Sunday, April 27, 2008

Throwing with Marbleized Clay

Feeling like I've neglected my wheel students this past week, I decided to demo with marbleized clay. I mixed three clay bodies together, wedged them briefly and threw three different forms - one for each of my classes. There are several important things to remember about mixing and working with this blended clay. First, make sure the the clays are the same consisitency (moisture). I usually start out with 3 slabs of the different clay, throw them down forcefully on top of each other at first (to eliminate trapped air in between each slab) and then begin the spiral wedging technique. I am very careful to wedge only 6 or 7 motions since overwedging will blend the clay too much. By slightly blending, you get a more interesting swirl pattern in your finished thrown piece. During the throwing process, the blended clay is hidden under a thin layer of slip that's created when you moisten the surface with water and throw. The magic appears when after the piece is thrown and sits to dry a little, you take your trimming tool and remove the thin layer of slip that covers the form. If you've not over wedged and wedged properly, your amazing one of a kind surface will appear. Above are the pictures of the process from start to finish. I also included pictures of the bowl and vase I made with the same technique. Many thanks to Mary Alice for taking the pictures with my tempermental camera!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Slab Box Demonstration

This week our demonstration was a variation on last weeks purse demo. I made a template out of posterboard that resembled the shape of an iron cross. Placing the template on top of a large slab of clay, I traced and cut around it. (note: clay should be about a 1/4 inch thick) Next I joined each edge together one at at time to form the box shape. By adding strips over each side seam and top edge, I got the desired look of a paper or soft leather box. I then added the detail of the stitching and button(I used a eucalyptus pod to texture the button..try it makes a really gorgeous flower impression). Two really important things to remember is work with the clay when it is fresh out of the bag. This enables you to just moisten the seam and not have to score. The second thing is to not over-work or over-handle the clay. It was great to see how many students gave it a go! Next week I'll get back on the wheel and give equal time to the throwers in class! I've included pics of the demo and also my talented and wonderful students in my Thursday morning class! I'll be bringing my camera to my Tuesday and Wednesday classes so beware!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Leather Purse Demonstration

This past week I demonstrated how to make a leather handbag/purse out of clay. I was surprised how excited my students were about this process and also how a good number of them actually tried to make one immediately afterwards. It was a huge success. It's rare to be able to all within 2 hours demonstate a technique and have time for students to actually complete a project.(TIP: No scoring required as long as very soft clay was used. All parts that came together were moistened with a little water and firmly pressed together) I varied the claybodies I different types of leather, each one has it's own unique look. My student Misako brought her camera and shot these pics during the demo. This week I'll do a variation on this technique and also teach lids and covered jars.

PS It's several weeks later and I've added a picture of the some of the finished purses. Especially love the dark clay ones!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Back at the Wheel

It had been about four weeks since I'd thrown, so I was a bit nervous about demonstrating this past week. It was, just how they say, like getting back on the bicycle. Surprisingly, I felt really confident in my throwing skills after not touching clay for a few weeks. I threw a cylinder for my demo in each class and then altered it by squaring it off and adding handles and coil feet. Some of my students tried the technique right away, which always makes me feel good. The demo was warmly recieved and now I have a bunch of pots to finish. This week, I have a slab project planned. Tomorrow I will try to figure out how to make this vision I have in my head...hmmmm, we'll see!
PS..It's now a few weeks later and I've finished these pots. Here are the pictures!