Friday, July 25, 2014

New Stacking Gear Piece

Another piece I worked on during my first week of throwing was a tall stacking piece similar to ones I made for my sabbatical and the first SRAM project. I've been fascinated with the twisting, tall form divided by gears. 

gear stack forms from sabbatical 2013/2014

I did a shorter, wider, and straighter version of this divided form for my first SRAM project. On that one I was more focused on added multiple bike parts. For the later pieces I was working almost directly from sketches

SRAM Gears (top section) from 2012

I started with this form this summer because the structure is fairly simple and I could throw the parts without a lot of planning. I wanted to get started building right away. Sometimes building without much of a plan allows me to think through some ideas, concretely. I suppose it is similar to an automatic writing exercise. The goal is to get started.

sculpture in progress with large gear in place

Speaking of writing, as I have been writing about my work this summer, for various applications, it has occurred to me that with these vertical pieces, I have slightly lost sight of my intent in incorporating the bike parts. The last sabbatical pieces I built ended up being about the aesthetics of including imagery and material recycled from bicycles. What these pieces did not do was use the bicycle parts as supports in the way some of the other pieces did.

these five forms all use the supports to literally support some part of the ceramic form

Two of the first SRAM pieces use metal rods from the bikes as literal supports for the whole form or to apparently support a section of the form. The pitcher plant forms from this year and the orange flower piece with the bike pedal parts both use the bike parts to lift up flower-like sections from a separate base.

sculpture in progress with large gear in place

This summer's stacking piece is more complex that the earlier tall pieces in that I added bulbs back onto the sides and also added a second "stem" coming from the base. While I was adding the bulbs, I made a mistake and attached one too high on the form. I decided to leave it and alter the bulb form to work around the gear. 

cut pod that overlaps the large gear

The bulb has a cutout section at the top on one side that will be attached after the entire form is glazed, fired and epoxied together. I haven't decided if I will camouflage the seam or leave it visible, kintsugi style.

gear in place on the wet base (notice the pod looks smooth across the top of the gear)

Of course I planned for the fit of the gears before and after firing and for making the strongest attachments between ceramic forms. The clay pieces will shrink but should still fit. Though the photo makes it look like the gear is a tight fit now, I believe I measured correctly accounting for shrinkage.

a gear stack piece made during my sabbatical, in progress in December 2013 

This week I unloaded the pieces from the kiln and stacked them up, but haven't had a chance to check gear fit. 

The top section doesn't fit quite right without the gear in place so I set it next to the piece.

There is still a lot of work to be done post-firing. I need to apply underglaze to all eight sections and reapply underglaze on at least five of the pieces after the second firing. Then I will spray on glaze and fire all the pieces again. After firing I can begin to put the forms together with the gears. 

The eight ceramic parts of the sculpture unstacked

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