Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sculpture and Slip Trailing

Do you ever feel like you can't figure out how come you didn't get all the things done you needed to?  That was me today.  Maybe I was distracted by the gorgeous sunshine.  Actually, if I hadn't torn myself away from the computer I might have missed that it was sunny at all.  I got so distracted researching imagess and source material for an idea. I have some ideas about working with cocoons as a jumping off point for some new work.I was so engrossed with my thoughts and images that time just flew by.  Of course, I had to sit down and draw some sketches too.  After all that, I had to run and errand and then I decided I should spend a couple of hours visiting one of my best friends.  Then there was the nap and the paperwork...  I finally got to the ceramics studio about 7:00pm.    I never did make it to the print studio today. I imagine I will be too tired tomorrow after making two large trashcans worth of recycle into some pugged clay for the students. Not too mention, I really should work on the sink traps, yuck!  Hmmm, maybe prints on Monday morning?


I did work on my altered cups some more and practiced some slip trailing and stenciling.  I am having so much fun with this.  And it is my reward for working on my sculptures. Besides, if I want to fire my cone 6 sculptures I might as well have some other fun things to fill the kiln with.  Especially since I am trying to learn how to work with and fire this clay.


Cone 6 Porcelain sculpture.  Not really sure how I am liking this clay.  It really has a lot of talc in it which I am not used to and so attaching these pieces was a lot different than the other clays I have been working with.  I'd like to get some other cone 6 porcelains for comparison.  I have a couple more smaller sculptures but I think I will wait to see how they dry before I make anymore.  I am a little worried about them cracking at the seams.  I have made these forms with cone 10 English porcelain which I usually dry pretty slow to avoid and cracking but sometimes they do anyway.  

I met with my BFA advisor, Sue Whitmore, the other day and she suggested that I might try cutting open my forms and exploring the interior space.  This was a mini piece, only about 5 inches and I wasn't excited with the form so I decided to sacrifice it to the experiment.  Pretty interesting to see what goes on inside one of these pieces. This idea would also lend itself well to the coccoon/chrysalis ideas floating through my head. I think I will explore this more but with a more forgiving and plastic clay.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Still Here


It was a long week of playing catch up after being sick and hurting my foot.  Then would had a scare that my son might have had pneumonia but thankfully it was just bronchitis.  I sat out in the warm sun at school yesterday and finally finished carving this second lino block.  My prints were due yesterday.  Oh well.  I'm going to keep plugging away with them.  I pulled about fifteen prints today with this second block.  Tomorrow I will pull the final prints with the key block.  Registration was an issue so I hope I get at least one good one.  Now I know what to do next time.  I am excited that we are going to start etching on copper next.  That might suit my love of detail a little better.  Should be fun!

After spending a couple hours in the print studio I dashed through the pouring rain over to the ceramics studio and finished working on these sculptures.  The one on the left was made with paper stencils and slip.  I'm loving this technique also.   I also threw some cone 6 porcelain parts for some small sculptures.


I finished up the day by playing around with a couple of altered cup forms.  This clay is fun stuff!  Now, can I get myself ready for an art opening at the 1078 Gallery that started half an hour ago. I'd better get moving! 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunset at Horshoe Lake


I was going to title this post "Week in Review" to put up a few images I had forgotten I'd taken.  I wanted to get them loaded before Monday but now it is 12:13am.  Oh well, my computer is running as slow as molasses.  Time to clean off the hard drive and store my images elsewhere.  This photo is from the beginning of the week when the sun first came out and before I got sick and then hurt my foot.  My son came gimping into my room on his crutches wanted to go take pictures and then he thought we wouldn't make it for the sunset.  Instead I grabbed my keys, threw on a jacket and said, "Come on, we're going."  We made it in great time and had about twenty  minutes to watch the sun go down.  My lower legs were bare so I ran back to the car for refuge from the mosquitos.  My son wasn't so lucky.  He persevered as long as possible and then signaled for me to come out of the car.  He dove for cover and left me to put away the camera equipment.  What the heck, I decided I might as well take a couple of images for my blog as well.  But the mosquitos were vicious, truly.  I played around a lot with this image with about three different overlays.  

Here is the same image with just a little bit of processing for comparison. The overlays are fun but I want to work on them more when I have time after my sculpture show goes up.  Well, here it is the beginning of a new week.  I've got to figure out how I am going to catch up after my cold and how I am going to hobble around best with my bum foot.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lino Block Printing


So far it has been a long week.  I started catching a cold on Tuesday and have felt pretty miserable since although I think I am on the tail end of it.  However, if that wasn't enough, I did so much walking in the warm sun when it finally came out that I really angered my left foot.  I went to the doctor today and he said I had strained it or had tendonitis.  In other words, his way of saying, "Gee, I'm not really sure what you did to yourself but keep that swollen foot elevated, ice it, take some anti-inflammatory and stay off of it."  Duh!   

