Friday, May 29, 2009

Studio Creations...

Hello! Happy Friday! I had today off from my day job, so I played in the studio this afternoon. I'm loving hand-building lately! This pot is made from porcelain and I'll glaze it a pretty transparent color so the butterfly & angel stamps show up. Guess how long it took me to make this pot! Give up? Four hours! It's not hard to do, just time consuming. I love the "pebbles" because it looks like a stone wall. Letting it dry slowly now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kristin's Fountain--finished!

I'm doing a happy dance! I glaze fired Kristin's fountain and some other pieces and they came out beautifully! This is my "Mother Earth & Father Sky" glaze combination. Just wanted to share the finished piece. It's being shipped off to Seattle! Yeah!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kristen's Fountain Update

Hello! Happy Holiday Weekend to everyone! You might remember a picture of a bowl with a carved rim that I posted awhile ago. I said it was for a fountain that I was making for my girlfriend. All the pieces of this fountain were finally dry enough to bisque fire, so I heated up the kiln yesterday. Here are pictures of this fountain as they look bisque fired. I'm going to glaze them this weekend and hopefully fire on Monday!

Kristen loves birds, so I added a stylized birdie to the fountainhead. This is why it took so long to dry, I didn't want the bird to blow up in the firing! So far, so good!
Now, the last glaze fire I did over-fired and ruined alot of pieces, so I'm a bit nervous this time around! But, the bisque fire was text-book, so I'm hoping that the problem was fixed. I still need to sculpt a kiln-goddess!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lotus Zen Fountain update

Last night after work and dinner I was feeling very tired (typical for Monday), so I didn't get very much done in the studio. I did managed to prep 5 smaller petals for the inner layer of my Lotus though. Then covered them with plastic to firm up a bit. They can't dry too much or they would crack when I attach them. Then I went inside and watched PBS' "Mystery" movie which featured Kenneth Branaugh. Haven't seen him in awhile and it was very good! Loved the music.

Today I attached these petals! (see pictures) Now I've got it covered up again. I'm debating on whether or not I need to add any more petals. I'll let this sit and stew in my mind awhile as it dries slowly.

Next I need to get the bowl and "stand" for the lily pad leaf thrown! This will have to wait another day as I have a meeting with the Troy Arts Alliance tonight.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lotus Zen Fountain - "How To"

Hello! How is everyone? I'm writing like many people will see this when I know it's probably only a small handful. What the heck!
Anyway, in a crazy stupor I entered my Lotus Zen fountain design into a local Sculptures exhibit and now I have to create it! Of course I've known about it for a few months, but it just seemed like there was so much time! It's due the 3rd week of June, so I finally decided to get to it this weekend.

Thought it might be fun to take pics and catalogue them here--so folks would get an idea of how I create a Lotus Zen fountain. Also, for me it's fun to see it come together so quickly! (Kind of like those "home renovation" TV shows when you see a whole house remodeled in 30 minutes)!

First I sketch out my design, trying to figure out exactly how to assemble all the pieces to make it work as a fountain. So, it's more than a sculptural piece of art, it's also functional and therefore much more complicated to make. How to house the pump? Where should the water spurt out of? Will it splash? How to attach petals so they won't crack? What shape should petals be, like a lotus or a water lily? What does the seed pod look like? The Lily pad? What shape should the bowl be? Glaze color? Which clay? These are all questions that I ask and answer myself during the sketching process. I'd like to add that I tried 2 test versions of the flower itself before I came to this design. The first 2 were darn ugly!

Next, I rolled out a slab for my lily pad leaf. (not shown). I cut out a paper template that I drew by hand and then used it to cut out a piece of clay for the slab. Sit leaf aside to dry a little bit.

Seed pod formation came next--hand built/sculpted and poked holes (not shown)...set aside to dry.

Lotus petals--cut out paper template from hand-drawn petal. Rolled out slabs of porcelain clay, cut them into smaller squares, then covered them up with plastic so they wouldn't dry out too quickly. Then, I trace around the paper template onto the clay and cut out one petal at a time. I then "pinch" the clay, compressing it evenly to thin it out (see picture). I grabbed Terry from his wood shop to take a picture for me!
I do this for each petal, then bend the bottom a bit so it can be attached there. Leave to dry a little bit so it will keep shape.

Then, I determined where the seed pod will sit on the leaf. (Note: real lotus flowers do not actually sit on the leaves, they have a very strong stem. But, my clay lotus needs good support underneath it, so I'm using the leaf!) Before attaching the seed pod, I cut a hole in the leaf--so that the plastic tube from the fountain can come up through the leaf and into the seed pod. Attach pod.

Next, after the petals are stiff yet still a little wet, I attach them to the leaf at the base of the seed pod. I use the biggest petals for the first row, then they are smaller as I go up. I got 2 rows done this weekend! I've covered it up securely so I can still work on it during the week. I hope to add 2 more rows, if possible.

Coming up: Throwing the base for the lily pad leaf and creating the bowl!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My beautiful Ohio - U.S.A.

Hello! We had a wonderful day here in Ohio where the sun decided to show itself after a week or so of dreary days. We've had a very wet spring and so the land has responded with beautiful green grass and dark brown earth. My husband and I went mushroom 'hunting' for morel 'shrooms but didn't catch anything! Seems we were too late in the season, or they just didn't form this year. Enclosed are some pictures that I took to give you an idea of how beautiful it is here! On a pottery note, I bisque fired the pots in my last post and I'm hoping to glaze them tomorrow. I'll write a note here after the glaze fire and hopefully will post some pictures!