Tag Archives: clay

Puff People – Finale

Puff People. I love them.

From July, 2018.

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Puff People Say Hello – #3

From July, 2018.

A Glamorous Lady

Let’s view her from all angles. Terracotta clay, about 15″ high, Velvet underglazes for the colors.

And by the way this is the piece that won first prize in the 3D category at the Pennridge Gallery of the Arts Festival in Sellersville, PA, on September 16.

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In the round:

 

And how about some close-ups?

 

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 5

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Art every day and all week.

Saturday, September 29 – This afternoon we took a trip to the Ceramic Shop in Norristown, PA. I needed some underglazes. This store is always a treasure trove. I worked my way past the shelves of glazes:

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…stopping to look some over, for future projects, before I came to the Velvet underglaze display and chose my items.

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After that I wandered around the store a little. As always, I am fascinated by the huge array of tools that can be used in clay work.

Here is a sample board showing various clay bodies sold here. Different clays fire in different temperature ranges and are additionally of different consistencies – some very smooth, some gritty. It all depends on your purpose as to what clay you chose to work with. Additionally, each clay can be fired within a range of temperatures – the different samples show the same clay fired at various levels. As you can see, this display is very useful in choosing clay.

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Here you see a selection of kiln shelves. Since each firing requires the shelves to be configured to fit the clay work being fired, there are a lot of choices.

Here is a display of pyrometric cones. You may remember me as describing a clay item as being fired at “Cone 06” or that kind of thing. Before computerized controls, each firing required the use of a pyrometric cone, created to be specific to a firing temperature, which was designed to bend or slump when the correct temperature was reached (you needed to view the cone through the peephole in the kiln wall).

These cones are still used today, even in computerized firings, for a variety of reasons – to make sure a certain item gets to the correct temperature, as kilns can have hot or cold spots; or to check that the kiln’s controls are accurate, for instance. I don’t use them, as my work is not that temperature-specific and my kiln has computerized controls – but obviously lots of people do. There is a large display of them here.

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Sunday, September 30 – My husband and I went to a play this afternoon at Allen’s Lane Art Center. You may remember other productions we’ve seen here – it’s a small theater and the seating is cafe style. This show was lightly attended, being a Sunday matinee, and we got a place right up on the edge of the stage.

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I got out my trusty sketchbook:

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but I didn’t have much time for drawing the audience as I usually do here, because I was downstairs for some time chatting with my friend Lisa, who runs the box office. Just saying. Anyway, here are a few quick things:

Monday, October 1 – I fired up the kiln. It may look like it’s just sitting and doing nothing, but that number on the front means it’s 1200+ degrees F inside. And that’s not the whole story – it will go up to about 1830 degrees…

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Let me back up a little. I forgot about these. Remember when I went through that box of little scraps last week? I pulled out some that I wanted to color. I’ve spent some of the last few evenings doing just that with my markers. I’ll figure out what happens next soon.

Back to today. I felt like slapping a little paint on a surface. I got out one of the 18″ x 24″ 1/8″ thick masonite boards I recently bought, as well as two of the 11″ x 14″. They have already been gessoed in black. I started working away. We’ll see what happens. I remind myself that the large board cost $3.50. I have nothing to lose.

Tuesday, October 2 – I opened the kiln.

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I was happy to see everything sitting in its place, nothing blown up, nothing fallen over. There is a variety of objects and tiles in this load. Tiles -(commercially made terracotta base):

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Sgraffito tiles – made from terracotta that I rolled out myself. I realized after I’d done them that they are only 1/4″ thick, and these days I like 3/8″ – but I was using up already-rolled clay, that’s why. Anyway, all good.

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Various figurines:

and remember this vessel? It came through the firing well – no seams opened up. I think I will do a little work on sanding some rough areas, and I’ll clean up the rim with a better black coat around it. Then I need to decide – will I glaze just the inside or the whole thing? Because for it to be functional the interior (at a minimum) must be glazed or it will not hold water.

Then there was this little stray tile…

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After congratulating myself and the clay items for completing a safe trip through the firing, I decided to go upstairs and work on that painting thing I’ve got going on. Today, I decided, would be ink day. I pretty much stuck to adding only India and acrylic inks to the picture, though I did put some more paint on, too.

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Where is this thing going?

Thursday, October 4 – First, a few more of those ink drawings turned colorful.

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I worked on the large painting. It continues to progress. Then I brought it upstairs to sit in front of me and let itself rest for a while.

I worked a little on the small painting, too. Really, all I did was to decide to turn it the other way around and to outline the person in ink, but…it’s still something…

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Friday, October 5 – I brought the recently fired clay into the laundry room/face painting venue to start the coloring process.

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Using Jet Black Velvet underglaze, I did my usual routine: paint the faces and other relief details in black and then wash off, leaving the color in the crevices.

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I got the whole gang done and set them on my work table. Next step: giving them a black coating all over their bodies to form the base for the bright colors I plan for them.

