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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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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mixed Media Wall Commission - progress report

Moving right along with that large mixed-media wall commission.

Thanks to two 30-minute naps and one long nap (probably brought about by today's visit to the pediatrician for more shots. boo for the shots. yay for the long nap!)

The 23 ceramic forms are complete and hung for a quick layout review. (Well, the ones that would fit on my design wall are hung at least)
Now, I'll be moving on to making the cast glass and steel pieces. That's what's gonna go where those circles are drawn.
I might have started 2 months ago, but I'm making progress none-the-less. And, afterall, slow but steady wins the race!

Cheers!
Meagan

Hey - Want to see other posts of this project. Check here and here.
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

What comes next...

...bust a move!

Had a great week back in the studio! Actually, I was amazed how much I was able to get done.

My studio time has become precious, and I'm learning to make the most of every minute. When I walk in that door, it's on! I thought I was an efficient, productive worker before. Oh no! You haven't seen anything yet!

So, with my wonderful in-laws in town babysitting, I worked in 1-2 hour shifts between feeding Cooper. All 23 of the clay forms for that commission are finished.

And I have 40 new Mini Sculptures in progress to send to The Society of Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA. (No photo just yet, sorry!) Hoping to fire by this coming Friday.

I've got a lot of other big changes going on that I plan to share with you soon, but I'm still processing some of them, and will try to squeeze in time to write about it asap! (Fingers crossed "someone" takes one of his long afternoon naps tomorrow!)

Anyway, I'm off. Laundry is calling my name.

Best,
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby Steps towards a Big Commission

Well, I brushed the cobwebs of my newly acquired "mommy-brain" and headed down to the studio for a couple hours yesterday.

I have a large commission due the end of April, and it's time to get started on it!

Normally, a ceramic and glass wall sculpture this size would take me about 6-8 weeks. Since I will now be squeezing work time in during Cooper's naps, between feedings, on the weekends, or when my in-laws come down next week to babysit (Thank you Betsy and Al!), I've broken my tasks down into smaller, more manageable sizes.

My goal yesterday was to sketch the piece to size. Check! (It's about 3 feet high and 8 1/2 feet long - my design wall is only 6'.)
And make the paper patterns. Check!
The next phase of the project will be to roll out the clay slabs. Two slabs will be cut from each paper pattern - one for the back of the piece, and one for the domed/puffy front.

I figure I can get one, maybe 2 patterns cut out during one of Cooper's (brief, ugh!) naps.

Ok, off to get some sleep while I can. Thanks for reading!

Cheers!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding Unexpected Advice

I have to admit I've been a bit frantic lately. With our first Baby due in about 5 weeks, the list of To Do's seems to be getting longer, rather than shorter. Overall, I feel I've managed to stay relatively calm and low stress.

But I found a nice, unexpected bit of advice in the Ethan Allen catalog that showed up in our mail last week... Granted, they are referring to furnishing a living room, but I instantly saw how this could apply to my life.

See, I'm planning to take a 6-month maternity leave. To do this, I'm trying to make sure the galleries I work with are well stocked and ready for the holidays and beyond. This means that I'm trying to make 6-months of work in about 8 weeks. (And finish all the projects my husband and I had started around the house, and put together a nursery.)
250 tile plaques in various stages.
I've been cutting, burning, and polyurethane-ing like crazy!

But, then "Relax. You don't have to do it all at once." Though I understand that life as I know it it about to change forever, I do not have to get everything done before Baby's born. Things will be crazy and new, but we will find our way, settle into a routine, and I will get back into the studio.
making progress...

So for me, unfortunately, posting to this blog is one of the first things to go when the list gets too long. I realize I still haven't written what I wanted to about my July residency in Montana or my more recent classes at Arrowmont and Penland (which were both great by the way!) Or a post on how I made the slab-built tumblers. Or talked about the Fall Open House at CURVE studios & garden in Asheville this weekend. But I'm doing what I can.

So, with that, I'm off to the studio. With the majority of the backings complete, it's time to switch over to making the tiles.

Cheers! And thanks for listening!
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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