I've been very productive in the past week which makes me very happy! The downside about being productive is that I spend my free evenings at the COFA ceramics studio, working on my pieces and getting home at 10pm almost every night. Oh well, I think that's the only way to do it isn't it. Can't have your cake and eat it too.
I'm almost done with one of my tables now. I've done some test pieces and at the moment loving the tenmoku glaze. It's supposed to come out black but for some reason it looks more green than black in oxidation. The picture to the right is the tenmoku glaze test (it does look green, doesn't it?).
My plan is to make two more side tables and apply different surface treatments. On one of them, I'm going to apply slip decorations using stencils. The stencils I will use are inspired by the Victorian terrace houses around COFA and their wonderful balcony balustrades. Coincidentally I'm reading the biography of Agatha Christie who wrote a lot about growing up in the Victorian era (wonderful read, totally recommend!).
I'm basing the design of the stencils on this book called "Victorian Stensils for Design and Decoration" by Edmund V. Gillon, Jr. I think it will be better for me to create my own design rather than to blatantly copy the designs from the book. I'm not very good with my cutting skills and need to create a stencil design which I would be more adept in working with.
Speaking of books, I have to say I think COFA has a wonderful source of books in their library. It makes it so much easier knowing that I can always rely on COFA to have the resources I need to create my art work. When I first started, I kind of envisaged that I would need to go around Paddington taking pictures of people's Victorian terrace houses and then tracing the design on my computer. It's such a relieve not to have to do that!
If you're looking for things to do this weekend, I would recommend going to Kerrie Lowe Gallery in Newtown and check out their current exhibition: Transferring the Image. My friend Terri Tang is part of the exhibition. Who knows, you might see me there too at the gallery!
Until next week...
Working with ceramics, I regularly raid my kitchen cupboards for tools I can use - chopping boards, knives, spoon, fork, sieve, measuring jug... etc. More often than not, those items stay in the studio never making it back to the kitchen. This (bad) habit of mine has resulted in a need for me to buy kitchen things in twos, or even worse, just for the studio. I have more cookie cutters in the studio than the kitchen (I don't even bake!).
So at the moment I'm making a ceramics side table. Yes, that's right, a ceramics side table. So I've made the forms, and everything is good with that so far. The problem is I'm having lots of trouble making up my mind on what kind of surface treatment I want to apply. Dilemma, dilemma!
Anyhow, on a better note, my throwing teacher said I'm a natural on the wheel. *big grin* And he said he wasn't just being nice about it, which made me extremely happy. I made 3 small bowls during class this week and I can't wait to see them finished.
It's funny how even though I have been working with ceramics for a while and therefore would consider myself somewhat of an intermediate hand builder, working on the wheel is a completely new thing for me. I'm a total noob! And because things are so strange yet familiar, I find myself doubting things which I already know. It's like when you've been using a PC your whole life and suddenly starts a new job that uses a Mac only. Where's the Ctrl button on a Mac?! Hehe.
Thanks for reading, I was very ill in the past two weeks and so didn't have the energy to write or do any ceramics. I spent days watching Agatha Christie's Poirot on YouTube (thank you dear uploaders!) in bed. See you in one week.
I have so many projects in my head sometimes I just itch to pour them out and make something out of them.
I'm currently working on this idea of mine to make a ceramics side table. I was inspired by the stage settings at Adele's iTunes Festival recently. She had this wonderfully elegant side table next to her chair which intrigued me. I found myself trying to catch a glimpse of that table the whole time I was watching the concert!
A ceramics side table does sound crazy, the reactions I have had so far ranges from "Interesting... " or "What do you mean? How are you going to make a table out of clay?".
I'm trying out a new type of clay this time. It's called Keanes White Raku, which is basically earthenware. Now because I want my side tables to be more sturdy, I'm going to fire my tables to the full temperature of 1280 degrees. This will make it less water absorbent which will hopefully make it more durable.
I was a little apprehensive about changing clay at first (my teacher recommended it). I've been working with porcelain for the past year that moving to another clay feels like a small betrayal. But having worked with it, I find it's actually so much easier. With the type of forms I'm planning to make, it would probably be quite impossible to make them in porcelain. Or at the very least, my rate of success would be less than 50%.
I've done some test pieces, ready to be fired when I go to class this Thursday.
Speaking of class, have I mentioned that I'm doing a wheel throwing class? It's so fun! Throwing on the wheel (if you don't know what that means, think of the movie Ghost and the scene between Demi and Patrick...) is a skill that is acquired by practice. You can only get good at it by practising. But to even start on it is daunting, so many things to consider!
The funny thing is that the class is being taught by a fellow COFA ceramics student. I thought it was going to be weird at first, but the first class was quite good.
Anyhow... off to bed now. I've been having lower back pains hopefully it will go away tonight, if not I might have to go to a chiro tomorrow.
Irine is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts' Artstart Grant (June 2014-2015).
This website has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts
funding and advisory body.