Ceramics: Week 1
8/26 & 8/28
Monday was just the long syllabus day so not much to say there. I’m in group 2 now with like 3 other people and we’re expected to basically make double the pieces required by group 1. Not a big deal. Wednesday I think that’s when Brian showed off a small percentage of his massive mug collection as handle examples. Then he did a handle demo which I was so grateful for because I’ve been wanting one for a couple of semesters. I had watched a couple on YouTube back in the day, but it was helpful seeing it in person.
I think we started throwing on Wednesday too and I was kind of bummed that I didn’t get the wheel that’s propped up on bricks since I find it so much easier to throw on that one. I had some trouble falling back into the throwing routine, but I did get like 3 pieces thrown. I quickly learned my 2-2.5 lbs balls were far too big for mugs so I cut the ones I had in half to use those. Although my first big boy mug shape could be like a mug/bowl thing I suppose.
Published 09/01/19 8:45:58
Ceramics: Week 2
9/2 & 9/4
Labor day was Monday so no class then obviously.
Wednesday unfortunately was the worst day I have had in a while. My CGT capstone classes at Purdue have started and I was so upset at not being able to work on what I wanted and it just seemed like luck was NOT on my side. By the time I got to class, I was short-tempered and annoyed with everything and that definitely reflected in my throwing work. I could not center anything properly, and every single ball of clay I had to throw with got ripped off the damn wheel. To top it off, 2 out of the 3 pieces I had thrown a week earlier had cracks in the bottom so big I could see through it so that was a bummer.
I ended up abandoning the wheel and attempting to put a handle on that big boy mug from last week (the only one that survived). It was a terrible attempt. I think that the clay that I’m using, the equal parts porcelain I mixed at the beginning of the summer, simply doesn’t have enough grit in it to make a sturdy handle. I ended up warping the piece trying to put the handle on because it wasn’t quite dry as I thought it was, and I even used some tools to prop up the handle so it would shape how I wanted it to.
I fully expect that handle to be a disaster when I see it again on Monday. Let’s hope next week is better.
Published 09/06/19 11:39:29
Ceramics: Week 3
9/9 & 9/11
OKAY *throws both arms straight up* MONDAY WAS A TRIUMPH. I’m making a note here, HUGE SUCCESS. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction. APERTURE SCIENCE.
Okay portal references aside, Monday finally made up for my absolute failure of throwing last week and my even sadder attempt throwing Saturday (I don’t wanna talk to about it.) I got to the studio at 4:20pm (blaze it) and threw on the wheel right up until Brian started class. After a short, but pretty cool video he let us go and I surprised myself by continuing to throw (my iced coffee had worn off and I was hella tired).
This second bit was a little less successful as I did have 2 pieces that I had to rip off and toss out, but overall I threw like 8 pieces. I was annoyed that those 2 ones that I messed up stopped me from throwing the 10 I need for my project, but I wrapped my pieces up tight so hopefully the last 2 I throw this Wednesday will even up with the dryness levels of the ones I already have. I’m trying to get 5 pieces with nearly straight walls and 5 others with a more curvy wall.
I’m not 100% sure how I want to decorate these though. I was thinking of putting some of my colored slip into my little precision applicator thingy and making raised patterns that way. I thought that the ones Bridget did last semester that way were really good. By the way, where did Bridget go?
Anyways, my other idea was to use really thick slip has a raised decoration. I’ve seen a technique online where you let a big scoop of slip dry on a vessel after running objects through it to get some interesting textures so I think I’ll do that.
Published 09/12/19 01:15:29
Ceramics: Week 4
9/16 & 9/18
Okay so Friday night I worked until like 4:30am and I STILL DIDN’T FINISH MY PROJECT. I worked like I don’t even remember, 4-6 hours?, and I still didn’t get nearly as much done as I wanted. I did get the chance to talk to this Sky girl who is in Sydney’s class and that was nice, but I went into Monday stressed because I knew technically the greenware is supposed to be done by class then but that didn’t happen.
