07 June 2010

Wildebeests: Planters

Every time I look at the "new post" button, I think "newel post" in my head.  *shakes mental Etch-A-Sketch*

Happy Monday! Or something.  I hope it's happy.  Mine sure is:  I work today and tomorrow, and then I'm on vacation until next Tuesday.  Whee!  After the packing whirlwind that was yesterday afternoon, I found myself looking at the surface of my new dining room table (I'd had all my stuff piled up on it to be packed).  It needs...? 

I put a plant on it, for the time being, and to see how I'd feel about a fairly large-scale centerpiece on the table.  I had a big Zamioculcas on top of my fridge that was (a) too big for the space and (b) not getting enough light.  It's in a lovely cement/tan ceramic urn with a big round belly and a small foot; the plant itself is about two feet tall.  It looks okay, but I'm not done with it.  I'm also not worrying about that until after I come back to town next week.

But it reminded me that I wanted to share this with you: I paint pots.  About seven years ago I started playing around with painting terra cotta pottery, having gotten bored with the color they are naturally; and it occurred to me to try to make them look like glazed ceramic.  I've done six or seven of them around the house (well, more, but I've broken some over the years).  They come out pretty well, I think:

 This is my favorite one. :)   It's a half-urn that hangs on the wall on my back porch (and in my head it has lots of lovely, fluffy, small-leaved trailing things spilling over the edges, but really, I've never actually planted anything in it.  Whoops).   This particular pot took about eight hours to do, start to finish, but since I use a LOT of water in the process, about half of that time was allowing the pot to dry between stages.

I do this with acrylic craft paints - sometimes latex wall paint - a LOT of water for the smudge-y, drippy effect, and my hands.  For some reason, I get much better results with these things when I finger-paint.  I use a brush for priming the clay and for applying most of the base coats; but for color layers and designs I use my hands to wipe paint onto the clay under running water.

Which is why my kitchen sink is permanently stained kind of bluish in places.  0:)   But I have to say, even with the cleanup afterward, this is one of my favorite things to paint, precisely because I get all messy and stained while I'm doing it.  I love that feeling, and I love to get my hands all gross and really into my work.  Hee. 

I use 50-cent acrylic craft paints for most of these, although sometimes I use leftover latex and acrylic interior wall paint.   I always prime the pots and then seal them with Minwax's Polycrylic, a water-based clear coat, before continuing with the process.  This helps to keep the finish from bubbling and cracking when exposed to water and moist soil after it's done;  so does sealing the pot very heavily once the color finish is completed (the glossy "ceramic" shine on the piece pictured above came from, I kid you not, like twelve coats of Polycrylic).

Not matter what I do, some of the finishes DO crack and peel after having been exposed to water for several years.  Most of the pots I've done, I've used as cachepots, for exactly that reason - the plant they house is planted in a plastic container set inside the painted clay pot; this helps them weather and last a LOT longer.

Here are a couple more, from 2008:  the purple one on the far right, and the tall lavender with the ferny-thing in it, near the center.  (For comparison, the small grayish one on the left, between the vine and the purple tulips is actually a ceramic pot).

Heh.  I was just wondering yesterday how much that ferny-thing had grown (it's a variety of Asparagus Fern).  It was fairly new in the shot;  it's about five times that wide now, about two feet across.  :)

Here's another one, one of the first ones I did, in 2007.  This is a 2'-tall strawberry jar that I grow mints in in the Spring and Summer, in my herb garden:


1 comment:

  1. Holy firing cones, batman! I thought those were all glazed! Of course, I hadn't really looked at them very closely..but still. Unglazed pots are soo much cheaper than glazed ones. hmmm....


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