Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Pepper Project

I guess I like long projects...

About two years ago I had this great idea for expressive vegetable jars. Green Peppers and Eggplants came to mind. But not just plain vegetables. My jars would have an expressive form to them. I wanted for them to be lifelike and beautiful. Bright colors, shiny, and functional.

When I first made the jars, I was throwing forms on the wheel and then shaping them, adding and removing clay. Each one took about 8-12 hours! Ugh! That is too long for one small piece. I want for people to enjoy them, and I don't want to have to charge a lot to sell them. I had to figure out a way to make them faster.

I thought of molds! I can make molds! So I bought a few books and some supplies, and tried to teach myself... It was just too hard. It got complicated with undercuts, and not getting plaster in the clay area, which can devastate a piece of ceramics. I decided to find someone to make the molds for me. I searched and called around to several places. It's funny how people who have knowledge that you want, simply don't want to share it. Finally I found a mold maker to evaluate my piece and to make a mold for me.

I recently got a chance to make "the" piece to be cast, and I am finally done! I feel so excited! I have finished sculpting and now just waiting for it to dry so it can be fired. I made this one differently than the last 6, and it has taken a lot less time to sculpt, which is great! I guess the more you do the same thing over and over, you will eventually figure out a better way.

Here are some photos of my early attempts and the latest masterpiece. I will update the post once I hear back from the mold maker.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Making New Tiles

Well, it's a new year and I just had another birthday. Time to start some new art. I bought 50lbs of red clay months ago and have decided to make some new tiles. I haven't worked in red clay in a long time... it stains. But it makes some incredible glaze colors. I am excited to start.

I open the bag of clay and use a wire to cut off a 1/2" slab. I roll it out to 1/4" and press objects into it. Today I used some metal pieces that I took off an old dresser that was "rescued" from the trash. The metal pieces are mostly circular designs. I look for interesting textures that will show up well in clay. I can't press the objects too deep, otherwise they will go through the clay slab.

I really like the repetitive motion of making patterns. I really have to concentrate so that it looks even. Today I was annoyed because the metal stuck into the clay. Red clay is really moist, so if you add just a little water it gets really mushy!

When I'm done with the design, I place the tiles on a board to let them dry out. Once they have dried completely I will fire them in a kiln to cone 04, which is about 1950 degrees F.

Welcome To Anne In Clayland

Here I'll be talking about my art and the process of creating it. I'll also answer questions about my work and post them here for everyone to see.