Slap that, right in the kiln.

Ok, so I obviously have been neglecting my blogging responsibilities (some may say I have none because I haven’t even posted anything art related). I’ve been blaming the fact that I don’t have pictures of my art pieces, but snapchat begs to differ. I will take quality shots of the things that I do create, but I will add them in later and stop procrastinating on finally posting!

In intro to ceramics, we started hand building. I thought back to freshman year high school year when I first poked clay with my (then) dainty fingers, and remembered the horrendous outcomes. Regardless, I was excited to finally go back to a media that I have been disconnected with for so long. Our project was to recreate an ancient Egyptian water jug.

Process

1. Using the projector, we traced half of the shape onto a piece of cardboard to use as a guide while building.

2. Coils galore. After making the 3″ diameter base, we used coils to build up and up and up… until finally we finished making the shape! I don’t have a picture of piece without the carving, but it was a fatty. The shape didn’t perfectly emulate the water jug because the belly was too big, but who wouldn’t want a big tummy? One thing to note was that I worked with the clay when it was pretty wet, the one reason it stayed up was because the inside curve was continuous and therefore made the structure strong enough.

3. Sgraffito was the way to go (ps why is that “g” there?). This is the process of scratching into the clay after putting slip on the clay when it is leather-hard, then chipping away at the bits. With this, you can get a lot of detail and, unlike glaze, it stays constant.

These were my preliminary sketches. I thought they had to be reminiscent of the Egyptian styled pottery, but Rebecca Chappell said we could make it whatever we wanted!
These were my preliminary sketches. I thought they had to be reminiscent of the Egyptian styled pottery, but Rebecca Chappell said we could make it whatever we wanted!
initial inspiration for sgraffito design
initial inspiration for sgraffito design
doodles when taking sgraffito
doodles when taking sgraffito

IMG_2708

Bone dry
Bone dry

4. Glazing. For this I really wanted to keep the piece simple. I wanted the audience to focus on the different geometric patterns on the round and robust shape of the jug itself. Clear coat was the way to go with this one.

Bisque fired
Bisque fired
FINAL
FINAL (it looks like Lexi is whack-a-moling out of my piece hehe)

IMG_2778 IMG_2779

In the end when my piece was taken out of the glaze kiln, the first thing my eye was attracted to were the bubbles protruding from a lot of the bottom portion of the vase. My instinctive reaction was obviously to pop then, and for some reason the connection of the glaze transforming into glass in the kiln hadn’t occurred to me. Luckily, I did not get hurt. So the next question was: why? Why did I get these bubble wrap-esque figures popping out? I first inferred that these were a result of putting too much glaze on it, but Rebecca told me it was due to the heat of the kiln. It overcooked and as a result the glass was starting to bubble. And after further deliberation I noticed some brown burn marks on the piece as well. So now I have to grind off the dots, so no one gets cut and if I wanted to reglaze & re-fire it I could, to refill the craters that the bubbles made. Well, maybe not with this particular piece because this got way too overheated and it would probably explode the second time around, but in general.

Overall, I’m not the happiest with this water jug because of the glaze firing, but you live and you learn! I do enjoy the rotund figure of this piece and am happy about the construction!

Update: Some uPenn students aided me in choosing the name for this piece. It was a resounding “Daniel 3″, which is reminiscent of the fiery furnace and the over-burning of my piece, but the beauty within the outcome. S/O to Albert. JZ, and Carol!

Dimensions: 12” x x

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