Welcome to the Clay & Glass blog of Meagan Chaney Gumpert! We hope you enjoy your time here!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New Sculpture - Tribella familiea

Well, the progress was slow but the pace was steady. I finally finished up this piece and had it photographed just before the holidays. (Thank you Charlie Cummings for the wonderful photos!) 

Tribella familiae
earthenware, cast glass, steel, found objects
20" x 10" x 11"

I'm excited about this piece. It presented a lot of technical challenges that I slowly hammered my way through. (clay shrinkage to account for, found objects to add, glass to cast, and then recast, etc)

As with any new sculpture, I can see places I'd like to develop further in the next piece, but that's what keeps the work exciting. Growth and change. And there's been a lot of that going on around here lately. Our "baby" is almost 15 months old and he keeps his Mama on her toes! Sometimes juggling everything feels like a 3-ring circus, but I'm learning to embrace the chaos and relish studio time.

Cheers to a New Year!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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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!

Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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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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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, May 18, 2010

New Work - UF Post-Bacc Program

Finally getting around to posting pictures of the work I did Spring semester at UF. I start exploring a new direction - moving the work from wall relief sculpture to working completely in the round. Like most new ideas, I feel it's taken me some time to digest and think about the changes that I made, and the changes that I still need to make.

I won't lie, this change was definitely a struggle for me! There were days when I felt I had no idea what I was doing - technically or conceptually.

I had problems with clay shrinkage and incorporating found objects. I questioned if the ideas I was hoping to covey were coming through in the work. I had work blow up in the kiln! So, several attempts ended up in the trash or with the shards destined to become more stepping stones for our garden.

But, I kept pushing and reminding myself that "when you feel like you know what you're doing, you're probably not growing."

Now that a little time has passed and I've had a few weeks to process the experience, I am excited about this new direction and the possibilities I see for expanding these ideas. So, here are a few pictures and my artist statement...
Fortis cultivativo, earthenware, steel, glass
(Note: Now on view through July 5 at "Art in Bloom", Marion Cultural Alliance; On Top of the World Location- Ocala, FL)
Natural and manufactured environments coexist within contemporary urban settings. City parks and botanical gardens are thoughtfully integrated into residential developments and commercial centers. These man-made garden atmospheres seem to emphasize an underlying desire to escape the hectic stress of everyday urban life by surrounding oneself with beautiful, natural environments.
Incrementun multi, earthenware, steel, cast glass
(Note: Now on view now through Oct 8 at The Arrowmont 2010 Instructor Exhibition, Gatlinburg, TN)

My sculpture focuses on a self created species: a visual hybrid that reflects both nature and industry. These mixed-media works synthesize plant forms like pods, leaves, and stems with radial mechanical elements and machine parts. The link between industry and nature is emphasized further through materiality. The constructed sculptures incorporate materials such as steel and concrete with traditional craft media such as clay and glass. The textured, crusty, surface treatments of the stylized terracotta forms further suggest the coexistence of these worlds.

Evoco vita, earthenware, steel, cast glass, fused glass
(Note: Now on view June 3-July5 at "Ancient Arts", Marion Cultural Alliance; downtown location- Ocala, FL. Opening reception this Friday!)
The imagined hybrids represent the need for balance in our everyday lives. Parallels can be drawn between industry and work, and nature and pleasure as society strives for professional success and personal happiness.
Thanks again for reading and following along with the changes and progress in m
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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