I have started prepping for the wood kiln. I made clay today and have started to sketch ideas to make. I am hoping to get quit a bit done before heading to NCECA. I have also still been messing around with cone 6 items. Having my thesis and oral defense behind me it has allowed me to start making without any pressure and without having to think about concepts etc. I can just make and fail with no consequences and no expectation. Exploring textures has been a lot of fun along with finding way to combine slab and pinch together. I used bubble wrap today as a texture and I really enjoyed how it looked. The forms I created with it were horrible but it was fun messing around with some ideas. I think tomorrow I am going to push the idea of pinching and slab even more and see if I can work through a lot of ideas I have that I have yet to see through. I am hoping to get some decent cone 6 mugs to donate to the mug sale at NCECA.
I had my oral defense last Friday. I feel like this was the most beneficial and helpful critique I have had during my time at IU Southeast. After my defense the realization I am finally graduation truly hit and it has been an odd feeling. Knowing I do not have to sign up for classes again for next semester is so weird. Since my show is over I have been trying to figure out what I want to do the rest of the semester. After talking to Sam (the worlds bossiest human) I have decided to play around with slab building. That is something I do not have any practice with and thus far I have really been enjoying it. I got some items that are used for installing hospital equipment or used in equipment from my work, I am using these items to texture the slabs. I am using an IV Pole to role onto the slabs and thus far is my favorite texture. I refuse to do one nature item this semester because I feel like in the past I used nature as a cop out and that there is so many more interesting things in this world. I love nature but so does everyone! So I have been making an effort to explore other avenues. I made a lil bud vase that I really enjoy the form and hope to continue in either a larger form or diver form.
My thesis show opening happened on Thursday and overall was a good experience. A bunch of my family came to support me. I think that once my oral defense is over I will feel like I have hit a milestone. It is so weird thinking about graduating but also I am so ready for a new chapter. I have been in college for so long that seeing an end is somewhat overwhelming. I keep trying to think about what I want to do for the rest of the semester and I think that I am going to work on making some slump molds as well as experience with slab building.
This weekend was also Southern Crossing Pottery Festival. I helped volunteer at the event which was a very good experience. Jason Burnett and Michael Hale are such amazing people to work with. Also meeting the artists and being able to handle the artists work was so inspirational. It was hard to not want to buy everything or anything. But I held off so that I have money to buy things at NCECA. While looking at everyones work I instantly had the feeling of wanting to come into the studio and make things. I sadly did not take any photos from the event.
This week has felt like it has drug on forever. This whole week has been spent installing my thesis show which has gone a lot smoother than I had anticipated. Over all I enjoy my installation. I feel like the pieces respond well to the shelves and that adding the white stain helped allow the shelves to be apart of my concept but they do not over power the pieces. It feels weird having it set up and knowing the end is near. I feel like I have watched so many of my close friends leave and attend grad school and it felt like my time to graduate would never come. But it is here and I am weirded out by how much free time I am about to have. It has been forever since I have had a clean slate to just do whatever I wanted to do. I am excited to apply to residencies such as New Harmony. I feel like a quiet atmosphere like this would be amazing for me. It would give me time to focus on just my work and be able to better tell where I want to go next. I plan to start applying to residencies and shows this week. It will give me time to take a break from pottery and let myself reset after weeks of constantly making things for my show. I did how ever make some cups that I really want to revisit. I also think I would like to fire one last soda firing before graduating.
Also my fellow classmates and professors helped Southern Crossing Pottery Festival broadcast about the event bright and early this morning. I do not know if there is enough coffee to make me look like I am awake.
This last week and the beginning of this week I have focused on wrapping up my show items. I have all of the shelves completed and ready for install. I decided to stain the shelves white. This allows the shelves to not dominate the installation and helps bring the attention to the pots. You can still see the grain of the wood through the stain which I found to be very nice. I have some last minute pots I am making because when I install I want to be able to have more pots that what I need to fill the shelves. Being able to omit pieces will help me feel that I installed the best of the worst versus having to show everything because I did not make enough. I am getting burnt out of my pieces and I am ready to make my last pot for this show tomorrow and to be able to focus on pulling back on the surface treatment and pushing my forms even more. I really want to make larger forms, nesting bowls and fruit and veggie holders. I am also thinking about working on making slump molds.
I have branched away from my body of work a few times just to stay sane and not half ass some of my pieces. I made two quick mugs that are white and baby blue that I really enjoy. I am wanting to add a stain and a glaze liner to them. I have so many ideas and so little time before my time at IUS is over.
