The weekend of September 21-22 I got to spend time with the amazing Tip Toland at the Clay Arts Center in Port Chester, New York. Over two days and approximately 16 hours we were given demonstrations and hands-on learning to begin making our own aged portrait busts. Tip is most recognized for her hyper-realism and expressions in portraits of the elderly. The first day we went over the basic structure of a portrait and working from an armature. From there she went over facial mapping in great detail, stressing frequently the importance of understanding anatomy and symmetry. The second day was focused primarily on adding in the facial features, changing expressions, and aging a figure. It was a real privilege to get one-on-one instruction from her to begin working on my projects for the semester.
Here she is! The magical and wonderfully sweet Tip Toland.
And this was what I ended up with at the end of the workshop.
The beginning of a portrait of my grandmother.
So I’ve been testing Crystalline Glazes to use later for the special forms that will be inside my portrait busts. This weekend I unloaded my first test kiln and it felt just like Christmas! I began with four different bases and used a single colorant (copper carbonate) just to see how each would react. I now have two bases with great results to continue testing with different colorants. From left to right each photo represents copper carbonate percentages of 0%, 0.75%, 1.5%, 3%, and 6%.
Dan Turnidge’s MFE Base
Ferro Frit 3110 50%
Zinc Oxide 22.5%
Lithium Carbonate 5%
This had nice large crystals with clear visible backgrounds.
Zinc Oxide 25%
Ferro Frit 3110 51%
I also added an optional 3% Lithium Carbonate
This one had large crystals, but they were also overcrowded and didn’t have much background.
Zinc Oxide 27%
Ferro Frit 3110 50%
Add in 2% Titanium Dioxide
This came out with nice uniform coloring, but the microcrystals were too small & caused everything to go matte.
Ferro Frit 3110 48.40%
Zinc Oxide 24.35%
Calcined Kaolin 1.52%
Titanium Dioxide 7.78%
Add in 5% Lithium Dioxide
This last one was the most interesting because something in the base caused a bit of yellowing in the colorant. I liked it because it also had very clear large crystals with a good background.
My favorite’s so far are the results from Dan Turnidge’s & Helen’s Bases. I cannot wait to see what the other color combinations bring out on my next batch.