After more than two years, though not working intensively on ceramics, I am finally getting the results I want. My approach has been slipshod and absent-minded, with so many other things going on, but I am really happy with these latest pieces.
I actually went to the trouble of writing down the clay and glazes I used, so I will be able to reproduce these effects. My teacher even praised the strawberry plaque, and this is the first time she has praised a piece of mine.
The unglazed pots high-fired an acceptable color. I will be planting orchids in them, and the roots will be coming out of the holes and gaps, and moss will grow on top. Orchids have funky leaves and roots, and I want to play that up. The funkiness is such a contrast to the exquisite flowers and can be a great effect. This will probably take a couple of years, because you can't rush orchids, or rather it's a mistake to do that, because they are happiest when they can grow at their own pace and bloom when they feel like it.