Art School: Semester 7: Week 8

At the rate time is currently moving, I must be approaching infinite mass. Observation seems to confirm that. (That’s an attempt at a physics joke for the nerds out there.)

Four studio classes in a single term was, in short, a mistake. Way too much to do, but I am doing it. Details below, as usual. Sorry if this post is shorter than normal. I have a presentation to write tonight.

Advanced Ceramics

This week all I have here is news, rather than photos. The important points are:

  • I got the grade for the inadvertently phallic sprig sculpture. Apparently the instructor liked it a lot. Best mark I have ever received from her. Hard to believe, honestly. I spent several minutes laughing out loud as I read her comments.
  • All five of my platters have now been bisque fired. They await glazing and will go into the kiln for final firing sometime this coming week.
  • I have submitted a proposal for my final project in this class. I think I have discussed it before in these posts, but perhaps not. I am building a jig — it’s mostly done— to support extruded clay. I intend to create open, sculptural forms by wrapping (almost weaving) extruded clay on the jig. There may be several of these in the fullness of time, with varying numbers of supports used in their creation, and varying degrees of symmetry. I should start working on the first one in the coming week, or next weekend at the very latest.

Wheel Throwing

Here I have some photos. These are of various things I have glazed and that are ready for firing:

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  • On the left, ten mugs. They should be blue inside and white on the lip and outside.
  • In the middle, the item on the left is one of my “chicken pitchers” glazed in a way that may look a bit like feathers. On the right of the middle photo is a more normal (though really chunky) pitcher which is glazed in light blue on the inside and clear on the outside, with a subtle bit of blue under the clear outside.
  • And on the right another normal pitcher glazed in a similar manner to the chunky one. In that right photo you can see some marks in the glaze that are the bits of blue below the clear on the outside.

When the pitchers are fired — assuming the blue works as I hope — it will be time to ask my readers what the marks are all about. (Everyone except Azadeh, that is. She knows what they mean as she was there today while I glazed them. We discussed it. She’s sworn to secrecy, though.)

The final firing of these pitchers and mugs happens this coming week, and then they all get critiqued at once.

Lidded forms are still awaiting glaze and crit, but my third lidded form did come out of the bisque kiln. That means all my lidded forms are at least bisque fired and awaiting glaze.

The next project is plates, and I had a problem with that this morning. I attempted to throw some of the clay I was given, but it was so hard I couldn’t even centre it on the wheel. Not even a small amount to hold the bat down. I got it close enough to attach the bat and try centring a larger ball of clay for a plate, but that simply did not work. In the end I gave up, cut the clay into chunks, got them all wet, mushed them back together, stuffed the resulting mess into a plastic bag, sprayed it with more water, and put it back on my shelf. Maybe it will be more throwable tomorrow or next week. I will have to re-wedge it completely, but if it becomes at bit more malleable, I will be much better off.

As with advanced ceramics, I just submitted a proposal for a final project. I intend to throw a number of bowl forms on the wheel, cut and distort them, and attach them together to create a sculpture. I have no drawings or deep details for this one. It’s just time to make a decision and that’s all I’ve been able to figure out.

Public Art

As usual, no pictures here, but there is ongoing progress. We’re nearing the end of the stack of art pieces that need grinding and sanding to get them ready for use. I think two remain that need that sort of work, and they should be done before class meets again on Wednesday.

I’ve been working on the bits needed to attach the art pieces to the frame. That’s been a slow process, but I hope to make more progress on it on Monday. Maybe even tomorrow (Sunday) as well, but that remains to be seen.

Foundry

Two bits of foundry news this week. First, here’s a photo of my aluminum spindle whorl:

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I’ve been chasing the metal and done some polishing, but it is nowhere near as nicely done as it would be if I had more time. That said, I am far ahead of the other students on this front. The instructor really wants me to clean up the rough edges around the silhouettes of the salmon, and I get that. I bought tools and tried everything they had on offer before class on Friday. Nothing worked well. After this past class meeting I have a couple more options to consider, and I will see what I can accomplish with those. I am not 100% certain, but I think there will be a crit next week. It’s a bit vague.

I should also mention that I haven’t heard from anyone about the code I embedded in the object. A week or two ago I included a photo of the code extracted from the object itself, and no one said a thing. Is it time for me to announce it? Let me know when you send in your typo reports, please!

The second foundry project is also moving along. Here are some photos of the work as it stands:

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As you can see, I am adding sprues (the red wax sticks) which are the pathways the bronze will flow through to get into the sculpture itself. There are still a few smaller ones to add in, then a bunch of vents get added, along with a pour cup and base. All of that happens this coming week, and then I start painting the investment on this thing. I think we get a week to invest (nine coats) followed by a week to burn out the wax and possibly pour bronze. That would leave two weeks to chase the metal before a crit the last week.

But don’t hold me to any of that. Things move around a fair bit as the schedule and real life collide.

And In Conclusion…

I’ve got nothing else this week. Nothing at all.

I will say, though, that the end of term is coming and when it arrives I am going to find myself going from way too much to do to bored in one quick step. There are things on my plate, but it will still be a huge adjustment. I don’t know why I am even worrying about that yet, though. I have to finish all the projects outstanding (some of which I haven’t even started yet) first.

More in a (very fast) week!

Written by

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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