Blog Post 13 – Photos in Space

This week, our Empty Bowls event raised over $1400 for emergency food bank on campus. Pretty awesome to be able to help!

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I had my opening in the SpaceLab, which I also used as a portfolio photographing opportunity. I spent a couple of days prepping the walls – knocking in anchors, filling in holes, sanding, and painting the entire room. I mounted my bone ladder from the track lights and had a couple of (unsuccessful) photo shoots in there.

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I also got to install new wall pieces, which was really really fun and I’m quite happy with the direction.

Mostly I am feeling frustrated with photographing the bone ladder, which is perpetually blurry and very, very difficult to get a nice, full photograph of. I honestly don’t have the experience to photograph difficult pieces like that, and I need help.

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Blog Post Twelve – Crunch Time

This past week marked the start of a very hectic month for me – I am applying to seven grad schools, moving across the river to Louisville, and preparing to leave for India with my dad and brother in mid December. I had a critique last week, and was able to glaze and finish two large pieces that have taken up a ton of time. Lots and lots of process goes into the new work.

Glazing this one took me a lil while.

This one took a lil bit of time too.

I’m also working my planter box idea to fruition this week, “staining” the hands with glaze and then building this little janky planter box from old moldy pallet wood. Gotta get that aesthetic down, breh.

I’m also finishing up some of these coil mugs for a small holiday commission. I have been layering class glazes, which I’ve been really impressed with. I’m a huge fan of the IUS glaze pallet, its funky fresh. Lots of color variety and glazes that work well over texture. Whoever made the class glaze inventory must be some kind of genius.

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This was quite the fun week – Didem Mert came to workshop it at IU Southeast on Wednesday, and it was a pleasure to watch her work and hear her insight. Didem seems like a natural businesswoman, and she has a valuable outlook on life after grad school outside of academia. Her closing reception at KY Mudworks was also fun and I got to meet the actual sweetest doggo in the world.

I got to go to the reception of the Open Studio Weekend Juried Show at the Cressman Center for the Visual Arts on Friday night. The show represented Kentucky and Southern Indiana artists and IUS students had a serious presence in the show. There was amazing work, I really love this piece by Casey Hyland and Melanie Miller made with glass and polished brass. The Cressman Center includes the U of L hot glass shop, and there are glass windows so that the public can watch the students blowing glass. It was pretty incredible.

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I had to work all weekend during open studios, but it was exciting to see other students preparing and for the studios to get some foot traffic from across the river.

I’m running two 03 firings this week in preparation for my critique on Thursday and for my SpaceLab show next week. After finishing glaze for my first firing, Crumb seemed to be having some major troubles getting to temperature. I decided to reload in Darwin and the he pulled through like a champ.

I also glazed all of my bowls for the Empty Bowls event on the 15th, which took a ton of time because I did a lot of waxing and layering glazes. They gon be polka dotted.

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I’m also firing my wall sculptures, which I am hoping to install next week for the SpaceLab show.

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I also made a stilting mechanism for my little eggie.

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The kiln was actually completely full, between mine and Luke’s bowls, my sculptures, and Brooklyn’s loom. I’m really excited and anxious to open up these kilns!

 

 

Blog Post 10 – Glazing!

This week was all about the glazing: glazing jewelry, glazing mugs, glazing sculptures, my eyes glazing over, etc.

I started off by firing Li’l Eddy with my jewelry/test tiles and a coiled mug with a test glaze combo. I got some really interesting stuff, I’m a huge fan of the Rutile Blue over Jeff’s Long Beach.

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Rutile Green over Shino is also nice – that’s what I tested on the outside of the mug, with just Liz Kraus Shino on the inside. There’s a ton of carbon trapping at the lip, which seems out of character for this Shino(?) but it’s really nice.

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The last thing I did this week was glazing my seed pod!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It took hours and I have been dreading it for weeks. I spent basically a whole day sanding all of the seeds, to make them extra smooth. I washed the entire piece and gave it a day to dry. I mixed two glazed, and slathered one all over the outside, then wiped it all off in hopes that it will darken the clay body a bit. Could just be another lesson in futility. I dipped my porcelain seeds in the second glaze and brushed a thick layer into each of the cavities. Hopefully all of this detail work pays off, and it looks nice after I bake it!

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Blog Post 9 – Testing!

This week has been all about the testing. I’m getting ready to fire and finish these two sculptures:

…which are both earthenware, except for the porcelain seeds. So, this week was all about glaze testing for glaze/surface combinations. I’m looking specifically for a vibrant glaze for the seeds and pockets, and a funky texture glaze for the bumpy sculpture. I ran 25 test batches………..

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Since I am planning on utilizing the raw surface of the fired clay, which will become more vibrant the higher I fire it,  I ran my first round of glaze tests to 04 with a 10 minute hold. Here are a few nice ones that I am currently re-testing in the kiln on tiles that have a porcelain middle and a red outer (mini lotus pods), and I am also firing this round to cone 03 with no hold at the top, to see what that will do to the clay body. I don’t want to push it much hotter than that, because my pieces could definitely warp/bloat.

