I hope you’re doing well!
As you may have noticed, I have not posted on this blog in a long time. Rather, I have channeled my blogging efforts toward my college blog. However, I thought for old time’s sake (and because I’m on spring break), I would return to J’adore Dessiner with an art update!
I’ve actually done a great deal of artwork since I last posted. During the fall semester, I continued to work as a graphic designer for my college’s library, and I also took a pottery class. Pottery was an interesting (and soul-sucking) experience, but I learned a LOT – including how to throw on a wheel, a skill I’ve always wanted to learn.
I don’t even know where to begin describing what wheel-throwing is like (Strenuous? Exhilarating? Messy? Radially symmetrical?), so I guess I’ll just show you the finished products, and explain a bit of the process as I go.
So the first real shape we learned how to create on the wheel (after a not-so-basic cylinder) was a bowl. After throwing bowls, we also learned how to trim “feet” for our bowls, although sometimes I chose to trim off my bowls’ feet entirely, to create a perfectly round bottom.
Glazing these bowls was one of my favorite parts of the process, because you never know exactly how the glazes will react with each other. You can get an idea of what different combinations will look like from example test chips, but ceramics is an inherently unpredictable discipline. So you wind up with some surprises!
There is also a wide variety of glazing techniques. Solid-colored bowls are achieved by dipping the entire piece into a glaze with tongs. You can also dip just half of a bowl into a glaze and allow it to dry before dipping the other half in a second glaze. Similarly, if you want to glaze the inside a different color than the outside, you can pour glaze into the bowl to color the inside, then turn the bowl upside down and plunge it into the second glaze. This creates a vacuum, coloring the outside of the bowl but leaving the inside untouched. I also enjoyed using splattering and dripping to create some more spontaneous patterns.
Our next project was to create vases. We would start by creating a tall cylinder shape and then manipulate the form by guiding the clay outward or inward. This was a very delicate process, because clay that is too stiff is difficult to work with, but too much moisture can cause a collapse. Here are two vases I made:
You can also see that we started doing some more intricate design patterns. This was achieved not with glaze (glass particles applied after an initial firing) but with slip (colored, watery clay, applied before firing). Above, I applied white and black slips before firing the vases, then added clear glaze for a second firing.
We also worked on some cups and mugs during the class. We threw these pieces, then added handles afterward. Cups were difficult to throw, because the walls must be very thin…and prone to caving in.
In addition to working on the wheel, we also did some hand-building in the class. I especially enjoyed creating this pitcher.
Another project I used hand-building for was my final project. My final project involved crafting several pieces inspired by the incredible pottery of Laguna Pueblo. Here is an olla I hand-built for the project:
I also threw and decorated some bowls inspired by Laguna artist Max Early:
So, while that by no means covers all the pottery pieces I created during the fall semester, hopefully it gives you an idea of what I was up to!
And, as I mentioned above, I also created a lot of art for the library, which I will dump below:
So! That’s what I’ve been up to – whew! :)
And in addition to making lots of art, I also became a resident assistant (RA) in my dormitory, which is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me! So perhaps I will do another post about that someday and feature the bulletin boards I’ve created for my dorm….
Until then, keep on keepin’ on, and remember you’re fabulous in every way. :)