to say that this week has been strange would be an understatement. amid the covid-19 outbreak, ceramics, and all college classes for that matter, have moved online. In place of typical clay projects, my class is doing a digital workshop about glazing from Matt Katz, which is pretty cool! though i do really really miss being in the studio and making clay stuff all day every day!! 😦 though i was sneaky and brought some clay home with me and i’ve been makin some lil jewelry stuff n such 🙂
i’m also (im)patiently waiting for my lil barber shop set to get fired to ^06 so i can photograph it for my BFA application that’s due next week, which i’m definitely stressin about a bit. i’m hoping that it’ll be able to fit in the kiln that one of the graduating BFA girls is gonna be firing later this week, otherwise i guess it wont get fired again in time, but that is alright. ill make it work either way.
i’ve been working on my portfolio for my BFA application a lot this week, and i think i’m pretty much done with it at this point, except for the barber shop, and maybe a couple other pictures that i’d like to reshoot if possible.
i’ve also been doing a lot of online research lately for some projects that i’d like to work on in the near future, but it may be a while due to the current state of things. unfortunately some of them are plans for functional ware, which is difficult for me to make typically without a wheel. though a good portion of my plans are for a body of sculptures, which i’m really excited about! maybe when i get some more refined sketches i’ll post them here…
this weekend was southern crossings pottery festival in louisville!! i had so much fun interacting with and being around the featured potters that i don’t really even know how to put it into words. (no joke i low key cried when i was talking to my parents about how awesome it was to get to know the artists). i mostly worked with kate johnston and ben carter, who also happen to be the two artists that ius ceramics is bringing in to do demos/lectures. ben came in to do his demo this past thursday (3.5.2020), and kate is coming in this monday (3.9.2020).
also this week we unloaded our wood kiln!! it was super awesome and all the pieces turned out so great! several of my pots warped, but thats okay, they’re still cute. I think it was mostly because my walls were pretty thin, so when they got up to temp i guess they got a lil wiggly. I tend to make my walls a bit thinner when i’m throwing than they would really need to be, just because i like the lighter feeling of them.
this piece was probably my favorite out of all the things i chose to woodfire. i used a flashing slip, and i think it turned out really nice. it got some great blushing with some peachy hues around it. I decided to take brian’s advice and try to layer different thicknesses of the slip, to create more layers and depth in the streaks.
this week we loaded and fired the wood fire kiln!! it was super exciting and so much fun. i worked 4 shifts, not including loading time! on wednesday we loaded the kiln outside from 11am-7pm, while we were out there, it consistently rained, snowed, and sleeted, but luckily we were protected by the shelter of our trusty kiln pad. then on thursday around 12:30 we started bricking up the door to the kiln, which took a long bit to do. then finally around 3 pm we started the kiln! we held a lighting ceremony where we each lit a newspaper torch and threw it into the kiln. friday night i worked the 12-8am shift with sam. boy was that rough. then saturday around 3 we fired off the kiln and used some special slip to seal up all the cracks around the stoke holes and peep holes.
we won’t be able to unload the kiln until tuesday or wednesday, but i’m so excited, i don’t want to wait!! i know i put in three or four mugs, maybe one or two cups and the rest are bowls, with a mix of flashing slips, unglazed pieces, two with a wood fire glaze, and one with a clear glaze liner. i seriously cannot wait. i’ll upload pictures with my next post.
i plan on going into the studio to mix up some glazes, so i’m excited to see how that turns out. i’ve never mixed a glaze before, but i’ve seen a few demos now, so i think i’m ready to try to mix my own. i plan on making some test tiles of the shop clay, so i can see how the different glazes react to the different clay bodies I like to use.
this week i started prep for the wood fire kiln. in order to have enough pieces to fire it, those of us who were interested each pledged to have a minimum of ten pieces specifically for it. so, monday night i managed to throw 8 or 9 pieces, in addition to a couple pieces i already had for it. i had planned on slab building a few pieces for it, but that didn’t end up happening in time. i’ve never done a wood fire before, and the only other atmospheric firing i’ve ever done was raku in high school with local artist nita claise, of tell city, indiana. i’m really excited to see how my pieces turned out, i chose to use flashing slip on some of the pieces, and a wood fire glaze on a few, and leave the others blank. i’d like to understand more about atmospheric firing processes, but i know they can be a bit unpredictable, so it can be hard to always be able to track the results.
i’ve been researching some new forms that i’d like to try out, especially these darted mugs.
and i’ve been looking into maybe doing some kinda geometric handles maybe in addition to the darted bottoms? potentially do more than just four sides on the belly of the mugs? maybe i’ll cut in more than just four darts, not sure yet.