I got to class about an hour early thinking I’d get so much done before class started, but I just barely had enough time to set up, roll out a slab, and cut the 5 square handles from it before class started. And then with the greenware crit (that always takes twice as long as it’s supposed to) and Brian’s goblet stem throwing demo, we only got like 45 minutes of class to actually work unfortunately. Kind of wish those 2 had been done on different days, although I will admit that throwing demo was very handy.
I ended up staying after class until 1:30am working and I STILL DIDN’T FINISH MY PROJECT. Am I just a slow as fuck worker or what? I did completely finish putting all handles and feet on all of my pots, but besides the one piece I decorated Friday night none of them are even decorated. I’m gonna have to finish them on Wednesday and either start the goblets Friday or during next Monday’s class. As someone who is usually way ahead of due dates in this class, being behind has got me stressed out. Please don’t fail me, Brian. 😀
Anyways, I decided to put cut circles into those square handles and attach them to that mugs with straight up walls. Those pieces got square feet. The curved pieces all have pulled handles and circular feet. I’m gonna do my slip trailing decoration on the curved pieces in just slip the same body as what they’re thrown from. For the square pieces (which is what I’m calling them), I’m gonna do the lines with black slip and keep them straight. Then I’m gonna fill the lines with different colors like stained glass. It’ll probably turn out worse than I want, but I like the idea and at least want to try it.
Incredibly enough, even working for 6 damn hours I still didn’t quite finish my project. I added all my slip decorations to all but one pieces, but I still had smoothing and finishing to do on all of them. I ended up going brain dead and just chugging through it. I even stayed so late (early?) that the damn janitor showed up for an early morning clean. Awkward. But luckily I managed to take a break and practice throw stems for the goblet project. It did not go well. I didn’t get a single piece I could use, which was incredibly frustrating, but whatever at least I have practice now.
Published 09/19/19 04:58:12
Ceramics: Week 5
9/23 & 9/25
So Monday I originally was going to start throw my goblets, but the wheel that I like to use (because it doesn’t totally obliterate my back) was taken. So instead I finally did the finishing touches on my mugs and surprisingly it took the entire class time. I had one mug that had barely been started, but the rest were done and just needed smoothing out.
Wednesday I threw the pieces for 4 out of my 10 goblets. The stems proved far more difficult to throw than the cups. I did end up throwing several small cups that I liked so much I was kind of bummed I had to connect them to the stem because I just wanted to use them as a regular mug or something.
Thursday night was when I really got stuff done. I went ahead and threw the rest of my entire project, putting the pieces in front of a fan as I threw them. I was doing pretty good about taking them off of the throwing bats and putting them onto my wood board covered in newspaper so that the bottoms could dry enough until I finally had to rip one piece from the wheel and that became the odd man out. I had to go and wedge just one more ball of clay and I think it threw off my “half disassociating, half concentrating” brain mode and I got off rhythm. That cup went straight from the throwing bat to being joined to the stem and the bottom proved just too thin and wet to things easy on me. I’ve gotten a lot better about throwing thicker bottoms to my pieces, but this one was just being a jerk.
Once I went through and trimmed all of the stems and all of the cups, figuring out which pieces to join to which was by far the hardest part. I probably spent 30 mins just testing out each cup with each stem and getting conflicted over and over. But it was like 4am at this point so I really needed to decide and get my stuff done. I got that odd man joined to its’ stem, but I fully expect it to be busted through the bottom of the cup by Monday.
Ceramics: Week 6
9/30 & 10/02
It’s a miracle, that one bad goblet wasn’t on my board with its’ bottom blown out when I got to class yay! I went ahead and started on my Greek God/Goddess theme idea that my sister suggested by getting out my list of names I wanted and getting them on the goblets. The Gods I’ve chosen for this are gonna be Zeus, Hera, Hades, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Poseidon, Persephone, and Hestia. Putting those paper letters on my pieces are entire process on their own.
