Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Monster Dragon Vase

I started out this morning thinking that I would throw some small pots for the soda firing, and cut some leaves from my garden in case I wanted to make any more leaf imprinted vessels, or leaf pendants for the soda firing.  But when I arrived at class, I remembered that I had that monster vase from last week, which I needed to assemble.

I asked a classmate to take a photo of me with my big pots, before I started tapping and rolling the seam to join them.  This is the most clay (26+ lbs) which I've ever handled.

It took most of the class time to combine them, and then soften the clay which I had left on the bottom of the 2nd pot (which became the top of my monster pot), so that I could throw it, and attach handles.  What I had in mind originally was something like this pot which inspired me on our recent trip to France, with decorative handles :

But I realized that if I were going to go to the trouble of making decorative handles, I would want to make it worth my while, and make dragons.  So thus started my adventure :

I ended up extruding and altering the three tubes which became three dragons on my pot.  But for the first while, my classmates were all commenting the snakelike creature I was making.  It was only when I added the wings, that the dragon forms emerged.

Here is another angle, with the one dragon peeking past the other :

The concept of the dragons was part inspired by the little dragon mugs made by FiredFigments on Instagram, and part inspired by some dragon vessels I saw in China, which featured dragons as handles, which were biting onto the edges of the vessel.  So I decided my dragons would be biting the pot in a similar manner.  Here is an example, from the Xian Museum, which our family visited in our 2014 trip:

The wings were a challenge, but making the little faces was a delight.  I decided that each one would be different.  Here are a few angles to see the three little faces :

I am very pleased with the result.  With the dragons, this is easily 30+ lb of clay, which is incredible.  I had warned Jay that I would ask him to carry it downstairs for me, but in the end I decided to attempt it myself, and almost didn't make it.  By the time I had placed this vessel safely on a table in the damp room, my arms were shaking and I was exhausted.

I can't wait to see the final result.  What an amazing piece this will be.

Oh, and during the process, I forgot that I had a third piece which was to be the pedestal, but I'm not sure I would even dare attempt that anymore.  I think I'll just call it done, and pray that the bottom (which will remain untrimmed) will not crack.

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