Monday, August 2, 2010

On to the New...

As I'm getting older and becoming more serious about the professional aspects of being an artist, yes, even as an undergrad, I've decided to start a new website and blog through wordpress. This allows me to post my (very short) resume, along with images of past work and links to various people and places.

The new website has the same name, Under Large Trees. Check it out!

Love, from Kent, OH.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grooves with Texture

It's been awhile since I've posted, but I've got a good one now! Last week I was down in Gatlinburg, TN at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts for a one week workshop with Christa Assad and guest artist Josh Copus! One week was seriously too short, but an amazing time non-the-less. I was originally supposed to be in the workshop the week prior with Gay Smith, but transferred to Christa's when I discovered that it overlapped with Glass Blossom at Kent. (Which was a good time as well!) Christa invited Josh to co-teach with her, and the two were fantastic together. Completely different styles and approaches to clay, but both were super enthusiastic and willing to help every student, whatever level they were at. We had a few girls who had never thrown or taken a clay class before... totally surprising to me! They caught on fast though, especially with Christa teaching! I would LOVE to go back to Arrowmont sometime soon... next summer? maybe! Here are a few pictures from the week...

The schedule for the week... unfortunately glazing took up more time than anticipated and cut into the iron time, which eliminated the time for the hand grenade! i was super bummed... though i would have liked the see a transformer teapot just as much!
Christa and Josh! They were great together... totally groovin' with texture. That was the unofficial theme for the week. Christa likes corrugated things, and Josh does a lot of fluting/faceting on his pots.

Christa trying out a corrugated spout on her elbow pitcher. She said she had never thought about a corrugated spout until that week... She described her spout as a pringle, and someone said, "What about a ruffle?" Weird how things can be sparked.

Throwing the base to the iron teapot. She had an interesting method for getting the clay out wide in order to pull up... it's hard to describe, but still sticks in my head.

Josh demoed how he makes platters/trays... it involves a lot of cutting and beveling. And Christa wanted in on the action!

All week Christa kept saying how she loves (hates) seeing pictures on the internet of all the weird faces that she makes while she demos, so i tried to capture the moments when she was laughing/smiling instead... Clearly it wasn't too hard! Someone requested to see the 4 footed square cup, so she took a break from the iron to demo that.
And then back to assembling the iron. Notice the fantastic creamer and sugar set in the foreground.
Hans Weissflog was teaching a woodturning workshop during the week, and taught Christa how to turn wood! Soooo cool! He's an internationally known turner... talk about learning from a master. She made a top, with corrugation... who would have thought?
I have to tell you that I tend to get a bit annoyed at the retired hobby clay women who frequent workshops and pottery classes. However, these ladies are definitely the exception! Lovely, lovely ladies who have been to all the major art and craft centers for workshops. They even came to the mexican restaurant for margaritas with us young gals the last day of class!
The story behind the unicorn shirt... If you've never been to Gatlinburg, it's basically the Ocean City, MD boardwalk mixed with a little bit of Niagara Falls, Canadian side and the county fair. TONS of candy shops, henna tattoos, airbrushed t-shirts, and wax museums. Christa and Josh had been talking all week about getting matching airbrushed t-shirts... the corniest they could get. They decided on a unicorn design with the phrase "Corny as a Unihorn" on it! Kathryn (on the right) and I thought it would be hilarious to get t-shirts too... with the exact same unicorn on it! They say Assad and Copus 2010... Kirk found out and replied, "Finally an appropriate ceramic oriented t-shirt."

It was a fantastic week that should have been about 3 weeks longer! Josh and Christa were AWESOME together (and separately), and were extremely gracious and helpful in reviewing my portfolio. If you ever get the chance to work with either, take it without a second thought. Next post may be about Ceramics Blossom, which ends in 2 days! My summer classes/workshops are coming to an end and it's not even July yet!

Love, from Kent, OH.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chairs of Sculpture 2

Sculpture 2 projects from the spring semester so far... Plaster and Steel Mixed Media. The object of the plaster project was to cast. I really shouldn't call it a plaster project, since we were allowed to use other castable materials like wax instead of plaster. As far as projects go, we really have free range to do whatever we want within a few guidelines that usually involve the material we work in and if it must be a floor or wall piece. Luckily, that's just my style -- I hate rules.

