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Welcome to the Clay & Glass blog of Meagan Chaney Gumpert! We hope you enjoy your time here!
Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Ceramic and Glass Sculpture - problems with progress

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.

Unfortunately, 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 next Friday!)

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 or delays!

Best,
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

More tiles - layered surface tests

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!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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dkrycek commented on 27-Nov-2012 11:44 AM
These are really beautiful tiles! I have been looking for tile in Toronto that have good designs and patterns like these. These tiles look like they were hand-painted, though!
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Friday, July 23, 2010

And the Experimenting Continues...

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!)

While I absolutely love many of my current cone 04 low fire glazes, I have still been itching to develop the surface a bit more. I'm hoping for visual depth and crunchy, textured surface areas.
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.)
Next 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...
After the bisque fire, I layered several of my current sculptural glazes, brushing them on with a more painterly approach. Pre-cone 04 glaze firing...
After firing to cone 04...
And I've got another set of tiles in the kiln now. Cant wait to unload it tomorrow!
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.
(Note: This piece is also a scaled down version of the first sculpture I made during my residency here in Missoula. Thought a smaller, maquette-like piece would help me resolve some of my technical problems. We'll see...)

Until later!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Potter I am Not

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 is 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!

It 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.)


They 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 afternoon...

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!
Cheers!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Unsuccessful but Necessary

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.
As 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 difficulties! Ugh!
I 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 hybrid-flower-type form.
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!

Cheers!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
Comments
Febe Baldwin Steehouder commented on 22-Jan-2016 04:02 PM
Dear Meagan,
Love your site, thank you for the insights!
When I saw these works the first thing that crossed my mind was: Why not try to replace the crews with stringers of glas? Maybe you get a nice glasmelt screw?
I'm very new at all of this but I could not resist sharing this.
So excuse me if I make a very dumb sugestion.

With kind regards,
Febe
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 16-Feb-2016 09:13 AM
Thanks for your suggestion Febe! If I drift back to problem solving this body of work, I will definitely consider using glass rods for the joints.

Thanks!
Meagan
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

In the kiln...

Loaded and fired an electric kiln with fellow resident Danny Crump yesterday - my first firing at The Clay Studio of Missoula. Here's a picture (pre-firing) of the various pieces and parts for three new experimental sculptures, my "warm-up" work from Monday, samples for my upcoming workshop at Arrowmont, and a couple trial plates and cups. (Plates and cups you ask?!? Yep. More about this challenge later.)
(Note: Imagine that white plaster mold isn't there for support and the pieces are bolted together.)

Tomorrow's 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.
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New work - Residency project 1

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.)I 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 today! Cheers!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Studio Warm Up

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 (only 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.

The 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.

These 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!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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