Building Bigger

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The images above show my first attempt at making a larger composite form. I threw two bowls (approx 3 kg each), a 4kg ring and a 2kg cylinder with the aim of making a kind of narrow necked bottle shape. However, I made the mistake of not covering the clay overnight because I thought this would leave it at a leather-hard state for me to construct with in the morning. The sections dried too much but I manage to just about salvage them by spraying lots of water over the surfaces and wrapping them tightly in plastic for a couple of hours. Although they were workable, they split easily and it was a battle to get them to join together at all. The bottom bowl had too much weight on it and started to bend and split, leaning the pot to one side. This jaunty angle, although initially unintended, does lend the pot character and life. It speaks of the struggle of making and the active nature of a material in constant flux.

I spent yesterday going back and forth, altering the pot little by little over the course of the day – pushing out cyst-like lumps, gouging, slicing with kidneys and pin tools. I added on more protruding thrown clay sections, trying to find a pleasing balance in the asymmetry.  Today I decided that what the vessel requires is a foot-ring to elevate it. The form is in such a precarious state I was worried that lifting it up to work on the base would destroy it completely. Jasper suggested I make separate ‘feet’ for the pot to balance on, much like plant pot feet (below) so I’ve thrown a thick ring of stoneware clay which I plan to cut up into sections tomorrow. I hope having space underneath the pot will give it a sense of weightlessness and elegance which will juxtapose strangely with the pot’s warty, scarred and slumping appearance.

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Source: http://www.rhsplants.co.uk

I intend to bring up the issue of glazing in my tutorial tomorrow because I don’t know if I want to carry on gas firing for this exhibition module. On one hand, I have already tested many reduction glazes, am familiar with this clay and I like the variation in effects from reduction – it’s more exciting. On the other, the gas kiln has broken down a few times in the past months and could cause problems closer to the exhibition deadline, and firings can only take place a few times a week so it might take a long time to get larger work through. As well as this, gas kilns are hard to find outside of university so it may be a while before I have access to one after I graduate.

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