Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's hard being busy...

Whirlwind of a week!  In order to update everything, I figure breaking this down on a day-to-day basis would be best.

Sunday: I've started doing "Open Studio" on Sundays from 12-4pm at Savannah's Clay Spot for Lisa Bradley.  It was really great meeting new people and I also started working with cone 6 Helios porcelain from Highwater Clay. It was interesting to throw because I only worked with a porcelanious body briefly in undergrad.  Since then it was stoneware or low-fire.  I mixed a batch of cone 6 porcelain casting slip as well to test the durability of the clay in modern appliances.  My goal is to have a casting slip that is highly functional and doesn't crack for any apparent reason.  My only concern with this new body is the shrinkage.  I would like to continue to make mason jars, but I don't know how it would effect the size of the jar.  To be honest having a tiny mason jar might be the bee's knees. :)

Monday-Wednesday afternoon: Monday morning started off at a relaxed pace; however, I quickly remembered that I had two different sets of work due to be submitted at galleries by Friday.  One was going to Minnesota.  Interjection about this piece.  A few weeks ago, I visited my gallery in town only to discover I had sold a few pieces.  One was a yellow teapot.  I came home to find a notification from the "It's Only Clay" juried show in Bemidji, MN, as well.  I fully anticipated none of my pieces being accepted, but, yes, that damn little yellow teapot was the only one accepted.  (Have a learned my lesson about submitting pieces I don't have in stock?  We'll see, we'll see.)  So, in a frenzy, I construct another one and slide it into firings with scheduled student work to be fired.  I couldn't use the test kiln to glaze the little guy cause my boss was doing piggy back firings with it, so I resorted to waiting for the longer firings.  Resume to Monday, my teapot came out looking just like the other.  See here:

There are nuances between the two (the difference in color is only due to the image quality), but I was pretty happy with the result.  I sit down to my to calculate shipping time and holy crap, this pot is going to MN!  It's going to take 3 days to get there!  I firmly REFUSE to ship anything that is costlier than ground shipping.  Needless, to say it made it in time, and hopefully all in one piece.

I also had to ship two other sets of work to the "Nellie Allen Smith Juried Pottery Competition" in Fayetteville, NC.  Obviously, I have more time to package these pieces, because it only takes one day to get there.  My only concern here is that I am really nervous about my teapot breaking because it is a tricky construction.

(I was sleeping in this morning and got a strange phone call and I was scared it was one of the galleries calling to say that my pieces had wasn't, but still.)  Since this show is a pottery competition, there are prizes, and I really hope this piece will be a winner of something.  I won't be able to make it to the opening on Friday, October 28, but I will be visiting the gallery that weekend with my family to see the show, so maybe it will be a joyous celebration!

Wednesday afternoon-Thursday night: I have mentioned that Yves is doing a commission for the new SCAD Museum of Art.  Well, this week all of the pieces came out of the bisque and were ready to be glazed.  There were well over a 100 of these varying shapes.  I worked close to 10 hours after work in 2 days.  Have I revealed that I am a gal who needs her 8-10 hrs of sleep?  I had a rough week waking up and getting to work on time.  I thought the project was over Thursday night, but I think that he might need me this weekend for some finishing touches.  I know we are both ready to breathe a sigh of relief with this project.  It has been extremely too stressful. 

Friday morning: Raku time rolls around again and I forgot to refill the propane tanks and scrape/kiln wash the shelves.  I needed to be at work at 7am to get stuff done for the event at 8am.  Hmm, have I revealed that I am a gal who needs her sleep?  Definitely woke up at 7:22am.  Disastrous morning and no details needed, but grounds in the coffee, driving over curbs, and cussing other drivers were involved.  Yesterday, ended up being pretty great, but I really enjoyed the bottle of wine and Fresh Market apple pie/ice cream last night after this week.  I think I might go enjoy another piece now, and of course, go for a run later. ;)

Monday, October 10, 2011


I recently discovered these awesome pots by Peter Karner and I thought I would share.  He lives in the mountains of Southwest Colorado working as a full-time potter. Peter's pots are are thrown, thrown and altered, or hand-built.  To create his patterns he uses wax resist, latex, dipping, and brushwork on bisqued pots.  The pots are then high-fired in a heavy reduction atmosphere with the intent of trapping carbon in the base glaze.  He gets my fantastic ceramics vote for this week!

To see more of his work go here.

They learn how to throw!

About a month or so ago, my niece and nephew came to visit.  I got the opportunity to try to teach them how to throw on the wheel.  I thought I would share the experience and the finished results!

Jayden wedging his clay.
Assisting Jayden with centering.
Attempting to open up the clay.

Sarah doing it all on her own!

Finished pieces. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go...

I realize that I haven't shared much about what my day-to-day work experience is like.  Typically it's a routine of loading kilns, helping students, mixing clay, mixing glazes, creating posters, photographing work, etc., etc.  Lately, however, it has been nothing but making molds.  Oval, square, rectangle, and round platter molds; tall and small cup molds; large, med, and small plate molds; and most recently I became the Chair of the Ceramics Department's assistant making, guess what?...MOLDS!  Yves Paquette (the Chair) was commissioned by SCAD to create a memorial for a student who passed away a few years ago at the new SCAD Museum of Art.  Based on the student's drawings, he is creating ceramic forms that will be installed on a wall that has a water feature.  Oh and did I mention this he only has a month to complete it?  Yeah, that's where I come in.  It's a really awesome experience, but really folks, how much mold making experience does one need?  I am almost positive that I have developed a love-hate relationship with plaster.  I decided to document some of the action and post it in a blog.  These two forms I photographed are two prototypes that Yves might use in the final product.

Creating walls with cottle boards and clamping them together

Readying the prototype and sealing the walls with clay
Poured plaster into cottle boards
Removing the prototype
Completed mold ready for clay

Disillusioned by plaster overload, I saw a ghostly face. It's kinda awesome. :)