Friday, April 29, 2011

Sleight of hands and no sleeves

This Saturday is the opening reception for City of Santa Clara Indoor Sculpture ExhibitionLegerdemain is part of this show.  The exhibit is installed throughout the corridors of City Hall---upstairs, downstairs, lobby.  Lots of work---in metal, glass, mixed media, ceramic, wood, stone, fiber, etc.  It really is nice to see so much sculptural art in a public space. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whittling clay scraps


Carving clay comes in handy for small items.  I leave lumps of clay out overnight and the next morning the clay has the right feel to it to carve.  It feels leathery.  I use cheap cutting tools you find at any craft store, an old paring knife and whatever else fits the need.  I sometimes whittle bits of leftover slabs, following contours of the discarded scrap.  There is no rhyme or reason.  It is the way to doodle in clay.  Sort of like a maquette.

fits in the palm of my hand

Monday, April 25, 2011

doodling in clay

Working with bits and pieces
  Gathering up scraps
    a walk around the work table
    five days of doodling in clay
    carving, trimming, squishing
    everything still green
    everything still damp, still fresh
    first layer of slip to see
    possibilities grow

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Slipping away in clay thoughts

"Have you noticed how often it happens that a really good idea -- the kind of idea that looks, as it approaches, like the explanation for everything about everything -- tends to hover near at hand when you are thinking hard about something quite different? There you are, halfway into a taxi, thinking about the condition of the cartilage in the right knee joint, and suddenly, with a whirring sound, in flies a new notion looking for a place to light. You'd better be sure you have a few bare spots, denuded of anything like thought, ready for its perching, or it will fly away into the dark."
Lewis Thomas from The Youngest Scientist

This piece is not finished yet.  It has a first layer of slip.  It is still damp.  I put on some color to get an idea of where a piece is going.  The first layer is fired on and acts as a foundation for the next layering of color.  It also helps me visualize where I want to take it and helps me remain connected to it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Saying hmmmmm.........

Anne Lamont from Bird by Bird:

And then the miracle happens.  The sun comes up again.  So you get up and do your morning things, and one thing leads to another, and eventually, at nine, you find yourself back at the desk, staring blankly at the pages you filled yesterday.  And there on page four is a paragraph with all sorts of life in it, smells and sounds and voices and colors and even a moment of dialogue that makes you say to yourself, very, very softly, "Hmmm."      


Cliff Hanger with Possibilities

It was hard to do, but it had to be.  Spring cleaning in the studio--done.  I tend to keep bits and pieces of things gone wrong.  It is this thing in me that see potentiality even when the piece is beyond just flawed.  But out it goes to make room for new things and fresh possibilities.

Possibilities with first layer of underglaze

Now that the new garage door is installed, my space feels open and full of light.  The old door had no windows and was dark wood.  This one is white with windows.  Now I know it's only a garage door.  But this garage door has changed the feel I get when working.  I get light.  Sunlight.  It streams in. Happy faces appear.

Family Portrait

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Scraping out a story about kiln shelves



It was time to clean kiln shelves.  There was two glaze runs on this shelf.  Two cups stuck.  So out came the mallet and chisel (a big screwdriver, in this case.)  Also a kiln shelf scraper.  I got this scraper free.  When Amsterdam Art Store in Berkeley was still around they had a sign on them saying anyone who could identify this thing would get it free.  I had scraped some kilns from a soda firing and knew what it was.  Not only did I get this one free, I got another for $2.00 which I donated to CSUH's ceramic department.  That way, students could join in the fun of scraping kiln shelves free of glaze runs.  So this is a fun thing I did this week.

In between scraping, washing and layering kiln wash on shelves, face mugs were made.  I had a lot of scraps left from some sculptures in a small bucket.  I kept the scraps moist and wedged it all into several 1 lb lumps.  All the face mugs start as a pinch pot. Then coils are added as needed.  The inside is scraped smooth and the next day a solid base is added and then a foot ring is carved using trimmers.  I add the facial features and do not push out from the inside.  I want to keep the inside smooth---no dips or bumps---so the facial features are added and sculpted on the outside only. Sometimes I use some underglaze to add color to see where each one is heading.  They are really storytellers.  I begin with no thought as to what each would look like.  Somehow the shape of the mouth tells me a story of this particular face.  Through color and texture, a story develops.


Friday, April 1, 2011

making test tiles

Still cleaning, but in between time made some test tiles.  No slab roller, just old fashion slam it on the canvas board, use two wood slats and a pipe. It works.  Just can't get large slabs at once.  These will get a layer of white slip.  Doesn't look too exciting, but they are necessary. They can be a little gift if the glaze is just what one is looking for!  Besides I love the look of test tiles hanging on the wall or just hanging out! Looks so scientific.   

Popular Posts