This week we have been doing a lot of raku firing. I currently have 4 vessels that have made it through the firing. I’m impressed with a few of them, but disappointed in some of the glazes that have been blistering. My favorite process so far is the the naked raku where you cover the vessel with slip and it results in a smoky line look. I’m very excited to keep experimenting with this style.
I finished glazing all of my vessels this week for the Roku kiln. This means that I am now finished for the semester as far as glazing goes. My pieces from the verb project (the hedgehogs) have already been soda fired and for my still life project I want them to remain white and raw. I put those through a cone 6 firing to finish them off.
I can’t wait to see the results of the raku firing and then see all of my work from the semester set up together. I’m excited to finally put my still life together for the final critique. I finally finished sanding and painting the table that I will be using as a platform for my pieces.
This week I made 10 more vessels on the potters wheel. I was much more satisfied with the forms on these pieces. I decided that on the forms I don’t necessarily like for a pug shape, I will continue the pug theme by just painting little pug figures onto the surface, creating sort of a pattern.
I also created a mini piggy bank, or a puggy bank if you will. I didn’t want to have to deal with finding a cork to fit in a home in the bottom and have to deal with shrinking, so I problem solved and decided to make a lid so that it is easy to collect the change from the pug. This is a very small scale of what I’d like to make them and i want to change up the way that the money is extracted. I will make the mouth and open hole in the front of the piggy bank so that when the owner wants to release the change they will shake it out of the mouth. I thought this would be a cute solution.
I still would like to make a few more puggy banks and maybe even just a few bowls for myself, not to be fired in the raku kiln.
This week we had a great opportunity to have Didem Mert visit IUS and present a lecture as well as a demo. I feel that she was a great inspiration for all of us and really gave us an insight on what it’s like to be an artist straight out of grad school. She was very encouraging and had a lot of knowledge and experience to share with us.
I have also been working on trimming my vessels throughout this week. I am experimenting with a new style for the foot of pieces. I wasn’t happy with them last semester so I decided to try something new. I feel that when I try to add a foot I don’t like the piece anymore so I’m experimenting with a foot that isn’t visible when the piece is right side up, but looks like a little button when flipped to the bottom. I’m not sure if this is something I would like to continue using or not, I was just curious how it would turn out.
I also am struggling on getting the right shape for the pug vessels I would like to build. When I throw on the wheel it is like I am automatically in the bowl mode and end up making my pieces too wide to begin with and result in a squished looking sphere form. I will try to bring my cylinders up more and then try for the ball look and I hope that will help out.
This week we began working on our new project, which has already undergone some changes. Originally our last project was a multimedia project about memory, but now we are introducing the raku kiln and firing experience. Our class cleared out the outside kilns and finished piecing together our raku kiln so that it is now usable. This firing is unlike anything I have ever done before and it is really exciting.
So for this project we don’t really have any set standards but we need to make at least twenty items to go through this process. Preferably these are objects that we don’t spend too much time on as this is a very quick process and has potential hazards for the survival of the firing.
I have decided to connect this project with one that I am doing for my graphic design class, where I am creating a company that produces pug themed items. This is a project that I am starting myself and will actually be trying to sell these items and create a name for this business. So I thought it would be interesting to try and mass produce a bunch of vases, flower pots, and piggy banks to undergo the raku firing for this project. I am really interested in the effects of the glazing in this firing technique and can’t wait to see how they turn out.
I have began throwing a few items on the wheel, and the images shown are some pieces that I have thrown so far as well as sketches of what I’d like them to become.
This week I have been refining all my sewing tools for my toymaker still life. I am officially done with this technique and am ready to move on to wood carving. I finished putting on the limbs of my teddy bear and purposely left off one of the arms. I plan to have the pieces of fabric cut out as if ready to be sewn together. I would also like to make some templates with the different body parts to be set out as well.
I created three clay blocks that are drying right now so that I can carve them out and make them look as if they really are carved from wood. I plan on making trains that will hook together. I also have an idea to make the wheels actually functional, but we will see if that actually turns out or not. I also created the handle of a hammer to go with the wood carving tools. I plan to create 3-5 wood carving tools.
I also bought a table this week to act as a base for my still life. It is very worn down and old, ideal for an old workspace. It is currently painted crackly lime green, hot pink, and maroon. The colors look awful but the table itself was perfect so I’m going to sand it down and put some white paint on it and hopefully I can wear it back down to look like it’s been through a lot of use.
This week we began working on our Still life projects. In this project we have to select a trade and make the tools associated with that job. I chose toymaker and decided to focus on two techniques within that trade: wooden toys and sewing.
