Before I begin a wall work or sculpture, I often make several sketches to work ideas out quickly. After I decide on an idea, I use slabs, coils, and pinched clay to make the forms. I sometimes insert nichrome or kanthal wire into leather hard forms. I bisque fire my wall works and sculptures to cone 04 - 03 (1915°– 1960°F).
I make my own glaze base with raw materials and add commercial glaze stains for color. I periodically test to develop new colors. My palette consists of over 250 colors.
After wall works or sculptures are bisque fired, I brush on glazes, sometimes blending colors, and fire to cone 06 (1798°). I glaze again to adjust colors and even out the glaze application. I add glass to some pieces before the second glaze fire. My glaze becomes creamy in the second cone 06 fire.
Following the second glaze fire, I sometimes apply ceramic waterslide decals. The colored patterns or images in these decals consist of China paints. I use both commercial decals and ones that I design myself. The self-designed ones are printed from my digital file by an online ceramic decal printing company. I fire decals to cone 016 (1368°F).
I typically use over-glazes. An opalescent overglaze gives an iridescent quality to stars and moons, for example. I apply a premium gold overglaze to literally gild the wire. I also use white gold and copper over-glazes for sparkle. I fire over-glazes to cone 020 or 019 (1159°F or 1213°F).
Forms I make for my wall works (e.g., trees, cacti, planets, etc.) are assembled and glued after the final fire. Some sculptures require minimal assembly. For example, elements that contain glass have to be fired horizontally so the glass fuses to the glaze and doesn’t run.
I frequently photograph my wall works in multiple compositions after the bisque fire to contemplate the arrangement of assembled parts. I photograph almost all of my clay art to help visualize fired glaze colors.
After the pieces for wall works get fired, I arrange them in 1 or more variations to decide the final assembly. I photograph each variation before making a decision and gluing the parts together. I use a silicone-based glue.