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Welcome to the Clay & Glass blog of Meagan Chaney Gumpert! We hope you enjoy your time here!
Thursday, April 08, 2010

Home from NCECA Philadelphia

Returned home Sunday morning from a busy NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts). It was my first time attending, and I must admit, I was pretty overwhelmed at first. There were so many talks, lectures, discussions, exhibits (over 90 in the Philadelphia area!) people, new tools, fancy equipment, schools, residencies... It was hard to do and see it all. But I had an excellent trip, and left feeling inspired (though a bit exhausted)!

I'm still process and digesting most of the things I saw and info I learned. But I did want to post a few pictures from my trip. Why is it that I never seem to end up taking as many pictures as I think I will? But here they are. I think I just stopped carrying my camera after our first day...

Earth Matters, The NCECA invitational at Moore College of Art and Design.


National Student Juried Exhibition at the University of the Arts' Rosenwald Wolf Gallery
La Mesa - Santa Fe ClayWork by Gwendolyn Yoppolo at La Mesa
My traveling buddies - Nigel and Cheyenne Rudolph. I didn't get any pictures from Off the Wheel (the show Cheyenne curated and was a part of), but it was a great exhibit and they have pics posted at Rudolph Clay Studios.

I added two pieces of pottery to our collection too. A plate by Emily Schroeder. (I bought a cup of hers at Arrowmont Utilitarian Clay Conference in 2004 and it continues to be one of my favorite.) And a plate by Meredith Host from Flotsam +Jetsam. Here's a gallery shot of Flotsam+Jetsam. The work on the right is Rain Harris. Meredith's work on the left and on the back wall.
We also went by The Clay Studio saw some beautiful work and talked to current residents.

That's it. My quick photo tour is complete. It's off to the studio for me. Hope you're enjoying Spring. I came home to beautiful Florida weather and a yard full of azaleas.

Cheers!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Clay and Blogs: Telling a Story

I am honored to have been invited to participate in an exhibit entitled "Clay and Blogs: Telling a Story" to be hosted by the Arts Council of Moore County and held at the Campbell House Gallery, in Southern Pines, NC from October 1 - November 1, 2010. Meredith Heywood of Why Not Pottery is curating the exhibit, which includes over 30 artist-bloggers from around the world!

My good friend, and potter Joy Tanner described the show in a Jan 25th post to her blog Journeys in and Around the Studio. I'm re-posted this with her permission:

"People blog for multiple reasons and even with the numerous pottery blogs out there you can find a variety pack of topics within the medium, or even a variety of reasons why people choose to blog. I think blogging is a great tool for people to see behind the scenes of the potter in the studio and their quiet musings; the ups, the downs, the successes, the failures, the determination to keep going, as well as a particular technique or what they are currently working on at that time.

For me, blogging is a great chance to clarify my thoughts about choices behind my work, and to show my inspirations behind the pots. Seeing those quiet musings in real words is different than just thinking it. Sharing it also helps others learn the voice of the potter behind the pots. I've always felt you can tell a lot about a potter from their pots. Just like people matching their dogs, potters often match their pots! That's why it's so neat for potters to raise their voices and share the inner workings of their studios. Blogging also brings about a sense of community between other potters and artists alike, who can learn, be inspired, or simply relate to the ramblings of the self employed artist."

I completely agree with Joy! While she talks specifically about pottery, I think her comments apply to other blogs as well - sculpture, painting, jewelry, woodworking, etc. Blogging has been a great way for me to share what I am working on and build a community of support.

Thank you Meredith for curating should be an exciting event! I'm looking forward to exhibiting some new work. (Which by the way is undergoing a lot of radical changes. I'll post images as soon as I'm ready for the world to see what's been going on behind the scenes.)

Cheers!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Education is for the Soul

Yesterday I started a post-baccalaureate program in Ceramics at the University of Florida. It's a one year/two semester program for students interested in developing technical skills, aesthetic sensibilities, and personal concepts.

My decision to go back to school was based on several factors.
  • Technique - My work has shifted from being predominantly glass to predominantly clay and I'd like to further develop my technical understanding of materials, process, and techniques.
  • Community - After working alone in the studio for the past couple years, I wanted to work among other artists sharing ideas and engaging in critiques.
  • Artistic Development - I felt like it was time to get out of my comfort zone and push myself. I want to be asked those "hard questions" about my work. Why do I make the work that I do?
  • Opportunity - juried shows, lectures, visiting artists, art openings, network with other artists and professionals, etc.
We had a great first class yesterday! Our instructor, Linda Arbuckle, is an amazing artist and is just full of information! I left class feeling energized and inspired. Our first project is due on Tuesday. We will each be giving a power-point presentation defining our concept of interest and showing sources/inspiration images that support that idea. Research! I love it! And have already checked out a rather large stack of library books.
Back to school also means a shift in my studio routine. While I will continue to blog, fill gallery orders, and complete commissioned work, I want to allow myself the time needed (and required) to get the most out of this program. This year is going to be more about process than product.

