It Takes Many Long Hours To Make The Starry Starry Night Bowl
1. The Design Motif is Created
Emilie prepares a large slab of clay that is to be impressed with a favorite swash of fabric – tulle netting that is embroidered or sewn with ribbons in swirly designs. She sandwiches a slab of clay with the fabric and rolls it through a large heavy table mounted slab roller. As the clay is rolled Emilie is pressing each ribbon and each stitch and the weave of the tulle fabric into the surface of the clay.
2. The Bowl is Formed
The slab of raw clay now impressed with the abstract flower and swirly design is formed into a bowl shape by draping it over a mold. Emilie coaxes the slab to the mold carefully as she builds the shape that she desires.
3. The Drying Process
The bowl, now draped over the mold is covered and set to dry for several weeks. Emilie checks it every few days, adjusting the covering so that it dries evenly. She refines the bowl each time, cleaning it and smoothing it with scraping knives, sand paper and sponge.
4. The First Kiln Firing
Once dry the bowl is placed into a cold kiln. In hours-long stages the temperature in the kiln is gradually raised to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Oxygen rich air circulates throughout the firing cycle in the hot kiln. Emilie allows 24 hours for this firing process as the kiln slowly returns to room temperature before opening.
5. The Glazing Begins
“When it’s cooled I start with layers of under glaze. First the velvet black under glaze is applied over the entire surface. It dries and is sponged off. The impressions in the clay are left full of the blackest application and the shadows of the black are left behind, creating a deep under layer with subtle shadings.
The velvet white is then painted on with a brush. Splashing and dabbing it into all the areas in between the ribbon embroidery impressions.
When that dries the salt and pepper gloss white is applied. I make this glaze myself from a formula developed in Louisville by a friend who is a local master potter. It is put on thickly into the background areas sometimes covering and sometimes avoiding the black velvet ribbon impressions.
Lastly when that dries every part that was not covered by the gloss white is covered with a shiny smooth glassy clear glaze.”
6. Emilie’s Custom Glazes
Emilie uses her own formulas for custom glazes that she has gathered , tested, and adopted as her own throughout the years. Her formulas include different types of ground glass and other mined and processed ingredients. Each type of ground glass has an individual melting quality that works in unison with the heat timing and temperature to perform its wizardry creating custom effects. The clear glaze that Emilie used in the making of the Starry Starry Night Collection is formulated to produce a smooth glossy surface.
7. The Second Kiln Firing
The underside of the bowl is sponged completely clean to remove any lingering glaze. Emilie then signs the bottom of the piece with her custom Black Copper Oxide stain. It is placed into the kiln for the second firing, another 24 hours long process This second time in the kiln, which is an oxygen-rich space enclosed in thick firebricks, the kiln temperature is set to increase in intervals over time until it reaches 2200 degrees Fahrenheit. After hours of slowly cooling the heavy kiln door is lifted.
VOILA........The Starry Starry Night bowl in unveiled!