I've been working on a new, experimental sculpture for the upcoming Instructor Exhibition at Arrowmont
and I'm pretty excited about it! Sketches for this piece have been in
the works for awhile, but it just wasn't sure how to build it. Then I
watched the demos at NCECA
, and a light bulb went off.
I'm having problems with the glass slumping through these little
windows. The problem is easily corrected by re-firing, but I'm running
out of time. (Work is due to Arrowmont
Whoops! See that ugly gap! Time for a re-fire.
Thankfully, my new test kiln
is making those firings a lot quicker! Looks like I may be cranking her
up everyday so that I can make that deadline. More pictures soon. And
keep your fingers crossed that I don't run into any unexpected disasters
And they're out of the kiln. Overall, I'm still very pleased with the
potential of these new lowfire test tiles. I've got to be careful not to
overdo the layering or they start to get a little muddy looking though.
They look a little jumbled shown all together like this - seems better to process them individually.
We'll, gotta run. We're off to the Bray Bash
In addition to experimenting with new sculptural forms
and attempting to make plates and cups
, I've also been working on glazes and surface. (Yes, it's been quite a month!)
So, I started by adding texture to slabs with various found objects and then cut them into 4" and 6" square tiles.
Then, I covered the whole surface with 3 layers of terra sigillata. (Whoops forgot to snap a photo here.)
came brushing on underglazes and colored slips before
scratching/drawing into the surface with needle tool. After the drawing
was done, I went back over a few areas with some slip trailing. Here
they are pre-bisque firing...
Here's some post-bisque firing...
the bisque fire, I layered several of my current sculptural glazes,
brushing them on with a more painterly approach. Pre-cone 04 glaze
After firing to cone 04...
Still haven't figured out how I will incorporate this surface into my sculptural work, but that will come with time and more experimenting. Here's a little piece I made to see how the surface would wrap around a 3D form.
Kudos to all those functional potters out there! Though I've had my suspicions, I have confirmed that I am definitley not
one of them. I love drinking, eating, and collecting pots, but making them is not my forte.
One of the requirements as a resident artist
at the Clay Studio of Missoula
to donate 2 cups and 2 plates for every month of your residency. (Lucky
for me, I'm only here one month, so my numbers were small.) The plates
and cups are used at thier annual fundraising dinner Missoula Valley Thyme and Plate
, which just happens to be this Sunday, June 25 from 6-10pm. So glad I extended my stay to that I can attend both the Bray Bash
this weekend and Thyme and Plate
took me the better part of 2 days to make just these 6! This is
actually my 2nd round of tumblers - ever! (The first 3 I made are too
embarassing to even look at, much less post pictures of for the whole
world to see.)
are handbuilt from 1/4" earthenware slabs using a paper pattern that I
made from a standard pint glass. Fortunately, I was able to adapt my
usual handbuilding techniques fairly easily for this step.
There were casualties early on, however. I lost 2 after applying a few layers of terra sigillata and saturating the bone-dry clay. This one split right down the middle - mostly along the carved lines.
I'm was already down to 4 when I had to face my real challenge. With to do with the surface??
See, none of my standard, favorite, low fire glazes
are food safe. So, after exchanging a few emails with glaze guru John Britt
, and running a few tests (on the broken cups I might add), I was able to come up with a solution. They're in the kiln now (glaze to cone 04
and I hope, hope, hope that I get 2 decent ones out to donate. And I
only made 4 plates. So fingers crossed there too! I'll know tomorrow
In the meantime, here's a little eye candy from the
market Saturday morning. The lilies this woman had were absolutely
amazing. I'd never seen so many varieties and colors!
Well, I unloaded my work from the kiln on Monday. As usual, it takes me a few days to look at and process the work.
soon as the work was cool, I eagerly rushed off to Lowe's to get the
necessary hardware for assembly. Back in the studio, I quickly started
to thread the bolts, washers and nuts into place. It didn't take long
for me to realize that I was up against some serious technical
had anticipated being able to tighten the hardware enough so that the
pieces would stay snugly in place. This, unfortunately was not the case
in 2 out of 3 new works. Even with rubber washer to help absorb the
force, the ceramic pieces wanted to spin about in all directions. Great
if I was making a windmill, but not so much for a stationary
Though I am disappointed with the outcome of this work, I still feel it was a HUGE learning experience. And
I've been able to go through that learning curve much quicker because of the focus I'm able to get during this residence
I am reminded of a quote from the book Art and Fear
- "Even the failed pieces are essential."
So, with that in mind, I'm off to the studio to make and learn more!
(Note: Imagine that white plaster mold isn't there for support and the pieces are bolted together.)
plan - glaze, load and (hopefully) fire the kiln again. Cant wait to
see some of this new work "finished." I have plans to include various
glass and steel parts, so they may not be truly completed until I get
back home to the studio in FL. But a trip to the hardware store for nuts
and bolts is in my near future.
I'm off to the studio to continue working on the project I started
yesterday. And I must say, I'm pretty excited about it. It looks a lot
different than the 3d sketches I did on Monday
almost as if it was made by another person. But I feel this piece is
finally starting to incorporate ideas and techniques I've been striving
for in my new work. (More on that later.)
was also amazed how much I was able to accomplish in one day! Granted,
it was a long studio day - 7:45am til 7:00pm, but I was feeling great
and really into a groove. It normally would have taken me 3 weeks at
home to make this much progress! Cant wait to see what I'm able to do
My first studio day in Missoula-
Yesterday, I spent all day working on small, 3D sketches of various floral forms. These maquettes
were a great warm up exercise! And man did I need the warm up. It can
take a while to get settled into a new space and find a routine.
The first thing that took some adjusting to was my clay body. I have been using the same clay body for at least 5 years now. (Lymen Red
from Highwater Clays
.) But out here in Montana it makes more sense to get it from The Archie Bray
1.5 hrs from Missoula) than to have 100lbs of my usual stuff shipped
from the East Coast. So I made the switch and the two are definitely
different! I don't know yet if I prefer one over the other, but I'll
have to report back after my month-long residency. ABF Earthenware
is darker brown when moist and seems smoother. It has virtually no grog
compared to the Lymen Red
I'm used to working with at home. I'm curious to see the fired color and compare shrinkage, absorption and warping.
second issue I'm tackling is related to this gorgeous weather I've been
experiencing. Humidity. Or lack there of. In Florida (80-100% humidity)
clay dries very, very slowly and often needs to be put into a dry box
or blasted with a heat gun to speed the drying process along. Not
necessary here in MT! Slabs seemed to get stiff with the blink of an
eye! I will definitely have to adjust my work time and modify some of my
usual building habits.
small pieces not only helped me learn more about my new clay and
environment but they were great visual studies. I picked several flowers
on my walk to the studio and took the time to really observe the
structures, textures and colors of each. So, with the some 3D sketching
and traditional sketching done, I tackled my first "real" project today.
And I must say, I am pretty excited about it! But more about that one
tomorrow. I'm off to bed!