Pottery & Ceramics, Process

Wise Men

All my wise men are complete! I was documenting their progress over on My Instagram and I’m happy to say that they all survived the kiln.

Many thanks to Jen at The Village Pottery, who let me work in her lovely studio here in Briz.

Images of the making process:

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And here’s a few from my new clan of wise men:

WiseManCornelius WiseManHakeem WiseManLinc WiseManRaymundo

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Pottery & Ceramics, Process

Tall Skinny Vases, round 2

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Tall and Skinny pots a gogo. Making 5 of these, a set, all as close to being the same as I can manage – something I haven’t done before. Repetitive making satisfies me, and getting these as thin as possible has been my aim. Working with the additional loops, and lots of ideas developing for what’s next. Planning on glazing these with painted on rutile stain, simple white and transparent glaze and possibly splashing out on some antique gold glaze to drizzle. I’ll be updating stage-by-stage so watch this space.

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Pottery & Ceramics, Process, Sketchbook

Keeping a pottery notebook and testing colour & texture

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Something I couldn’t not do without at the pottery studio is my sketchbook – a record of glazes, processes, what works and what doesn’t. I’m a big fan of keeping note and have got into the habit of making keys for colour and texture.

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This is a colour wheel I made. I noted which colour is which, so if i find a shade/overlap of slip and glaze I love, I know what it is. Without this, I find it hard to choose which slips and glazes to use – they are stored in tupperware boxes, and the colour is written on the box but the wet slips only show their colour once fired – it’s like a lottery unless you have a key.

Texture tests! I made this because I want to be adding more texture to things, and i want to be nimble about it, rather than having to wait to experiment with a texture – I did lots of texture experiments all at once, and laid out each texture tool next to the mark it made. I’ll now print this pic out and wack it into my sketchbook.

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3D, Pottery & Ceramics, Process

Pinch Pots

This blog might well be turning into my pottery log…. A new term of my pottery class has started and I had my first go at the humble pinch pot. A very quick and crude method of vestibule-making. A couple in this batch have fingermarks, which I think looked pretty good, I would like to try the same with a simple white and understated glaze.

I’m trying to get a good knowledge of glazes under my belt – I’m diligently making note of all the varieties of glazings I’m trying out. I have yet to find a combination which I love. I’ll continue with lots of complex scribbled notes in my sketchbooks until I find whatever it is I’m looking for.

I jumped on the wheel this week and made three quite well-centred pots. Not bad for not having been on that wheel for a good 5 months. Here are my pinch pots… I made holes in the bottom using my favourite tool, that’s so they they can become mini flower pots.

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And finally, this wouldn’t be a pottery post without a mention of the teeth. I’m making a few every week, enjoying the three-step process,  with my pottery course once a week, each stage takes a week to complete, and I have many teeth on the go at once:

1) Sculpt tooth shape > leave to dry

2) Smooth tooth with wet sponge and fire > tooth gets fired in kiln

3) glaze the fired tooth > tooth gets re-fired

4) One complete tooth!

LucyBarfootPottery2

We have a project to complete this term – ‘Cornucopia: the Horn of Plenty’. This involves writing Haikus and creating a ‘fantastical form for fabulous foods’ for the celebratory feast to mark Potstop‘s 20th anniversary.

We’ll be inscribing the haiku on the form, and it will contain one of our favourite foods. I’m making a wide-open jaw, complete with teeth, holding fizzy sherbet-y sweets and a few gobstoppers. It’s going to be reminiscent of that bit in Beetlejuice when the bowls come to life.

Beetlejuice bowl

BUT less scary. This reminds me of wonderful Harry Belafonte. Remember the song in that scene – ‘Banana Boat Song (Day O)’? It’s a cracker. So I’ll ending this with his other mega-famous one – Jump in the Line. Bye!

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Art, color, Process

Melting down oil pastels and crayons

 

 

This started as me making a ‘creative tutorial’ for the Light Box blog, but turns out that I didn’t feel very excited nor energised about making a step-by-step tutorial and wanted more of a chance to experiment and have fun with it.

So away I went, not worrying about an end-point, not worried about photographing every little step. There is this thing (all over Pinterest and craft blogs) where you can melt down old ends of oil pastels, combine with crayons to help solidify and bind, then cook for just 10 minutes in the oven at 100 degrees, and you can make a whole new crayon/oil pastels out of whichever colours you like.