Anyway, so while I have been at home cutting class and work to stay off my foot and recuperate I also did some googling for printmaking stuff. I found some awesome video tutorials on lino reduction and other printmaking techniques from artist, Marianne Johnson-Ellis. I also finished cutting out my first lino block.  It's a little bit more challenging than I thought it would be.  I so glad I created such an intricate piece to work on for my first project.  I wanted to see how it was coming along so I took a rubbing of it.  It will eventually have a patterned two colored background that the organic shapes will be sitting on.  I will have to carve another block for that and I am still trying to get my head around how it is all going to work.  Missing class on Thursday probably wasn't such a good idea.  I'll have to play catch-up on Monday and Tuesday while I am hobbling around.  I'm supposed to be using a cane or crutches to keep off my foot.  Yeah, right.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Warning! Picture of Worms. Not for the Squeamish

So I don't usually post more than once a day but I went out to give my rabbits a snack and saw something odd out of the corner of my eye.  At first I thought it was an odd shaped stick, maybe with a slug on it.  Then I took a closer look and said, "EEEEWWW!  That's kind of disgusting.

I guess it's no worse than National Geographic or Discovery Channel shows but it is in my own back yard and I almost stepped on it in all its slimy goodness.


What really amazed me was how they were stretched out across these two bricks from their respective holes in the ground.  Didn't look too comfortable to me.  But I guess worms will be worms.  I think they are night crawlers.  The first winter we moved into this house back in 1997 there was a pretty good thunder and lightning storm.  The ground must have been electrified somewhere close by and we walked out to find worms writhing up out of the ground en mass. They were literally everywhere.  That was really a sight to behold.  But this, I have never seen before.  Budding entomologists should take note.

Cone 6 Glaze Tests


I took my glaze tests out of the kiln at about ten o'clock last night and I am really happy with how they turned out.  Right before school started I bought some clay down in Sacramento from IMCO.  I bought two cone 6 clays, Cone 6 Porcelain and  Navajo Wheel.  I use INSIGHT glaze calculation software from DIGITALFIRE. This is an ultra low expansion clear cone 6 base glaze that I tried out on both of the clay bodies.  The first one on the left is clear, the second has 10% zircopax to make a white and the third is the navajo wheel with the white.  All of these tests were fired in oxidation to cone 6 in a skutt kiln with a 30 minute soak at the end.  I'm also learning how to program the kilns which is awesome!


This is Mason Stain 6242 at different percentages in the clear:  5%   2.5%  1.25%   This is called Bermuda Green and it's just how I feel today.  The sun came out and it is 68 degrees in the shade.  I actually got hot sitting out in the sun in shorts and a t-shirt.


This next one is Cerdec Intensive Red Inclusion Stain at different percentages.  The last one is a mix with some of the white.


Cobalt Carbonate in clear.

I ran out of my clear glaze and only had the white left so I dipped a bunch of the red clay test tiles into it and brushed tiny bits of stain mixed with water over them to get an idea of how it might look mixed into the glaze.  After all, it was about midnight when I got to this point after about six hours worth of work.  I was getting pooped out.  I also tried out some old Pemco stains that have been in the studio for years to see what they looked like.  I wasn't impressed with a deep purple that I mixed into the clear and applied to the porcelain. However, when I cut it in half with the white and saw how it came out on the red clay I thought there might be some possibilities for it.  Who knows?


Overall, I am pretty excited and I can't wait to do some more glaze tests.  I have a mug made out of the Navajo wheel with a clear on it that is coming out of a cone 6 reduction and after I see that I might be able to start glazing some of my sculptures.  Progress is being made.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Printmaking Sketchbook


I finally figured out my flub on uploading pictures into blogger.  I accidentally had chosen the Edit HTML tab instead of the Compose tab.  Silly me.  Now I'm up and running with images again.  I have been working hard in the ceramics studio and then I remembered I had an assignment for printmaking that I needed to switch gears for.  I am taking Introduction to Printmaking with Eileen Macdonald at CSU Chico. We are working on Lino Cuts right now and I have to do research on 10 artist and make notes in my sketchbook on eight of them.  So far I am really enjoying the work of Endi Poskovic and John Buck. Above is my first preliminary sketch for the lino project and I need a total of at least three sketches.

This is my second sketch and I am liking this progression better.  I started filling in all black in the background and then I wanted to play around with some color instead.  I also want to define the other organic shapes so that they have more volume and pop out of the image better.  It has been interesting having to change my thinking about drawing because now I have to work somewhat in reverse of what I am used to so that I remember what I will be carving away from the the lino block.  Linoleum Block printing is very similar to Woodcut except that you carve into a lino block instead of wood.  MOMA has a great demo of the woodcut process here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Clay Marathon


Yes indeed. Last night was a marathon of sorts in the ceramics studio. The CSU, being part of the state mandated furloughs is closed today and Monday. I decided to go in last night and make a bunch of work so that it would be ready for me on Saturday. I started by finishing the assembly on two sculptures and then I threw some more sculpture parts out of some funky pink recycled clay that I mixed up about six months ago. I will cover it with white slip and no one will ever know. After doing all that I decided to work on some heart bowl prototypes. I had a request for some lower and some smaller bowls so I threw a bunch in four different sizes. I got to the studio at 8:30pm and didn't get home until 2:00am! I had a lot of fun but I am paying the price today.
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pancake Supper Etsy Treasury

How fun to make it into this Pancake Supper Etsy Treasury by Gemini River Rocks.  Having my pottery in this treasury means I can actually make a post today without getting in trouble for not working on ceramics which I actually did today.  It was pretty mellow though.  My back was sore today.  Probably from sitting in this bad office chair at my computer.  I took a rice pack to heat up in the microwave at shcool and then sat leaned up with it in my chair while I assemble small parts and that I want to make sprig molds out of .

