Friday, June 15, 2012

Buffer Week

This week is my buffer week, the week between the end of the academic year and the start of my summer studio time. I like to reserve this week for non-work. This week isn't for working at school, for grading or for working in my studio. Sadly, it has almost come to an end and I have done too much of all three prohibited activities. I feel the summer slipping away, already.

Sunday I fired a kiln while I unpacked art booth equipment from my car. I didn't get around to actually putting much of it away until Monday and have barely finished now. I spent time at school helping to take down the student exhibition at Larson Gallery and cleaning up after the last firing in the clay studio. I uncovered both my desk and home and my desk at work, but, sadly, I still have to actually deal with the stacks of paper that are now sorted and awaiting filing, finishing or other attention.

I made some little pieces, in part to try out some clay that was given to me in "payment" for borrowing my wheel for a few hours. 

During June Art Fest people seemed particularly interested in little critters with eyes and legs, so I made a few more. This was about all my attention span could handle.

I made a few little critters with rattles inside, since my daughter thinks the rattle pieces are the best. She helped me pack and put away some of my work. These pieces seem to take her the most time, since she insists on rattling them for a long time before she will actually wrap them or put them away.

I halfheartedly returned to my neglected box of inspiration hints from my mini-sculpture project. This is a "turtle" from a dream I had. I've been reading a book about a woman who is in disguise as a man. She ties something around her chest before donning men's clothing and I keep picturing actual ties as the binding material, though I don't believe that's what she used. My memory of the dream is a little fuzzy, but I or someone in the dream was in disguise. it wasn't a turtle, or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, as this one appears to be (from this angle) but the sculpture turned into a turtle.

For my birthday my mother-in-law picked up some odds and ends from Seattle Pottery for me, including a "dragon scaler"--evidenced above on this strange thing and on the TMNT--and some half circle stamps and a mini clay extruder (below).

After I unloaded my first home studio firing of 2012, I arranged my 80 mini-sculptures on the newly cleaned and replaced table and started sorting them (for fun, while I talked with the woman who was using my wheel). These sculptures above are the most irregular in form. Some are my more literal translations of an inspiration hint, others are inspired by forms I've made before or something I was actually seeing while I made the sculpture.

The pieces below are probably my least imaginative sculptures, though there are elements within this group that I like. Several towards the back simply annoy me and I wish I hadn't fired them. I only had one piece in the group that had some sort of structural instability. Nothing exploded in the firing, which means I was careful and consistent in putting in an air hole, but one little guy lost his spines. This may have been one I made outside and didn't use slip to attach the spines in the first place. Dropping the piece after the firing likely didn't help.

This last set is of those pieces I am most happy with, they have more complex forms or surface decorations, including multi-part forms attached together and a combination of hollow circles and other attachments on the surfaces. Included here is also my "flux capacitor." my "egg" with writing inside and my very first mini-sculpture project piece. 

The pieces are all bisque, which makes them less attractive, in my estimation, but soon I will be able to start under-glazing them. (I spent yesterday cleaning the dead flies and year's detritus from the counter where I usually do all my underglazing.) For several pieces have plans that require the work to be fired and/or glazed before the idea is complete.

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