Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tea Mechanica, the Glazing

I had a hard time with all this.
No.3, I already had an idea of what I was going to do, but since I had already used the glazes in a previous piece I was hesitant to used them again.
The thing is, the piece just called for it:

What I saw was something art decoish and I wanted an antiqued look, not the primary colors I usually use.
I needed the metallic glazes.
This time I went and got an antiqued brass glaze, which is discontinued by the way for it contains lead, and used that for the spout and the leg attachments and the lid.
I used the antique silver for the rest.
The thing is, these glazes fire two cones hotter than the rest of the glazes, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
The first firing:

I liked it.
Now I had to do the treads, which was done in flat black.
Two cones cooler so I fired it a second time, but what I didn't anticipate was that the metallics would change.
Second firing:

I lost all the gloss of the antique silver, which turned a dry mat black.
The brass also lost some lustre, but that was okay cause it ended up looking distressed, and I liked that.
I contemplated refiring, but decided to just go with it as I'd heard that the brass glaze did not like to be fired with other glazes.
Now the other thingy.
The plan was to do what is called a dazzle camouflage pattern using either an analogous or complimentary color scheme.
After thinking about, I thought it too bold and I chickened out.
It also would have been a major pain to do and I just didn't have the time.
So I looked at more basic color themes and discarded all of them.
I just couldn't see this in basic colors so I went with the tried and true: black and nasty.
With some red highlights.
To break up the black don't you know.
The hardest part was doing the wheels as I had to do both interior and exteriors:

Not only did I have to do the black, but the red also:

I played with doing something different with the springy part, but decided using one of the metallic glazes would detract and not add to the piece.
So instead I used flat black on the springy thing like the tires.
I think it turned out okay:

I added some white gold lustre to the portholes on the lid but unfortunately forgot to take pictures.
I like the art deco thingy, but I wish I had done it a bit larger.
I may make another and make some subtle changes.
It's sort of missing something, I'm not sure what.
I feel the same way about the springy one.
Sort of like I should have added something but I'm not sure what else I could have done without over doing it.
Something about both compositions feel lacking, or unbalanced, but I'm not sure why.
Not goofy enough or something.
I mean they were going someplace, but didn't quite get there.
Where they were going I'm dunno and that's the problem.
I like animating these teapot forms, but I need to think them through a bit more.
Maybe something will come to me.

Tea Mechanica

Okay, here's the rest of the how I did it.
Finishing up the second thingy, the first won't get done as I've decided that I don't like the form, I fooled around with connecting the bottom track section to the top.
My original idea wasn't going to fly, not this time anyways, so I sort of had to improvise.
That didn't work out either but I start fooling around with this:

Basically a coil wrapped around a wooden dowel.
Okay, looks better that what I had so I took everything apart and added a springy section instead:

I had to prop it up a bit until it set up and stiffened up a bit.
Actually I had it propped up like that all way until it was fired.
Using the kiln posts worked out well as it allowed the top portion to sort of slide down as the clay dried and shrank.
Okay, out of the bisque:

Now the glazing.
Which I sort of dislike, especially when I have no idea what to do.
So I left it and went to work on No.3:

I was going to add some strap looking things, but when I took out my mini extruder thingy, I found a triangular die and tried that out instead.
I liked it.
So I began to add the triangular strips to the sides:

I used the end of a brush to add the indentations for some detail.
I liked the look so I decided to do four strips.
I was going to add some horizontal lengths, but decided against it in order for the strips to sort of enhance the piece by "stretching" it and making it look taller.
Then I added the spout:

I threw two different looking spouts, one was a bit pointier than the one I used. I also ringed it with the triangular strips, but you can't really tell as they look flat, and I added the details pukas with the end of the brush.
Okay, now for the feets.
Or treads.
Or whatever you call them.
I sat and I looked at this piece for some time before decided what exactly I was going to do.
I had done some sketches, but I wasn't sure I wasn going in that direction for the chucks I had sitting around weren't going to let me do what I wanted.
As luck would have it, I found a piece of green ware sitting around from a left over lid project and it fit the bottom of the piece perfectly.
Okay, not perfect as I had to cut some grooves in it to clear the triangular strips:

Now I could do the tracked gear I had planned.
I put the gear together much like I did the ones above, only I needed two sets.
I then attached them with some extruded and flattened coils.
They didn't turn out exactly how I imagined, something was missing.
I used more of the triangular strips to match the rest of the body and it looked a bit better:

I had some trouble with this piece as it dried for I attached the triangular strips when the body was sort of dried out. I had numerous cracks that I had to patch, one on the top where the lid sat gave me the most worry.
In the end, it all turned out okay:

Now comes the glazing.
What to do?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Working, But Not At Work

Okay, today I had this teapot thing on my mind, so much so that I skipped out of work to well, work on it.
It wasn't exactly planned like this, but that's how it worked out.
Anyways, today I got to the wheels and treads.
The wheels were done from pieces of coil, smushed down:

