Week 14

My past few weeks have been really busy at school. We recently fired the wood kiln as well as the soda kiln, Both firings I helped out with. I've enjoyed taking on more responsibilities with kilns and trying to understand the process better. I can tell I have a better understanding of kilns thanks to my classmate Abby. Abby is graduating this semester and I helped her with her thesis show a long with a few of my other friends. While I am very happy with where my friends are headed in life I am going to miss them my last year at IUS. 

I have been fooling around with a lot of new ideas. I am trying out a combo of sculpting and drawing. I have always enjoyed quick sketches and I really like how stain and the soda kiln react. The drippiness adds to my narrative of each piece. This semester has made me ponder if I really want to continue cone 6 or if I want to do a combination of both atmospheric and oxidation firings. I have so many ideas with no near sign of coming up with a conclusion. 

Week 11

This past week has been fun for me because I have made everything I need for my ceramic class so now I am just working on new ideas. I am starting to fool around with this idea that I sketch people’s personalities on a set of dinnerware that is specific to one person. Everything in that set would correlate with the user and once each set was compiled onto a table it would demonstrate the unity of meals. Right now, I have a set about my dad and I am working on one that relates to my youngest brothers. The ones I am creating are mockup ideas.

This weekend is going to be crazy because I am helping fire the wood kiln as well as firing the soda with Abby. I want to learn how to fire the soda kiln before she leaves because I can see my work benefiting from an atmospheric firing down the road. I also really enjoy the process of soda firing.

Documenting my work has always been something that I have battled. I know that as an artist I need to document my work but studio photography has never interested me. I also think that my pieces look drabby when photographed in a studio. So, last week I experimented with taking photos of my family interacting with my work and I am really enjoying the outcome.

Week 10

My spring break was interesting. Normally I try and take some time to relax but I spent my break making new things for my SpaceLab show and firing a saggar with Brooklin as well as a soda and cone 6. Out of each of these firings a got multiple new items to put into my show. I mixed my new items with a few of my old items to create a domestic room. The idea of this piece is to address my childhood table conversations and the combination of two environments that comfort me (nature and home.) From experimenting with this concept, I have created some new ways I want to approach my work. I am fascinated with the idea of drawing on ceramics and I either one to start doing a Mishima method or using underglaze pencils. Another project I want to do over the summer is make a pit firing. I think it would be something I could see myself using down the road to create center pieces like the one I have in my show. I also think it would be up my alley to explore naturally ways to color my pots. I know that certain weeds make different unique colors. I am excited for my new ideas.

Week 9

Last week I went to NCECA in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. It was an interesting adventure and a good bonding experience. Abby and I drove down to Pittsburgh together and we stuck together throughout the week. Together we made one person and were able to navigate and plan our days out. While during the week I missed making things in my studio I also enjoyed getting a break and visiting galleries and getting inspiration for my work. My favorite gallery was located at Carrie Furnace which is a former blast furnace that is now a national historic monument. The work that was displayed there showed that the artists considered the environment. It really made me think about my ceramics and how I want to display my pieces in a more natural environment. Another one that I really enjoyed was a gallery created inside of an actual mattress store. The artists used the display beds as pedestals. I really enjoy seeing unique ways to display artwork while I am at NCECA. Fun fact while at Standards a woman backed her vehicle up into me while I was not paying attention. It did not hurt too bad, it was funnier that someone knowingly hit me and then drove off. 

Week 8

For the last week, I have drunk so much coffee and had zero time to stop and enjoy life that I neither know if I am alive or dead. Hopefully after my BFA critique and my art history paper is written I can stop and enjoy my trip to NCECA and Spring Break.

I have been working a lot in the studio lately and getting a lot done but I am stuck in a limbo because I don’t feel encouraged or enthused about anything. I am very jealous of students who are confident in themselves and it does not matter what others think. I feel like I make steps towards something I think will be a style I could grow on and then enough people tell me they don’t like it so I move onto something else. I am getting nervous that next semester starts my senior year and I still have not made anything I would make repeatedly because people “love” it.

The only rad thing about this week is that I almost fired lil eddie alone and I bought a sand blaster. I used it on a few pieces and enjoy how it mutes my glazes. I want to experiment more with sand blasting, but I learned that it can be expensive.

Week 7

 

I have been working a lot on things for my BFA critique and trying to figure out what I want to make and show for it. I went to Mud Works for my birthday and got some new tools that have been very helpful for my new hand-building experimentation. I have a new banding wheel, shredder and carving tools. The banding wheel makes coil building a lot more smoothly. The shredder also makes smoothing out my hand built items a lot easier and helps take down the piece’s weight.

I was able to fire a sagger firing last week and I was able to pull my mushrooms, acorns and pinecones out of the sagger today. They turned out all pretty crusty and rusty looking. The experience is a lot more interesting to me that the outcome. Sagger and pit firing are methods I think that a person must tweak until something remotely interesting to come out of it. Thus, far soda firing has created my favorite atmospheric look. A lot of the others are really dry and dull. Though the most interesting thing about sagger firing is how garbage food and things like salt can create different atmospheres on each pot.

Week 6

Last week was crammed packed with demos. All the advanced students were assigned to present a demo and mine was today. While I felt like my demo was really lame and something most people can grasp on their own it was still good to get up in front of people and demo. Even though I look around at my classmates and see faces who could care less and are bored I know that it is an exercise that will benefit me down the road. 

Another demo that happened last week was Link (the owner of Mud Works) came to IUS to demonstrate how to replace the elements in an electric kiln. This demo was very helpful and interesting to me since I one day plan to own an electric kiln. The job was nothing how I pictured it but after watching most of the demo everything started making more sense on how kilns operate. 