So first you gotta wet the piece, dip the letter-shaped piece of paper in water and try to stick it to clay. It usually doesn’t stick once it starts to dry so originally I was using my stick pins to keep them on like I do when I’m tracing my sketches for sgraffito on pieces. But that was annoying me and frankly confusing me. My OCD kicked in hard trying to get these pieces to all look level and spaced out right and not weird and the pins were making it worse so I finally started just kind of pushing them into the clay body with my thumb. That led me to taking the smooth, metal butt head of my needle tool, wetting it, and rolling it along the sides of the letters in order to get it kind of embedded into the clay. This also is gonna give me nice smooth edges (hopefully) when I paint over them later. I didn’t think it’d take me the entire class to do this, but unfortunately it did. Hopefully I can get at least half of them both layed out and decorated before my usual extra time on Thursday. Also both me and my sister really, really want one of the mugs to be for Persephone (because she’s the goddess of the underworld why wouldn’t we?) but her name is so long it wraps around the entire mug. I’m hoping it won’t be too much of a problem, so we shall see.
Wednesday, I just put the other half of my letters on using this same technique. Since I had just a little extra time at the end, I brought up wanting to put a small layer of plaster into my wet box and luckily he had time to show me how to do it. It was actually kind of fun mixing up the plaster for it, even though you gotta be real careful about wear that stuff gets. I’ve been thinking about doing a casting project if allowed if I can do ceramics my last semester of college so it was a helpful learning moment. I left the wet box with the wet plaster on a shelf overnight to let it dry.
During my extra time on Thursday, after going back and forth in my brain for a while, I finally decided to just get the base colors of my goblets done and finish the details next week. I had a lot of stuff to do Friday and I couldn’t spend my usual 7+ hours in the studio since I had to get up early, but I was pleased with the amount of work that I got done. I also barely remembered to organize my sketch pages so I’ll put those below. I’m probably gonna have to find a happy medium between flat out tracing my sketches (probably for the more complicated ones) and just looking at my sketch as I’m painting stuff on. We shall see.
Also, I have an entire page detailing how I’m gonna decorate each goblet but since my hand-writing sucks and I don’t know if it’s for a grade or not I though I’d type it up here.
- Zeus (God of the sky, thunderstorms)
- Colors: brown stem, blue cup with green underside.
- Imagery: oak bark on stem, clouds, and lightning on cup.
- Hera (Goddess of marriage, children, the home, heavens)
- Colors: peacock colors-blues with green feathers.
- Imagery: feathers, lotus staff, pomegranate, female body, babies.
- Hades (God of the underworld, earth, riches)
- Colors: red base with orange and yellow flames.
- Imagery: Snakes, skulls, cerberus.
- Persephone (Goddess of the underworld, spring)
- Colors: yellow base with red and orange flames.
- Imagery: torches, bats, daisy.
- Poseidon (God of the sea, islands)
- Colors: shades of blue, green, some purple.
- Imagery: islands, trident, fish, ash leaves.
- Athena (Goddess of war, wisdom)
- Colors: shades of green.
- Imagery: olive branch, owl, swords, spears.
- Apollo (God of music, civilization, archery, the sun)
- Colors: yellow, silver.
- Imagery: lyre, bows, arrows, music notes.
- Aphrodite (Goddess of love, beauty)
- Colors: pink to red.
- Imagery: doves, hearts, roses, seashells.
- Hermes (God of astronomy and literature)
- Colors: black with blues, purple, pinks, white.
- Imagery: planets, stars, lines of writing.
- Hestia (Goddess of home, hearth, fire)
- Colors: turquoise cup, red, orange, and yellow.
- Imagery: fire hearth, homes.
Published 10/07/19 06:04:15
Ceramics: Week 7
10/7 & 10/9
Monday, I unfortunately had an unexpected urgent care trip so I couldn’t go to class. Bummer too, because I think Brian was gonna do some more demos and those are always helpful. Also, I suddenly just remembered I haven’t clear glazed my mugs and glaze fired them. I should probably do that.
