Week ???

Time has lost all meaning at this point. I’m not really sure what’s going on anymore. I relied on school to structure my time management skills. Take that away and what little time management I had is now dust.

So that’s basically a long winded way to say I lost track of time and suddenly only had a few days to complete the last project. Which is pretty much the case for all of my classes.

Anyhow, I did enjoy this repurpose/rethink project. I pretty knew from the beginning what main material I wanted to use.

Glass Bottles

The main material were glass bottles found in my backyard, dug up from 15+ years of mud and leaves. There is a fun story behind these. When my older brothers were still kids, they use to go exploring in a small junk yard behind a house near ours (not neighbors, just a house we could get to through the woods). They collected these colorful glass bottles and kept them on the building material we had for our (never completed and now decaying) tree house. As we all grew older, we subsequently forgot about them. And now these forgotten bottles have found a new purpose.

It is worth noting that all materials used were found in and around my backyard. Originally, I was going to use some of the abandoned building material, but ran out of time. What I ended creating is basically a dangerous mobile. However, I still think it turned out okay. There was a lot of trial and error. But surprisingly, I only got cut once.

Breaking bottles
The bottle wouldn’t break
It broke.

The process started with breaking the bottles. I took what shards I liked, cleaned them, and left them to dry in the sun. I then took fishing wore borrowed from my brothers’ fishing rods and tied them to a square grid. I did want to paint the grid black but the spray paint I found in the garage broke halfway through, so I had to start over with another grid. Next I taped the glass shards to the fishing wire, because tying them was not working at all.

Glass shards drying.

The name of the piece is “Shattered Time”. The normality we knew is gone due to COVID-19. The same is true for how we perceive time. Everything use to be on a set schedule and everything was rushed, trying to save time so there was more time for other things. But now, time as we know it has… well, shattered. For a lot of people, time now has a different flow, a different meaning. Once all this is over, picking up the pieces and untangling the strings might be harder than people think.

Living in the woods has it upsides, but I would really love to have grass instead of moss, leaves, weeds, and thorns.


Week 8

Birds. That is what I have made so far since last week. Just more birds. I started to try to make wings that stick out with no success.

That’s really the only update. I have no idea for the next project yet, let alone sketches. I am to make something at least 30 inches tall.

Our guest artist Kate Johnston did give me some ideas though.


Week 7

A day later than I should have uploaded, but oh well.

The next project I have been working on is…[drum roll please]


That is all. Just a few dozen small ceramic birds. For this project, we were allowed to pick our own ceramic adventure from Clay Bucket, and I picked an installation piece. Mind you, I have no idea where or how it will be installed, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

The basics of the project is the birds are in three positions: resting, getting ready to take off, and flying. They will be connected to a wall somehow in a… crescendo shape [Look at Picture 1].

There is a story behind this piece. I’ve actually wanted to make something like this since I started ceramics. When I was a little kid, my aunt Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat it, and it went into remission. In 2012, it came back as bone cancer. Nancy passed away in 2014. She was an outstanding artist. She also loved bird watching. I want to dedicate this piece to her.

I also want to dedicate it to both my grandmothers, my mom, my cousin, my uncle, my dear friend, and everyone who has been affected by any type of cancer.


Week 5 and 6

I am not great at updating this and I apologize. Week 5 and 6 were more or less the same thing, so I just combined them.

Long story short, art is hard. For my spinning lantern, I thought the hardest part would be making the cylinders. Turns out that is the easiest part. The hardest part is making the mechanism that will turn the cylinder. It. Keeps. Breaking. I thought that if I switched to a wooden dowel it would help, and it did. But then all the other parts broke. My solution is to find a non-ceramic spinning mechanism. I could make another ceramic model, but time and my patience will not allow it.

On the bright side of things, my first project has been glazed and fired. The fruit turned out okay, though I’ll have to remake the bowl. The on it underglaze kinda… melted.


Week 3 & 4

I realize I forgot to post last week, so this week’s post is brought to you by forgetfulness and procrastination.

Week 3 can be summed up with two words: trial and error. It mostly consisted of trying to figure out how to make a ceramic candle holder rotate (and procrastinate throwing on the wheel). A lot harder than I thought it would be. With a few ideas from another classmate, I was able to come up with a rough blueprint. I made a rough mini version of it, and let it get bone dry then sanded it. To my suprise and giddy excitement, the idea worked! The whole peice is made up of four parts: the base, a dowel rod, a lipped saucer of sorts, and the cylinder. Well… actually 5 pieces if you count the candle.

When I said rough, I meant really really rough.

Week 4 can be summed up with 1 word: dread. I was very wary of trying to throw again. I was 2 years out if practice and stuggled even with practice. I spent most of the time on the wheel trying to remember how to throw a cylinder. After watching the Clay Bucket tutorial multiple times and some patient help from the teacher (shout out to Brian), I was able to throw a few roughly cylindrical pieces. If memory serves, I attempted to make cylinders 10-ish times, and kept 3 of my attempts. One cylinder was kept to test glaze on, and the other two got insects carved into them. I kinda screwed up the carvings on both cylinders. The trail for the bees is a bit smaller than I hoped. The dragonfly cylinder was just slightly too wet, so some of the carvings ripped. I also messed up the placement of the dragonflies. At this point I’m not even that upset, I’m just glad it looks nice.


Week 2

This week was all about trying to make a mini table and a chair to go in the fruit bowl. I never realized how difficult it would be to make even legs for a table. And also to have them not break off when they dried (happened twice). Third time is hopefully a charm.

Other than the table and chair, the fruit and bowl are almost ready for the first round in the kilns. They need a few more days to dry out. But they are dry enough to hear them rattle when you shake them! It was the other Emma’s idea to turn the fruit into rattles, making it a much more unique piece. She also made the snail (who does not have a name yet) for our bowl.

This coming week I’ll be working on the next project. I’ll be making a rotating lantern, similar to the one in the movie “The Greatest Showman”.

(This table and chair broke after they dried all the way)

Week One

Going into this first week, I was pretty nervous. I hadn’t done anything ceramics wise for a year and half. I felt wildly unprepared for the first week. I couldn’t find my ceramic tools, and remembered little to nothing of what I learned in my first ceramics class. However, that did not seem to be a problem. After making a batch of stoneware, things started to flow back.

The first project of the semester is “Make it Work”. It’s a collaborative piece, which is nice. I had someone to help remind me how to “make stuff work”, (thank you Emma!) and it was especially nice to see another student’s style of work. At first, we were going to make a fairy garden, but as soon as the teacher let us loose, that was scrapped. Emma came up with idea we make a fruit bowl. I can’t throw worth anything at the moment, so the bowl is slab built. The fruit is sculpted, and they rattle. We also liked the idea of having random objects in the bowl, such as a table and some chairs.

I’m looking forward to what the rest of the semester holds. I’ve been sketching out ideas, re-teaching my hands how to clay works, and generally remembering how to art.