This week we were to begin our next project which is for the soda kiln. I decided to start working on some pug mugs that I had designed last semester but never followed through with. I am currently experimenting with the method in which I would like to build them (on the wheel or hand built) as well as figuring out how to design the form in a way that will be most functional and comfortable. I want them to be a round shape, like a ball, but still function easily as a mug.
Our pieces for the pit fire were bisqued and we got to see how those turned out. I’m happy with the way my puggy banks came out. The Barnard Terrasigallata came out a lot lighter of a brown than I expected but I still like it.
My bulldogs also came out of the cone 6 firing this week and I was happy to have completed them. They are a commission artwork that was inspired by my pug pile. I am excited to get them to the person that asked for them.
This week I finally got to experience the magic of Terrasigallata on my own pieces. I put on a couple coats of the OM4 sig on my two large puggy banks. I want the two large ones to match and so I will paint them similarly. I am waiting for the Barnard sig to finish up so that I can try out a dark brown/black for the faces of the pugs.
I have finished getting the shapes of the three smaller puggy banks but still need to work out all the details on those. I want these three pugs to be similar as well. The only difference between them being the clay bodies used and different sig coloring on their faces. I will leave the clay exposed on the bodies only painting the faces with sig. I will call this set “the three little pugs.”
I have also made up some sketches for some ideas for future projects. For the next firing I would like to make some salt and pepper shakers in the shape of pugs.
We also started the building process on our pit kiln. We set out some cinder blocks in the shape of the kiln then laid down some soft bricks along the base and built them up along the wall.
We’ve been through a lot this past week. I began our first project for this semester which will be to create pieces to go into a pit firing. This will be a new firing experience for me and I’m excited to see how it all works. I decided to make some puggy banks for this first project. I plan on creating a few sets of them so that they look uniform. I will also be experimenting with a few ways to retrieve the money from the vessel. I decided to try out some corks this semester and see how all that will work.
I ordered a package of corks in various sizes and when they came in I saw that there were some very tiny ones. This has inspired me to eventually make some pug salt and pepper shakers as well. I will probably incorporate that into one of the other firings when we get there.
I also got to make some clay with my group this week. We created some dark low firing clay for the pit firing. The batch turned out surprisingly well without any complications. Normally when I make clay I feel like something goes wrong, but that was not the case this time.
Also, an update on the bulldogs: they survived the bisque firing and are now awaiting the cone 6 firing. I put some cone 6 clear glaze solely on the eyes and parts of the tongue, that way they have a more realistic quality hopefully when they pop out of the kiln.
The first week of this semester we completed introductions in our first class and discussed what projects we have to look forward to in this coming semester. Unfortunately I had the flu and was unable to make it to class on Wednesday and did not participate in the activities of that class period. However, I do have new work to share that I have been working on over winter break.
Right before the closing of last semester I had someone approach me for a commission work based off my pug sculpture I created a year ago. They requested that I make a miniature stack of English bulldogs consisting of only two dogs in comparison to many on my pug pile. It is completely sculpted now and glazed (with Mason stains) and last I saw it was in the process of being bisqued. I plan on putting clear cone 6 glaze on areas I wish to be shiny such as the eyes and areas of the tongue. Then I will finish it off with a final cone 6 firing.
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.