Wrapping up the Semester

After a lot of experimentation, I finally got the enamel to a happy place on the bottom of my sculpture. Today, I put the first layer down on the top, and it should be finished up with another day’s work.

I also fired my triaxial blend on a really nice stoney, runny base glaze using cobalt carbonate, red iron oxide, and copper carbonate.


I also tested a “lava” glaze, both with and without a black mason stain. I actually like it way more without colorant – it acted a lot different, bubbling up more without any colorant.


I also fired a few more handbuilt mugs, and they actually survived this time. I used one coat of glaze, so it didn’t crawl and so far, they don’t leak!


Cold Finishing

Most of this week was spent enameling parts of my sculptures after firing. After I finished the red enamel on the binding coils of my first sculpture, I painted a chalk black acrylic on the interior – both colors involved a ton of very, very precise detail work and a lot of layers. I’m very pleased with the result. For my critique, I showed that sculpture as well as many others at various stages of completion. The critique went very well; there was great dialogue and I left with a few juicy brain seeds.

After the critique, I started on enameling my second sculpture. I decided to leave the external coils bare, but I may buff them up with a shoe polish or wax.


This image was taken after my first layer of blue. I have since blended the outside “feathers” in a blue-black gradient and added a little white halo. Again, the enameling involves mostly very focused detail work and many layers.

I am also working toward a finished product with all of my bone casts. I have painted the fired bones with the same ultra matte chalky black, and then added a layer of polyurethane gloss to the texture on either end, which really gives a nice contrast. I am thinking about attaching the bones into a sort of DNA ladder using lengths of ribbon.

In the first image, you can see my funeral slab where bugs go to die.

That’s all for this week, mostly because I forgot to take more/better photos. Thanks for looking!


Finishing Stages!

This week, I have been working on the finishing stages – surface treatment – of my two larger bio sculptures. I’m working toward a finished product that would involve the pieces themselves, with a cold finished surface (enamels, chalk paint, and wax), and a concrete or wooden base.

I wanted to show photos of my fired butter dish, which turned out well.

I have begun working on a new finishing approach with the following “telophase” piece. I decided to use enamel paint for a glistening red, evocative of internal organs, and a contrasting black chalk paint on the interior, leaving the outside raw. I may rub some wax into the raw clay to finish it, but I do like the difference in sheen and the surface contrast that provides.



And to wrap up I’m including an image of my newest project, which melted into a puddle in my kiln after I over fired it. But, I am still really excited about it.



This past week, I have been in Portland, OR for NCECA!!!!! I also spent several extra days with my good friend from undergrad, who has family and friends in Portland. I got to explore the city, see a ton of art shows, cross a million bridges, and eat so much great food. I also spent a lot of time talking with grad school booths and had a couple of long and enlightening conversations with university professors.

I’ve included a few highlight pictures from Portland.

We got a chance to tour the Skutt factory and see the shows as well as their incredible private collection. Here is a photo of the brick room:


Emily Counts’ show at the small gallery Nationale was pretty phenomenal and gave me some ideas about incorporating textiles into my work.


Here is a sculpture by CJ Jilek at Disjecta – The Evocative Garden was a super interesting concept for a show, and this was one of the pieces that really stood out to me.

CJ Jilek

At PDX Contemporary Art, Bean Finnerman filled a room with her energetic sculptures. They remind me of Zemer Peled’s work, but taken in another direction.

FullSizeRenderBean Finnerman

This slip cast, wood fired, fire extinguisher series by Cooper Jeppesen at Blackfish was incredible. Each individual object was unique and beautiful and took on new significance as a group.


The last photo I’m including is work by Amanda Salov at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. I loved the delicacy and the shadow play that this piece created.



Sculpture in all Directions

This week, I finished the detail work on a sculpture from last week. I am really enjoying the negative space, which leaves long shadows and a hidden, cavernous feeling. Using the coiling on just selected space rather than all over was a suggestion I got over and over, and I think it is much more effective and dynamic to look at. (Also, quicker).


