Monday, April 28, 2008

DONE (phew)

Today I had to go to the studio to finish all of my projects because unfortunately I will be rushing up to New York tomorrow.  I spent three (?) hours in the studio and I glazed 15 things.

Here's a shot of the shelf space I took up once I was done:

The front row are some of my favorites.  The left is a bowl I made in a mold, but it was off balance so it lies on its side.  At first I was disappointed but I glazed it in a way that will make it look cool (at least I think so).  It's got some fun jaggedy edges.  The middle is a fun, foldy balance vase that I have a close-up of below.  The right is my nose vase.  The front center is one of my lopsided bowls that I glazed and brushed some iron oxide on with a almost-completely-dead-this-is-the-only-use-it-has-left brush.

You can see I filled up half of two shelves - I have a lot more stuff behind the big things in the front (they had to be there because they were too tall for most shelves).

And here is a close-up of the foldy vase before I glazed it:

I made my best stuff in the last couple of weeks, when I was going in to crank out a bunch of new stuff right near the end of the semester (kind of like everyone else).

I'm glad that it's done.  I didn't really feel like glazing today but I'm glad that I don't have to do it another day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Woo classes!!!

OK... so I haven't even registered for classes yet, I have a lot of things to think about before this, BUT.  Today I was looking at studio classes for my first semester in grad school.  I can take ONE studio class a semester, and I have to pick 4 or 5 and rank them in order or priority since I will be registering late (being a new student).

Here are my favorites so far:

Painting & Spirituality
(combines painting, journaling, spirituality, explorations in faith and painting, etc... SOUNDS AWESOME)

Woven Structure Basics
(yes, the LOOM)

Artists' Books
(as a person who collects interesting journals, I bet it would be fun to make my own)

Intro to Screenprinting
(because I have wanted to take this class ever since I started printmaking stuff like 6 years ago)

I think this is the order in which they are ranked as well.  I think the painting and spirituality class sounds perfect for me.  Hello?  JewishGalArt???

Monday, April 7, 2008


Yes!  Day #3 at the wheel has shown a dramatic increase in the thing-ness of what comes out!  LOOK!

Isn't it amazing?  They are pretty much in chronological order, so you can see at first I was still making wobbly cylinders, and then I made bowls, and then I made a PLATE!

Some close-ups:

The plate (above).  You can see it's actually quite thin!  Even though it's not perfect I think it's pretty amazing.  After I made it, I stood up and said out loud, "I made a plate!!!"  The other students in the studio weren't as excited as me, but whatever.  You can't tell from the photo but I would say it's about 6" diameter - pretty small.

This was probably the best bowl I made.  Assuming it survives the firing, it would be a good little serving bowl (it looks bigger in the photo than it really is).

A shot from above.  How pretty!

The instructor told us last class to think about the design of the objects and to really take advantage of the plasticity of the clay by making it into weird shapes and not just making boring round bowls and plates.  However, this is not the way that I work.  First, I try to do really well at the basics before I start messing with the shapes.  I feel like if you make it badly and then make a weird shape out of it, you're just covering up how badly you made it ... which is kind of obvious to me.  I saw some of the work done by people in the beginner's class, either my class or the other one, and they did shape it into interesting shapes, but the sides were so thick and uneven.  They looked all right but obviously not good bowls, just interesting ceramic pieces.  So my goal is to make good bowls, and maybe I will make interesting bowls once I learn how to make good ones.

I wish I had started learning the wheel earlier because honestly this is the most fun I've had in the class so far!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Marked Improvement

This afternoon in the studio was so successful I took pictures of what I made!

Day #2 at the wheel:

Look!  They have a real shape!  (The ridges are from my fingers)

I had some very helpful advice from other students that were there today doing their own work.  My teacher kept telling me to guide the clay, but today they told me to push it.  I know how to push things!  It was helpful thinking about pushing it rather than guiding it, because the clay really does seem to need to be pushed into place rather than simply told where to go.

These things aren't really useful but at least I made something.  I'm going to go back in on Sunday and Monday, I hope, since I really only have 2 weeks of working with wet clay left.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Tonight was my first night trying to use the potter's wheel.  It is really, really hard.  I knew it would be hard.  Here are the strategies I implemented:
  1. Brute force.  I tried to MAKE my clay go where it was supposed to go.  This of course did not work.
  2. Cursing at the clay.  I thought, maybe I could insult it into submission.  This also did not work.
  3. Whispering sweet nothings to the clay.  This actually did help.  I was able to do some of the preliminary work with the clay.  I was saying, "Okay clay, go up, go up into a cone.  What a good cone you've made.  Now let's go down, down into a plateau, very nice, good job.  Now back up, let's try the cone again."  It was like teaching a three year old... and that three year old was me.
Notwithstanding these successful strategies, everything I made tonight was terribly lopsided and collapsed.  I did manage to make bowl-like shapes, which I suppose is something to be proud of, even though the shapes were really only distant relatives of the bowl.  (I was trying to make a cylinder, our goal is making a cylinder first, then bowls, then plates!)

Also, I think I may have ruined the pants I was wearing tonight due to the massive amounts of clay that is now embedded in it.  I have to wait for them to dry and then I can shake it out over the shrubbery or something since it's just mud, basically.

So, long story short, I am going to have to go in to do a lot of practice.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I took this today while walking on campus.  Sometimes I just see something interesting and I have to take a picture of it just in case!
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