The closer it gets to my thesis show the less I sleep and the more I workout to release stress. I keep making new things for the show and firing it and once it is completed I realize how I wish i would have made it. I feel like I am going to keep having this happen up until the show date. I have been spending a lot of time figuring out how I am going to build the shelves to display my work on. Each time I thought I had the idea flushed out something always failed or I would change my mind. Once I make the shelves I know I will relax a lot and feel more confident about this show. The positive thing is is that my dad is finally back from being out of town for work so I have someone who can help me trouble shoot and make them.
While I have been focused on troubleshooting stuff for my show and making things for it I have also been thinking about what I want to do after my show. After my show I really want to buckle down and start applying for residences as well and pushing the body of work I have been making. I really think that it would be fun to crete an event where I serve food and people come and interact at a community table while eating form my pots. I think it would be interesting to watch how my pots create conversation or don’t create conversation. I feel like I have a lot of things I would like to do before I graduate but do not have enough time.
I spent last week making work and trying out new ideas. I learned that I am more productive in my studio if I spend time alone drinking coffee and sketching ideas. Once I get to my studio I have a calmer mindset because I know exactly what I plan to create. This helped me realize that refining my pieces was important. For the longest time I thought that refining my pieces would make the pieces not show my hand marks. But after thinking about it I realized I could reach a happy medium between showing my hand marks and refining the surface. By doing this it also provided a better surface to painting patterns and designs. I also spent a lot of time focusing on creating fidgeting aspects that might function as a handle but do not read as a handle. After my in class critique I realized that people responded better to the vessels that had fidgeting aspects that did not read as a handle.
I also started prototyping my shelf idea. I am not sold on my own idea but I do not really have any other idea. I think that once I create more it will be visually appealing. Displaying this body of work has been difficult for me because I want people to want to interact with the work but I also want it to be displayed in a interesting manner. We will see if I remotely pull this off.
This month came to an end way to quickly. While I feel like I have my plan for my thesis show pretty well flushed out I also feel behind. I have all my glazes tested that I plan to use and tomorrow my goal is to mix large batches of the clear glaze and the white glaze. After that I am going to focus on getting read for my BFA critique and show. I have really enjoyed testing glazes out and being able to find exactly the look I am going for. I am really enjoying the contrast of the lava glaze and the bronze glaze. The roughness of the lava glaze is so satisfying. When I am holding my pieces I tend to interact a lot with this glaze choice.
I have spent a lot of last week finishing up testing and tweaking the pieces I am making. For example the plates I made were all warping and to prevent this from happening I am going to create the same designed of a plate but make them flat. I will round of the edges but there will no longer be a curve on the bottom. I have spent a lot of time in the past week also thinking about my artist statement and thesis paper. My artist statement is completed but I am really struggling with my thesis paper. I know the material I need to put into the paper but finding the wording and organization has been a huge struggle. And since I am struggling so hard with it I feel like I am forcing myself to spit out words and it all sounds horrible. Hopefully after I get through my first round of edits this paper will start piecing together.
The past week was spent testing glazes and high fire wire. I learned that the wire successfully went through the firing without cracking the pot but I do not enjoy the sound of ceramics on wire. So I am going to add the wire after firing and instead of ceramic beads I am going to use wooden beads. I am also going to add other wooden components. With the wooden pieces I am going to dye the wood with Kool-Aid and then add a finish with linseed oil.
I tested a lava glaze that I wanted to look like brick. The test turned out exactly how I wanted it. I also tested a white matte glaze that I really enjoy as well as a clear that is not cloudy like other clears I have worked with. I plan to test a crawl glaze this week.
I have also started to understand my work more and where I see it fully headed. I am taking inspiration from toys that I played with and toys that I still think about or interact with from time to time. I am focusing on the idea of remembering better times during the unhappy times and how the patterns and textures help calm my mind.
This semester has started off with so much to do already, which I guess should be expected since it is my last semester. I have started experimenting with my body of work for my thesis show. My plan is to make functional items that all have an aspect of fidgeting to them. The series addresses the coping mechanisms I have created over the years to deal with my social anxiety. It is also going to address how a lot of my ways of fidgeting and coping are derived from my childhood. Most of the pieces will have kinetic aspects and also deal with texture. I am working on doing some tests with high temperature wire because I want to create items to fidget on that are connected by wire. if this does not work during the firings I plan to create the same look but do it after firing the pieces and use stainless steel wire. Most of my past pieces have all been in a grey and brown pallet. With these pieces I really want to explore colors that remind me of my childhood and the items that calm me down visually. My thesis show has to be up by the end of February so I have a lot to try and accomplish by then!
