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30 January 2014 @ 02:44 pm
Ceramics Update  
I've been feeling a bit iffy about my ceramics class.  On the one hand, it's definitely fun.  Working with clay is very energizing; unlike painting, during which I tend to be pretty stationary, I move around a lot when trying to build up the sides of a cup or a pot and that keeps me pumped and engaged.

But I feel like our instructor gives us virtually no, well, instruction!  Maybe it's just me.  Each class session, he usually does a quick demonstration of a technique, like creating a pinch pot or glazing a fired piece.  He then does a circuit around the room, seeing where we are and asking if we have any questions.  Usually, he hits our table while I'm still setting up or figuring out what I want to do, so my questions are minimal.  After he finished talking to everyone - maybe an hour into a three-hour class - he settles into his own projects and works at the wheel on his own pieces.  I've never had an art teacher do that before - usually, they continue to roam the room offering feedback and being generally available to the students.  It's really weird.

At the end of the last class, I asked him for advice on how to store my piece, a seed pot with a pointed bottom and a curving top that was having trouble maintaining its shape - he barely looked up and just told me to prop it up and wrap the supports in paper towels to keep them from sticking.  I came in this morning, and lo and behold the pot I'd been working on was deformed.  Instead of having a pleasantly curving top, it was flat as a board.  Le sigh.  But I had to get a design scratched onto it before our critique at 10:30, so I set to work sketching an octopus onto the flat surface.  The instructor did his morning rounds, but he skipped right over me!  I was concentrating so hard that I didn't realize he'd left our table until I looked up and saw him on the other side of the classroom.  Oh well.  I finished the octopus design with little time to spare, and it was...so-so:

If I'd had more time, I would have modeled some clay to make the octopus 3-D, and possibly changed the positioning of the tentacles.  But no time, no time.

There were two projects being critiqued.  The first one was a set of two nesting bowls.  Mine was meant to remind the viewer of a castle surrounded by a moat.  The larger bowl was wide and flat, almost more of a dish, with thin walls so it would look more organic.  The smaller bowl, which fit right in the middle, was a square one of medium height that would hopefully make people think of a castle tower.  I designed the set so that it would actually be useful, rather than just a sculpture, and I'm thinking that it will be good for chips and salsa.  It's still got to be fired and glazed, so it won't be done for a while yet.

The octopot was made by taking two pinch pot bowls and sticking together to form a sphere.  The sphere was paddled into shape, and then after shaping the sphere into a pot or vase of some sort an original design had to be pressed or scratched into it.

Some people were amazingly creative with this assignment! I saw a lot of things that I now want to try to replicate on my own.  (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?)  But next week we are moving on to a new technique of hand-coiling the clay into a tall vase, so who knows if I'll have time to backtrack and experiment with more pinch pots.
Colleen  "the Latest and the Greatest"foolonthehill on February 2nd, 2014 10:56 pm (UTC)
very cool idea!