Tumbling Down

At the semester’s onset, I was tasked with a seemingly simple first assignment – to create a set of ceramic tumblers that reflect the many characteristics of clay in its wet and leather stages. What a perfect way to segue into contemplating clay again after a long summer. Clay in its most basic wet form, rather than bisque or glazeware clay, is what inspires me to work with it, so I felt like I could come up with a really interesting set that was stripped down to its simple essentials. However, the project proved to be far more complex than I had given credence to. I really had to take time to contemplate the best way to do justice to the medium in each different state.

Luckily, after reviewing the prompts of the assignment a second and third time, the wheels began to turn and I sketched out some immediate ideas. The concept of a simple tumbler really does make a great blank canvas to try new techniques, explore, and experiment. I used this opportunity to recall the techniques I have seen some of my favorite artists employ, and try my own hand at them, and in some cases, I even allowed myself to adapt them to be more fitting within the parameters of the project and to create pieces I would be more pleased by. Slip application, inlays, and alterations, and marbling clay to create agateware were some of the techniques I relied on most heavily and were the most satisfied with. Here are some of the “final” products.

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There is so much more I want to explore within the context of clay before its first firing. If you have any suggestions or favorite techniques, please leave them in the comments section below. I hope some of my images and ideas have inspired you! Thanks for the read!

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