Sunday, August 14, 2011

The summer is just flying by here in the studio. We have been working toward several shows. I have tried to make some new pieces like these watering cans. These ovoid forms were a challenge to construct. Exercises like this one are good to do from time to time to take us out of our comfort zone of making mugs, bowls and plates. I am not trying to trivialize the making of utilitarian ceramics but I am trying to say that we all get comfortable making the things that we make all of the time.

I tried to one up myself in this making phase by constructing a larger piece with the coil and throw method that my friend and fellow potter , David Stuempfle, taught me how to do at his studio some years back. He was very gracious with his time to help me learn this wonderful way of making, although David makes this look effortless... it's not. The process went rather slowly for me because I am only a beginner at best with this type of construction. I will say that timing and consistency of the clay coils make a huge difference in how the piece will finish up. There is one essential tool that you have to have to construct these and that is a big heat gun or a weed burner. The coils are added one by one but after each coil is added and thrown the piece is stiffened a bit with the aid of one of these heating tools. So that is my brief explanation of what this process is all about, but the best way to learn anything is to do it. Just don't make it bigger than the kiln you have because that could be problematic and remember lift with your legs. That's enough run-on sentences for now, so it's back in the studio where I belong.