Plaster Casting Project:

Now that I see this posted here, I think that the photo doesn't do the piece justice. This piece needs to be read top to bottom, but I'll mention the basket last. It's all about comfort and privilege, and how so many people are born with these things but take them for granted. The cushions and bunny are a symbol of that comfort. And clearly the funnels are representing all that's wasted running down to the ground and dispersing. I titled this "It's a Shame" after the trite saying you might here people say as they're talking about someone who didn't live up to their potential or wasted their life and their time on something seemingly worthless. The basket is kind of tricky to figure out for the viewer. It's saying, here's your wealth and privilege -- Go collect all of the good things you've been given. But the basket is empty, and all that it may have contained is now a big puddle of nothing on the floor.

Side note: The plaster on the floor was cast on top of plastic sheeting. My prof would have killed me otherwise.

Close up of the bunny. 4 out of 6 limbs had to be plastered back on after they broke off, including both ears. Casting a stuffed animal seemed like a good time at first, but not so fun in the long run. The seat cushions also came out really well. I was forced to cast them as waste molds because the first one refused to pop out. It took a little extra time, but worked out well enough.

Steel Mixed Media Project:

The basis of this chair is temptation. It's fairly simple -- You sit on the cushion, and the peach is dangling right in front of you. You want to reach for it; smell it, taste it, explore it. But what you don't see when you're sitting carefree in the chair is that there is a line of other peaches waiting to take its place. The spine houses these other peaches. This chair would have been so much cooler if i could have somehow rigged a chain or another method of moving the peaches up the spine. Also, I would have liked to have the spine extend further up the sculpture, but the idea was that when you were sitting, you couldn't see the spine or the other peaches at all. In other words, continuing up the spine would have given a peripheral view of the other peaches.

Detail of the spine... The fabric is held in place with carpet tape, and the peaches were hung with your basic yarn. In sculpture 1 I cast peaches out of plaster, but for this I cast them in wax. I needed a much lighter material, but I wanted to utilize the molds that I already had. Wax was a perfect fit. The peaches are hollow, and have a light smell of candle, which were melted down in order to cast.

Detail of the peach attachments. I drilled holes in the steel and strung the peaches through them. The buttons hold everything in place -- They allowed me to tie the peaches in pretty tightly. The bows are merely for effect.

Looking up the spine. Lovely peaches. Some of them were a peachy color, but others were light or dark pink. It was difficult to keep the color of the wax consistent when i was constantly adding new wax in the pot to melt down.

The next sculpture project to come is bass wood carving. I'm finding it extremely difficult to do. I like materials that go soft to hard, not hard and harder. And no, I'm not making a chair for this project.

Love, from Kent, OH.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Semester

I made a whole bunch of cups earlier this semester, but hadn't glaze fired them until last week. When I opened the kiln, my whiteish glaze hadn't melted fully. Bummer right? So I refired a few in our brand new test kiln to cone 7, and got the results I was hoping for! (Luckily... and being sneaky about it as we're not supposed to fire hotter than cone 6) I've been doing a lot of either inlaid underglaze decoration or, as shown here, underglaze decoration on the surface of the piece after the bisque. I do it all free hand... I like the undulating line quality and free spirit each line brings to the overall pattern. It's so much more interesting than if each were perfect and identical to all the rest. Here are some of the best aka the ones I like most.

Okay, they're not cups... but they are kick ass platters I made last semester. They cracked a lot around the sides, and if it hadn't been for one of the grads here, they would have gone in the dumpster a long time ago. I finally finished them off with some underglaze decoration and a clear coat, and presto, beautiful platters. (But still with massive cracks... which you can see on the bottom of the left platter)

This is a darker clay body than I've typically used... one of Kirk's suggestions. I'm not sure it's exactly what I want, but it's fine for now. The whiteish glaze is a lot murkier on the darker body than the lighter, not something I'm keen on.

A little cuppy with a big crown. When I figure out what the symbolism is, I'll let you know. Also just a note; the rest of the cups in this post are with the lighter clay body.

I love this pattern on this shape because it gives it a corset-like feel. I also love the way the glaze pulls the underglaze and red glaze downward. Simply amazing.

This cup went to my glass TA because she's been so awesome helping me learn how to blow glass. I love the way that the dark glaze mimics the underglaze when it flows. It's nearly the same color when it's thin. And again, love the corset-like abilities this pattern has when it's stretched over the form.

Love, from Kent, OH.

Squash is a strong word... He just wanted me to switch things up a bit, which I thought about for awhile. Then I continued to make what I wanted to make. I think he's coming around, as in not fighting me on it for now. I can't NOT make pots. It's what I do, what I feel like i need to do.

As for glass... I'm just learning! And we only just learned how to add color last week. I don't want to be prejudice, but clear glass isn't much to look at most of the time. I'm having fun with it though, and also taking intermediate blowing next semester (if my hockey schedule permits it).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rusted Root

Yes, I will be attending the Rusted Root show at the House of Blues in Cleveland on the 30th. Bought my tickets already! Soooo excited!!!!

This is a video from Rusted Root at the Kent Stage last spring... Bad video quality but decent sound quality. They played Send Me on My Way as the first encore, and everyone went completely apeshit. (Who wouldn't?) Enjoy. =)

Love, from Lititz, PA

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Little Cuppy

This cup was broken because of a crack on the rim caused by squeezing the cup during decoration. (or so Kirk says) When I threw it into the dumpster, it broke in half... revealing some decent craftsmanship. And of course I can't keep this kind of thing to myself. The trimming is decent (for probably being done blindly... as in I didn't check the thickness before I flipped the cup and started trimming), but the interior shows some small humps that are throwing errors. I love breaking things in half to see what kind of throwing I'm doing. Such good experience. Anyway, thought this was pretty sweet.

The little humps that distort the interior curve. A serious issue for me this semester. Outside curve is better, but can always use work.

Same picture, sans arrows.

Love, from Lititz, PA

PS. Rusted Root show at House of Blues Cleveland Dec. 30th!!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Handle

The most miserably frustrating things about making mugs - the handle. I've had numerous fights with my clay this semester in regards to handles. The clay doesn't want to pull without ripping or rippling. It doesn't want to stay connected to the pot despite scoring and slipping, and it certainly doesn't want to stay in the shape that I want it in. This post outlines some of my troubles with handles on glazed and finished pots.

The most basic of problems with handles:

The "easy" fixes... handle too small and thin for the mug on the left, and too big and bulky for the mug on the right.

A constant problem for anyone making mugs... the crooked handle.

This is a serious debacle for me right now. How do I want to connect the handle to the mug? Messy and different on each mug.

Some other issues in Handles:

This particular shape with the double hump proves to be the most troubling as far as handle shape goes. They are plagued by awkward shape. I think that both spring from the pot at weird angles. They look lifeless and hanging. Another issue: The fact that they seem to need more to hang on to at the bottom, as in a fatter connection. I think that a small coil could resolve this.

Some Good Stuff:

Two different shapes of pots, but I'm pleased with the handle on each. I think that top connection is solid and cleanly done on each. The shape of the handle works well with each pot, however the bottom connection seems weak and needs the interior coil.

I particularly think that the mug on the left has a very nice interior shape, and works very well with the shape of the pot. The left mug is also one of the better handles from the semester.

This mug was darted to make more room for the handle. It has a small spout on the opposite side. Always an issue with pitchers is positioning the handle directly across from the spout, if that's what you desire. I'm a fan of this middle-curve handle. I like the sleekness, that the top of the handle immediately drops downward. I think this sort of handle is hit-or-miss though, as evident in some of my not-so-good handles.

The best of the best and the future...

My 2 favorites from the semester. The left handle was beautifully connected with a nice interior curve, but the same downward drop (with an upward curve) that I desired in the darted mini pitcher. And the right mug has an exaggerated handle that I tried to reproduce many times this semester, but failed to do. (The clay kept ripping.) I feel that the exaggerated mug shape works well with the exaggerated handle. It's just one big exaggeration if I didn't already say exaggeration enough times for you to understand that it's an exaggeration. =) The shape on this mug continues to intrigue me. If done right, it's phenomenal. If done wrong, it's hideous. Now there's an aspiration.

Handles will always be a work in progress for me. I feel like I'm not as detailed oriented as I need to be to make immediate progress with them. I think I get about 1 good one out of 5 made. Hopefully I will force myself to make more mugs next semester in order to get the practice.

Love, from the Ceramics Lab.