Ceramics Class Fall 2015

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Bowls, bowls, and ... bowls!

I took a ceramics class! Hunks of clay, a spinning pottery wheel, mud, the whole nine yards. It was really fun taking a proper art class again. I haven't done that in a while. Making things is a nice break from the writing and programming that's been my academic life of late, with the extra awesome bonus that the pretty things I made are also functional.

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The first two were kind of lopsided. As you can see, it took a few tries to get the hang of making the clay form a bowl-shape. The turquoise glaze on this one, however, makes it look like it's make of old copper with a patina layer on the surface, like the Statue of Liberty. Pretty cool effect.

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The next two bowls I threw looked nice at first, but they dried out between the initial throwing and when I came back to trim them later. So, I got to smash them with a hammer. The remnants got put into the "leftovers" bucket that eventually gets remixed into useable clay.

Later in the semester, we learned how to marble two clay bodies together - using both white and brown clay. Here's a photo of my two marbled bowls, drying out before their first firing:

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After the first firing, you apply glaze, then fire again. Interesting thing about glaze: it's a bucket of thick sediment in water. It's nothing like paint and the colors are nothing like the final product. Sediment + high heat = different colors! Chemistry is fascinating like that.

The glaze on the rim of this marbled bowl turned out to have very interesting effects - see the light, cloudy, feathery features as it ran down the inside of the bowl?

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Here are two other bowls waiting for their first firing, nice and round. Focusing on shape and form was a fun change to explore -- much of the other art I've done lately (like painting) has had an emphasis on color. I really like the shape of the bowl on the right:

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Bottom of that righthand bowl, after glazing. I've been signing them all with my initials!

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Monday, January 18, 2016