Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Techniques -- Centering clay

Here's a rather lengthy video of a master Ceramist at the world famous Wedgwood in England.  The video sort of cuts out at the end but I think the most important part is the first 2 minutes plus of the video where the master thrower demonstrates various techniques for centering a lump of clay.  Enjoy and please leave feedback or comments. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ode to Monitors -- Michelle

Everyone, meet Michelle.  She has been a monitor at Lillstreet for a long time and, most recently, is responsible for loading the glaze kiln on Wednesdays with Steve Acoba.  Michelle sent me an email to let me know that she recently completed her Art degree.  CONGRATULATIONS, Michelle. 

She also sent me the images below of her work in the "Cut From the Same Cloth" exhibition at Mercer University in Macon, GA.  

I see some Japanese inspiration particularly from the Oni lore but Michelle says that she does not associate any direct influence from any particular culture with these masks. Most of her travels have been in Spanish and European countries and S. America.  She also have an extensive art history background. So maybe I am just seeing something that Michelle have been influenced by but not aware of. 

The show ran from April 13 to the 19.  What an amazing body of work.  Thank you for sharing, Michelle. These masks are fantastic!

Michelle's statement for the show:-

Growing up and to this day we are constantly exposed to this idiom. As adolescents, I believe we take this literally in that “we” are alike in some way whether it is physically or behaviorally. Since moving away from the South, maturing, traveling and being exposed to other cultures “cut from the same cloth” has taken on a larger meaning.

The cloth represents shared values, beliefs, and norms that shape who we are. Although it is important to recognize this commonality, it is equally important to grow and become an individual. Each person reflects through personality and appearance the sum of their experiences. I found that sculptural representations evolve similarly. The majority of these faces were made from one single mold - the original cloth - the inner face of each piece. But, like humans, even though there is a common beginning, each piece took on a life of its own. Integrating organic media and ceramics, for me, is representative of the journey we take in the creation of our own being.

- Michelle L. Anderson

April 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekend Workshop -- Cast That Handle

Today, a few other students and I spent a good part of an afternoon in a workshop with Joe Kraft about casting handles in plaster.  These handles can be used for mugs or any other vessels that has a handle.  If you have a handle shape that you really like and would like to make it repeatedly and easily, this is the workshop for you.

Joe spent the first half an hour explaining handle making and what types of handle forms are suitable for casting and then the participants spent about 30 minutes making the handles they want cast into a mold.  

Joe then explained the process of mixing plaster for the casting as he mix the plaster for the handle molds.  It was a very informative workshop and the time flew by.  The video below is of Joe and his able assistants separating each individual mold from the giant block.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Techniques -- Porcelain Platter

I was making my rounds of the pottery blogs that I subscribed to and saw this video on an amazing technique for throwing porcelain platters.

The artist is Harlan House and he has a blog here.  Harlan House is potter who has been making porcelain pots for over forty years. Harlan’s works of art can be found in museum and art gallery collections throughout the world.

I've viewed the video at least a dozen time and is always fascinated by what I see in the last few minutes.  I think it is a technique worth at least trying out since you can potentially turn a cylinder with a twelve inch base and twelve inch walls into a 36 inch'ish platter. I think you could potentially adapt this technique for large bowls as well with some minor adjustment.  I also think that you can use this technique with other clay bodies.  Finally, this technique also gives you a lot of surface to decorate with.

The picture above is my first attempt at using the technique demonstrated.  I started with 3.5 lbs of porcelain clay and ended up with a 12" platter.  It is a lot of fun to try and quite thrilling as well.  How low can you go?  How big can you go?

Please try it out and leave comments about your successes or modifications to the technique. Good luck!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

7th Annual Empty Bowls

Lillstreet Arts Center proudly hosts the 7th annual Empty Bowls event to benefit First Slice Pie Cafe!  If you are not doing anything tomorrow (April 11); drop by Lillstreet from 5PM to 8PM.

The Empty Bowls Project is a nationwide effort by potters & artists to end hunger.

It is a really fun event and you get to keep a handmade bowl and a nice bowl of soup.  All these for a good cause too!  Guests will enjoy the soup & bread social in a handmade bowl donated by a local artist. 

Guests may take home their bowls as a reminder of all the other bowls that may be empty. Bowls are $25 each, and there is no limit to the number of bowls that can be purchased. Sales begin at 5pm on a first come, first served basis. 

There will also be a silent auction of donated artist-crafted jewelry, textiles, prints, paintings & drawings, glass objects, and ceramics.

Help us FILL those empty bowls! First Slice currently serves over 600 meals a week through our Outreach Program, partnering with StreetWise, The Crib, Broadway Youth Center, and the Welcome Meal at Epiphany UCC.

Featured Artisan Soups:
Bacon & Potato
Curried Cauliflower (Vegetarian)
Butternut Squash Chowder (Vegan & Gluten-Free )