The rest of the week was filled with experimentation. I made a little foot (solid, and then cut and hollowed out):


I hand built a few more mugs, and am loving the gestural nature of hand built pots.


I am also working on some experiments in slip dipping. I am creating a sort of ladder/DNA strand with tied bits of rope, which will be dipped in slip and burnt out.


Making Art!

This week, I’ve been working on a new piece that started out as a base for a previous wooden sculpture, until I flipped it over and liked the negative space well enough to pursue it as a standalone sculpture. I have plans for some further detailing/coiling in the center, but I am enjoying the shadows and ridges inside.


My test tiles came out and although I like the results and complementary pairing options, I’m not so sure that this glaze has a sculptural application. More testing is in my future.


After weeks of slipcasting bones, I tried a black iron oxide wash on a bisqued bone and really like the results. The stain sticks very well in the recessed areas and does a good job of catching the details!


Finishing Stages

This week I finally finished the top of my coil sculpture, marking the end of its formative stages. Well, mostly. I am having a cracking issue that will need to be addressed with paper slip that I made today. But, other than that, it is ready for bisque and then…….glaze…………………………


I also made 14 new color variants of the tin white glaze, and 10 new color variants of Jen’s Juicy Fruit. I am awaiting the unload to see what I can use to finish up my sculptures and pots.


I have also begun making stencils for a clay piece that is going to serve as a base for a wooden sculpture that I made this summer at Penland. To me, it reads as an unfinished piece and I am excited to complete it with a clay counterpart.


Form Progression

This week I’ve been able to move into the finishing stages of two sculptures that were evading me. My 30 inch project is ready for bisque; here is a side-by-side of that alterations I made to the top/rim area. The changes look subtle, but I did add some height, alter the form, and texture the interior with slip.


Today I also finished the bottom of my larger coiled piece, which was really really fun. The top is going to be treated in a similar way.


I also finished some simple cups using the same cone 6 clay, which I intend to use with multiple glazes for some contrast.



This week has not been terribly productive. Second guessing my form and surface choices has really dammed up my flow – but the most important thing is completing them regardless.

I tested two glazes this week. One is a simple glossy opaque, which turned out really nice with copper carbonate. It breaks well over the dark clay and its going to be a great glaze for my functional forms. I’m going to test it with both rutile + copper this week, in order to create a more complex color.


The second is called Jen’s Juicy Fruit, which is a runny glaze with a lot of color variation. My plan is to use a few color versions on my tall sculpture, so that it can run and interact down the spirals. I tested a combination of rutile and red iron oxide, which shows up nice(ish) on the white side of my tiles, but on the red side it looks less like Jen’s Juice Fruit and more like Lalana’s Garbagefruit – my clay is really high in iron already, and it did not interact well. I’m going to kick the iron and try some other colorants, because I think it still has potential to be juicy. Prepare to cringe:

Also, I’m casting more bones.



This week I’ve been plugging away at another coil sculpture that is a bit more of a complex form. It began like this (that’s the bottom):


…and it has grown into this:


Bit tedious, really.

I’ve also been working on a project with a lot less control. I call it freestylin’. This project began as a slab/pinch pot experiment gone awry, and changed a lot when I decided to use it for my 30 inch project. It stands at about 31 inches tall right now, and I still have plans to resolve the top part with a little bloom inside of the…petals, or what have you. I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen apart yet (ooooooh knock on wood) as it is really thin and maybe a little bit shoddily constructed. But, it is my first time coil building on such a vertical scale.


I’m also ready to rumble with some paper porcelain details, after finally mixing and dehydrating a small batch WHICH DIDN’T ROT! MOM GET THE CAMERA! Happy with that, but it’s always underwhelming to see a full 5 gallon bucket of wet mixed clay turn into about 25 pounds. That first blue bucket picture is just a roll of toilet paper doing its thang, before adding dry material.