Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Not Really Resolutions...

Slipware by the master, Bernard Leach.
Image via Antique Marks.
Just a bunch of contemplation for the coming year, of the "What do I want to do when I grow up?" variety. Let me explain what I mean by that.

I'm easily distracted by shiny things. Like most artists, I read up on my field and check out the work of other artists to keep up on techniques and get inspiration. The more I read, the more techniques I want to try.

Take slipware, for instance. You take your clay and make your piece, find a contrasting slip to paint on it when the piece is leather-hard, then immediately carve designs in it to reveal the color of the clay below. You fire it, glaze it with a clear glaze and fire it again. The results can be beautiful, and I have a boatload of great ideas for this technique, once I got the technical aspects down to a system.
Image via Ceramic Arts Daily. Artist: Doug Peltzman.
Then there's working with slip inlay and wax resist. This technique adds so much depth to surface decoration!

And there's majolica, and the Turkish people have some pretty amazing decorating techniques, too. 

And then there's Raku. And glaze formulation. And there's studio clean-up and maintenance time. And...

And each technique has a multitude of variations...

You can see my problem, right?

A couple of years ago, my teacher gently suggested I focus on one technique and learn as much about it as I can. So this year, I'm considering his words carefully.
My Haunted House punch bowl with two of the ten coordinating cups.
Hand-carved porcelain and celadon glaze.
I'm thinking about focusing on my porcelain carving this year, especially since it looks like I may have hit my dollar amount for the new kiln and I'll have better results with my cone 6 firings. (I make these by waiting for the piece to be bone-dry before I start carving.) I also have an eye to making more sculpture this year, as my sum total of sculpture made last year was two.
Of course, since I need to pay bills, etc, there will be the Hallowe'en creations, and the stoneware mugs, bowls and plates, but even then, I have an eye to making these more interesting. I mean, Gary Jackson has the coolest stamps that he's made for his ware, and that makes the piece better and gives the glazes some great places to flow and break. And his soda-fired ware? Yummy!

I'll have to come to a decision here pretty soon, so I can get things organized in the studio for producing whatever it is I'm going to produce. I have a few bone-dry porcelain pieces leftover from last year, because I ran out of time to work on them, so at least I have a start if I decide to go for the porcelain-carving thing...

So much to learn, so little time!

What's on your creative schedule for the year?

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