Wednesday, I had absolutely no motivation to do anything so I only got the Zeus cup totally done. I added my clouds, the lightning, and the ‘bark’ decoration on the stem as well. I think it kind of looks childish, but Sky said I was being too harsh on myself so we shall see once it’s fired.
For my extra time on Thursday night, I managed to get the rest of my pieces carved up with my sketches. I got the paper letters off too, only to find some sticky residue underneath like the top layer of paper. I swear if those letters have been stickers this entire time I will be so pissed because that would have made it so much easier, but they absolutely do not look like stickers nor are set up on their packaging as stickers so grrrr. I unfortunately had to go back Friday night too to finish up by adding all of my slip trailing decorations. I basically just went back through my carved sketches with the black to make them more pronounced. Also I am still a whole dang week behind so I refuse to do such detailed stuff on my pieces again this is getting ridiculous.
Speaking of next project, it’s the thrown/altered project and I immediately knew what I wanted to do when he said this was going to be our third project. I want to try throwing a larger bowl, since I’m trying to practice throwing larger pieces anyways, and then carve designs all the way through the walls of the bowl. It could only be used as like a fruit bowl or a decoration or something, but I’ve seen so many examples of this technique and I really love it and want to try it.
Brian wasn’t as excited at this idea. He apparently wants us to have to slip/score something onto our original thrown piece so he had the idea for me to throw 2 medium pieces and then join them together to make that bigger thrown piece that I can’t ever get on my own. I am absolutely terrified to even try this method. I’ve seen it done online, but it’s always seemed so crazy advanced for me. We shall see next week. Here are some reference images I’m getting some inspiration from. These are pieces from a ceramic artist I follow on Instagram named Megan Cassidy. I absolutely love her carved pieces and have been hella inspired by her work. Her Instagram.
Published 10/12/19 02:30:19
Ceramics: Week 8
10/14 & 10/17
Monday, I finally started throwing my thrown and altered project. I was amazed that my first piece (technically two thrown pieces) were centered rather easily, only to then completely mess up the other piece because I could not get it centered for the life of anything.
While I was waiting for those pieces to dry, I finally finished my god forsaken final 3 goblets and go those on my shelf to dry. Then, it was time to join my pieces. The moment I flipped that first one upside down to join them I was like, “This is going to be a disaster.” But somehow, by the grace of everything that is holy, I not only managed to join them successfully, but you can even really see the seam either. The other attempt, not so pretty. Let’s forget about that one for now.
Wednesday I did ask Brian if we were going to have class since the water was still out at IUS, but it didn’t matter anyways because MY BRAKES WENT OUT WHILE I WAS DRIVING. I have never been that scared in my life. Luckily I wasn’t going fast so I was able to steer off of the main road and pull the emergency brake. So obviously, dealing with towing my car to the shop and waiting for my mom to get off work to pick me up from said shop meant I didn’t get home to read his “no, we’re having class today still” response until class was nearly over. And I kind of had been wanting to finish throwing my project that week so I could spend all of next week decorating, but Jesus doesn’t like me that much so.
Published 10/19/19 04:23:19
Ceramics: Week 8
10/21 & 10/23
Monday was fall break so no classes of course.
Wednesday continued the curse of not being able to center larger amounts of clay for me. I tried reducing my amount from 3lbs balls to 2.5lbs balls, but it didn’t do much to help. I did however managed to successfully join those two pieces as well. It was then I kind of realized that the hardest part of this new technique I’m trying isn’t necessarily the joining part, it’s the centering/throwing larger balls of clay part. Go figure.
Since both pieces from Wednesday were successful, I went ahead and scrapped that terrible one from last Monday. It had only dried a tiny bit, but it looked like the clay body had shrunk enough for me to see the seam a lot so I don’t even think it would have survived the kiln.
