Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Taking Time Off

Taking time off from my artwork is one of the hardest, yet necessary things I can do for myself. So why is it so hard to do? And once I do it, why is it so hard to get back into the swing of things? I had really been burning the candle at both ends with the sculpture class, running the house and taking care of the baby all day. When I finally ran out of supplies in the studio and took a family trip to Chicago, I was forced to take a couple of weeks off from creating. Ahhh... what a relief! I was not able to work. Out of town for a few days, supplies were a good 30 minute drive away. What could I do but focus on other things. Although I felt guilty about this, there was not much I could do until I made my way to Oviedo to load up the car with more plaster, slip and casting supplies.

So it has been about 2 weeks now, maybe longer. I drove to Smalltown America and got my plaster, cleaned my studio, and I should be ready to go. Why do I feel so exhausted now? I should be well rested, inspired, etc. I guess the thought of going back out there to fail again is uninspiring. It has been months since I have worked on a mosaic. I could be ready to start a new one. But I can't abandon the plaster casting now! I have come this far... I need to continue until I get it. It isn't rocket science. I'm sure I can figure it out! Though it is some kind of science, and I never liked science.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baby Steps

I did a few slip castings with my first mold. After my first bout with failure on this step, I decided it wasn't the end of the world and went back for another try. After about 2-3 castings I got a hold of it. I had to play around a little with the timing.

I used to think that cast ceramic pieces were not art, just reproductions. But through my recent lessons I have come to find that making molds is an art in itself… learning to mix the plaster, how long it takes for the plaster to set up, the mess it creates, and how to open the plaster mold once it is dry and remove the original. After all that, the mold needs to be dried completely, sanded and repaired before even casting.

I have also learned that slip casting is another art to learn... luckily I can buy pre-mixed slip. I could learn to mix it myself and save some money... we'll see how things unfold before taking on that chore! The setup time for the slip to dry is trial and error (mostly error so far) and removing it from the plaster successfully is yet another technique that should be mastered with making any molded piece. It’s a huge undertaking.

I was very excited about the first cast piece coming out in good form.