I have been really busy hand-building sets lately. I have an oil and bread set almost done. In the set, there will be four garlic grater and oil dishes, a pitcher for the oil and a dish for the bread. After this, I plan to make a lemonade set, a wine set and dip and chip set. 

Week 5

Today I worked on the sagger kiln a little and had my progress critique and received some helpful feedback. Somedays I really loath critiques and feel like they are wasteful, but then randomly I am reminded of why critiques are very important. Critiques help you step back from your work and see it from another set of eyes, it helps you work through internal thoughts about your work and it offers new ideas to apply to future projects. Critiques also help you consider if one persons dislikes is another person's favorite element.  One conversation my class had about my work is that my work that is handbuilt and thrown feels unresolved but my newer hand built pieces seem to interact with one another more successfully. After the conversation, I was thinking about how I wanted to push my work and something I am interested in exploring is making sets. So for an example, if I made I made a juicing set I could handbuilt each piece and then embellish all with a rhino beetle. I want inconstancy to be a huge part of my work, but I want the pieces to flow. Like nature I want each individual piece to come together and create something beautiful. 

Week 4

Last week has been fun and filled with exploring new ideas. We worked as a class to build most of the pit firing kiln. It was oddly fun making all the bricks fit and filling the cracks with clay so that the bricks fit tighter. I have always enjoyed puzzles which is probably why I enjoyed this process. Even though out of all the kilns this one is the simplest to build it still has been interesting to learn how to build it. We have not finished building it yet but plan to finish up the kiln and fire it sometime in the next two weeks. I really can't wait to see how the firing looks. 

I took a lot of work home last week to work through some new ideas. I am exploring more with sculpting onto the vessels. I am trying to see if I think that if the mugs are hand built if the sculpted items are delicate if it looks better than applying a chunkier sculpture. I also am playing around with insects on my pieces. I have begun also working on wall hangings for dried flowers. I am making the vessels in sets of three to be hung together on a wall. 

Week 3

I have been busy last work working on items for the sagger firing. I have been having issues with the clay not working well with hand building, especially the terracotta. During my meeting with Lindsey Dezman on Wednesday, she mentioned why not trying to make ceramic baskets. I really liked this idea and even thought about designing them in a fashion where I can weave with reed.  Like I was thinking about weaving the basket handles with reed.  I have also been thinking about pushing my sculpture elements on my pieces. And how to alter my pieces in the wheel to better benefit anything I sculpt onto the surface. I was thinking about how if I flattened a side of an object or dented it in it could give me an interesting surface to add to. I made a rough idea of what I am envisioning with one of the pictured mugs below. I was thinking about applying this idea to mixing bowls, fruit bowls, vases and much much more. I am in this weird area where I can't decide what I like working better with, sculpting onto functional items or applying natural textures in unique manners. I am leaning towards finding a way for this to successful be joined. I was thinking about how I could apply the texture to the mugs and then have these sculpted elements interacting.  

Week 2

This week I have been working on making items for the Sagger Firing. I have decided to make items found in nature and place them into thrown bowls. I have thus far made some pinecones, acorns, and mushrooms. I am trying to decide if I want to Sagger Fire the bowls these pieces will be placed in or if I want to wood fire or cone 6 fire them. I am trying to decide what esthetic I am going for. I think I am interested in exploring a rustic playful look for these centerpieces. I have been thinking more about ceramic centerpieces and I was thinking about making pots with ceramic succulents in them and vases with ceramic flowers in them. I think that this look could compliment my style and be a unique mixture of playful and natural. 

This week I have realized how drawn I am to the texture a pinecone can create. I took one of the pinecone scales and used it to create the texture on top of one of my acorns. It gave it a very earthy look. I plan to start going on hikes and finding new items to help texture clay. I have been using shells that I have found on past vacations and it has been creating really interesting textures onto mugs. 

Week One (Spring Semester)

The first week of the spring semester had been filled with a lot of brainstorming for all of my classes. Coming into the spring semester I had a few ideas for my ceramic class that I had thought of over break. I really want to explore creating more rustic work that you can see more of my handprint. I also want to make sets of items. For an example, I would like to make lemonade making sets. In the set, there would be a lemon juicer, four "glasses" and a pitcher. I have created some rough ideas for juicers and next, I plan to throw some pitchers. 

Since this semester is focusing on atmosphere firing I have been really trying to think how this could connect with my work. As far as actual items I have come up with nothing because for my personal work I really do not like the look of atmosphere firing. But something I would be interested in trying out is sculpting items like acorns, pinecones, leaves, mushrooms etc and throwing centerpiece bowls and placing the sculpted natural item into them. 

This week I hope to begin on sculpting some pieces for the sagger firing and creating more pieces for my own personal work that I want feedback for during my BFA critique. 

Testing Cone 6 Glazes

Over my fall semester I have been working on testing cone 6 glazes. I had a lot of failures but I also made some glazes that I believe I will keep and continue to tweak. One glaze I created has a beautiful thick drip that I plan to create either a teal or light blue color with over my winter break. Testing as much as I have lately can be a let down but once you finally make one glaze that fits your style it is rewarding. 

I have also been making a lot of different hand built and thrown items for a kitchen. I am drawn to researching domestic lifestyles and creating items that compliment that. I have made some berry bowls, spoons, and cups. Over winter break I plan to make 100 more solid items before beginning my next semester. 

Below are some photos of items I made with the glazes I created applied to them.