Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Various shapes,

I find that I make little runs of various types of pots, which is probably quite typical of most potters.
Lately there have been:
1. thrown mugs
2. little trays-- rectangular and oval
3. oval slab vases
4. two-sided slab vases
5. cylindrical slab mugs
6. small rounded thrown dishes

I would like to make other items, but I need to make slump or press molds to facilitate those shapes ( things with a curved floor to them)  I have a few things prepared to fire that will be bisque molds, but maybe I should consider plaster.
 Other shapes I need to plan out so that I can develop some templates to construct them from slabs (such as butter dishes).
I think that up to this point the shapes have been driven by the consideration of how to apply decoration to them.  I have been exploring various forms of applying underglaze and slip, including silk-screening onto the form.  It obviously needs some form of flat area.
However, by needing this type of surface, I have discovered some shapes that really appeal to me.  These include the cylindrical slab mug, the 4 sided slab bowl,  rounded oval vases and these 2-sided curved wall vases.

experimenting with a hollow handle a la Sandra Pierrentozi  (sp?)

the upper area is actually a pink background,

all ready for surface decoration!

this one has some extra clay added to the top and lower band

two sides of the same vase.  the dark grey areas are just the bare clay showing, which will be white when completed.

Being pretty new to slab construction, I have been making quite simple forms.  No lids yet!  I think that there is a lot to learn about construction techniques. (Up until this latest spate of hand-building, the most I knew about it was from adding handles to mugs!)  However, I am learning, especially about the nuances of soft to more firm leather hard slabs,...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

And more about Waiting

and Molly, I take your point about how waiting can be a good thing.  It can be an opportunity.  I am often impatient, and want to forge ahead.   This inability to fire anything, and to see what the pieces will look like when they have been glazed is difficult, because I would like to have that information to incorporate into further pieces.  However, it is somehow lengthening the time phase where I am experimenting with surface design.  It makes me think about different things than what I probably would be thinking about if I had been able to go ahead with the firing and glazing. 

One thing that has occurred is that I find myself looking for some specific types of imagery to add my stock.  I am finding out which types of shapes and areas balance each other, and which types I wish I had a bit more variety to choose from. 
Although I'm using a variety of techniques in combination-- silk-screen, mishima line drawings, stamped impressions, slip trailing, sgraffito and brush-work- some days I gravitate more to one technique than another.  I have been enjoying the silk-screening on clay and have decided to beef up my stock of screens.  So yesterday I went to an art supply store and got the basic tools to make silk screens here at home.  All the ones I've been using were made in Savannah, at Lisa's studio, The Clay Spot!! (which I miss!)
I also went to the library to leaf through some books on design for inspiration.  (Although I should probably have just sat myself down and made a list of what I need/want)  Nevertheless, I came across a quite nice book with crisp black and white illustrations,

 and will try to work something up on paper with my nice black markers, since these are just snippets of pattern, and I'd like the screens to cover a bit more area.

 These last two photos are from a different book, I think it was on English surface design, and these were working drawings for manufacturers.

 Now I have set up a binder with those clear page protectors to store black and white images-- and I foresee a trip to visit the photocopiers at staples in the near future!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Waiting in its various forms

 I have been hand-building and decorating more and more....
(bottoms of cups)
 partly this is because i continue to have some problems with my left hand, which might be carpal tunnel related.  But, the other reason is that I find it quite interesting. 
cups that are firming up before attaching the bases
In the past I made pots primarily by throwing on the wheel.  I find that handbuilding is quite a different experience: 
1. less wedging
2. different type of scraps
3. different shapes are possible
4. different rhythm to the work

 In particular, there is a different type of time-line involved.  In handbuilding, or more specifically, using slab construction, I find that there is a lot of waiting time between each step. 
I throw and roll out slabs, then wait for them to stiffen up before being able to cut shapes from them.
Some shapes are partially constructed, and then have to firm up more before continuing to work on them.  Even when the pot has been assembled, there is still quite a lot of fine-tuning to be done: lots of wiping down of rough edges, or scraping away with a rasp or a trimming tool, or smoothing with a smooth piece of wood or a rubber rib. 
 I also notice that it is quite a lot of fun to press designs into the slabs as I construct the pots.
 It's a form of mishima, I suppose, to paint the impressions with slip and then to wipe away the extra with a damp sponge,
 I've been using a dark grey slip up until this point. 
 On the vases,  I intend to add a colored glaze on the inside of the pot.  The mugs, I painted the insides with underglaze. 
I also am thinking of adding decals to some of them later, although I find it tricky to do long term planning like that.  It is easier for me to do as much to the pot at one time as possible to make it close to being finished.  It seems that there is too long of a gap between starting and finishing a pot to remember what I had planned.

 I am still doing a lot of underglaze decoration.  It too can be a waiting game.  I tend to apply three coats of underglaze to prevent it from looking streaky or translucent when glazed.  Each coat has to set up between applications.  So that means that I am working on several pots at the same time-- maybe 5 or 6.
 And, on another note, I am still waiting on firing all this stuff, since the electrician I found that is willing to come out here to hook up the plug won't be able to come until the second week of september.  : (
Yeah, that's quite a wait. 

 There will be hundreds of pieces by then.......