I feel like this semester went by so fast! Today in senior semester class we were talking about thesis show dates and I started to freak out because it felt like it was so far away but it is right around the corner. Which makes me realize for more of a piece of mind I need to start thinking about my thesis show so that I can work over break some. I have a bunch of tests that I am putting into a soda kiln this week to see if I want to use any for my show. My work is all over the place and I keep trying different styles to see what style best expresses me and the concept behind my work. Over break I think that it will give me a good time to talk through my work with people like Oliver, Brooklin, Lillian, Sydney and Sam. I’ll have more time to step back and think about my tests pieces and talk through things with others without the distraction of classes. I got a lot of work from the wood kiln that I enjoy parts of. I never enjoy my pieces as a while, I just like snippets and I take those snippets and apply that to whatever I am making next. While knowing I do not have much time between now and my thesis I am excited to begin working on my pieces for the show.
My work has been going through a transition that I personally am really enjoying. I struggle with starting a body of work and instantly getting bored. The work I started with at the beginning of this semester took me almost a week before I lost interest. I struggled with feeling like the work was cliché and tacky because of the leaf print. The print meant a lot to me but I feel like a person’s first reaction to my pieces were not ending up what I wanted and they also did not express my personality. I also get bored when throwing on the wheel and visually do not care about the surface throwing gives me. So I have been making this new body of work about how I eat and drink when I am anxious because I fidget really bad to self-calm. I am adding a bunch of items that the user could fiddle with and distract themselves. I am also thinking about adding small sketches that a little windows into what is happening inside my brain. I think that I am going to mess with cone 6 again to obtain colors that I want but I also want to continue soda firing over break!
This past week was crazy! It was filled with Sam Chumley coming down and doing a workshop and helping fire the wood kiln. I did not have a lot of time spent in my studio, yet was busy with prepping for the workshop and the wood kiln. I spent a lot of time splitting wood and glazing work. I really enjoyed firing the wood kiln because while at times it can be stressful it is an experience that teaches you how to be patient with others even when you want to scream. It also teaches you about team work and making the best of things. It also brings the weirdness out of people due to lack of sleep and long hours spent together.
Since I have not been able to make work I have spent a lot of time thinking about my work while doing other ceramic related tasks. I am at a loss of what I want to do but reverting back to hand building has been a great experience. I am making pots about fidgeting and how eating and fiddling with things have always been a method I use to calm my nerves and due to a lot of personal things this random exercise has been a very therapeutic experience.
Last week was my senior semester group show so a lot of my time was spent focused on preparing for that. With that over it feels like a lot of weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I can start focusing on just making and seeing where that takes me. I have also been making as much work as possible for the wood firing happening this weekend. I have made a bunch of random things that I am very unsure how they will turn out in an atmospheric firing but I am interested to find out. After the body of work I made for my Senior group show I wanted to explore making pots that were solely just pots with no deeper meaning. I just felt like a lot of times I focus on the conceptual side more that I focus on just going through the motions of making. It has honestly been a freeing exercise where I have had the ability to discover new ideas that I am really drawn too. I have been hand building instead of throwing on the wheel because I have realized that one issue I have with the wheel is that I feel like the wheel is a barrier between me and the piece and that if I wheel throw there is a certain type of perfection people are looking for that I have no interesting in obtaining. When I wheel throw I limit my imagination to what form I threw, but with hand building I continue to alter and change the piece. In summary like normal I don’t know what I am doing!
It does not seem like it should be this late in the semester. I have mixed feelings between feeling like I have done a lot and I have gotten no where. I spent a lot of the weekend and monday working on items for the wood kiln. I am really excited to try the clay body I am using in the wood kiln and to see how the leaf prints hold up. I think I am also going to start exploring other surface treatments. I want to use this experience as a way to decide for my final semester if I want to focus on soda or wood fire. I know that I want to do an atmospheric firing because 1.) I enjoy this process and 2.) I think that the surface it provides allows me to make everyday items that have a earthy feeling.