I then used the handle of a fettling knife to press in the rim design, and then I assembled them together:

To make the treads, I just rolled a coil out and went over it with a dowel, just like a rolling pin.
Here's the mock up of the wheels with treads:

I wasn't too worried about the finish of the wheels up on top for I was going to cover them with a huge fender.
I just rolled out a slab, let it set up a bit, then cut it to size.
Here's the slab and using the cut off parts to make the sides:

I worked the slab on the thick side for it has to support the weight of the teapot, which will be mounted on top.
Sort of.
Anyways, the finished tracked portion:

I also had time to do the spout and the handle/exhaust.
The spout and the handle are figurative, there just to suggest a teapot.
I still need to do a lid as the one I threw today didn't work out.
The clay is beginning to dry out, so fitting the lid will be problem as now I have to figure in shrinkage:

The spout thingy and handle were thrown off the hump and put on the side to set up.
I still need to do some other fru-fru stuff before I put everything together, which hopefully will be tomorrow.
I still haven't decided how I'm going to attach the top the bottom, but I have some ideas:

That's a mock up of the joint I did, but I don't think I'm going with it.
Instead, the connecting thingy will be one piece, for strength.
We'll see what I come up with tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

More Teapot Variations

Okay, here we go again.
I'm still on this space kick, sort of doing some futuristic interpretations of teapots in low gravity.
Or something like that.
The round forms just seem to say space vehicles, at least for now.
Once I get going on some designs, it's sort of hard to stop until all the ideas have been exhausted.
Or I get bored with doing them.
Like I got with those UFO teapots.
I still got some ideas for them, but I tend to move on to other things quickly and save some stuff to revisit.
I don't usually sketch stuff out though that's what they teach you in art school.
The only time I put stuff on paper is so that I don't forget what I was thinking about since my brain tends keep going and sometimes I leave stuff behind.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, here's the sketches of I did of the stuff I'm working on now:

I don't usually go into details, I just do rough ideas for the shapes don't always work out like I would like them to and I do a lot of improvising.
I will do details on new stuff again, so that I don't forget.
As you can see, these will have tractor like feets, treads on wheels.
I only did a little sketch of what I wanted to do for I'm sure the clay is going to limit me a bit or stuff will take too much time and in the end won't be worth it.
The thingy in the top sketch should be easy.
One single track for the foot with a lamp like extension attached to the bottom of the pot.
Here's the pot and the lid I made:

I decided to add a raised section in the middle instead of adding a band later. I also cut a couple of grooves to sort of highlight the area.
The lid didn't work out so good.
I wanted something tall, to sort of offset the shorter round section.
I was thinking conning tower here, like a submarine.
The lid I made didn't fit and I made an error when I tried to correct it.
Sort of glad I did for the lid was heavy and didn't really float my boat.
Unfortunately, I'm left with the same diameter hole on top, so any lid I do now will have to fit that space.
Most likely a shorter lid, but I think I'll try a tall one again maybe with a round section on top, to sort of match the bottom.
I usually throw my lids upside down and trim the tops, that way I can make sure the lids fit the openings.
I'll show you how the lid came out next time, even though I won't be using it.
Now for the thingy in the bottom sketch, I had to get creative.
Okay, not really.
I wanted something triangular, just to get around the well, roundness of stuff on the wheel.
Altering stuff is usually not my forte, but throwing and altering it is way more easy than handbuilding it from slabs.
Bottle shapes are my thing, I like the tall slender look with the narrow necks.
Most of my bottle forms are non functional mainly because you can't really stick anything in them except for maybe a single bud.
So I've taken to calling them bud vases.
Necking them down is the hard part, at least for most potters, but I sort have a nack for it so I can do them fairly quickly.
This form called for a narrow neck and fairly wide bottom.
I was going to close off the top, not even have the skinny part, but I decided to leave it open and keep the narrow neck.
So, the bottle form and the squish:

The idea is to get two even surfaces by using two flat thingys to do your squishing with.
I usually put a center level on the top board, just so I know things are even and flat, but for this I just eyeballed it.
The lid again was thrown upside down and trimmed to round off the top:

Now to make the puka on the top the squished thingy, I had to do some hand excavations.
The original idea was to center the squished thingy on the wheel and trim out a hole so it was perfectly round.
The top surface is a bit contoured though, so that didn't work.
In the end I just traced the outline of the lid and cut it out with and Xacto knife.
Not a perfect circle, but the rim on the lid will hide the imperfections.

