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Earthenware Pottery: 3 Majolica Moroccan Bowls

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Just before Christmas one year, I'd begun to make production series of pots -- sets of the same shape, size, decoration, etc. I made thirteen of these earthenware bowls just as an exercise. I went to the studio about 6 pm one night with the vague idea of attempting what's called majolica, a colorful low-fire underglaze decoration named after the island of Majorca (and yes, you do pronounce the "j" in majolica.) Any way I thought I'd whip through this design from a Moroccean bowl I'd seen in a book on ceramics and be home in time to catch the 10 o'clock news.

As I was putting the finishing brush strokes of iron stain and a weak wash of cobalt oxide over the thin coat of white glaze on the last bowl, I was surprised to see daylight seeping through the studio windows. I'd totally lost track of time. Well, I was going through a divorce just then, so I decided it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I quickly filled each bowl with a clear glaze and poured it out, leaving the raw terracota exposed on the exteriors of the bowl."

I stacked them inside an electric kiln, set a low fire cone in the kilnsitter, brought it up to temperature gradually and made it home in time for Good Morning America.

I didn't think much of the bowls until the folks I gave them to for Christmas started to overreact to receiving them as gifts. I, of course, immediately took an immense liking to the bowls I was giving away. People! Go figure.

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