I came close to forgetting my very last blog. Today was my final critique in ceramics and it was nice hearing peoples feedback. I feel like over break I plan on making small series pieces just to see how I think my work will look together. Right now I know that I want to do a tree bark, acorn, and mushroom series. In the series, I plan to have mugs, bowls, spoons, colanders and mixing bowls. I feel like these items will give me a variety of surfaces to explore and see the potential of my ideas. I also have some more glaze testing I would like to do. I have a base glaze that I tweaked that has a very nice drip and I want to try and create a teal color or light blue.
I finally feel like my work is headed in a direction now. Not that is solid by any means, just that before now I never saw a direct idea for my work. I really want to push the whimsical elements of my pieces and Lalana’s idea about waxing parts I want to be stained really helped me problem solve today. Even though that is such a common fix for glazes it for some reason was not coming up in my thoughts. I am really excited to see what next semester brings.
Oddly week fourteen has been my most productive week. I am finally seeing my pieces come together and creating glazes that I visually enjoy. I created a glaze that has a beautiful drip to it. I plan to continue messing with this glaze base over Christmas break. I also think that I plan to continue using the orange cone 6 clay body that I recently made. I really enjoy the color after it is fired and I love how it throws and hand builds. Compared to my other clay bodies I can smooth this clay body very nicely and also trim nicely.
Today was an odd class period for me. Normally during class time, I cannot focus and or find room to work in the Annex with Sam and Leia both back there but tonight I somehow was focusing very well and made a lot of improvements on trimming and throwing. Randomly trimming clicked with me today. I am not saying it looked great it just finally started making sense. Also threw a bunch of bowls and for some reason that was also flowing very well. Maybe it was my late night coffee run that hyped me up.
With all these words I just splattered I made it to 200!
I have one more testing I want to accomplish this semester before I start glazing final pieces for this semester. I have had a lot of different failures, experiments that I just did not like the outcome and a couple I did like. My goal for my final critique is to have a few pieces that demonstrate the more successful experiments.
One thing I have learned is that for cone 6 to work well it needs to be double dipped. Anytime I only dip once it shows all glaze flaws. I have also noticed that compared to cone 10 you do not have to whip the glaze up as far on the base.
I made two types of clay bodies last week and I did not like the clay body I added red art. It has a very dual look and a rough texture. I am really enjoying the orange clay body. I really like throwing with it and it is also enjoyable to hand build with.
Two pieces I really liked from my last cone 6 firing are two whiskey vessels. I have learned that I really like the stain in cone 6 and it looks nice on the orange clay body. I am creating a texture on the bottom of the vessels that look like rocks corraded by waterfalls.
Last week I focused a lot of making things for more cone 6 glaze tests and I plan to mix more glazes tomorrow and Wednesday and then start a cone 6 kiln on Thursday. I feel like the end of the semester is creeping up so fast and I am not as far along as I wish. But I feel that is a constant feeling each semester.
One of my favorite things about last week was helping Abby with the cone 10 soda kiln. I helped load the kiln, made mistakes one loading, had to help reload and then I helped spray soda and close the kiln down. I really enjoyed the process and have been researching about firing a cone 6 soda. I really like the oranges that can come from a cone 6. I believe that Abby and I plan to both make a bunch of stuff and either fire one before the semesters is over or over the winter break. I think it will probably be more likely to happen over the winter break. I think that what draws me to soda firing is the process. I find it more interesting and less stressful than the wood kiln even though I really enjoy that the wood ash is what glazes the pieces.
Last week I spent a lot of time trying to research clay bodies and recipes. I made an orange cone 6 clay body and I plan to make a red cone 6 clay body tomorrow. The orange clay body is made up of only three materials, which I find interesting. The feeling of the clay is very nice and throws like butter. I can not tell if I like how it throws yet, but I do enjoy how smooth the clay body looks. The recipe did not call for grog, and after talking to Lalana about clay bodies I realized I should have added some grog. I have also discovered a couple base glazes I want to experiment with. What I have been working on this semester I can see continuing into my next semester. I have been sketching and writing down notes for future cone 6 plans.
I am very intrigued by domestic environments and I really want to make items found in a kitchen, potted plants, hanging plants, fruit holders, colanders, spoons, mixing bowls etc. I have also been thinking about making bird feeders and houses because seeing those outside of my kitchen window has always given me a homey feeling.
This week I have been researching a lot about hand built items and about a darker cone 6 clay body. I feel like I can reach my desired glaze colors with a darker clay body. The reason I think this is that I liked my glazes on the Bede Clark Clay than the White Stoneware. I plan to make more test tiles and start experimenting with the mason stains. I think that they will give me more of the colors I am going for, but it also might be a lot brighter than I desire. I plan to work on mixing glazes over Christmas break as well because I do not think I will reach my desired colors by the end of this semester.
I have been playing around with hand building everything just to see if I enjoy being able to see my hand in my work. I can not tell if I do yet, I think it will be something I know I truly like after it is glazed fired. This semester has felt like a huge experiment, which I have fully enjoyed and have felt that since I have just been trying everything that comes to mind I have learned a lot of things I would not have if I would have stuck to what I know, or what is offered through the program. <——-This here is the worlds worst run on sentence, you are welcome!
Last week was filled with having my show opening and critiques on my show. Overall, Kacey and I felt like the show went well. We had fun taking pictures inside of our installation after it was over. There were a few great suggestions on my show that I plan to apply to future installations. One thing I learned this show is that I need to start now on my Spacelab show for next semester. I need plenty of time for pieces to fail and to be remade.
I have learned via Space Lab shows how much I dislike painting. When I was a child I could not wait until I was old enough to paint. I needed to have higher expectations for myself apparently.
I have my BFA critique tomorrow and I am hoping my kiln fires off in time and if it does something inside looks presentable. The one drawback of doing so much experimentation this semester is that I am constantly unsure anything is going to look okay, but that is also the part that makes this method fun.
I plan to over the weekend go explore my parent’s property to photograph textures and bring back items I can texture my clay with. I also want to explore mixing in clay found on my parent’s property.