Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Productive Day in the Studio - Throwing Jugs

I am only somewhat following along our course content, throwing and creating the pieces which inspire me, and observing but giving the others a pass.  One which did inspire me, but I was busy with other activities at the time, was a wine or beer jug called a Bellarmine or Bartmann jug.  The name Bartmann comes from German "bearded man", and the jug, decorated with a face of a bearded man, was made in Germany (and perhaps surrounding areas) in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The name Bellarmine apparently comes from Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine, an opponent of Protestantism, and thought to be caricaturized in the jugs.  But even if some were caricatures of Cardinal Bellarmine, the jugs were popular long before his time.

Anyhow, my search for images these jugs peaked my curiosity, and I decided I've got to make one.  Since I didn't have a face to add, I thought I'd first make a sprig mold, but then I realized I could use slip trailing to add the face.  So today I started throwing jugs.  Here is the instructor's jug, before the handle was added :
Here's my first attempt a similar jug :
Ceramic / pottery Bellarmine or Bartmann jug, in progress.
I was really pleased with the result.  It is not easy to throw this shape, and get the nice round belly, then pull in the neck so narrow and tall.  I went on to throw 3 or 4 more jugs, most of them similar in size, one smaller.  None of them turned out quite as nicely as the first one, in my opinion.  But I'll have my work cut out for me next week, adding handles (which I dread), and adding the bearded man (which I look forward to, but don't know if I can get so many done in the allotted time).

I also threw a sake container, and I think the shape of it turned out really nice, although it was a bit shorter than I had hoped.  But I guess I didn't take a photo at the time.

I also went on to throw other round shapes, like my favourite spheres, and vases which had a sort of spherical shape and a straight neck/rim.  I was very pleased by the results :
Wheel thrown ceramic / pottery pieces in progress.

You'll notice in the last photo, the little vessel with hearts cut out of the sides.  This is the double-walled vase I threw last week.  The shape is not beautiful, so I didn't want to spend too much time fussing over too complicated a pattern.  But since the cutouts are in the outer wall, the inner can still be filled with water.  I think this will make a cute little vase, even if the opening at top is a bit wider than I perhaps would have chosen.
Double-walled ceramic pottery vase or vessel, with carved outer wall.

Today's class was all about throwing goblets, and our instructor showed us a number of different options for throwing the cup and throwing the base, and even a very tricky one where he threw both as one piece.  I didn't much like his examples, and most of them were too small, so once they shrunk, they would be the size of shot glasses, not goblets.  I was already winding down and cleaning up when he passed by the studio and asked if I had thrown any goblets.  So I decided I'd give it a quick try, and in 10 minutes, threw a base, a cup, and even a stem to add between, since I figured that would look better than the stubby ones he showed us.
Pieces of a ceramic goblet in progress.
Because the timing would be very tricky, of drying it enough to work with it, but not letting it dry out too much by next week, I decided to bring those 3 pieces home, and assemble them before returning them to the studio.  I've already added the stem to the base:
Parts of a ceramic goblet in progress.
I think it has some potential.  I have some thoughts in decorating it also, if I have time (which is not usually a problem, I somehow can always make the time).

Next week is the last class before the bisque deadline.  Wow, time has gone quickly, as always.  But I am pleased the size and number and level of difficulty of the pieces I've been throwing in this class.  As well as some new decorating ideas I've picked up.  And then, I am super pleased by my experiments in my spare time, exploring sculpture and piercing and carving and other techniques.

P.S. Before going to bed, the pieces were not quite leather hard, but firm enough to handle, so I added the cup to the base :
Ceramic / pottery stemmed goblet in progress.
It's funny, but I really like the shape.  That seems like a goblet to me, and may even be big enough to be useful for drinking.  I have 3 thoughts for decorating : (1) hold off, and use glazes to decorate, (2) add some simple sprigs, like the grape leaf I used for the beer stein, or (3) add something interesting, like a vine twisting up the stem and onto the cup.  I consulted my 14-year-old, and he thought I should add the vine.  Hmmm.  That is also what I want to do, the most.  But I wish I had two goblets.  One which I could experiment with, adding the vine, and the other to just leave alone, and experiment with glazes.  We'll see.

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