Saturday, October 3, 2009

Senior Project Updates

My second Senior Project student, Caris, started her clay adventure today! After chatting a bit about the many, many different ways there are to work with clay, she's decided that she'd like to do a wheel project, and she's got her sights on making her own versions of my aromatherapy diffusers, along with some votive holders. These will be great wheel projects, as there are three different components to the diffusers, some with trimming, some with altering and all with opportunities for all kinds of decoration.

I love that one Sr. Project student has chosen wheel and the other a completely different project in handbuilding. They'll be able to vicariously learn more through each other, and I'll get each into the other world for at least a taste at some point.

Sr. Project student and studio member Caris -
momentarily clean as she begins her fun in the mud!

So Caris started today on the wheel and was spectacular. Just like all my new students, the focus was getting comfortable with the clay on the wheel.

jumping right in and doing very well with the centering

After some demos on centering and a couple of quick looks at a teabowl or two off the mound, she spent a good while working on centering and really just getting the feel of it all.

toward the end of the day, feeling out the clay
- note she's happily wearing much more clay
than when she started (sign of a really good day!)

Before long, she was trying out her instincts on forming bowls and other shapes, and really showing a good sense of how the clay needs to be handled.

When she returns for her next studio visit, she'll continue throwing small bowls off the mound, which will be used for glaze tests. Then it's on to working the different components of the diffuser. At some point, we may take a break to play with some hand building techniques as well.

This afternoon, Alex also returned for more studio work, and we also had a very productive day!

a nice variety of glaze tests on her first pinch and coil pots

First off, we had to review the glaze tests she did. These were good for general use, but we realized that since she'll ultimately be working with colored porcelain, we should have concentrated more on the translucent glazes, but we still got some good information, and now she's got an idea of what she likes in stoneware as well as porcelain.

Next, it was time to finish pounding the dried porcelain ...

And then measure it out into equal quantities for coloring ...

And then add the mason stains and underglazes ...

And thoroughly re-hydrate and mix the new, colored clay.

While the porcelain was drying out to a wedge-able stage, Alex went back to the bowls she started on a bisque mold the last time she was here, adding more decoration and feet.

finishing touches on her bowl

Tomorrow, she'll be back to finish prepping the porcelain and to decorate another bisque-mold bowl, and then we'll start planning the actual design of what we'll do with the colored porcelain. And who knows, if we keep making good time, I'll get her on the wheel even sooner than expected!

As for my own homework, I'm still plugging away at the list, with about half a kiln ready to load and hopefully the other half to be at least off the wheel tomorrow.

The wonder dog has had a minor digestive issue lately, and kept me up most of last night, so I may make it back after the dinner break tonight, or I may crash and start early tomorrow. No point barreling through when I'm getting fuzzy, there's plenty of time for that when it gets closer to the firing!

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