I'm looking forward to sharing this next chapter of learning, personal growth and artistic development with you.

"What sculpture is for a block of marble, education is to the soul" - Joseph Addison

Thanks for reading!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Glazing - My Process

Hi there!

I've spent most of the week happily glazing away in the studio. Many more Mini Sculptures and Tile Plaques in the works! And while I've talked to many potters and ceramic artist who find glazing/decorating tedious, this is my favorite part!
After the clay has been bisque fired, I organize the work by size and style and then get to work labeling. (Those of you that know me are laughing at the words 'organizing' and 'labeling' - I know, I know, I cant help it!)
Anyway, using a pencil, I go through each piece, decided which glazes will be used where, and then write a code or abbreviation for the glaze in that spot. I have about 70 glazes mixed, but really only use about 35-45 of these on a regular basis. So there are a lot of codes, most of which would look like gibberish to anyone else!
Then I go through each glaze one at a time, applying it with a small #6 brush. It becomes a "glaze-by-number" and I'm able to sit back and enjoy my favorite podcasts (This American Life, or Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, etc.) or listen to audio books. (Recently I listened to and loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Thanks for the recommendation Betsy!)

I've found that listening to podcasts or books during the day passes the time extremely quickly, I learn a lot of information, it keeps my mind focused on positive things rather than worrying (see previous post) AND I'm able to get tons of glazing done! A Win-Win situation all around.

Do you have any routines, habits, or techniques that make "tedious" tasks pass with more ease and enjoyment? Or, any podcast or book recommendations?

Well, those ceramic tiles and Mini Sculptures are in the kiln now, so I should probably go check on them. Thanks for reading a bit about my process.

Cheers!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Wall Sculpture and Work In Progress

Here are a few more new and in-progress ceramic sculptures for my upcoming exhibition "Urban Bloom" at the Appleton Museum of Art. The Opening Reception is Saturday June 6th from 3 - 5pm. I will also be giving an Artist Talk and Hands-on-Demonstration just before the reception from 1:30 -2:30Scent of Childhood, Earthenware clay, 43" x 36" x 1"

Hearts Ease, earthenware clay, 33 x 20 x 1"

Patience, earthenware clay, 26 x 22 x 2"

Daybreak, earthenware clay, 24 x 16 x 1 1/2"

Anticipation, earthenware clay, 43" x 58" x 1"
(This piece was too large for my current photo set up, so I took this quick shot instead. The plan is to get installation shots at the Appleton next month.)

In-Progress, Untitled. Scale drawing taped to the design wall.

Thanks for reading and checking in on what's been happening in the studio! After my much-needed and overdue mental and physical break last week, things have been going great!

Cheers!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ceramic Sculpture - In Progress

Here are a few Work-in-Progress pics...
Drawing images/ideas to scale.

From the scale drawings, tracing paper patterns are made and used to cut out the clay slabs for construction. I make these large sculptures much the same way that I make the Minis.

Scale drawing for ceramic sculpture. Some of these are finished and images are posted here.

Untitled- In Progress, Highwater's Lymen Red Earthenware Clay, 32" x 21" x 1"

Untitled - In Progress, Highwater's Lymen Red Earthenware Clay, 32" x 22" x 1"

Thanks for stopping in. Back to the studio for me!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Low Fire Clay Slip - Recipe and Technique

A few years ago I started incorporating clay slip trailing into my work and have been having lots of fun with it. Here's the recipe for you to try.

Pete Pinell's White Slip
40 OM4
40 Talc
10 Silica
10 Nepheline Syenite
-------------------------
100

+10 Frit 3124
+7 Zircopax

(You can also add a few drops of sodium silicate - a deflocculant that helps reduce viscosity and makes the slip easier to apply with a slip bottle.)

There are a variety of slip trailing bottles out there in many shapes and sizes. You'll want to experiment with a few until you find the style that you enjoy most. Some things to think about 1) the size of the tip opening can have an effect on line thickness it creates 2) how hard is the plastic? You're could be squeezing for awhile, so you want a bottle that's softer and easier to work with. 3) how much slip do you want it to hold?

Ron has a great post here on how to construct your very own slip trailer.Try drawing a practice line first to check thickness and to make sure the bottle isn't clogged. A sewing needle can be used to unclog the tip if needed.
Squeeze and draw away! It's a lot like decorating a cake. I like to wait until the clay is leather hard because the clay forms are easier to hold and work with at this stage.
A sample of slip stippling.
A group of unfired, slip decorated Minis.
A few glaze fired sample of how glazes will "break" and pool over the slip giving the surface added depth and dimension.
More glaze fired samples.
If anyone's interested, I'd be happy to share the above 2 recipes. Just let me know. Hope you're able to do something creative today!

