One of my favorite activities in porcelain is to alter and carve the clay. It is wonderful to feel the clay respond to my intuition.
It is not always easy though. One push too far and the clay will start to crack. Sometimes I get carried away and forget that the clay will need to be fired once it is made into a wide rimmed bowl. Porcelain is very demanding in the kiln, since it become semi-glass. If I just work and do not plan, it ends up in a disaster.
This bowl was one of those that did not make it, but has a beautiful story behind it:
When I was presenting workshops in Europe in 2016, I created this wide rimmed bowl from Audrey Blackman porcelain. Koos and I carried it with us to all the next workshops, allowing me to work on it for 2 and a half months, over the workshops that I presented in 6 different countries. We traveled by car. I began to trim it in Slovenia, altering and starting the carving process in Belgium, back to Switzerland, where I originally threw it, continuing to perfect it in Vallauris, France and finally carrying it to Spain with the hopes to get it bisqued and to leave it behind in Europe. Unfortunately, it started to crack, due to our long hours on the road and possibly the unpredictable situations that it went through, so we decided to break it.
In 2018 I made one at La Meridiana and one in Switzerland
I'll be back in Europe once it is safe to travel again, so maybe I should continue with more carving as I teach in new places, like Madrid and Vienna.
I love the carving process and the challenge to being able to carry it with me in a box for such a long period; was amazing. Porcelain can tolerate many things; uneven drying conditions is not one of them.
It helps to understand the porcelain clay medium and if nothing else, I use my success and failure to teach my students.
If you are having difficulty with porcelain, you can start to read my blog posts here and consider doing one of my classes. I teach students ongoing in online workshops, but I am also teaching classes in different parts of the world.
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Antoinette Badenhorst is a ceramic artist working with porcelain clay. She teaches potters all over the world in hands-on and online workshops. Antoinette is the author of many articles, blogs posts and the author of "Working with Porcelain"