I am excited about trying out some new ideas for surface treatments on my forms. It will be fun to see were I go with it.  Ok , now I am suffering from a chocolate overload.  Meagan left the studio to go to Upper Crust
Bakery for a chocolate cookie and came back with a cream cheese brownie. That's what got me started then I had to stop at the store and pick up some chocolate chips. Then I had to watch the chocolate competition on food network. The next thing I know, I'm smelling brownies baking that my son whipped up. I think we must have been on the same wavelength.  I'd better go to sleep.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Priorities: Photos or Ceramics? Hmm...


Ok, soooo what I'm thinking is that I've got my priorities completely backwards.  I think MAYBE I have been letting myself become a little distracted.   While my fellow ceramics students are doggedly plugging away on their projects at the school studio, I've got my rear glued to my office chair playing with photos for HOURS.  Imagine what I would be getting done with clay if I were putting the same amount of time into that.  Yes, there is a time and a season for everything and although I adore photography I must get back on track and set this aside.  I seem to be able to work fine in the studio while it is pouring rain outside.  Then as soon as the sun peeks out I am inspired to work on my photography.  Ok, people.  Keep me honest.  I expect tongue lashings if you spot me posting things other than ceramics.  I must be held accountable for!  I know, I know.  I'm supposed to be an adult and responsible and all.  Sometimes I still need a little reminder.  Sigh.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Photoshop Fun


What is the point of having photographs if I don't do anything with them.  I am trying to focus on the things I care about more thanks to a tweet from David Schlesinger (stonemirror on twitter.)  Photography is definitely one of the things I care greatly about.  I have since I was a young girl.  I didn't realize it but I overheard my mother telling a friend that I was always asking to use her camera.  I didn't remember that but I did love taking pictures.  She bought me my first SLR, a used one, when I was about fourteen. For my sixteenth birthday she surprised me with a brand new SLR.  That was probably the best gift I have ever received.  Thanks mom for nurturing my love of photography.  I love being in the darkroom, but with digital I am loving the digital darkroom and image editing software.  I haven't played with it near enough as of late.  My camera is still on the fritz and I've been borrowing my son's digital point and shoot.  I still don't have a digital SLR but it is on my wish list.

What I want to do now is spend some time on all the photos I have stored. I want to spend time learning different photo editing techniques and build up a portfolio of images.  The above image I wanted to have a sort of vintage feel.  Thanks to Nasos3 for his free texture images.  I desaturated the original photo and applied this texture as an overlay and then further tweaked the levels, hue and saturation until I liked what I saw.  I haven't decided if I am satisfied that this is the final image.  I am feeling like it is a little dark.  What do you think?  Also, thank you to Paxton Prints for some great tutorials and more awesome free textures that I can't wait to try out.  Do any of you photographers out there have any links to favorite tutorial sites?

Since it is early Monday morning I should probably go to sleep soon. Have a great week.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Oh My Aching Neck!

Is there officially terminology for "potter's shoulder?"  You know, the strange phenomena that occurs when one throws too much clay and the muscle in one's shoulder tightens up before you realize it and almost instantly results in an excruciating muscle tension headache?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Is that what I get for not throwing on a regular basis and then just going all out?  I was having fun and enjoying myself and didn't even notice my muscles getting tight.  I guess I need to do warm-ups and cool downs like any kind of sport.  Pottery is a sport, isn't it?

On another note.  The other day I was in a kind of sad, down mood.  I decided to just relax into it instead of getting more upset because I wasn't happy.  Instead of rushing off to the pottery studio at school I decided to get out some of my art supplies.  I turned on some good music and crawled back into bed with paper, scissors and glue/gel medium.  Yeah, in bed but I put the glue on the bedside table.


I had a good, relaxing, meditative time working on these pieces.  I tried to tune in to what my emotions are trying to tell me.  I think I need to make some more changes in my life and head in a different direction but I am not sure what that is yet.  I'm going to try to spend some more meditative time reflecting and listening to what my heart and mind are trying to tell me.  

Maybe right now I just need to accept what I have and were I am at and sink into it comfortably and wait until the time is right for some change. The biggest challenge for me is that part requiring patience.  Oh, that stuff.  Yeah, one of the things I was put here to learn. I don't do it that well.  I did thoroughly enjoy my collage session and plan on some more soon.  What kinds of things to you like to do to refocus and tune in to what directions you need to move in?  And what do you do when you know the move might be a difficult one?

Ok, I've got the warm rice pack on my shoulders now and my eyes are getting drowsy.  The cozy soft bed is also calling me.  Goodnight everyone.  Thank you for taking a peek into my world.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Sad Day with Happy Ending and Chocolate

Now I am eating chocolate so everything should be back to normal real soon.