Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sleeping Heads

I took these shots in the gallery (barn). I love these soft and gentle expressions that I have placed in various locations throughout the farm. They seem to have their own life, and I am always surprised how they sometimes reflect my mood. Even though they are sleeping, I see anger, sadness and peacefulness in the different pieces, and I like the the texture that is created when I put the pieces together. The bottom photo is of one of the largest I have been able to get through the process (firing, mostly been the problem).
I've slowed down the firings and bisque the work. I also put sand or wadding underneath the piece. This resolved the problem. I also had to build a pulley system, to load the big pieces into the top loading electric kiln. It's like burying someone, I lower the piece into the opening, gently placing two or three posts underneath the head so I can pull the strap from around the piece. I see the bisque cycle as the death cycle of pottery, dull and lifeless. The final firing being the renewal of life, full of color and presence. The wet clay as I build or throw so alive and flexible, represents the birth and first life cycle of the clay.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Raised top p.2

When the parts stiffen up enough to handle, you flip the top over (score the top rim and add slip) and place it on the rim just scored (left). I go ahead and trim the excess around the form and clean it up. The lid is taken and concaved to match the shape of the raised top and add the handle (right). I had to do a little bit of cutting away on the lip, so it would set tightly into the opening of the form.
I found this to be as easy as I could make it.
I really enjoy this method for construction. It took me about an hour (not counting drying time) to produce each form (photo to the right). Have fun and make them good pots.

Raised top p.1

I created this form using a paper template, except for the top slab, which is beveled (raised up) to support the lid. I considered a mold of syrofoam, wood, or plaster, but I would only be able use it for the one size and shape and it takes quit a while to make these forms.
Producing another slab of clay I cut a squire slab of clay, which is slightly larger than the vessel rim. While the slab is on a flat surface, cut out the opening for the lid. FYI: I place a piece of plastic on the top of the new slab of clay, then flip it over to cut out the over sized cutout, having the plastic now under the slab, so I can lift it up, after it stiffens a bit (below right).
I remove the center cutout, setting it aside, then lift and lay, using the plastic for support, the slab onto the opening of the vessel, centering the slab and gently pushing down the inside edges, You need to let it stiffen enough( I had let it go all night on a rainy night, uncovered), then I was able to flip this concaved slab over to attach it to the top part of the vessel. (Look in part 2, bottom picture.)

I use the cut out, that I set aside to make the actual lid. I just laid the cut out on another slab of clay, measured out about an inch further on each side and then cut that out. I use the original cut out slab to make the lip on the lid (lower left picture). I make a mark on the cut out about 1/4 to 1/2"in, cutting it out to make a picture frame which I put on the new cutout ( photo below).