i like the idea though, of thrown and altered forms better than a slab-built form. at least for the time being.
this week we had our valentine’s day sale to raise money to go to nceca! it was so exciting and i sold so much more than i though i would! pictured above are the only pieces that i have left out of the 20ish pieces i put up for sale :).
also pictured are our tables at the start of the sale, and by the end we probably had about half that left!
making jewelry was super fun and i really liked using luster! i know luster is expensive but it only takes a tiny bit to get an awesome result! i definitely did learn from some small mistakes. i knew going into it that the surface had to have a smooth glazed surface for the luster to produce a bright, smooth, and shiny finish. one thing i didn’t quite realize was how smooth the surface needed to be. a few of my jewelry pieces didn’t have quite enough glaze added to them to begin with, which resulted in a bit of a rough, uneven surface, while still having a relatively smooth surface. i thought that would be enough glaze to create a good luster surface, but i guess i was wrong. i also learned that i need to make sure i frequently clean any luster smudgies off my hands, because apparently even a lil fingerprint will leave behind discoloration after the luster firing.
i’m looking forward to using luster again, though next time it will likely be on some mugs or something, something that i am able to control the surface a little better, without worrying about glazes flowing over the sides of small jewelry.
this week i made lots of lil jewelry for the dirtbags’ valentines day sale! i’m super excited because i’ve never made any jewelry before. i chose to marble some white clay with tinted red clay for most of the earrings. i also made some lil mushroom charms for necklaces. they’re super cute. i’ll attach pictures once they’re glazed. i plan on testing out my gold luster for the first time, too. i’m really looking forward to the result, i’ve never used it before, and only really seen it done from afar or online. i’m going to use it on some of the jewelry pieces, and hopefully it’ll help them look a bit less janky and homemade.
i’ve also been growing some moss and chia on some lil test tiles as a test for my tree project. i’m not sure if its working out yet. so far i haven’t seen any growth on either kinds…
this week i made yet another lil batch of clay. it’s supposed to be a black stoneware, so we’ll see how it turns out.. it looks like a really nice cool brown/black in the greenware stage, so i’m excited to see what color it’ll be once bisqued.
my current project for class is a large tree, designed to be altered by the viewer. unfortunately though, with ceramics, form can only really be altered in the greenware stage. so, i suppose i’ll have to find some people to alter it before the project is actually finished.
i’ve been coming up with lots of ideas in the past few days, mostly concerning living sculptures. i need to do some tests, see what works. i’m looking forward to the process.
i’m also planning some new ideas that i’d like to explore, i’ve been drawing up some sketches, and trying to work through the logistics. i’ll hopefully have some more info soon.
this week, sam and i finished up our collab project, it was super fun!! i loved working with her and learning from her. i learned a lot about sculpting on functional ware, including some things you can do, and some things you probably shouldn’t do, based on stability and location of attached pieces. working as more of a sculptural artist, i generally don’t need to take into consideration any handling of the object once finished, as my pieces are normally for looks only.
i’m working on sketching up some designs for my next project. i’ve got a few good ideas, but i’m not sure yet. it’s supposed to be an interactive project, where the observer is turned into a participant. i’m thinking of doing something with a tree, where the viewer would carve their initials, or names into it.. but it’s just a thought, i’m not sure yet. or maybe i’ll do something with fingerprints..
this week i mixed clay for the first and second time ever the first was a batch of shop stoneware and the second was “mangus kwong all purpose dark clay” from claybucket.com it was originally a 135 lb dry mix recipe, that i modified to make only about 13.5 lbs dry.
it was actually a lot more fun than i thought it would be! and i hope i can mix up some more soon.
i’m excited to start using my brown/red clay, i’ve only thrown a few things so far with it, and i have made some shrinkage bars to track the shrinkage rate and test tiles, so I can see how the shop glazes look on it, or if i should mix my own.
i also started working with sam purze, (a post-baccalaureate student at ius) on a collaborative project, we decided to combine our two styles, hers being functional pottery and mine being more realistic sculpture, to create a set of tumblers with a tray.
while her pieces generally refer to maps, featuring locations and points of interest, with lines connecting them together, i normally like to work more sculpturally, and pull in elements from nature. so, that being said, the tumblers will feature her typical designs, but within the points of interest, there will be sculpted elements, featuring trees, mushrooms, mountains, and the ocean. we will be using various colored slips to color the pieces, and then use a clear glaze over them.
they’ve been going really well so far! though i definitely still have a good amount of work to do on the sculptural side of things. and of course we haven’t even begun to add color yet. wish us luck!