Friday, September 16, 2016

Professional Images of Functional Work, Finally

This week I took professional images of the functional work I made this summer. I didn't get images of absolutely everything, since I delivered my Rotary commission work and the pieces for the Storyteller exhibition earlier this summer. I did get images of mugs, lidded containers, storyteller pieces, bowls, and one pitcher.

Storyteller lidded jars with spoons

It's been about two years since I last took professional images of my work, as in, images not taken with the background of my messy studio or while the work was being made. Mostly the lapsed year was due to the fact that I shifted my time to the new building at YVC, rather than spending summer time finishing and photographing new work.

storyteller bowls (from the very last firing of the summer)

This summer I had some more time in the studio, but a significant focus this summer was making work for several commissions I had agreed to during the academic year. Since three of these commissions were for functional work and the fourth was for work that is pretty different from my usual sculpture, I spend the bulk of my summer throwing and glazing small functional work, rather than building sculpture.

bowls with simple decoration from earlier in the summer

I am surprisingly happy with the functional work I did make this summer. I say "surprisingly" because last summer I was pretty annoyed with throwing functional work--I took a throwing workshop and ended up just wanting to sculpt. In part, last summer's work didn't have any coherence as a body of work. I was trying out different glazing approaches and different glazes--even different glaze temperatures

bowl with a spoon

This year the work was much more of a kind. Early in the summer, I threw. trimmed, and glazed 50 pieces of the same style for the Rotary Commission, and, as you can see in a video like this, the process was repetitive. That repetition seeped into the other work I threw this summer and even into my glazing approach. 
leftovers from the Rotary commission

A sculptor works differently than a production potter. I felt that the entire mindset was different when I was approaching sets and matching forms, than when I approach individual sculptures. Though I was a little annoyed at myself for agreeing to so much functional work this summer, in a way I'm glad I did it because I practiced and experienced a different way of being a ceramic artist--a potter, in this case.

my backdrop, tripod and stands for the backdrop

Anyway, back to the images I took this week. Two years ago my mom gifted me a backdrop set up from B&H Photo. The backdrop is vinyl and fades from black to white. She also got me the nifty setup that holds up the background. Oddly, the appropriate way to secure the background to the frame appears to be duct tape. 

an accident in slip trailing turned this into one of my favorite bowls

The new backdrop is a serious improvement over my 10 year old roll of grey paper. The vinyl is easy to wipe dust off of, doesn't spot with water, and, most of all, has that lovely gradation in the background.
a set of storytellers with bugs

I usually take my slides outside with natural light at dawn when there aren't strong shadows falling on the work. This group of work is significantly shinier than other work I have previously made, so I noticed reflections as an issue for the first time. I may need to actually invest in some lighting with softeners or dimmers, or whatever they're called to reduce reflections.

storyteller jar with lid and spoon

I will also clearly need to get a larger backdrop for sculpture images, but this sized worked well for the small stuff I was doing in this round.

lidded "knob 'n alls" from early summer

It took me two mornings, about 3 hours and some more time to crop and edit the images on the computer. I haven't gotten around to actually labeling and sorting the image yet, but that's on my to-do list.

I think the work looks much better with the backdrop, though some of the slides had a color distortion because I kept taking slides past the best morning light time. 

sugar dish and creamer set

Some of the reflections show the archway over the gate in our yard, if you look close enough. The recognizable reflection is funny, but probably not ideal.

storyteller mugs (backups for the Storyteller show in Tieton)

This may be the last batch of work I finish in 2016 or even until summer 2017. I have several sculptures partially glazed and I still have a handful of functional pieces awaiting glaze, but I find it significantly more difficult to get into the studio during the academic year. 

pinch/coil built mugs with pulled handles

However, classes start Monday and I am planning to have my first class make hand-built mugs (like those above) and go wild decorating them. It's a new project for this class and I think it should be fun.

mug from very early in the summer

If you like any of the functional work you see here, some of it will be on display and for sale at Oak Hollow Gallery for the Holiday show starting in November. Storyteller Mugs are still on display (and for sale) at Boxx Gallery in Tieton (open Saturdays). Of course, you can always contact me directly if you like, too.

handle-less mug with indents

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