Saturday, October 12, 2013

Movements, bulbs and melting glass

A full table of drying sculpture helps me feel a sense of accomplishment. This week I finished three multi-part pieces (each piece has four or five completely separate clay sections that each need to dry and be fired separately) before Friday. 

table of wet work from this week (plus one dry pitcher plant)

I don't like to start new projects on Friday, since the clay will dry over the weekend. I also didn't feel like throwing today because I'm trying to let my broken pinkie finger heal (I don't think throwing is exactly recommended with a damaged digit).

kids flossers in a bulb
I have been making bulbs for my installation regularly all summer, but I cranked out a few extras this week. It's a little hard to keep track, but I think I've now built 85 (out of 100). My self-imposed deadline for all studio building is Halloween. After that I will glaze for a month.

flosser bulbs in back

After 80 some different bulb surfaces, I start looking for a little more variety. The more recent bulbs are a bit more mechanical in feel, probably at least in part influenced by the big work I am building when the bulbs are cast. This week's bulbs included 5 with non-ceramic additions that I plan to add after firing. They don't look like much while they are drying, but they should be interesting once complete. Hopefully they won't look too wacky as part of an installation.

holes for glass to drip out during firing

Instead of diving into a new set of big work on Friday, I decided to do a few experimental pieces. Friday afternoon I mostly worked on small pieces to test movements or experiment with glass inclusions. The glass pieces are harder to show when wet, since they aren't so much pretty as experimental and results are reliant on the glass melting during firing. I had intended, as part of my sabbatical, to test some non-ceramic materials. I have tested some, but I still have a few ideas that I would like to work through.

base to catch glass drips

I think an obvious extension of mechanical inclusions in clay is to create movement with the finished piece. I have previously made interactive pieces in graduate school and as part of my senior show in college, but I wanted to look into a movement that is fully integrated into the piece itself. Last night as I was pondering this issue again, I realized that I had a bike part with ball bearings in a box in my studio. It's small, but the movement is smooth. I decided to try a test piece at a small scale. The top will be attached on the outside, the base fits inside the piece and the bike part provides the movement. 

base and top of "ball bearing" piece

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