Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ryan saves the day...

Today Ryan saved my day. How lucky I am to have my own personal Superman from time to time... someone who opens jars of olives and finds solutions to my studio madness. It's funny how we all see things so differently.

I have produced several peppers with the slip casting. The small bell peppers have been going well and I have about 8 completed- glazed and ready to go. Hooray for me! But I have had significant troubles with cutting the lid on the larger poblano pepper. I have cut and trashed about 8 so far. It is essentially a vertical lid that needs to fit well. I tried several different cuts, thinking I was onto something, only to have the damn thing slide off once the clay dried. Ugh! Stupid clay!

Frustrated with my wasted efforts, I contacted my mentor to help with finding a solution for the lid, but he never replied.

Ryan offered to help me with the cut. He came into the studio, assessed the shape of the pepper and drew on the shape of the lid that he thought would work best. "It's simple physics" he tells me. Yea, I'm not a physics girl. Science is difficult for me. Art and color are easy. So I made the cut and it seems like it will work. It also seems like an obvious cut now that it is done. So Ryan saved the day today, in the ceramics studio. I can work through a series of these designs without having to trash the mold. My new goal is to have about 50 of these things done by November. I think I can do it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

27 Elmos

I never thought I'd be making ceramic Elmos for my kid's birthday party as favors for her friends. But here I am doing it. My daughter absolutely adores Elmo. Her short television viewing each day gives me a few moments to myself, to read or unload the dishes or check my email. These short breaks from mothering are truly priceless...at least at her wee age of two. One day I'll look back and miss these times where she is so needy. But for now, I'm loving her love for Elmo.

So as time has it, her second birthday is coming up sooner than I imagined possible. And faced with the idea of buying more junk for kids' party favors, I have decided to make some ceramic magnets for the children. I decided to use paper clay again for this project. I really don't like this clay but am using it for 2 reasons: I have a bag to use up before it starts molding, and it is rather strong and lightweight so will likely work well for this project.

I started rolling out a slab of paper clay. Then I cut out circles with a small jar and made them slightly oblong for the head. I rolled out some balls of clay for the eyes and nose, which were pasted on with slip (liquid clay) and pressed in with a tool to create the eyes. I smoothed it all out (hopefully) to hide the creases and imperfections in the clay, then drew on his happy smile and signed the back. Wallah! Here are the Elmos! Once they are dry I will paint and fire them. I made way more than needed, but figured some of them will be messed up in the process. It's always good to be prepared. I was a girlscout for 6 years. I'm pretty sure I learned something from it.