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I may do that this afternoon. Or I might work on that painting. Or I might sit on the sofa, watch TV, and finish up odds and ends of art tasks and paperwork. I don’t know. So I’ve decided to cut off this week’s Diary entry here. I’ll post this afternoon’s work (if I do any, as there is always option #4: I might just lie on the sofa and read) tomorrow. Happy end of the week!

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending September 28

 

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Art on the mind…

Saturday, September 22 – We spent the day at the Community Arts Center’s Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, held in Swarthmore, PA. The art center, located a few miles away, is a really nice place, offering classes in many disciplines as well as children’s classes and camps, exhibits, and music events. I taught collage classes there for some time and I know many people connected with the organization.

Swarthmore is also a familiar place to me and I have many associations with the town and the school dating from my collage days. For example, my husband and I have participated in the town’s New Year 5K several times and I had a solo exhibit in Borough Hall/Library in 2012.

So when we pulled into town we knew what was what, as they say! We arrived at about 7:30 AM.

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We set things up without incident.

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The day started off warm and humid but it grew cooler and windier as time went on. Still, the weather held.

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One of my near neighbors made these very intriguing and functional fire pits, or as she called them, fire sculptures. I like them.

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We were centrally located near the raffle tent and the entrance to borough hall was right across the street. The latter is a plus because…the bathroom is in this building. At street shows, an indoor bathroom is a huge plus and being near it is even better. Just saying.

I took several street shots during the day. I think these show you a very typical street fair scene.

In this one, the man in the green shirt to the far right is the executive director of the Community Arts Center. Remember him.

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The show features artist demonstrations. I have done this job myself in the past and it is fun. Here is an art friend of mine, Jane, showing her watercolor technique.

There is also music at this fair, in the small amphitheater to the left front of the borough hall. We could hear the music all day.

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I told you to remember that man in the green shirt…here you see him again, filling in on the drums (the regular drummer had an emergency and could not be there) in my favorite group of the day, the Swarthmore Ukulele Orchestra. You have not lived until you have heard a ukulele rendition of Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind” and watched a group of six-year-olds dancing their hearts out to the tune.

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The show was a pleasant end to my painting season for 2018. The crowd was appreciative and though sales were light, my work was well received.

Sunday, September 23 – My husband and I went to his office for a few minutes to pick up artwork he’s had on his office walls (he displays various pieces of my art at work and has done so for years). His office is moving and he thought he’d change out his art. I found this old piece there. I remember it – it was a collage done on a 12″ x 12″ board that was awful, and then I painted this house over it, and then I gave up in disgust. I am not sure why it was not in the trash.

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Ick. So while I was watching TV at night, I decided to work it over with pens and markers. If it turned out ok, great. If not, it would make that trip into the trash. Here is where it ended up. I think it actually turned out well. Saved from the trash one more time.

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Here they are side by side for comparison.

Monday, September 24 – First I gessoed some more boards that I had gotten my husband to sand off their previous occupants. I’ve got quite a supply of second-time-around painting surfaces now.

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I started some tiles. I have five more spaces in the kiln (I’ve partially loaded it) and these guys will fill them.

I was going through some old artwork and I found these two tiny landscapes.

They are the only ones that did not get taken during the Small Landscape Giveaway in 2015-2016 or by a friend here in my everyday life. I felt sorry for these little guys, but – I also saw the opportunity to do the same thing to them as I did with that previous house picture. Update or renovate, whatever you may want to call it. So while I was watching TV I worked on them and here they are. I’ll show you the old and new versions side by side.

It makes me want to order some more of these tiny canvases (5″ x 7″) and get cracking on some embellished landscapes gone wild…

Tuesday, September 25 – More tile work. I’ll show you the whole sequence, including yesterday’s work.

Pretty much finished with these, I think, but I’ll look them over later on and see if any amendments need to be made.

Friday, September 28 – I had some time this afternoon to work on art, resuming studio time after a couple of days away. I’ve cleaned up a work table:

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and for right now I want to sort through some odds and ends. I don’t feel like starting up anything too serious right now. I got out the plastic box that I toss odds and ends of drawings into and set the contents out on the table. Most of these items are practice drawings in Chinese brush/India ink for my ongoing Minuscule (story and accompany poem) book illustrations.

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And some closer views – there are a lot of funny little things here.

I pulled out some items to color with markers. Others I will leave alone. I will use these in collage projects.

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You may also have noticed some of those phrase cards I make with cut-out snips from old books, the ones that I use to write poetry (as in this Poetry Marathon post). I’ve got a lot of these now too. I used acrylic inks to splodge color on them – I’ll use them for collage, too.

I worked on the three small 6″ x 6″ crazy paint/ink/crayon/oil pastel things I do. These are getting close to being finished. I still think the lady on the right looks like a mailbox, now with someone trapped inside. Oh dear, I’d like to think of a more happy story.

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Last, I opened my latest Large Artist Sketchbook to a new page and used the phrase cards as stamps on a couple of pages. This is the first step in doing some kind of image – who knows what – for these pages.

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This is how the sketchbook thing works for me – a pinch of this and a handful of that, and then I turn it into a …cake? pie? broccoli casserole? Only time will tell.

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.