Saturday, August 17, 2013

Progress Report

With the end of summer nearing, I though I would assess my progress in the studio this summer. I needed to take a break this week and needed to finish work with a batch of extruded hollow forms before the pieces dried out. After my short break, I will start working again but with different clay (I've been working with leftover clay that isn't great for throwing on the wheel). 

I guess this piece could hang on the wall

Earlier this summer I outlined what I would like to accomplish during the summer and during my sabbatical. My somewhat ambitious plan for my show in January calls for a wall installation of 100 bulb forms and second wall installation of roughly 30 to 60 forms (of varying sizes). I wanted to make 6 large and 4 small pieces with significant inclusion of bike parts as well as 10 pieces that have movable parts, though I didn't note whether the latter would include bike parts. My notes also indicate an idea for display of the pieces from my Mini-Sculpture Project last year and 3-5 other pieces (ones that aren't wall pieces or bike part pieces or installation pieces).

extruded and pinch built form with sprigs

Anyone who has ever been near me before a show knows I tend to follow a cycle of panic about not having enough work, usually followed by the realization that I have quite a lot. Of course, having more work than needed allows one to edit.

my very careful list of work made this summer (so far)

As I was finishing up the last few pieces from this week, I looked around the studio and did a quick tally. I have 44 bulbs in various stages of drying and glazing as well as 14 other pieces drying or fired. One piece is still being formed (actually drying so I can work some more) as I write this.

bike parts will attach at the closest indent and at the circle near the top of the picture

I have 6 new wall pieces formed this summer and close to 30 made before this year. I have 6 pieces that incorporate bike parts (two which double as wall pieces), but none on the scale of my work from last year. I also have 4 extra pieces with no moving parts, bike parts or wall hanging mechanism. Obviously I need to channel my energies to bike parts next.

small piece to attach to large piece via bike part

One difficulty I have had in the last few weeks is my decreasing collection of bike parts. Last year I was sent 100 SRAM bike parts before I began the project. Having the bike parts gave me some flexiblity, but the constraints of the project also required me to use at leas 25 parts in one sculpture. The requirements of the project imposed useful limitations on form and size, which actually helped me focus my efforts.
one bike part in place (temporarily), the other to be added later

This summer I've been sort of waiting to get the "right" bike parts and have been working at a smaller scale because of the clay, the parts and the mess in my studio. I do have some other mechanical parts that I should be utilizing and when I start the new batch of clay I think I will give myself some ground rules that tightly constrain what I am "required" to use in the next projects.

another "pea pod"

The prospect of not going back to school this fall is an interesting one. I believe I got off to a slower start in the studio because of the yawning expanse of time opening up before me. Though I have worked steadily this summer, I have also taken time off and I've spend a depressingly large proportion of my time finishing work from last summer or dealing with other things that need to get done.

wall hanging piece

I have seen a difference in my work in the past week or two compared to the first pieces I made this summer. I am much happier with this work and feel better about most of the forms and some of the ways I am experimenting with incorporating the non-ceramic parts.

I can't remember if this guy hangs on the wall

Last summer I dove directly into building the bike part pieces, and while I am happy with the pieces, I didn't get a lot of change to test the fit of the bike parts before they were ready to be attached. I just had to wing-it, estimating shrinkage and hoping that things would fit after firing. This time around, I will have 7 or 8 pieces to start putting together (and testing for shrinkage and fit) before the sabbatical officially begins.

one bike part and some gear sprigs

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