Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Guild

I produce my work in the studio of the Northern Colorado Potters Guild, of which I am also a member. The guild functions in many capacities, from non-profit organization to art education resource to the community, but is primarily a resource for local ceramic artists to have access to studio space and equipment that is not cheap to obtain privately. Currently we have two electric kilns, one reduction kiln, a portable raku kiln, slab press, extruder, handbuilding space, and a room full of wheels, as well as private studio space for rent. If you're interested in ceramics and live in the area, it's worth checking out the website for upcoming class offerings, as well as membership opportunities. Oh, and then there's the members: great people, one and all, and as much as it's fun to crank up the radio and be a lone artist, it's usually nice to have some company in the studio.

I got up to the studio this afternoon for a few hours when I escaped from my real job (they were painting my office space and the fumes were pretty special. I think that justifies a sick day. Or maybe I should have stuck it out, OD-ed on interior paint, and collected workman's comp... Hmm...).

All things considered it was one of the better Tuesday afternoons I've had in a while, though I wasn't nearly as productive as I would've liked to be. My primary clay body (Speckled Buff, Cone 5, by Laguna) was too soft to work with, so I started out with a red clay I've been using lately. This clay body has been pretty pleasant overall, but has a tendency to get kind of firm, by throwing standards.

I started out with five balls of clay (15 pounds total?), and ended up with four pieces (using all the clay). If anybody reading this is confused by the fuzzy math, leave a note and maybe I'll explain what happens.

This is how it all begins...

...and then it gets messy.

I did end up moving on to my Spec Buff clay after it had set for a while, but it was still pretty soft. I had a pretty sweet bowl going, but it wasn't agreeing with me, so I had to toss it. It happens. Sometimes you have to cut your losses, otherwise you end up fiddling with a piece for an extra hour or three and still lose it. The other Spec Buff piece (a vase/jar) has survived so far.
We'll see where it goes; at least the way I work, I need to let vertical forms set for a while before I flesh out the shape too much. It's a precautionary thing. I'll be back in the studio in a couple days to finish of the Red pieces and continue on the vase. Sometimes a little patience will go a long way.

The red pieces, fresh off the wheel. The dark band around them is a blue slip (liquid clay) that has been brushed on and will be used in future decoration. These are covered in plastic and sit for a few days until they're firm enough to trim and decorate.


Anonymous said...

oooo yes!

more pictures please!

Luke said...

Righto. I'll try to work on that.