Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daily Mini Sculpture Project: Assessment

When I set up my rules for this project, I said I wouldn't start to assess my progress until the end. This weekend I had some time to think (the time to think was occasioned by my daughter and husband being out of the house for an extended time when I didn't have homework or some other commitment) and I started to think about the project.

I have persisted in the project better than I anticipated. I've only missed a day or two and mostly I've made up for the days by doubling up the next day or a few days later. I've made some pretty good pieces. I've made some pieces that weren't much different from my usual work and I've rushed some pieces, particularly when life has intruded on the boundaries of the project time. I've made some pieces that are very different, outside my comfort zone. I wouldn't have made these pieces without the project guidelines. 

Some of the pieces I've made haven't been up to my standards, but I've kept (and photographed and posted) everything. The parameters of the project required this. I think it was a worthwhile project to require myself to finish and photograph everything. Had I been working in my studio under normal circumstances, I would have taken much longer to complete individual pieces and I would have already scrapped some of the less successful pieces. Several times I ended up telling myself that a piece was "good enough." Granted, I have some plans for some surface treatments after firing, but several of these pieces have come to a premature conclusion because my daughter wants to play or I need to go cook dinner.

Just this last week I finished this piece with a rough surface texture and linear indents because I needed to work on something else. The piece is fine, but not that unusual or interesting on its own. I can experiment with underglaze or other surface treatments later. The inspiration hint was water, though, as you can tell, the execution is only vaguely related to the term.

This piece was on its way when my daughter came in ask me to do something. I quickly use a bone dry pot shard to shape the edge between the ball of the form and the stem. I poked some holes and rushed off. 

I think the requirement to make and finish something during an already full day forces me to make different decisions than I would normally make when time is not an issue (or a parameter). Reaching the "end" of the piece necessarily comes quickly. In my studio during the summer I usually spend hours and days on an individual piece. I work and work and work on textures and surfaces. Many of the projects for his assignment have finished with rough surfaces and similar forms, though a few have been made with significantly different forms than I usually use. 

This piece was inspired by "camouflage." Upright it looks a bit like an animal on many narrow toes.

Flipped up you can see what it was hiding underneath.

This piece took longer than most of the pieces I've been able to do for the project. I enjoyed the time I spent on it, but I was only able to steal the time because of the aforementioned absence of my family. 

During the summer I will be able to spend more time on individual pieces again but the mini-sculpture project seems like one I should continue with similar parameters (maybe a time limit). It is a different way of working. In some ways the restrictions of the project are refreshing. In some ways it is like the blog project or a commitment to exercising; I commit to do so much, so often and just do it, finishing at a set time rather than after reaching some subjective quality goal.

Some of the projects have caused me to experiment with a new techniques, process or idea, something I might polish or continue to experiment with in the summer.

The piece below was a technique I discovered on accident. The application is a little sloppy (you can see the seam if you look carefully) but I can use a more refined version of the technique later on other work. I formed the work, then cut it in half and poked the bumps through from the interior before putting the halves together again.

Often it seems that the forms that are most different from my habitual forms are also the ones that are least successful. However, even with the ridiculously unsuccessful pieces (generally the more literal interpretations of an inspiration hint) I have felt like I have learned something. 

This inspiration hint was "bird" but the paper also had a sketch of what I meant by bird. This was one of the more successful of the literal interpretation pieces because I had done a little more planning (by having a sketch on the inspiration hint) before I began.

The less successful element of this work is the wings. I used simple slabs and I'm not very happy with the way they just curve roughly around the form. They feel like literal add-ons, where the rest of the bird form is simplified from real life. There has to be a better way to abstract the wings and maintain the solidity and gracefulness of the form.

*cringe* This was done the same day as the bird above. Sometimes what I try just doesn't work. (But I kept it and photographed it per the "rules" of the project.)

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