Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Working Against the Deadline

After today, there are only two more classes in my Spring Ahead ceramics course.  Then it is Spring Break, and even after we return, I think there are no workshops until mid April.  So today was the last day to start new pieces.  So I started a number of new pieces.

For the most part, I was so busy, I didn't stop to take photos.  But here are some of the pieces I did manage to take photos of today.

This one is made from sprig molds our instructor had made from some doll heads.  The looked a little creepy on their own, but on an urn or planter, I think they are magical.   I didn't want to make a planter, since I don't do container gardening (I have too large of a garden already, and can't be bothered to water them).  But I think it would make an awesome pot for a wild flower arrangement or maybe even a serving container.  I can imagine it finished in an antiqued way (although I don't yet know how I will achieve that, other than to use some sort of staining & wiping).  It has 3 heads on it, so one is visible from just about any direction.  I toyed with adding 3 curly stubby handles, but I'm glad my fellow potters talked me out of it.  If for no other reason that it saved me a lot of time!

This one will be the base for my totem base, which was otherwise too small in comparison with the other pieces.  I had to guess the size of the other base (which will sit on top), since it's already in the kiln.  But if I get it wrong, I will add a flat piece in between, and make it work.  I find that often the key to success is being versatile.

This dome is one the pieces which I have been intending to try, ever since the instructor, Jay, demo'd it about 3 weeks ago.  It is thrown as a sort of cone or volcano shape, which gets closed in, and rounded.  I was very proud of myself for managing to throw that much clay, and actually closing it (after a couple of attempts in which I lost a chunk off the top, and had to pull up more clay).  Then the top is allowed to dry (I helped it along with the heat gun, since I was running out of time at the end of the day), and it is flipped over.  I don't have pictures of the next part, but the sharp edge is trimmed, a hole is made (so air can escape), and the flat top is gently slumped down with a soft rib.  So the result is what looks like a big clay pillow.  Sorry, the photo next time will explain better than my attempt with words.

I'm still working on pieces for my totem.  This one is a raccoon, thrown as a funky cylinder, and with a hole in the bottom already.  Can you see the raccoon?

What if I were to use some slabs of clay to add a few more features?  (I took him home, so I could spend a few hours fiddling around, since I ran out of time in class.)  Can you see the raccoon now? :
There's a reason they are called "washing bear" in many languages.  Mischievous little guys, and probably the culprits behind my broken sour cherry tree, and possibly even the cut down banana tree, but my garden totem wouldn't be complete without one.  And of course, the raccoon wouldn't be complete without hair and his beautiful striped tail :
Say what?  You want to see his face?  Okay then :
Little cutie.  I don't know if I can bear (pun intended?) to make a hole on the top of his head and add him to the totem anymore.   So maybe he'll need to be at the top of the totem, or I'll use another post and make him his own garden ornament, rather than being crammed into the totem.  We'll see.  I have at least a few days, if not the week, to decide.  What would you advise?

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