Miraculously, I now have 3 pieces to try this carving into the wall technique thing on. I only planned to do two, so I’m glad I have a piece in case (aka when I inevitably) fuck up on one of them. I’m going to come back Thursday night and start the carving, but my favorite piece is the most dry so I feel like I should start there, but I’m also scared that my first attempt is going to be bad and I really don’t want that pieces to be the one I mess up on. Let’s hope.
So my extra time Thursday night was an ORDEAL. Although I know I’ve done it before, trying to trace my design onto my piece was insane since I was doing it around a curse. And me suddenly remembering how to successfully do so (whilst lying in bed that night) after I failed miserably didn’t help.
After this terrible event, actually cutting through the clay body ended up with me inadvertently putting too much pressure on the top ‘rim’ of the bowl, causing it break away. I frantically tried to slip them back together, and although when I left that night everything was connected I’m not sure how it’ll hold up. I forgot to take pics of it that night so I’ll come back next week and add those. I didn’t end up doing all around the bowl like I thought I was going to because once it started breaking I was worried about structural integrity. I figured if I did the whole thing, even trying to move it into the kiln would cause it to snap so. I don’t mind not having the pattern cut all the way through, it was just different than I had planned.
Next week, I’ll hopefully finish the cutting for the other piece. And since I REALLY don’t want to be behind on this goddamn project as well, I will be staying as late as I need to get this shit done.
Published 10/27/19 09:15:29
Ceramics: Week 9
10/28 & 10/30
Monday, my team leader for my Purdue capstone class decided to schedule a client meeting during ceramics class, even though I told her specifically not to do that. So yeah that happened and I had to miss class. Which was incredibly frustrating since I’m pretty sure we’re not going to be able to work at in class Wednesday since everyone has to show their studio potter article thing so yay for that *sarcasm*.
Wednesday, I did most of the cutting for my joined pieces. The second piece was considerably more challenging than the first with the smaller pieces to cut. I also traced my sketch too low on the piece so the bottom pieces are partially into the foot of the piece which made them a nightmare to cut out from the piece. I’ll be making a note of that one for the next time.
Meanwhile, I did my sketches over the weekend. My article/inspiration is coming from the artist Shoko Teruyama. I’ve been wanting to do another take on my mandala art and I want to recreate some with tips from her sgraffito works she does. She doesn’t have EXACTLY how she gets her unique coloring anywhere I could find, but her work is incredibly detailed and I love it. Another aspect of it I want to do is instead of creating perfectly circular plates, I want the plates to be the shape of the actual mandala to add some variation. Let’s just hope my OCD will let me. Also, I have 5 sketches ready but it remains to be seen just how many of them I’ll do.
Published 10/30/19 04:02:49
Ceramics: Week 10
11/4 & 11/6
Monday, it took me a lot longer than anticipated to start my final. I rolled out my slabs and cut their circles out using a plaster mold for a bowl that is exactly 7in in diameter. My OCD kicked in hard and I spent most of the class smoothing out and perfecting the slabs. I was presented with a little of a problem trying to put the disks into my wetbox. I really wanted them both in there, but I still had the extra 3rd piece from my last project chilling in there so there wasn’t a lot of room. After Brian suggested some kind of stilts, I brilliantly used 4 of my little plastic containers of slip as slits on the corners of one of the really small, square bats and it worked perfectly. As long as I didn’t tilt the box too much…Other than that, I just smoothed out my second carved piece and got that set aside to dry.
Wednesday, I let my disks dry just a tad bit more before I put the black slip on the surface. Meanwhile, I finally got around to clear glazing my entire first half of my work for the semester all at once. It was like 20 pieces though so it took most of my time. I spent a good chunk of time triple checking that the clear glaze wasn’t too thick, as it often is, so that I wouldn’t lose any detail by it clouding up and stuff.
Other than that, I just painted my disks with my black slip and let those dry so I could come back Thursday and start working on my details.