But I like what I made more then that – more of an object (plus it’s crap to use as a crayon!) reminds me of using resin, makes me want to take this further and try to set objects within the melted down waxes. Could I float little objects in grey pastels, so it’s barely visible, like smog? What about just using wax? Those are notes to self!

I did take some pictures. The slicing of the oil pastels was a wonderful experience. An unusual texture – very satisfying.

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Drawing, Process, Thoughts

Never

One word, simple really- I HAD to make SOMETHING and I couldn’t find my motivation, my interest, my inspiration. So I imagined never having any of those three things, and realised that this is a monetary thing and it’ll all whiz back to me, and it’s ok! So I wrote the word ‘NEVER’ to remind me of this, and played around with some little page-tab things I found in a dollar shop in NZ. Taking inspiration from this quote, but exchanging ”dance” for “making shit”

We’re fools whether we dance or not so we might as well dance (Japanese proverb)

 

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Collage, Organisation, Process

Sketchbook Scans: new stamp

 

A birthday, two new cut-out stamps. I’m making smaller circles from my tax disk collection and also cutting up the Korean financial times, wth a stamp-shaped cutter. Problem is, when you discover a new tool like this, you want to make stamps and shapes out of everything. These two are sketchbook scans, may go further with the financial times stamps… en mass. ?

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Collage, Process, Silly

Shower Door Glue Moulds

These glue moulds are like an untidy and unorganised version of the piece ‘Ladle Moulds’ I exhibited at the Surface/Space/Time exhibition back in 2009. This time, working on a flat surface. It’s made with Drawing inks and a pva/water mix. I’m have been adding bit by bit for the past year. It takes a long long time to dry, so it’s been another ongoing thing, which is now done and I can now find another use for the massive shower door which has been looming over my studio space (as much as a glass door can loom)

Here is some more about the Glue Mould / Glue Quilt process

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Collage, Organisation, Process, Sketchbook, Studio

Some Sketchbook Scans

Still thinking about how great this weekend was, full-on-studio-time. So good to commit days and elongated hours to it, not just snatching some time here and there, or never going at all. I completed six frames, started and finished – ready to hang. That’s never happened! On top of that I created a couple of collages, and wrote lots of notes in my sketchbook. Completely productive and fulfilling!

Here’s some of the scanned sketchbook pages:

 

Don’t know where this came from in my head, but I like it. Poo Bin / Camping. Using unwanted photographs and a nice thin pen. These two go hand in hand. You know when you’re in multitasking flow, and you have things going on in different areas of the place you’re working in, and things like this just appear out of you? No? I didn’t either – that’s why this weekend was so great!

 

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Art, Organisation, Process, Studio, Thoughts

Triangle Multiples

Today is the THIRD day IN A ROW that I’ve been in my beautiful studio. It feels great! I’ve made more time for it, and a free weekend has been a lovely way to ease myself into making more time for studio and creating. I have made some things I really like, and which were fun to make. Working with multiples, thinking about an exhibition / arts trail event, where I show all the ‘multiple’ work I’ve been creating. Mostly centred around the Poppy pieces, but also on other multiples, things I have collected, like these metal triangles, which were in an old frame, keeping the back on and in place. Some of them are rusting, they are very sharp, and I used some extra strong and thin double sided tape to attach them on. It seems to fix most things, although some of the objects I have created are 3D and I’m playing with a glue gun today, to test the fix of that.

 

I have started a shopping list, what do I need to make what I want to make, and have on-hand in the studio instead of being out and up and down Gloucester road shopping for big rolls of paper. Also I’m measuring up my old frames to find big paper for, or glass to fill the frames with, if it’s been smashed or used for something else.

 

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Art, Drawing, Process, Text Project, Thoughts

Text Project version 2

An idea, researching now, experimenting too.

The idea of being part of one of the Bristol arts trails next year, North, South or West, either. Showing and selling a series of repetitive works, the kind I love, the ‘serious stuff’, full of compulsion, happy accidents, flow, doing the same thing over and over and really boring myself, like a factory worker. I love the task ahead of creating a large body of work. To frame and exhibit and sell. Then I imagined the space and all this seriousness. There’s lots of beige and white.

