August 31, 2010

Ideas

While in my residency at Watershed I decided to work specifically on ewers. There was much debate in the studio over what a 'ewer' is and the definition actually does not describe the form that I have been making. You could consider mine a cruet or an oil pot. Some of mine are open at the top for vinaigrettes. I most like to use them for dishwashing soap to replace the plastic bottle of soap that often sits next to your kitchen sink. Whatever they are called, they are pouring vessels that have similar things in common. Staying within that realm helped me really focus on each detail which resulted in getting some new ideas that I can use in the future. The options are endless and as I was working I realized how interesting some of my altered forms could make interesting other forms, such as vases and boxes. I love being in that stage of working when one idea leads to the next and then the next and then before you know it you're somewhere you never would have thought you would be.

Since I decided to concentrate purely on the 'making' instead of the finished fired pot it gave me more freedom. I worked primarily in the local earthernware clay at Watershed, which brought about it's own challenges. The clay was very groggy and open and I'd often find huge rocks and organic material in the clay while I was working. It was difficult to do some of the handles that I previously would do. This was a good problem to have though. Having challenges sometimes steers you in a different direction in order to solve that problem.

The picture above is of Sequoia discussing these challenges we face while we are working. I loved our discussions we had during my time there. He referred to this stage in the making as the real 'thinking'. The 'thinking' does not always happen in your first initial sketch, but in happens more in depth during the actual making. He completely took over a ewer form I was working on. We were talking about how non-plastic the clay was and how hard it was to make a good handle with it. Sequoia just started cutting right into it, altering it here and there. It was great to see this. I had been trying to make something different, but sometimes it can be hard to change something when you're not sure what to change or how to change it. Having Sequoia cut up my pot freed me from being attached to it. After that, it seemed to open me up to cutting and darting into my pots, adding different angles and trying new things. I had a great time working on those forms during my time there. I have more pots to take pictures of that I will share here. It's interesting to see the progression of my ideas. I feel like I have several new directions to go in with some of them.

This piece above was one of the first ones I started making. It's not much different than the form I used to make, but there are some subtle differences with the darting and a two part handle. After that I was able to branch out a bit more.

We also did a low fire salt/soda firing, thanks to Marty who helped us figure out some terra sigilatta recipes. I've always wanted to try a low fire soda so this was great to have this opportunity. The pots turned out pretty nice! Some of them shockingly looked like they were fired to cone 10 in a soda kiln. Maybe this way of firing might be in my future sometime....


7 comments:

Vicki Wenderlich said...

It's really cool to see the changes that happen when you experiment like that. Thanks for posting some of your results!

Ben Carter said...

Hmmm... that low fire soda is sweet. Great post and I love the image at the end of the three new ewer forms. Your experience at Watershed is a great example of what grad school can be if you find the right environment. Maybe Watershed should offer an MFA!

Judy Shreve said...

What a great post -- you captured exactly what a good experience it is to just let yourself play. And I love the cut and altered look of your ewers!

christian said...

beautiful assemblage...nail on the head perspective with the articulation of ideas transcending...playful evolution...have fun...

k.houser said...

Thanks for sharing your watershed experience...really feeling your statement... "Having challenges sometimes steers you in a different direction in order to solve that problem"...so my life right now!

Joy Tanner said...

Thanks Ben, that's a good way to put what grad school could be like. That'd be great if Watershed would offer an MFA!

Thanks for the comments everyone, it's fun to rethink about this residency in a blog format, separating days and pots and thoughts. It went by so fast while I was there it's good for me to review it!

TropiClay Studio said...

Thanks for blogging the whole experience. It's probably the closest I will get to doing a residency (or even a workshop for that matter). I enjoyed this last batch of photos, they show some nice new thought processes.