This week I have created 8 sewing needles that I tried to make as life size as possible, scissors, a spool of thread, and a thimble. Along with the tools I would like to make some toys that represent each trade to be placed in this still life to make it more interesting. I have already begun working on a teddy bear that I want to be incomplete, so on the torso it will not be all the way seamed together. This will allow the inside to be visible and I plan on placing stuffing inside once it has been fired and glazed.
I plan on making a wooden-like toy out of clay. What I would like to do is let a block of clay dry out a bit and then carve into it to make it look as closely to a wooden toy as possible. I also have been wanting to try this reduction process in ceramics for a while and found this the perfect opportunity for it.
This week our class finished up our Again Project. I worked all week on finishing up my third and final hedgehog in my nesting doll series. There are a few concerns with the hedgehogs such as the different drying rates. I made the smallest one first and therefore it is much further along in the drying process than the others. As of now it is not too great of a problem as I can fit the inside each other for now but once the others begin to shrink, there will be problems. I have carved out as much as I can in each hedgehog to get the best fit but I’m not sure that will be enough. Also, thinking about glazes for the hedgehogs, I really like the idea of keeping them the white of the clay and just putting a clear coat on it. With that or some pastel colors.
We began thinking about our next project this week as well. This one is a still life project where we have to create a still life of the tools belonging to a specific trade. The trade that I chose was toy making. Off the top of my head I can think of two types of toy makers, those who make wooden toys and those who make stiffed animals. I would like to incorporate both techniques in my piece. Along with the tools I would also like to make toys to go with them. I like the idea of carving into clay and making it look like a wood carved toy. Reduction is a process I’ve been wanting to try in ceramics for a while. I also would like to make a teddy bear that is still in the process of production where he is not yet seamed together all the way so that the viewer can look inside and see the stuffing and even the thread.
This week has been a lot of work and problem solving, though it may not look like a lot of progress…trust me it is. I spent many hours figuring out how to split the hedgies and making a seam that wasn’t too noticable as well as make it functional. The quills are taking longer than I’d like, but I think that’s something that changes with each hedgehog. My first one went quicker than the second, mainly because I spaced them out a little further on the first one and I went a little overboard on the second. But I think I have learned my lesson and will improve on this third one. The third one is already massive, much bigger than I thought, and I think I will stop at three hedgies.
I have completely finished the first two in the set and now just have to put the quills and split the third one in half. Something that is surprising to me about this project is somehow I have managed to make each hedgehog look similar. Usually I have a hard time replicating things and I was pretty impressed with the outcome.
Another worry of mine is when I split my second hedgehog and put the small one inside, it was a bit of a tight squeeze. I carved out the walls and added the lip and it was much better. However, the smallest one had already been drying out and when I checked to see if he fit a few days later, it was a tight squeeze again because the second hedgie had began to dry and shrink. I carved some more of the wall away and it fits good now. I think/hope it will be fine now.
This week has been a pretty exciting week in ceramics. I have been working on my nesting hedgehog dolls and am satisfied with the way they are turning out. I know this project will require a lot of extra time put in in order to accomplish the texture that I am placing. The smallest piece from this nesting series is finished and I am now working on the second doll that the smallest will fit into. I have it all built, just waiting to put the texture on it. I have discovered that by the time I get to five hedgies, I will end up with a final massive hedgehog and so have decided to reduce my clan by one. I will now be making four hedgehogs. As far as glazing goes on these pieces, I feel that I will be most satisfied if I don’t try to achieve the natural hedgie color but rather make a range of pastel colors for each doll. So pink, blue, green, etc.
I also had to do my spheres of influence presentation in class today. I’ll be honest I have been dreading this day since it was announced that we had to do this presentation. Overall I think it went well and I freak out over nothing.
I am also learning how to fire the kilns. I have loaded them up before but never really went through the process of firing them. This is exciting to me and I can’t wait to see how it works.
This week I had the critique from our previous project and got a lot of helpful feedback. Some issues I encountered within the editing process for my animation included blurriness and movement of the camera. I wish I would have taken more time to consider these problems and avoided them. But overall I’m happy with the outcome.
We were also introduced to our next project this week. It is called the Again Project. For this one we have to take our verb from the last project (mine was to grow) and make something that we will actually fire this time. My idea for this one is to make a set of matryoshka dolls (or nesting dolls) that are hedgehogs. So then I will be playing on my verb to grow as they will grow larger from the smallest.
I’m still working on all the details for the hedgehogs like the features and technique for the quills. I also made another batch of clay this week with Carly. This time we made a batch of white stoneware as I thought that would come in handy in some future projects as well.