Tuesday, August 21, 2012

So far in August...

There's a lot that's been happening that I haven't gotten the chance to sit and blog about, so I'll list the events chronologically.

August 8th
Cloud Catchers:
I met with Ashley from SCAD's Event's Department and there is this event that is happening in Lacoste, France, and SCAD wants to provide "cloud catchers" for each attendee.  She sent me these images and a vague description of what cloud catchers are.  In order to get a little more info, I Googled various terms, but each time I only got what I could do with the "cloud" as in that big electronic storage area in the sky.  
Basically, they are architectural decorations that were meant to ward off bad spirits and witches back in the day, and they are still around in current day France.  The image on the right is the samples SCAD had made, but they're not exactly what they wanted.  They look like little hands to me, so that's what I may end up calling them.  So far I've made 2 prototypes that SCAD seems to enjoy.  They need 40 of these by September, so this looks like it will be my project for a few weekends. I'm actually pretty excited to work on this. More pictures to come.

August 11th
So much fun. Josh doesn't make for a good traveling partner, especially when things are related to Ceramics, so I took my good friend Melissa and we made a weekend trip up to Roswell to pick up my pieces from the show. I'm pretty sure it's going to be the beginning of the year before my wallet recovers from the shopping extravaganza, but it was really awesome.  We went by Atlanta Clay and I picked up 2 bags of USG #1 plaster (more on that later).  Then swung by Mudfire Pottery.  Their gallery is huge and has so many nice pieces. I bought a Luba Sharpan mug to add to my collection and a tshirt that says "Make Pots Not War."
Then...my first trip at IKEA. Oh my. Can I just say it is an experience, and I've never wanted to live in a studio apartment so badly.  :)  I bought a nice rug for $20 and some great fabric. We indulged in Atlantic Station and didn't get the chance to fully live it up on Saturday, so that's where we finished the rest of our trip.

August 13th
Porcelain Clay:
A little while ago, I thought about taking my slip casting body and testing it to see if I could use it as a clay.  I mixed up a batch at home in my studio (not a fun adventure), and I threw a large bowl with it.  It felt really nice!  The only issue is, that if I mix up a large batch of clay in our mixer at SCAD, it will cost me about $0.62 per lb.  Not cool (125# would cost me almost $80).  I'm trying to figure out substitutes for a few chemicals to see if I can lower the price.
I am also torn on giving up red clay.  I feel that I may be at that point where I could convert fully to porcelain, but meanwhile I have a ton of earthenware in my studio.  I may convert once I use all of that clay, but only when that happens.

August 15th
I've been needing a few dollies to assist me with moving my clay bins in and out from under my working table.  My clay was in a pile underneath the table because the bins were too heavy to move by themselves when filled with clay, so I decided to change that. I had some scrap 2x4s in my storage building, so I visited Home Depot and bought some $3 casters.  It took me no time at all to make the dollies and under $40 for 3 of them.  They each should sustain at most 500lbs.  Here is where I found another dilemma.  First, that white painter's canvas that I bought last year is gray.  I feel that most of the dirt is from traffic and not so much my clay.  Second, it was proving impossible to move the dollies with the canvas bunching in different areas.  So, I decided to get rid of it. This leads to last weekend's project...

August 19th
I've see some images of different ceramics' studio in magazine and online, and I've been kinda jealous. I feel that my studio needs something more to invite me into it. My decision to throw away the canvas, required that I get something to line the floor underneath my wheel and wedging table.  I was at Target and I finally found the clear vinyl floor protectors that I had been searching for last year when I decided to move my studio indoors.  I found 2 left for only $8 each and bought both.  They only cover a small area and I felt that I needed something more to protect the carpet.  Meet my new IKEA rug (the large gray section on the floor).  It was only $20, so I feel justified by putting it near my clay.  It's also really stinkin' cute.

I still feel that my studio needs something else.  I've had a few yards of fabric in my closet since the Merry Market.  I realized that I wanted to make some curtains for the windows and to cover that shelf under my working table.  The bins are so organized that it makes that shelf above it look even more cluttered.  Soooo...I ordered my first sewing machine.  I am patiently waiting for it now along with two books that will teach me what the heck I'm doing.  I felt that it was time I learned some basics.  More to come on the studio progress when I get my machine. :D

Things to come...
Cloud bowls
I think that my cloud mold is causing my bowls not to release.  I decided to remake the mold.  I've heard that USG #1 Pottery Plaster is supreme among plasters for molds.  I've been having issues with pitting in my casting slip and I think it's from the mold as well.  Hopefully the next mold will release easier and have less clean up involved with the surface.  I also read an article on Ceramic Arts Daily where Hiroe Hanazono uses tubing to cause her closed form casts to release easier. I hope to use that nifty trick to make the mold better. 

I've watched the Kristen Kieffer "Suede to Leatherhard" DVD, and she has inspired me to make some of my own stamps.  I took an old shoebox and poured some plaster into it.  I started working on the carvings last night and hopefully I'll have some spiffy stamps to work with soon!

Speaking of spiffy stamps...I bought some from my previous visit to Atlanta Clay and I used them on Roxie's platter.  Here's the results after a glaze firing.  I plan to put decals on it soon with her name and such.