Thursday, January 31, 2008

First Large Piece

Today we had to make a piece out of a slab of clay. We spent the first hour and a half of class talking about slabs, how to make them, how to handle them properly so your piece doesn't curl in the oven, etc. It was actually really interesting. I'm kind of thinking of making a slab and just messing with it, stretching it in odd ways and whatever, then I'll put it in the kiln and see what happens. I like that kind of stuff.

So today's project didn't have to be fancy shmancy or anything... I decided to make a larger version of one of my pinch pots. So now it's a vase.

Here's the sketch I did:

And here are the pictures:

It basically looks like the sketch I made. I wanted to start with a sketch because apparently once the clay starts to dry, you can't use it anymore (you have to put it aside and "recycle" it).

The vase is about 14"x8"x7" - that's kind of how big I remember it being, so it's pretty big. When it's done it will be smaller.

I imagine that the big hole is for a large bunch of flowers that will sit diagonally, and if you want you can put a couple of flowers in each of the small holes (the holes reach to the bottom so all of the flowers will share the same water).

I hope it doesn't come apart!!!


My grandma calls all of my work "doodles" except for ceramics. I always think it's funny. When I told her I was going to do the mural, she said "you're getting paid to doodle on the wall, how often are you allowed to do that?"


Here are some real doodles from my new sketchbook. I have been doodling in class on the margins of my papers since I was in elementary school, all with a very similar theme. Now I am putting the doodles into a sketchbook so I can keep them. It helps me to listen/pay attention if I'm doing something with my hands - when I stare at the teacher I sometimes zone out.

This drawing was done while I was in the parking lot, about to get out and go to class. I saw a really cool branch on a tree and drew it:

This is the doodle I made in class, inspired by the tree:


Today I did my weekly volunteering at the children's hospital. I spent most of my time there drawing with kids using just construction paper and markers - we did have some foam stickers and stamps, but most of the kids went for the simple paper and markers. I did my own drawing while helping them with their supplies. The kids mostly did not want to talk while they were working, so I sometimes commented on their work but mostly stuck with mine. We did have some conversations about Wii games, Wedkinz (virtual pets that I hadn't heard of until today), basketball, etc.

Anyway, I didn't keep the drawing I made, but it was pretty intricate. I made a doodle inspired by that later today in class.

This one is a little more organized than the drawing I did at the hospital, since that one was mostly me playing with stamps and colors and trying to give the kids some ideas.

I decided to post pictures of doodles instead of more pinch pots - I did finish the pots but they all kind of look the same so I imagine that's not that interesting. More clay posts when I have something interesting!

Flying Away

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Pinch Pots

Today I worked with the red clay:

Seven red clay pots to match my seven porcelain pots.

I didn't really give these textures yet - I realized it's easier to do it when the clay is a little harder, so I'll let them dry a couple of hours before I start carving in (I literally just finished them and rushed to post).

My "pinched" pot of this series. This one kind of looks like an apple. You can't tell from this picture but it's a lopsided pot. I really like when they're asymmetrical. It's not really practical but I like the way it looks.

I'm getting better at forming the pots. At first I was just trying to pinch out the sides and then work with it, but now I realize you have to work with it from the beginning. It's hard to explain because I don't quite know what I've figured out yet, but you have to start negotiating the clay from the moment you squish your thumb into the ball. Very interesting.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pinch Pots

Today I made 7 pinch pots. I think I would have made more, but there were some animal things to take care of around here.

Without further ado, my first pinch pots:

Literally, a pinched pot!

The one that is slouchy is slouchy on purpose. I kind of wanted to make it look like a bag of grain:

I made interesting designs inside some of them:

And then I had to make a stamp, so after my pinch pots I will stamp my work with this so I can tell it apart from other people's work:

(It's a bird with a tzadi underneath ... because of my Hebrew name)

These pinch pots were not easy to make. It's very hard to make clay do what you want it to do - it's very easy to draw things the way you want, you just do it! But with clay, you have to figure out how to make the clay do what you want, or maybe figure out what the clay wants to do and just work with that.

