Friday, October 30, 2015

Glazing night

Last night saw the final session of the "intermediate wheel" class I'd been taking in Tiffany Hilton's pottery studio, and it was "glazing night". I was concerned that I might not have time to glaze all my pots (twenty-five in total) in one two hour and forty-five minute class, even with a plan to make them pretty simple, design-wise. 

I still had a bunch of pots to wax the bottoms of, so I got right into that. I also had a plan to try something new, with TIffany's permission -- I'd brought two cookie decorating tools, small plastic squeeze bottles with little red protective caps. My plan was to fill at least one of them partway with glaze, and then see if I could squirt it out onto a pot which I would have spinning on a wheel (not too fast, of course, as it would not be secured to the wheel!), with the aim of producing some interesting patterns, perhaps spirals.

I decided to go with "iron red", which I would then cover with "olive green", producing a kind of black hue where the two colors merged. At first, because the glaze was kind of watery, and the nozzle a bit too wide, the squeezing of the plastic bottle produced some blobby shapes, not at all like the more delicate patterns I had hoped for. 

Then I got the idea of putting the tiny red cap back on the bottle, and poking a smaller hole in that cap with a needle tool. This allowed me to create a thinner, more controllable spray, which actually ended up working pretty well, and I used it on the insides AND the outsides of some of my larger pots and a few of my mugs. Some of the effects of the spray on the outside of the pots were unexpected and attractive. I wish I'd taken some photos of them before I did the next step of dipping the pieces in the olive green glaze, which obscured what I'd done with the spray. But I hope the final result will show those patterns.

The photo at top is a shot of some of my glazed pots from last night (the top two shelves), including some I decorated using the technique I just described. I can't wait to see what they look like once TIffany fires them! -- PL


Warren Berger said...

Hi Mr. Laird - you don't know me, but I just wanted to take 2 minutes of your time to thank you - this is the only way I could get a hold of you.

I'm 30 years old and live in Canada. Like every other child of the 80's, I was a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles.

In 2012 I finished medical school and began my neurology residency. In 2014 my brother came over to watch "Turtle Power: the Definitive History of the Ninja Turtles", and loved it. My brother and I had been toying around for a long time with the idea of writing a neurology textbook for medical students, but in a totally different way then standard medical school books. Rather than a dry texts with few figures, we almost wanted to do it like a cartoon, with huge, exaggerated drawings. We pitched it to a bunch of publishers, but they just laughed at us. Graduating from medical school, I am over $300k in debt, and I was trying to think of anything to I could do to try to help me out of that (as medical residents get paid less than waiters, both here and in the USA), and my brother was between jobs, and just trying to get by.

We watched that documentary and were so inspired by your and Mr. Laird's story of the early days of ninja turtles, and the struggles you had. Boy did it resonate with us. We decided to retool, and go knock on a few doors. Finally, a few publishers said they'd submit our samples to a few test audiences. What returned were some of the most positive reviews the publisher's said they had seen in a long time. Soon, publishers were outbidding each other to win our contract. What a turn around!

We're just working on it now with the plan to launch in Sept of 2016. I just wanted to say thanks - both for the Turtles and my childhood, but also for inspiring us (like you probably have so many people), with your story of tenacity. You made us believe that two little guys can take on the giants and win.

We actually met about 10 years ago at comic con in Toronto. I remember, you drew me Shredder, Donnie, and Raphael. It's one of my greatest regrets that my parents threw out a box of my stuff when I moved out, and I lost them. Turtles have had such a huge impact on me and now on my book....I was hoping you would consider redrawing them for me? I'd pay you anything you thought reasonable.

If you'd be willing, I'd be thrilled to hear from you. Please contact me at Thanks again. I really hope this reaches you!

Anonymous said...

Look forward to seeing them complete. Glad to see you prospering greatly with this. Thanks for the updates