Monday, August 27, 2012

Boxed Woods pt 2: Or how to make a slab box with one piece of paper

  • Use one sheet of cheap printer paper or any light weight sheet of paper about 8" x 10". 
  • Draw 2" border.  This is the body of the box---consisting of sides and bottom.  
  • Draw 1/2" border on the outside of inner rectangle.  This is the pattern for the top and lid. 
  • Have at least three slabs ready.  Minimum size 9"x 12".  Between 3/8"-1/2" thick. No thinner. No thicker.
  • The first slab needs to remain soft and have its own board.  It will be cut and form on this board. 
  • The other two slabs can rest on another wood board or sheetrock.  These will need to set up a little longer to leatherhard.

Use a soft pencil or fettling knife impress the first set of lines (above photo.)  These are guidelines for the body of box. Remove pattern.

Cut out corners.  Using finger run it around line and make a shallow trough.  This trough is to help bend up the walls.
Bring up the walls and line up the seams of the corners.  Push gently and squeeze in the corners.  Go around each corner.  Once walls are up gently run hands around outside bottom edge.  Do not try to lift box.  It will not like that at all.  Smooth out all corners.  Add coils inside the corners and smooth.  The box is still too soft for much and will be wobbly.  Let set up a while and occasionally check and push up walls to straighten.  Lightly cover with plastic and let set up to soft leather-hard. It will have a little give but not leave an indent.  Brush on slip if doing sgraffito drawing.

Use a roller of some sorts to compress sides flat.  It helps to sharpen the corners, too.  Scraping the the sides works, too. I leave the bottom edge alone. This keeps it from looking overworked. Besides, I like its soft and rounded edges. Once the feet goes on it even looks nicer.

Place pattern over leather-hard slab.  I went over the lines again so the top is more apparent. Impress markings for top and lid.  Remove pattern and trim away outer lines of rectangle.

Make sure that it fits over the top of the box.  A little bit of overhang is just right.  Now it's time to cut out the lid.  For a beveled edge I use a good old fashioned wooden rule with a metal strip and an craft knife.

 The lid and top opening is now done.  For the flange I make a smaller frame than the opening and attach underneath.  Strips of slab can also be used.  The bevel edge is mostly decorative and a small flange is necessary to keep the lid from falling in just in case it shrinks in the firing.  It looks nice, too.

top frame is the flange, big frame is the top, solid piece is the lid


Inside flange now attached
Attach lid. I like to roll out small coils and spread up using the fettling knife or rib in  "icing a cake" motion.  Little feet are added. Now add some way to lift the lid................

One little box filled with surprises!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fish Story

a little bit of fun before "Boxed Woods Pt 2" coming up next Monday
Hope you have a clay filled weekend! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Boxed Woods pt. 1

The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box. 
Henri Cartier-Bresson






There are so many ways to make a clay box.  And so many different shapes.  Many things to consider and sometimes. none.  There is the interaction between the use and the user. The artist and the process.   

In the beginning there are many things to consider.  Much of it--intuitive, some of it--planned and all of it--discovery. 

How to lift the lid?  Is it comfortable to lift with this type of knob or no knob?  Does there need to be a knob? Is the knob the finishing touch?  Does it bring together all the other design elements?  Is the knob the cherry on the top?  And where does it fit between utility and value? What about the interaction between the form and the visual content?

This little slab box encompasses a little painting of the woods.  It was made simply and with little seaming. I wanted to explore the notion of containment and curiosity. Of ritual and utility.  Mainly I just like making boxes!  Next post I will show how I made this simple, slab box for those of you who are curious....stay tuned for part 2........

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Working on boxes and listening close

  “Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

Shel Silverstein

Still working on boxes.  Quite a few boxes.  Each a little different.  I used to worry a bit about cohesiveness, personal style and all that.  After a while I just stopped working with pottery (which I love) because I boxed myself in with doubt.  I was checking off boxes of imagined criteria.  Here I was doing this to myself!  I made that choice.  I was wielding that sharpened pencil. Check! Check! Check! No one else had that pencil.  Just me. I chose to enclose myself in my own little box and with a stuck lid! Well, that had to stop.  I made a promise to myself to use that pencil only to draw new ideas and write new thoughts.  To listen closer to my inner voice.
Now I am thinking clearer. I am into the process again.  The boxes I most enjoyed making were the ones I had carved and scraped.  I think I will work with this in mind for the next group.  I want to keep them simple with small details and clean finishes. Never mind that they are boxes of my own choosing.  At least they are checked free!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

simple clay boxes made with dreams

There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, 
"Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams." 
Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there. 
 Erma Bombeck

Dreams are funny things
I need my dreams 
 every last one of them
working or not
they need not all come true
it is enough for me to know they are there
in their boxes
some of my dreams are
dark humored
 wild and ruthless
with heavy doses of passion and adventure
rolled up
savored only
in the
silent morning heat

always simmering
a lot of work, they are

Go out and live your dreams! someone shouts
but can I ask

Do forgotten dreams cease to exist or linger in some sort of limbo?

should I believe 

dreams are unclaimed possibilities

scraping, forming
remaking, rehashing
a lot of work, they are

(too precious to throw out with the bath water)

and finally 
may I ask

A r e  w i s h e s  t h e  e x h a l e  b r e a t h  o f  d r e a m s ?

so many questions
a lot of work, they are

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