I realise there is a bit of a schizophrenic within my artist self. One half the above and one half fun, fancy-dress, silly things to make you smirk, color and vibrancy. It would be good to see the two sides represented in an exhibition, but perhaps under another name. The things I want to make as this second half are usable, aimed at adults, for adults to play. And at the same time being things for the cool kids to have. Pop-up signs, elaborate wigs, old man masks, vegetable and weather fancy dress, fake poo’s in different colours. All of that and more.

So I’m starting with lettering, making words on sticks for people to spell out different words. I like the idea of them being 3D, but this is proving impossible to find on the internet. All I found was this one guy’s attempt: (see his blog here)

but as he says, the curved letters are near impossible, and it’s all very fiddly. More searching found me this…

A wonderful person made a font! Free and downloadable from here: at DaFont He’s got around the issue of the curves by making everything not curvy.

(This font is a set of cut-out layouts with which you can build 3D pixel style letters. They should all work. Just cut along the solid lines, fold along the dotted lines, put some glue on the shaded flaps, stick them together and there you go… If you want to use this for commercial projects, please contact me: tobias (dot) sommer (at) gmx (dot) ch )

No printer here, but I’m going to copy down the net onto cardboard and have a try myself, get that trusty old scalpel out.

Here’s what I’m trying to make, but in 2D version. I couldn’t find any thing stick-like in my studio, (and I just had the idea that using an actual stick, painted…Would be really nice) So I’ve used a dental mirror. I came across these at a strange market stall selling mostly nuts and bolts. They are extendable and have a tiny rounded mirror on them.

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Bristol, color, Organisation, Poppies, Process

Poppy Time

Cor the poppies are out already! What a surprise I got driving past Eastville roundabout. The best place to find poppies in Bristol. Hundreds and hundreds of poppy plants. I did ten minutes of picking, took them home and filled half of the Sunday paper and an hour of my time lining them up to be pressed for the 3 months they need before they turn beautifully translucent. Another batch for my poppy collection, part of my ongoing poppy project. I have been doing this for 5 years now and have thousands. Soon, it’ll become something but for now I am happy with the collecting and meticulous pressing (each petal needs to be completely flat and intact.)

Photos: Before-the collected petals. Middle-pressing them by lining up in a newspaper. After-incomplete petals and I’ve run out of time. Found-a small section of the crop.

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Art, color, Interesting and Inspiring, Process

Ian Davenport

One of my favourites! His use of colour / performance aspect / loss of control / control / huge size

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Art, Process

Ai Weiwei at Tate Modern

A business trip to London. Lucy and I got the chance to see some art too. We spent the afternoon in the Tate Modern, after hearing much hype about the Ai Weiwei Sunflower installation in the Turbine Hall.

“Sunflower Seeds is made up of millions of small works, each apparently identical, but actually unique. However realistic they may seem, these life-sized sunflower seed husks are in fact intricately hand-crafted in porcelain.

Each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. Far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape.”


This artwork satisfied me – my love of repetition, of process. The muted colors of the landscape and the understated accumulation – what I love most is when a huge amount of time is spent on something, but that’s not realised – these look like real sunflowers, nothing special, but it’s within the process that I am impressed. The 15 minute film which accompanied the installation was more interesting to me than the completed piece.

It’s very interesting to me that Weiwei was made to alter the artwork; up until 22nd October, visitors were invited to walk on the sculpture. Health and safety regulations came into play and a barrier was put up – the porcelain dust was too harmful when breathed in. It’s this  kind of ‘mistake’ and alteration to a life’s work which is interesting – how does Weiwei feel about this huge alteration. The whole work is changed – the viewer cannot interact or have an encounter with this tactile work. Something is lost. Why didn’t he think about the issues around H&S before?  Tate changed the work from an invitation to walk upon, to stating this:

“Sunflower Seeds is a total work made up of millions of individual pieces which together from a single unique surface. In order to maintain and preserve the landscape as a whole, Tate asks visitors not to touch or remove the sunflower seeds.”

You could post video questions to Weiwei, he selects some to answer. Lucy and I asked him this: http://aiweiwei.tate.org.uk/content/701626778001

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Art, Process, Video

Apple Process

Here’s a short video I made for my final degree work at uni. I hired a spraybooth and sprayed 1,300 Gala apples a specific pink color of car lacquer. The process took a whole two weeks – three layers, and it was important to keep the stalks unpainted – so the applying and peeling off of masking tape was the most laborious part.
You can read more about what I made and why on the gallery section of my website.
 
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