Enjoy! I'm off to the studio!
Meagan

PS - More on the materials and process I use can be found here.
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clay Slab Construction

Today, I thought I would briefly share the basic handbuilding techniques I use to make my Mini Sculptures. There are many different hand building methods and techniques for working with clay, but here are a few of my favorites...

Clay Tools Needed: rubber rib, scoring tool (or a needle tool), a rubber stylus, wooden rib, slip trailing bottle. All of my work is slab built from lowfire clay. Using a slab roller, I roll the clay out to 1/4" thickness. (Before I had a slab roller I used a rolling pin and 1/4" wooden dowels to keep the thickness even.)It occurred to me one day making biscuits, that the same process could be applied to my Minis. I now have biscuit cutters in a variety of sizes and the process is much, much quicker It also keeps the sizes more consistant. (Don't worry. These aren't the same cutters I use on the weekends for fresh parsley, rosemary and buttermilk biscuits.) Oh, I like the clay to be a little wetter than leather hard when I start work work with it.


Each mini is made up of 2 circular slabs. The base is 1/2 smaller than the top. A rubber rib is used to smooth the surface of the clay. I also like working ontop of fabric interfacing instead of canvus because the weave is finer and leaves the clay surface smooth. The top is then pinched into a small bowl-like shapeThe edges of the top and bottom are scored (aka scratched)......and a slip of the same clay body is brushed on help attach the two pieces. The top is placed ontop of the bottom, carefully working the seams together.
Using a wooden rib, I then go around the piece and smooth and attach the two pieces, conceiling the seam.
Fingers also are helpful...
Once the piece if formed, I use my rubber stylus to draw/carve decorative lines or veins.

Again, fingers are great for smoothing those lines.
Now, I leave the piece alone until it is leather hard and then incorporate slip trailing/stippling. More on that tomorrow - including the lowfire slip recipe I like to use.

If you have any questions, or other tips for clay slab construction, I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tile Plaque Variation and Process

Finished up some plaques with my newer tile style yesterday. Thought I would post a few quick pics of the process.

Sketching ideas - thinking about design, layout and composition, line, texture, mood

Tiles drying and waiting to be bisque fired.


The backs of the bisque fired tiles with glass inserts.
These clay tiles were rolled out about 3/8" thick so that I could carve a place to inset the glass for slumping. Here the glass has been fused, slumped, ground down to sit flush with the back of the tiles, and then attached with 100% silicone adhesive. (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of all of those in between steps.)

Side few of tiles showing added dimension with the slumped glass.

Finished group of Tile Plaques
The glass I used for these pieces was created the same way as my line of fused glass pendants. I hope to eventually write a post detailing that process and technique. Until then, you can see pictures here.

Thanks for finding a moment in your busy day to check in on what's been going on here.
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
Comments
Yoshiah commented on 28-Jan-2015 11:26 AM
Can you make one for me
DanRa Boscovich commented on 01-Aug-2015 12:34 PM
Very unique! Very beautiful!
Deb Miller commented on 20-Sep-2015 09:36 PM
I love clay and glass. This is gorgeous!
Lori Jackson commented on 17-Oct-2015 12:19 AM
I am an elementary art teacher by way of a love of art and generalist certificate. We do lots of clay as we are joined physically to the high school, with access to a kiln. That is access is made easier as my hubby is the secondary art teacher. So...how does this class work in the kiln? I envision it sticking like crazy to shelves, but obviously it does not. How does that happen?
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 26-Oct-2015 08:21 PM
Hi Lori,

I use a kiln wash on both the shelves and the back of any ceramic work that would come into contact with the glass.

Here is a link to my favorite brand:
http://www.delphiglass.com/fusing-supplies/fiber-paper-shelf-wash/bullseye-shelf-primer-5-lbs-bucket?source=froogle&gclid=CNiy2dOw4cgCFQ6maQodZSwElg

Hope that helps get you started. Best of luck!

Meagan
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New Work - In Progress

After a frustrating studio week last week, I think my thoughts have settled down a bit. Whew! I'm feeling much more like myself now.

Here are a few images of the pieces I made while allowing myself to just "play" and enjoy the process. We'll see where they take me. I don't know about you, but for me it can be difficult at times to just create without being overly critical of my creations. Left and right brain interference.
The forms of this wall piece are more involved than my usual work and I incorporated some of the slip stippling that I have been doing on my Minis. I still want to push this idea further, and work on activating the negative space between the 2 forms a little more.

I'm also playing around with the idea of grouping my Minis into different configurations. Here's my first attempt at this.
I fired a bisque kiln off last night, and it's cooling now. It's mostly loaded with this new, experimental work, but there are a couple orders and a few pieces for the solo show I have at the Ocala Civic Theater in a few weeks. In the mean time, I'm switching back to glass work to finish up a few tile pieces. Pictures soon.

Off to the studio!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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