One cool thing about the clay is the way it makes folds like in my "pinched" pot. It looks like fabric, but it will be hard and I'll be able to paint it and I just think that's the coolest. When I was in high school I was absolutely obsessed with the way Japanese artists (woodblock, watercolor, whatever) were able to capture the way fabric folds and drapes. Well, maybe I will be doing more folding in future work.

Tomorrow begins another full week. I like going to school and I like volunteering, but I am kind of looking forward to getting through the week and making it to Friday!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Maybe I Won't Teach

Only one person signed up for my painting class, so it's not happening. Even if I get the money from one person, I end up losing money teaching that one person for 3 hours. I'm only charging $40 per person for a three hour painting class. I have to buy supplies for a still life and paint them - let's say that costs around $15 for supplies and the equivalent value of the paint. I have to spend over an hour and a half in transit (total) - so let's say that's about $7 in gas. It also costs $12 per person per 3 hours' use of the studio.

Even with that low estimate, I make $6 for almost 5 hours of my time (including transit). It's really not worth it. I had to make it a minimum of two students to hold the class, because then at least I could make more than $20 for my afternoon!

You can even look on the studio's website and see that people have posted on the message board specifically requesting drawing and painting classes. Until now, the only classes offered have been jewelry-making classes, one soap-making class and one fruit-carving class.

JewishGuy suggested that the reason is the class is too expensive. I don't think it's expensive, even compared to the other classes in the same studio. Most jewelry-making classes are around $30-40. These classes don't provide the students with supplies, either, so it's not like they can reasonably say to themselves, "$40?! And I have to buy my own paint and canvas? WTF, mate?"

Any single-day painting class at any studio in the city costs at least $100 if not $200. I have looked, because I was interested in taking one of these workshops. They also do not include supplies. Maybe students in this area (about 45 minutes from the city) would take a $15 painting or drawing class. Maybe they think it's only worth $15 for three hours of an instructor's time because they don't realize the inherent costs of renting studio space, setting up still-lifes. If the reason they don't want to take the class is because they don't want to spend $40 for three hours, well, that's just really annoying.

I'd rather believe there's not enough interest...

Ceramic Show & Inspiration

Tonight, JewishGuy and I went to see Kim Yong Moon's solo show. Kim Yong Moon is my ceramics teacher's instructor, so I guess I was kind of a kiss-ass for going, but we went. It was really nice, although there wasn't much there (he is actually still making some work that will be in the show later in the week). I think we may buy a cup or a bowl next week :)

Also, I have decided I am going to make a Shabbat lamp for my historic piece. Basically, just a regular oil lamp but with two wicks. I did some research and apparently oil lamps are preferable to candles for Shabbat, especially if you can burn olive oil (Shulchan Aruch 264:6). Also, apparently olive oil is "better for the environment" than burning candles, or at least better than any wax candles other than beeswax (according to Canfei Nesharim). In any case, I've started to make sketches and I am very excited!

We went to the clay store to pick up some clay, but they are closed early on Saturday and not open at all on Sunday. That means I won't even be able to get started until Monday, which makes me sad. I am very impatient. I want to start now!! This means I have to do my reading for class on Sunday, when I really want to make my pinch pots.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ceramics is Intense

OK so after my first class in ceramics I have two assignments, one to be done by next class and another to be planned by next class.

Assignment #1: 20 little pinch pots. We are going to use these pots to test glazes.

Assignment #2: Copy an historic piece. We have to plan it out with sketches first, so I should have some sketches soon.

First, I've decided I'm going to make lots of different types of pinch pots, not just 20 of the same. I'll use three different types of clay and make 7 of two kinds and 6 of one kind. I want to make two of each type of pinch pot in each kind of clay. Blah, that sounds stupid when I write it, but whatever.

As far as the historic piece goes, I am going to make an oil lamp (hopefully a functional oil lamp). This site basically gives instructions on how to make a functional oil lamp, so I'm going to take those instructions and use designs from ancient Israel (if I can be that specific). I think that would be really cool. Maybe this plus this equals something cool if I work at it. Maybe I could make a "retro" hanukkiah.

