For my first week back in Ceramics, I felt like I really needed to get back into the swing of things. This will be my third time taking Ceramics, however I always seem to take long breaks in between so I’m pretty used to catching up to start the semester off. For this week I started off reading the short story we were assigned and used that for inspiration for my first project. For the short story questions, I really thought through how I would answer these and came up with inspiration for the beauty of nature and my love of glassware and wine glasses. So for this next project I sketched out some ideas of how to incorporate both of these inspirations. I plan on throwing some different type of vessels including wine inspired goblets, wine glasses and such. I also want to experiment in making a sake set of a bigger jug and a set of smaller cups. On these figures I want to incorporate nature inspired designs. I plan on experimenting with different carving techniques and maybe even drawing or painting on them as well. I also made a batch of clay this week which is always a unique experience. I was also able to get back on the wheel and get the feel for throwing again. Overall an eventful week.
During this past week of my ceramics class I was finally able to do some glazing and also do my first firing of the semester. For the glazing, I finished glazing my pieces for the wood kiln and started glazing my pieces for the soda firing. For my first firing I as able to do a sagger firing on Wednesday. For three of my bowls, I stacked them on top of each other in the bigger sagger bowl. I had two sagger bowls filled with my bowls and we made a special pit for my tree trunk to sit in the kiln. I filled each sagger with wood shavings, sawdust and layers of different minerals such as salt and some copper sulfate and miracle grow I believe. It was very interesting to see how the different minerals had a different burning affect on my pieces. I particularly love the bowls that have the marble effect with some blues and greens. I am really happy with how my tree log turned out. I was hoping with this type of firing that it would turn out were burnt and more natural looking. I think either the copper sulfate or the miracle grow, or both, had this unique effect on my log where it had some green, mossy color come through and it looks very naturalistic and very mossy which I love. If I had some more time I would love to do another firing to see how could manipulate a little more of the layering of mineral to see if I can purposely get certain effects in particular ares of my piece. Overall I was very pleased with the results.
The past week I have been working a lot with throwing and a little in hand building. For throwing, I am working on getting some consistency with not only forms but also with the process. I’ve been using the sandy white stoneware because I like the texture and the look of the white clay. While throwing, without really realizing it at first, my forms have been more on the smaller scale. I’m not really sure why but once I realized that I decided to take that to more extremes. The vessels I’ve been created are cup or mug shapes. Now I’ve started a series of very small cups and mugs. They are about an inch or two tall and wide. I really like how they fit into my hands being so small. I plan on putting some if not all in the next soda firing. With my hand building I’ve been working on different forms like roses. I’ve always been inspired by nature and flowers in particular. When drawing or painting, flowers or roses have been my go to. I just love the color that comes with them and also the formation of each petal makes the form its own and different. I’m really happy that I’ve been able to incorporate this inspiration into my ceramic work as well. I only have two roses at the moment but I plan on making more and even exploring different sizes as well. For these I plan on putting them into the soda firing and also the wood firing.
During this third week of Ceramics I was able to get quite a bit done on my projects for project one. Firstly, I was able to reinforce my log even more so to keep it in place. I carved a whole on one of the sides and added a smaller clay cylinder shape on top of the whole. I was able to smooth out the seems and connect the clay together so it looks like a natural whole in a log where a branch used to be. I also added in two other little bumps to the sides to make the log look more realistic looking and ad the look of a wooded or uneven texture. Also, during this week I was a able to throw for the first time since my first ceramics class. I made two bowl forms on the wheel. They actually turned out a lot better than I thought they would! I’ve found that I really enjoy the wheel the more I get to do it. After my bowls were dry enough I was able to trim for the first time as well. I was very nervous about the trimming process but the more I was able to spend the time on it the more it became a sort of fun process.
During my second week of Ceramics this semester, I continued to work on my hand building project I started on the week before. My idea is to create a hollow log that sits on a slab with an array of organic plant life surrounding it and maybe even becoming a part of the log itself. My process so far started from making a single cylinder about three to four inches tall and about a third of an inch in thickness. I let it set standing up covered in a bag until the cylinder became almost leather hard. Then I added the other half of the cylinder. After I added the rest of the overall length of the log I took some sponges and clay to help keep the circular mold as I attached it sideways on a longer and a littler wider slab of clay. After it was attached and the sponges were in place I covered it again and let it sit until week three. As it was covered in the plastic bag I also added in wet paper towels that I wrapped around the harder, more dry sections of clay so they will not dry out completely. During week three I will come back to the log and add in more features.
This week I will be talking about my first week in my second semester of Ceramics at IUS. It’s been quite a while since I took my first Ceramics class, like three semesters or so, so I have a lot to catch up on. This week we started our first project of the semester. I drew out some sketches of what I am planning on working on. As of right now, I plan on working on my hand-building skills and also working on the wheel. I plan on making quite a few different forms and vessels. I plan on some being small and others bigger. I plan on hand-building some vessel objects and also attempting to build some vessels through the use of the wheel. Again, it’s been so long, I really need to catch up on both skills so this will be a good project to help me get some experience. This week I also made clay, which is why one of the pictures is of a mask so we wouldn’t inhale any dust during the process. Overall, this week I’ve realized I have a lot to catch up on and I think I can learn a lot this semester.
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton