Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Different Cat

While I was doing a set of pieces for a show about cats and dogs, I set myself a design problem making a loose, free drawing of a cat.

I wanted to draw it as a child would draw--just go for it!

The other restraint was to lift my brush as little as possible, making the expression in one continued line. To be as free as a child in making the image.

The head outline was one line. The body another. Face and claws were last.

You almost have to do this holding your breath.

It's fun.

It's harder than it looks.

It's also a good discipline for visualizing what you are going to do before you do it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Doodle to Design

All my school notebooks had doodles down the margins.

It wasn't that I was not paying attention; actually, I could remember what was being said by looking at the doodles.

I took notes too. I don't mean to say the doodles were the ONLY thing I did while in class.

Some doodles grew into pictures or expanded into design.

This little doodle is about 3 times larger than the original. I liked it so much I cut it out and glued it on a larger piece of paper so that I wouldn't loose it.

The first time I used this design was on a large slab of clay rolled out with the intention of cutting it up. But when I looked at the shape, I liked it so much I coaxed it into a large platter, smoothed the edges and fired it. The "Angry Cat" was done over the iron glaze with thinned oxide.

Every time I've used this design, I've sold the piece.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I made this little sculpture when I was working. It expressed all that I was feeling at the time.

Not that I didn't love my job; I did. It was just a high-demand, high-pressure with a long commute coupled with home demands. At first, when I was at work, I was totally -at work- and when I was home, I was totally there. But as time went by both sides began to erode into the other.

Thank heavens this isn't my situation now.

The head is segmented with spacers in between to give the appearance of pushing upward. The bands are holding it down.

Originally, the head was encircled with rubber bands, but I decided that wasn't permanent enough and replaced them with wires. I don't think the message is as effective as with the rubber bands.

That's why it's never been shown. The resolution of where the wires go and the base doesn't work well.

I love the idea of the tension, though.

It's a do-over for sure. Next time with something that looks like rubber bands and slots in the base for them to 'fit into' as if anchored down.

I also like the use of the same clay to form a base.

Maybe a base that appears to be metal with bands of metal.......

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Break a lot of bad pots; Keep a lot of bad pots.

Photo by the very talented Erik Johansson. See more at http://www.alltelleringet.com/

Break a lot of bad pots.

My rule is, if it offends me, I break it.

If the piece glued itself to the floor of the kiln and I had to break it off, definitely break it and stick it into the bottom of a flower pot.

If the piece has a crack, a break, a dangerous glaze result and doesn't contribute to the "look", break it.

If the structure or the glaze just didn't work, break it.


If the piece was a good idea gone bad, keep it.

Photograph it.

Analyze it.

Try it again.

Or pack it away and forget it for a while.

I have to admit that there have been a few pieces I've applied the hammer to that I wish now I hadn't been so hasty. Or so persnickety. That was when I first started making ceramics and had this image of perfection embedded in my mind. After I went to a few NCECAs and looked carefully at a huge variation in other people's works, I edited my ideas of what is and isn't perfection.

I do have a series of mugs that I thought would be a good 'family' with variations in shape, but uniform in glaze and unique (same) handles. I still think it's a good idea, just didn't pan out that time. They are sitting on a shelf in the studio as a reminder.

So, trash the 'failure', don't trash the idea.

P.S. Don't forget your goggles while you're happily smashing stuff!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This is TOO Funny

Re: How Long did it Take You to Make This Pot?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mystery Flower Pot

Every once in a while, I run across a pot on the web and wonder about making one similar.

Here's a rather strange one.

I wonder who designed it and why.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Saint-Cloud_porcelain shows a detailed photo of the piece.

The side portions are designed to be flower holders.

They would keep a stemmed flower upright. Daffodils? Tulips?

But what are the four other holes in the middle for?

Maybe to hold cord for a hanging pot? That would then mean it wasn't designed it sit on a table as a centerpiece. But somehow, it doesn't look like a hanging pot either.

This was made in a period of highly experimental china making. So who knows how it was used. One thing I know, pieces were not made with holes without a reason.....so I like to imagine: An elaborate Dutch shoulder yoke sat between two of these pots suspended with cords?

A search for St. Cloud yields several short articles about the company and lists collections that pieces can be found in, but not much else.

A mystery.