Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Studio Progress

I have been working in the studio the last few weeks, though I feel like progress is coming at a painfully slow pace. I've been in to EfCom at least 5 times this summer trying to work on my computer. Fixing one thing seems to lead to another thing going wrong, and another and another. 

It's already July and I don't feel like I accomplished much of anything in the clay studio during June. I'm still finishing my first few pieces this week! (Usually I work on about 5 pieces over 2 weeks.) I have been under-glazing some of my daily mini-sculpture project pieces from this spring. 

I have also started some larger pieces, as I mentioned. Below is the first one "finished". I have been working on the brain-stretching puzzle of how to incorporate my SRAM bike parts into my work. The piece below will be finished with about 5 bike parts. The sprigs on the top are "cast" from bike parts. The main challenges I face in completing the SRAM bike parts project are to account for shrinkage and to incorporate 25 different parts. Several of the pieces I have been working on this week are meant to be tests for shrinkage and fit and attachments (epoxies, etc) and to provide a test version of these mixed media forms. I don't know what will go wrong, but I have a feeling something might. I want to test the attachments at full scale before I begin the final piece so I know what might go wrong.

I've done a little testing. This mini-sculpture (before firing) uses some random parts we had around the house. I tried to incorporate extra space for the metal pieces to account for shrinkage. It will also be a small test for glaze and epoxy.

sprigs made from SRAM parts

Before the bike part project came along, I was already planning to experiment with mixed media, specifically glass. The small piece below incorporates a glaze drip from a high temperature kiln. The piece with the blue bits incorporates broken beer bottle glass. I've already fired the smaller piece. The glass didn't change much. I expect the shard glass to melt into less sharp edges.


Pre-School Project
One other small project that has taken a bit of time is my pre-school class project. Last summer I visited my daughter's class to "do" a clay project with them. It was so much fun, I want to do it again this year, but I want to do a different project. After discussing possibilities with my daughter, we decided that noisemakers or rattles would be easiest and most fun. We haven't set a date yet, but we have plans. 

my test bell project

I will throw a bunch of small forms like these below. They are open at the bottom and may be closed or open at the top. They are pretty quick to throw off the hump. The kids can pick one or we can give them to them. 

bell tops just thrown
The kids can then make and attach a bottom (and top as needed) and drop in a bunch of small balls of clay. They then close the piece (my daughter's version below had an open top through which she dropped little balls of clay after she had attached a bottom slab) and decorate the shape. I'll keep the clay pretty wet so they can stamp into it or add shapes. My daughter wants me to let the kids make sprig molds, but I don't think it will work. Since I won't be able to get the sprigs fired before their project, they won't be able to use them and won't understand why they were made. I might have some sprigs available for them to use and explain how they were made. Last summer their teachers helped with the project at the table and they could help with the sprigs too.

My daughter's bell

After the bells are made and decorated (I'll also brings underglazes for color application) I'll remind the kids to poke a hole in them, take them home and fire them for the kids. They won't rattle while we are doing the project (wet clay doesn't) but they will when I return them.

Another option we considered for the kids project, attaching handles and decorating mugs. But this is more work for me and much more of a kit-project than a project where they kids actually learn something interesting. Besides, noisemakers are more fun to use.

1 comment:

  1. Aah, I love looking at your stuff. :) I wish I was in your daughter's class.


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