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The Farmhouse Atelier

Functional Hand Made Home Decor

Memory of trees

Channeling memories of sun-dappled forest floors on summer afternoons in this very spontaneous painting-

full view of woodland scene one an original painting on board by mj seal
“Woodland Scene I”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10″ x 8″. C. 2017

I started out with a mat board coated in black gesso that rapidly grew into this very impressionistic landscape. I find working on dark backgrounds can really help with building up depth- plus you don’t have this bright background glaring at you with it’s whiteness. Note the heavy brushstrokes built up from working wet in wet-especially in the highlights.

Wire Wrapped Necklace Pendant

I finally got a chance to try out the jewelry wire I bought months ago-

wire wrapped calcite crystal by mj seal
A large calcite crystal turned into a necklace pendant with silver jewelry wire.

The pendant itself is a large (and strangely sparkly) calcite crystal I found on hike in the mountains behind my Mom’s house. I went with a very minimalist approach to the wiring allowing it to appear in only a few key spots on the front- just enough to hold the stone in place. I went with the silver wire which I think meshed best with the milky white mottled with gray and orange of the calcite crystal.

wire wrapped calcite crystal by mj seal
View of the back
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This calcite crystal is encrusted with numerous tiny crystals that glint at different angles which is why this stone popped out so well on the forest floor where I found it.

A very productive weekend

It’s been a very productive weekend and now I have a large batch of spoon rests, soap dishes, platters and bowls on the drying shelf-

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Some very organic, free form porcelain wares.

All of these pieces were made from “reconstituted” porcelain clay that were part of previous sculptures that split during the drying process. I will be drying them very gradually and I’m  keeping my fingers crossed that they will survive.

potential-leafy-platters-made-from-porcelain-by-mj-seal
Two potential leafy platters.
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A pair of White Oak leaf spoon rests.
potential-seashell-bowl-by-mj-seal
A seashell bowl

Testing out a new stoneware clay

Since I have been having some issues with the porcelain clay splitting during the drying process I decided to try out a stoneware clay. This stoneware clay is similar to porcelain but contains “grog” -a prefired material ( in this case a fine sand) that will not shrink during drying and renders the clay less prone to splitting and cracking. It seems to dry a little grayer in color than the porcelain clay but other than that it has very similar working properties-

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The items in this set all have a soft square or rectangular profile and I’m envisioning them with a white marble finish
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A cheeseboard

 

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A set of four potential tumblers
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Three relish/ dipping bowls with a soft square shaped profile

Wishful Thinking

The colors- especially of the sea- are spot on in this painting from memory of the Atlantic from my trip to the Outer Banks last August.

Seascape painted by MJ seal
“Seascape II”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 8″ x 10″. C. 2016

Sea Forms

My first batch of experimental sea forms turned out beautifully-

porcelain sea form luminary by mj seal
For this porcelain luminary I applied a layer of Nutmeg Glaze to the outside and then top-coated that with several layers of white- they melded beautifully. In the interior a applied several layers a translucent burgundy glaze and then applied a layer of clear along the edges which created a very smooth transition.

These free-form sculptures took on a variety of oceanic forms- Seashell  shaped  soap dishes, primitive sea sponge like goblets and vases and leafy, algae like platters and luminaries. With the glazes I experimented with mottled, oyster shell finishes and smooth transitions from areas of clear glaze into patches of intense color.

seashell soap dish made from porcelain by mj seal
For this seashell-like soap dish i glazed the interior with a shell-pink Peach glaze, and then top-coated that along the “lip” with layers of Satin Clear glazes- than transition came out perfectly. Note the slight ridge on the bottom to keep the soap from sticking.
sea sponge shaped goblet made from porcelain by mj seal
On this little shot glass/ mini vase I created a mottled oyster shell-like finish with a combination of Temmoku and Satin White glazes. on the interior I applied several layers of Lavender. The shape of this miniature goblet reminds me of some primitive sea sponge.
porcelain sea form luminary by mj seal
With this leafy luminary I applied layers of Satin White glazes over a layer of Nutmeg- which created a sea shell like finish on the outside. The interior was coated with an intense, translucent coral glaze.
turquoise porcelain platter by mj seal
On this platter I applied Nutmeg and Temmoku Glazes along the sides and edges of the top and then I applied several layers of Turquoise to the top/inside. The final effect look like the aerial view of some tropical lagoon.
porcelain sea form business card holder by mj seal
On this business card holder I applied an opaque white glaze over splotches of Temmoku on the outside for a mottled oyster shell effect. on the inside I painted several layers of turquoise and top-coated the edges with a Clear Satin glaze.

Porcelain Leaves

Another batch of leaf-shaped porcelain spoon rests and soap dishes are glazed and out of the kiln-

porcelain leaf shaped soap dishes and spoon rests by mj seal
On this batch of leaves I applied two layers of Nutmeg to the backs and sides; three layers of Yellow glaze to the top surfaces and a thin layer of Temmoku to the back, sides and top edges. The result was this interesting cheesecake like finish.
porcelain sassafras leaf shaped soap dish by mj seal
I coated the back and sides of this Sassafras leaf shaped dish with two layers of Nutmeg glaze. On the top surface I applied three layers of Seaweed. Then a applied a thin glaze of Temmoku along the top edges, sides and back. The final result was strangely retro and psychedelic.
red oak leaf spoon rest made from porcelain by mj seal
The coral red glaze on this Red Oak leaf shaped soap dish came out very intense. The effect is nice especially along the edges where I applied a bit of Temmoku- but could use a little tweaking.
porcelain chestnut oak leaf spoon rest by mj seal
On this Chestnut Oak leaf shaped spoon rest I applied a this glaze of Temmoku over two layers of nutmeg- which created this rich, bronzed brown finish.

Porcelain Holiday Ornaments

The first batch of porcelain holiday ornaments are glazed and out of the kiln-

peace dove and cardinal Christmas tree ornaments made from porcelain by mj seal
For the Dove of Peace ornaments I applied several layers of matte white over splotches of Temmoku. I gave the Cardinal ornaments a plain Coral finish.
leaf shaped porcelain holiday ornaments by mj seal
Red Oak, Gingko, Tulip Tree and Sassafras leaf ornaments. The translucent coral glaze on the oak leaves came out especially nicely. The yellow glaze on the others came out a bit pale
porcelain star shaped ornaments by mj seal
On this batch of four and eight pointed stars I applied a pale translucent yellow glaze over splotches of nutmeg glaze.
porcelain xmas tree ornament by mj seal
I glazed the stylized Christmas tree shaped ornaments with a combination of Seaweed and Temmoku glazes- the results were a bit psychedelic.

Experimenting with glazes for porcelain- Part 2

So I made a huge batch of porcelain necklace pendants and after bisque firing them  I tried out each different glaze on the shelf . I also experimented with an array of different layering combinations and blends. Most importantly I wrote down (in tedious detail) what I did on each of them-

experimental glazes in porcelain necklace pendants by mj seal
The pendants before firing- they will look nothing like this after the cooking process.
porcelain necklace pendants by mj seal after firing
The pendants after firing- the one in the center was glazed with “Seaweed” and then layers of “Indigo Float” were applied along the edges.
porcelain necklace pendants by mj seal
The Turquoise and Indigo Float combination turned out especially nice.
coral glaze on porcelain jewelry by mj seal
And I’m very happy with the (expensive) Coral glaze I found- which is good because I have alot of cardinal ornaments in the works.

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