Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bust Update

I wanted to share an update on the bust. It showed
some minor cracks on the inside after it was bisque fired and I feared the worst. My teacher suggested I use paper clay to fill the cracks. Strangely, none of the cracks I patched opened, but there were some others that showed up in areas I did not expect. It survived Cone 11 reduction firing, and the head did not fall off. None were on the face and overall I was very lucky. The porcelain slip I used gave it a beautiful almost marble-like appearance that I am very happy with.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hand Built vs. Wheel Thrown

When I first discovered pottery, all I wanted to do was throw. I had no interest in learning anything having to do with hand-building and was fully consumed by the spinning and lifting of the clay. I have continued to create wheel-thrown pottery until this spring when I had enrolled in a hand-building class and became in awe of what I was missing.

Being a bit of a perfectionist, I loved the perfectly centered form the wheel helped create (on a good day). At first my impression of hand-built pottery was that it was very wonky and misshapen. However, once I took a class with Biliana Popova and discovered that you can create very symmetrical, smooth forms much like the wheel with liberties that the wheel just does not allow. I realized that I was keeping myself from something so satisfying. Hand-built forms, even when perfect and smooth still have a textile quality that cannot be reproduced on the wheel making you want to feel it, allowing you to unmistakeably recognize that a piece is hand-built once you hold it. If you never held a piece of hand-built pottery, do it.

I am not sure I will fully convert to strictly hand-building from now on, but I have developed a respect for the quality it creates and look forward to adding those elements to my future works.