It’s still pretty early on in our semester and as a result there isn’t an incredible amount of earth-shattering, in progress work coming out of my studio just yet. Shocking, I know, but don’t go getting all up in arms about it! I’m not being lazy or anything, but I’m not ready to present my new creations to my wonderfully inquisitive readers yet. And let’s be real… there will be plenty of time to talk about current, in-progress work, because there is nothing fast about working with clay.
So, in order to keep things in chronological order, I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at a piece that I did last semester in the studio to showcase some of things you can accomplish if you were to take a course or two in our department. Get your wheels turning, you know… Ha! Get it? Wheel… like the potter’s wheel?
Anyway, I do consider myself more of a potter than a sculptor at this point in my ceramics endeavors, but I love combining sculptural elements into my utilitarian vessels. Who says something cannot be both functional and art? The piece I mentioned before I was particularly proud of because it was a large scale piece inspired by some miniature candlesticks I created. (Funny how one extreme directly inspired the other.) I have always wanted to push the size envelope and test how much I can manipulate this medium structurally, and that’s exactly what I set out to do.
I started by creating a large bowl for the base of the piece, and intended to build up as the walls hardened and became more sturdy. I had to try this part at least three times. I would get a little too eager to add a coil to the walls of the bowl, and when I did, the piece would collapse along with my heart. Still, practice makes perfect and with some help from Matt Povse, my professor, I continued to throw coils onto my piece when the subsequent one was dry enough to withstand the new weight.
It was a challenge, especially because I changed the diameter of the coils so drastically and so quickly throughout building the piece upward, but I ended up with a piece I was pretty satisfied with. I even added a few surface embellishments to see how the glaze would respond differently in those areas. Here’s a little taste of what the process looked like!
Like I said, after seeing this project through to the end, I am pretty happy with the results, but I think I want to work a little more on my proportions. I like the way the project evolved into its own, but I’d like to see what other things I can do to control the outcome just a touch more. I’d also like to experiment with some more intricate surface treatments, keeping in mind that surface treatment may detract from an elegant form. Still, another glaze may be more successful in hugging to the curves of the piece and highlighting areas that are particularly beautiful to me. I definitely want to continue to push the size envelope, so I’ll just have to play more. Lucky me!
I’ll keep you posted!