I am not the kind of person who takes assignments in art classes literally. I like to use them as suggested guidelines. He told the class he wanted us to copy an historic work of art, specifically ceramic art but not necessarily. Well, oil lamps were a necessary part of life in the ancient world, so not all of them were super ornate. (If I make a hanukkiah, that could be really sweet if I could figure out how to use it.) So maybe I will take the design of the oil lamp and make something cool.

Anyway... I am really excited about this class, so I am going to start making sketches and pinch pots.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

News soon, I hope!

I start ceramics classes this Thursday, so soon I hope to have more things to post. I keep trying to remember to do some more sketches for paintings, but I haven't. I also kind of wish I could take pictures of the work I make with the kids at the children's hospital, but I can't do that either. So... nothing new yet, but soon, hopefully!

I did get an interview at one of my top graduate schools, so I will be going there in about two weeks. I also just (finally) got paid from the store for my columns, so now I feel comfortable enough to see if I can take them up on the offer to do more work for them but get paid in clothes. We'll see.

That's it, for now!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ready to Go!

Today I registered for my ceramics class and yesterday I paid for my courses at the university. Also, today I was cleared to volunteer in the children's hospital! So now I am a full time student and part time volunteer and on my way to being prepared for grad school... except I haven't finished my applications yet. Eep.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sad News

I was going to teach a drawing class today, right now actually, but nobody signed up. Oh well, better luck next time.

I <3 U

Trying it out:

I did a digital collage yesterday using pictures of roots and hearts that I found online and am trying to work through it this way. This was just about two hours of work that I did this afternoon while watching "Death Becomes Her." It was kind of appropriate.

I'm not done, and I kind of feel like if I figure out what I want to do in this painting I will be able to do more paintings on the same theme.

I like the colors of this one. It's kind of the same palette that I usually use, but more green, which I think helps the painting not look too gruesome. I am still inspired by two people I used to paint with as an undergrad, and even though I'm not in contact with them anymore, I think about their work a lot when I paint. I don't copy them, their style or color or subject, though.

Now it's on to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," which is another great movie I haven't seen in a while and then tea and then more painting (maybe). Weekends are somehow nicer, even when you're unemployed.

Friday, January 4, 2008


I want to sell some art, or make some art to sell. I made those drawings the last time JewishGuy was out of town, and now he's out of town again, so maybe I should make something.

The thing is, the kinds of things I make (like those drawings) are not the kinds of things that people buy. They are weird and not cute "let's hang it on the wall" kind of things.

I was thinking about this today when I was in the 1/4 Price Books store. It isn't actually a cheap book store, it's a place to find old, out of print books for way less than you would find in a book collector's store. The atmosphere is very cool, and I think I will go back (although it is dangerous because I bought some not-so-cheap books today).

But anyway, I was thinking about this today because I picked up this fantastic book about Francis Bacon's work. Francis Bacon is one of my most favoritest artists of all time (right up there with Willem de Kooning). His work is scary. He makes things that people do not want in their houses. For example:

Would you buy this? No. I mean, I would, if I had the money. I have a poster of Woman I that I hang in the bedroom (or, want to hang in the bedroom, since I moved from my last apartment I have been lazy). I love this stuff. I can't explain it, but I identify with it. I look at the deconstructed figures, and something connects and makes sense. I want to make art that looks like this, but I can't because I don't have the guts. It really takes guts to make something people won't think is pretty, and I don't have it in me yet. The worst I've done is put a pimple on a face.

Um, awesome news!!

I go to the gym three times a week and nothing exciting happens. Except, yesterday, something exciting did happen! I saw the woman I'd been working with at the store where I did the mural. She said the mural has been a big hit, people really like the columns.

I have to admit I wasn't very subtle about dropping hints about how I was unemployed and blah blah. She said that in a month or two, they could have a budget to hire me to do more work for them! OK, so this time they would really only pay me in clothes, but that's cool, right?

Also, she said that wherever I go for grad school, she would send a good recommendation to the stores in the area. Like, if I go to New York, she'll tell the area managers there about the mural I did for them and recommend that they hire me.

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