ARTWORK .. James Q. Jacobs



My use of handprints to decorate pottery has proven popular. Handprints are among the very oldest of known rock art symbols. In European Paleolithic cave paintings, handprints were recently been dated to over 27,000 years ago. Handprints are a part of rock art on every continent.

The framed panel of tiles in the adjacent images is based on the Paleolithic rock art of Europe. The panel is four feet wide and two feet tall, containing 32 six-inch tiles. The jars are wheel thrown. I have also employed handprint silhouettes on lamp bases.

The handprint designs are applied by spraying glazes -- not with the ancient method, but with a modern compressor. I used my own hands, and those of several friends, to apply the silhouettes. (Don't try this without wearing gloves and an appropriate respirator.) Some of the rims have additional glaze or oxide applied with a sponge or brush. All these, except the platter below, are stoneware clay fired to cone 7. Yes, that's me holding the handprint platter. A close-up of the platter follows below.

Raku-fired platter, 17.5 inches.

The platter's rim was decorated with a cobalt carbonate slip when thrown. The incised decoration on the rim was carved during trimming. After a bisque firing at cone 06, a spray of Blue Patina glaze was used to coat the entire plate. The handprint design was created by spraying Zowie over the underglaze. The Zowie is thickest around the margin of the hand, resulting in the copper color, and thinnest in the hand area. The firing was in a gas-fired raku kiln. The piece was reduced after firing under a large metal tub using newsprint as combustible material. While not readily apparent in this view, the entire piece has a reflective metallic sheen.

Saggar-fired bottle, 9 inches tall.

The bottle on the left is modeled on an old Chinese design and bears a Chinese symbol.  I coated the greenware with several coates of red iron slip and burnished them. The piece was then saggar-fired to cone 6.  Barnyard waste, consisting of horse dung mixed with a lot of alfalfa hay, was used in the firing.  This was the only piece in the firing with the iron slip.  It produced the most colorful result.

More Rock Art Pottery follows on the next page, Pottery III.
Glaze Formulas:  Cone 10  |  Cone 6/7  |  Raku

NEXT:   Pottery III   |   Pottery I   |   Pottery IV    |  Pottery V

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