Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'm Still Here! :)

I haven't disappeared of the face of the planet- thank goodness!! I've just been busy!! After a quick visit with family in January, I jumped right back into clay classes... and I've been rather obsessive about it.
 I'm taking Integrated Projects & Studio Practice... which means I actually have a small studio on campus, thus I have space to work! Therefore, I must take full advantage of it by spending as much time as I can possibly fit in in the studio. (I considered quitting this blog since I really don't have the time if I want to accomplish what I'm working towards this semester, but I've found it really helps to keep a visual & written narrative as I move along with the clay, so I've decided to continue, though posts are likely to remain quite sporadic!)  I'm continuing with the creation of the Polar Bears as I have been working on the past couple of semesters in hopes of creating a body of work; a series of 10 or so bears that I hope to show somewhere at the end of the semester. I have decided to back off from "going big"  (though each bear will still be fairly large... about 40- 50 pounds per piece) in order to test several different clay bodies & see how they react with the same glaze & how they hold up in the somewhat abusive environment of the Soda Kiln.
 Since I want each piece to be unique, I start with a slightly different cut slab of clay as my base & slowly coil & shape my way up.
It goes something like this:

#2 Laguna Sculpture

People have asked me if I sketch out or visualize the finished form... I don't.
I may have a general idea that I want the head to turn left, or right, or looking up or straight ahead, but I prefer to work loosely & see how it goes. 

Having the studio space is great, because I can work on one, or several at once. I've found my time is spent much more efficiently in the studio versus the standard classroom setting. You can only build up to a certain point before needing to let the clay set up before you can add more coils- this way I can start on a new piece while I'm waiting.
(My only problem with having the studio, is that I must attend a 4 hour Studio Practice Class each week that is mainly critique & chatter, which I have to admit I find quite mind numbing. Not to mention it takes 4 hours a week away from the time that I actually have to make work. I am still learning how to deal with this, but I digress...)

#1 New Mexico Clay Super Sculpt; #2 Laguna Sculpture

I'm building each bear roughly the same size & height, and it's been fun to see how they are beginning to interact with each other.

#1 & #2; #3: Big White

I take notes on how long each takes me to build (17-25 hours each,) as well as any notes on how I feel about working with each clay body (ie, too soft, too gritty, just right & so on.) I also observe what I like or don't like about the form & posture of each one.

#4 Soldate 60

The one above is one of my favorites so far... though it will be interesting to see how I feel about it once it is glazed & fired.

# 5: WH8-Rough

 # 6: Death Valley Red

I kept thinking about chocolate when I was making this one.

Filling up the Studio!

I have 6 completed (though I'm working on # 7 now, I am behind my self initiated schedule of 8 by the end of the week. Now, if I didn't have to work... that would be another story!!) They're just drying so far.  In addition to testing out several sculptural clay bodies, I've been drying these pieces considerably slower than last semester, with much larger vent holes in the bottom of each piece in hopes of addressing the cracking issue I had last semester. Eeeesh... I don't even want to think about cracking. Once again, I am breaking the rule of not getting attached to greenware. When you spend this much time on these guys, it's hard to not get attached! I'll find out how they do soon enough. I've got two in the bisque now, and the glaze firing for those will be in a couple of weeks.
Wish me Luck!!!


clairz said...

It's so good to see you back here, Becky. 40 to 50 pounds for each bear! Amazing, I had no idea. Is that the amount of clay that goes into each piece or the finished weight of the bear? I am assuming the bear gets lighter in weight after drying and firing, but I could be wrong.

I just love the photos where the newly-born bears all seem to be looking at each other in wonder.

Annie said...

Hi Becky, So glad to spend time with you too, however short. These bears are really coming along! My favs are # 4 and 6. Having a big space to work and come back too must be wonderful. Good luck with the firing and glazing! xoxo

Dad said...


enjoyed reading your post. Hope your firing goes well

John Brisson said...

Happy that you're back!


Tammie Lee said...

how wonderful that you have a studio to create and leave your art in. that must be wonderful.

your bears are looking grand!

Barb said...

Hi Becky, Love your bear family! How lucky to have studio space of your own. A dream come true! We came back to Breck from Denver today. It's 50 degrees but calling for snow tomorrow.