Theres still some fit issues, but I'll work the lid and hopefully it won't be too bad.
Okay, stuff is taking shape!
I'll keep spraying this stuff down with water and keep it workable until well, I get to work on it again.
The tracks may need some sketching out though I'm pretty sure I know how I'm going to execute them.
Again, I sketch mainly so that I don't forget stuff that rambles through my brain.
Lemme tell you, sometimes that stuff rambles pretty darn fast.
I visualize my work in my head pretty well, close to how they actually come out.
I have ideas for three forms, but I can only work on two at a time, three is just too much.
I want to do six forms total, three in one glaze pattern and three in another, sort of like two matching groups.
More on this later.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Deadline Looms

Taking a break.
My back hurts and it's getting late.
The thing about this time is that I won't have time for any refiring.
Well, the first piece is going back into the kiln for a second firing but the other thing is a one time deal.
For submission anyways.
Working like this reminds me of school, staying up late glazing my stuff and loading the kiln.
Someone once said, "art happens at night" and I sort of believe that.
There's something about working in the stillness and darkness that I enjoy.
Perhaps because at night, it's only me and my work, no distractions.
I don't feel good about this stuff, it's not what I wanted or envisioned.
Oh well.
I'll throw this stuff in the kiln tonight and I won't open it up until I get home from work tomorrow.
Maybe I'll get a nice surprise.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Big Show and My Submissions

If they make it out of the kiln.
So it's like I should have started way earlier.
Sometimes though, inspiration just isn't there.
The feeling just isn't there.
Nothing is there.
Okay, not really.
Something is there, it's just not all there.
This is what I started with:

My usual bottle shape.
Then did another one, this time I thinned out the shoulder, so much so that it started to collapse then I got this:

This technique is also used to create double walled pots, usually done when you want to carve out a design on the outer wall.
I did another, sort of vase looking thingy with a small puka on top:

My modus operandi is usually to throw some forms on the wheel then alter them creating themed thingamajiggys, sometimes tea pots.
If you are new here, you can find some of my Unidentified Flying Teapots here and up at the top of the page.
So anyways, that was the plan, to make another variation of the UFT, but something happened on the way to the throwing wheel.
I got this bright idea, okay maybe not so bright after all, to do something different.
So I started in:

This is actually the first form above, only inverted so the pointy side is down. Unfortunately, because of the size of my kiln, I had to cut the top/bottom off so that it would fit with the cover on top.
The cover was thrown separately and then fitted and shaped.
The legs were attached with the help of the chuck, which is what the bottle form is sitting in.
I have no pictures but what happened is when the clay shrunk, it lifted the golf balls from the kiln shelf and two of them detached.
I should know better, but as I said I really wasn't feeling it with this one.
Anyways, I reattached the landing golf balls and stuck it into the kiln.
I'll let it dry there.
Looking back, I should have done something else to the form, not sure what but it's not very visually interesting.
Maybe I'll be inspired when I glaze.
The third form on top, I got to today.
I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but was not prepared to do it.
I need to set up better in the future and I'll be doing this one over.
I sort of hass affed it, making stuff up as I went along.
First I cut some grooves in it to create bands.
Then I stuck some round thingys on it to give it an industrial look:

The lid though needed more work, so I followed the same theme:

The plan was to leave it like that, with the narrow bottom, but after thinking about it, I decided no way would anyone set that up on a shelf like that!
So, I got a nozzle I had made earlier and attached it to the bottom to increase stability:

Not that it's very stable that way either, but it's a little better.
The second form I made, I decided to scrap:

The idea was to add a nozzle to the bottom of that also and add some landing gear like the first form, but I didn't like what I did with the grooves.
Looks like honey dipper or some kind of bell.
It was also really heavy, so I just set it aside.
I'll probably fire it, just to that I have a model to use next time.
Okay, so what's this all about?
Well, most of what I do on the wheel, we call vessels.
I mean they are containers, forms that are meant to carry things; vessels.
So I wanted to create some space looking vessels out of vessel shapes, only inverted.
I think the idea is still valid while my execution leaves something to be desired.
I actually started to feel it working on the last one, but since I am now behind schedule, and the clay was really dried out, there wasn't too much else for me to do.
Thinking back, I should have saved one of the UFTs as a backup piece, I mean I shouldn't have entered both into that other show, then I would have at least one finished work to go.
The rule is usually once your work is shown, you aren't supposed to enter it in another show, but there are some unscrupulous folks who do.
In my case, once a piece has been under the bright lights, I consider it dead, meaning it won't show again.
Over all, not my best effort for this, The Big Show, but these things just can't be forced out of me.
Somedays, you got it, some days you just find yourself lacking.
The other thing for me is that once I've done a theme or form, it gets really boring and repetitive to keep doing it.
I used to enter the same stuff all the time, but that got old fast.
Besides, part of making art is trying to stay cutting edge, going places you've never been and trying stuff you've never tried.
I'd rather fail at something new than succeed at something old.
Okay, not really for I do the old stuff really well so it's kinda fun to do over.
As long as I don't keep doing it over and over and over and over.
If you know what I mean.
So I'm going to fire this up tomorrow night and start glazing on Tuesday.
Stay tuned.