Blog Post 8 – Athens, OH

This weekend, I got to visit Athens, OH with Brian and Abby to participate in a symposium at Ohio University and see shows, performances, and open studios! It was great, there was so much going on and everyone at OU worked really hard to put the symposium together. It was cool opportunity to socialize with Alex Hibbitt and Brad Schwieger.

The Material Histories symposium and exhibition involved the Tea Project, which is a creation of Aaron Hughes and Amber Ginsburg – Aaron served in Iraq, and his experience on the ground led him to become an artist when he returned to the states. He has been doing tea performances every since. Amber became involved a few years ago when Aaron reached out to her, asking for help to slipcast almost 800 styrofoam cups; the cups were modeled from cups that were confiscated from prisoners of Guantanamo Bay, who would scrawl flowers all over the cups with their fingernails. The cups were considered a ‘security risk’, and were confiscated, evaluated, and thrown away. The exhibition included hundreds of these cups, marked with the names and countries of prisoners. We also got to participate in one of Aaron’s tea performances, where he makes and serves tea while speaking about his experiences turning down hospitality from ‘enemies’ in the Middle East, and facilitates a dialogue about human rights, war, kindness and humanity.

Another piece by Shay Church was built onsite over a wooden frame (the clay is raw and you can see a bit of the frame through the cracks and splits, and also on the inside containing the Buddha figure).

We also got to tour Matt Wedel’s studio, where he’s built massive kilns and developed creative mechanisms to make and fire his giant crazy sculptures – seeing a little bit of his process and talking with him was really fascinating.

Our last stop was in Zanesville, OH at the Zanesville Prize, a show that awards $30,000 in prize money each year. I’ve included a few images from that show, including work by Peter Christian Johnson, Brian Caponi, Jamie Bates Slone, and Crista Ames.

Because of this art vacay, I didn’t get a ton of work done on the home front. But, I did finish my bumpy pod boy, here it is with a fresh new orafice.

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This week, I built the other half of my bumpy pod. The second half was a lot quicker, as I had the muscle memory from figuring out the first half. I included an “armature” which was two large intersecting planes that will hopefully hold the piece in shape and avoid warping in the kiln. It also made it a lot easier to build! I coil built off of the slab armature, and pushed out and shaped the bumps with one hand on the inside.

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I also spent a lot of time preparing my jewelry for the kiln – I designed a hanging mechanism with nichrome wire and kiln posts, so that I could glaze all the way around the small pieces. After my last run of cone 10 tests, I found that layering some of the class glazes were the most interesting results that I got, and so I am also using these pieces as test tiles for mugs – I used 5 combinations of class glazes. It turns out, glazing teeny tiny things is really hard. But, I’m excited to see the results.

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This week, I started building another seed pod inspired by a photo in my book about seeds. (I don’t think there is a colloquial name for the plant, but its real neat.) I built a huge structure with some new cone 6 clay I made, and it was not easy to work with. The day after I spent hours building it, I flipped it over, it was too moist, and it collapsed in my arms. I bottled and corked my frustration, scrapped everything, and started again with my 04 fiber clay, which is much stronger. I also planned out the armature, like an adult.

Most of this week’s work is in a slop bucket, so. C’est la vie.

Here’s a photo of some necklaces I’m about to glaze and fire. That’s all this week.

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Blog Post 5 – Pods on Pods

This week I have completed another sculpture in the banksia pod series. Banksia pods are cones that grow from banksia trees in the Australian desert, and are often used in woodturning applications because the cavities provide an interesting design element. I discovered the pods after I had made the first two sculptures, posted a photo on instagram, and someone commented about banksia pods. They look like this:

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And here is the sculpture I finished this week:

The fact that I created something that so closely resembled a whimsical and very real part of nature is real neat. I built the last one on foam and rounded both ends, and I also added more coils to create protrusions from the eye holes. These decisions were informed by looking at photos of real banksia pods.

I also ran some cone 10 glaze tests for my coiled mugs and bowls. The majority of the tiles are a clear base with various mason stains, and I was really displeased with the results of the mason stains in reduction. They look really blown out and definitely not true to color at all, where they would have been in oxidation.

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I did have one tile that I liked very much, which was the class Rutile Green over Liz Kraus Shino. Mmmm mm juicy.

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I also finished polishing up and cutting holes into my red cone 6 pieces that I roughed out the week before.

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The last couple photos I wanted to share this week are images of my porcelain base with the wooden piece inside of it. There’s some nice nesting action going on, and I just have to hope and pray that they still have a good fit post shrinkage.

 

 

 

Blog Post 4 – One Month Down

This week I finished up my porcelain nest for my wood-burned piece. Last week you saw the bottom, so here is the finished top:

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I also roughed out two new pieces to go with one I already made, for a series of three. Once they are fired, I will be stringing them with some type of textile (embroidery thread, maybe) and hanging them on the wall. These still need a bit of polishing…

I also started a third coil sculpture. I built this inside a slump mold, so I think I’m building the top and I will have to work out the bottom later. I don’t do sketches for these, because it’s so much fun to see where the coils want to go.

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Also not pictured:

  • Unloading a bisque to find that it had been under fired for a mystery reason
  • At least 3 hairline cracks in my lotus seed pod that will have to be addressed with a mystery solution
  • Hours of mixing clear glaze with various mason stain combos for finishing my coil mugs!