptures.). I didn’t allow ample time for the terra sig to dry and, even though I thought I was being very cautious with the heat — allowing time to drive the moisture out — I lost three small works. All three were in the lowest part of the kiln, underneath a shelf, heating up a bit too quickly.

Two of the best survived though. Both of these have more texture than the rest, which is probably why I like them.


I’ve been trying to achieve the smoothness of porcelain with this clay (a commercial brownstone I don’t really like) and my questionably prepared sig. The results haven’t met my specifications in that regard, but I must say I like 1) The color of the sig and 2) How the color of the clay peeks through the off-white sig along the edges.

I now need to determine how to finish these. The smooth ones of the lot — some seen as greenware in this post) — I’ll probably smoke while inserting lustrous materials and stones into the small “caves” of the cloud-inspired forms. These two with the texture I’m thinking of glazing, at least partly. I’m particularly interested in how the glaze will pool on the textured top of the form on the right.

Each piece is roughly the size of a fist, about 3.5″ at its longest point. The work on the left will probably remain freestanding, the other likely mounted (somehow) to be hung on a wall.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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