I have also spent a lot of my weekend planning and setting up my work at a tattoo parlor for a senior semester group show. The main issue I have with setting up at this venue is the lighting options are terrible and I think that without having good lighting it makes my pieces seem hidden. It also is a very busy building which I think takes away from the artwork that is being displayed. But I am really happy for this opportunity and think over all it is coming together very nicely.
Last week was insane and spent driving a lot. I spent most of the week in muncie firing a soda kiln, then going back and cleaning the soda kiln, and then I stay for Jason Burnett workshop. I am glad I took the time to attend this workshop. I came back with many new ideas and ways to approach my own work. One idea Jason gave me is to write down a 100 words that describe my work and then use those words to write an artist statement. Another cool tip is the Jason put Tea Tree oil into his spray bottle because it smells good and has anti-fungal properties. The last tip I will mention is that Jason saves clippings from magazines, books, newspapers, ads etc and uses them to inspire his work. He said that looking other artists is helpful but also can also cause issue with people copying other artists. But with an inspirational board you will fully be inspired by your own thoughts. On my drive home I thought a lot about the workshop, what I had learned, what I am currently experiencing in my life and my work that came out of the kiln and realized my work was actually about a different topic than I had thought. It is interesting how much being alone forces to really think about everything going on and really sort through things you are not fully facing due to daily distractions.
Last week was crazy and stressful. The beginning of the week started out with a whole shelf of work falling and realizing that the natural gas panel had issues which meant I would not be able to fire the soda kiln. I became nervous that I would not have work for my senior Semester group show and my dude Sam invited me to come and fire as his school. I hurried up and made a bunch of work in two days and quickly bisqued all my work and then drove to Sam’s college on Sunday and fired the kiln on Monday. It was a really good experience firing a different kiln and learning firing techniques. I will be driving back down Wednesday night to unload and see if anything turned out good. We did a salt/soda firing with logs and spray and I am ready to see how this looks compared to just soda and spraying. There are a lot of variables with this firing that I have no idea how anything is going to look. I am using a new clay body, trying a different way of printing onto the mugs and used glazes that are not ones I am familiar with. So if my work comes out looking horrible it is Sam’s fault.
Last week I fired the soda kiln. I have not fired it alone before and it felt good to make choices on my own and learn how changing the damper, gas and air affects the kiln. I liked parts of the firing and learned a lot of adjustments I plan to make. I learned I do not like how the color blocking looks once soda fired, but I enjoy the natural prints. So my new attempt is to paint white behind the print. I know that white underglaze does not burn out like most underglazes and mason slips. I want to try other underglazes and see which ones burn out in a soda firing. I plan to run a test soda with glazes and knew print ideas this weekend and then use that information to tweak my work and soda fire again the last week of October. Fingers crossed that something good comes out of this next firing. The next week I also need to start really thinking about how I want to display my work for the senior Semester show at Prophecy Ink. My idea is to create a section of a kitchen and display my work within the shelves and counter space. I have some counters I plan to experiment this week to see if it will display my work in the manner I envision it.
I have had a really productive week. While I did have cone packs explode in a soda firing and had to unload and reload the kiln with Brooklin, I am currently firing the soda and thus far everything has been great. From this mistake I have learned to play it safe and make cone packs with wadding and not clay. This week has for sure been a learning experience that has caused me a lot of stress but I feel like the stress has caused me to learn more in this week than I have all semester about firing kilns and prepping for firing. Along with firing I made a new clay body that I have really enjoyed throwing with. The clay body is really smooth and is also nice to hand build with. So making handles has been more enjoyable. I have been thinking a lot of about my forms and thinking about forms people would respond to as an everyday object. I am really striving to find forms humans want to take off the shelf everyday and interact with. For me foot rims have a fancy feel to them and most everyday user items so not have foot rings. I am exploring ways to allow the bottom to not look flat on a table, but have a simple feel.
I have spent a lot of week 6 preparing for a soda firing such as making wadding and glazing my work. I ran out of clay last week and have not been able to work on new pieces. I plan to make clay this week but am trying to find a clay body I enjoy working with. I am also wanting to see what my work looks like in the soda firing before continuing. I did have left over clay that I mixed that I hated throwing with and I am hand building a bonsai tray for my brother. It looks more like I am building my personally coffin.
I do not have much to blog about this week because it has been filled more with busy work than making work. But fun fact I mixed kiln wash incorrectly and painted the wrong mixture onto a bunch of kiln shelfs. I am currently working on removing the kiln wash and painting on the proper mixture. #killingit