Published 11/08/19 09:28:29
Ceramics: Week 11
11/11 & 11/14
Monday, I went back and refined some of my details on my disk after carving them Thursday night. I really wanted to keep my design this nice matte black I managed to get even though it doesn’t quite match up to what I had in mind. I just really liked the way they looked and didn’t want to mess them up.
Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see my “kiln Christmas” if you will. My goblets came out really good! I was at first bummed that out of all of them, like the only one that did the pin-holing thing at all was the Hades goblet which is my favorite one! But Sky insisted that it kind of goes with the whole “underworld” feel that Hades has going to I’m starting to get used to that. It must be that red slip that I have also because on my “circus” mugs the red on those did the exact same thing. Some of the slip on those came out really transparent which is really weird because I know I did 3 layers if not 4 of my slip, but oh well. Most of my goblets did have some big cracks underneath at the very bottom of the stem, but I wasn’t super surprised since it’s just so thick there.
On Wednesday, I clear glazed my two piece from the thrown and altered project. Luckily nothing broke or snapped during bisque firing so I’m assuming they’ll survive the glaze firing too. The clear glaze was a little tiny bit thicker for the second piece I carved, but also I kind of feel like it needs it. Sky and I spent quite a bit of time in the SpaceLab show since Mandi, Sam, and believe Mel were all in there and it was absolutely stunning.
Published 11/16/19 01:56:43
Ceramics: Week 12
11/18 & 11/20
Monday, I didn’t have any more stuff to work on nor did I have the time to start another disks so I’m definitely glad I kept that extra piece from the thrown and altered project. I kind of wanted to make more disks, but I knew if I did I would have had to do 2 more to have 4 since my OCD doesn’t like 3’s and I knew I didn’t have enough time. Those disks each took me about 6-7 hours a piece to do in total.
So instead on Monday, I went back and traced a design I already had on paper onto that extra piece and started tracing. I immediately knew that I had my work cut out for me since the walls of that particular piece were just so dang thick I knew my exacto knife would have trouble going all the way thorough it. I got the entire thing carved on Monday, but I did the same thing where some of my design went into the foot and that was a disaster. The foot on this piece is really, really thick so trying to get those out was an absolute nightmare. I also had some pieces breaking off like it did with the other two pieces and I even noticed that the entire piece was slouching over. That surprised me cause that piece had been sitting my wetbox for like 3 weeks and was nice and leather hard.
Wednesday, I dedicated the whole class to just cleaning up this pieces. I was constantly jumping around from one tool to another trying to get it all smoothed out and the amount of corners and edges made it pretty difficult. I took some of my really thick slip from the lid of my slip container to both add some structural integrity where it needed as well as to fill in any holes I had. It would have been a lot easier if my dumbass had put the fucking lid on my wetbox before I left. I had the piece in the box with the lid just like turned the other direction and not latched closed while I was cleaning up with the intention of closing it before I left. But I totally forgot. I came in Wednesday to the piece basically bone dry. I think the constant draft in the hallway combined with the fact that the piece (obviously) has tons of holes that let air through made it dry way too much in only a day.
Because of that, I think I’m just gonna scrap this piece unfortunately. I did like the design I did, but it just still looked so slumped over and sad even after nearing 3 hours of cleaning it up. I put it on the bisque shelf regardless just to see how it does, or if it even survives, and if it does I probably will clear glaze it just to give it the benefit of the doubt. We shall see.
On another note, both Brian and Sydney encouraged me to put my goblets into the student show so I finally took their advice and did. I only put in the Hades, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Poseidon goblets and I felt kind of good about it…until I walked into the Barr gallery and saw all of the pieces. I have no chance, but hey at least I can say I put something up for contemplation at least haha.
I came in Thursday to use the photo light-box to take pictures of not only those goblets before I put them in the show, but to take pictures of all of my work. I was originally going to do that at the Purdue light-box since it’s a whole big, professional thing, but not only did I not want to haul my pieces back and forth but also I needed a rotating bat thing to rotate my pieces on in order to take pictures all the way around them so.
Published 11/22/19 05:48:12