Saturday, May 15, 2010

Warp, crack, pin hole, explode

It seems that when the Potter God came to me and said "here my child, choose your path in clay" I went for the uphill, rocky, most difficult path. If there is a ^6 glaze that is fussy I have used it, if there is a difficult clay body to work with I have picked it(except for porcelain), the most challenging firings to learn- wood, shino, raku, saggar, done it. I will experiment with anything, try anything, no worries most of the time for the outcome. This path has taught me a lot and I don't have any fears when it comes to trying things with clay. What I also don't have is any consistency and I don't have patience for sticking with one process. My friend Charlotte nailed it the other day. I was talking about trying to narrow down what I make and stick with it and she said I wouldn't do it, because it is all about the figuring out for me and once that is done I want to move on. So right! I like the problem solving and the creating. Whitney Smith has a great post about production vs. art and I guess it's more about the crafting of something for me, the doing with my hands as opposed to selling my work. Don't get me wrong, I love to sell my work and see people happy with a piece they have purchased, and I like having the cash, but I need to create. Right now I am fortunate that Gerry has a great job so I can continue to learn more about this craft I have chosen and hopefully one day master it the best I can and be a more full time selling potter. Right now it's about the figuring out, later it's going to be about, "oh crap Gerry has retired and Social Security ain't paying the bills! Get my ass busy! I sure wish someone had pointed me down this path a lot earlier, by the time I'm good at it, I'm going to be worn out:)
I am determined to make this clay do what I want. I'm leaving a lot of the accidental marks I make, the dents, the scratches, the tears, it seems the more I leave the better these look. But I am not allowing the warpage! I found these tea boxes in my cupboard and they fit perfectly so I'm hoping this will help with the long slabs wanting to warp. I like that these fit so nicely, seems appropriate. How many of you hand builders rummage through your kitchen when you are constructing something? I'm in there all the time, looking for just the thing I need.
After I tied this up for a slow dry, I sort of liked the idea of the wood top and the raffia. I may have to think about how to make one with these elements. Gonna need a table saw I do believe! My dad was a furniture maker and I used to love to go with him to work and play with the scraps of wood and the sawdust left around on the floor. Maybe I should think about incorporating wood in my work, might be nice...... Farmer's Market this evening and making a roof for this box this morning. Hope all of you have a lovely weekend!


ang said...

as a dear friend pointed out to me beatrice wood started her clay career when she retired...take the time to figure it out trace and maybe some wood bracing like you said incorporate some wood i think they'd look great....

Linda Starr said...

Oh your barns look so beautiful. I wonder how large you will make them? I have visions of a walk in barn some day, te he. How big is that one you are making now; it seems huge and looks great. what clay are you using for it? what about some clay with sand grog or a sculpture clay? I've used so many clays I am now finding out some are not worth fighting and I just move on to another one or go back to the ones that were easier for me.

By the way I could have written this post - about the making and not caring about selling. The whole time I was in the RV I wanted to make big pieces, now that I am where I can, I have been going around measuring the kilns where I'm getting my work fired right now to see how big I can go.

I hope you make more of your elephant cups I really do want one. Good luck with the barns and have a good sale at the market.

Spirited Earth said...

linda read my mind..if there is consistant warping you might want to try some other clay body.
i laughed about your experimenting nature...when your husband does get to retirement age you will have learned a tremendous amount about clay ..picking something to add to SS will be easy then..haha

Linda Starr said...

Hi again Tracey, I just looked at my church and the roof (which is very thin) warped up off the body slightly on one side, it has been drying for weeks just to be safe. Of course I made that with porcelain, which was the clay I had, my mistake, I'm going back to white stoneware, going to get some this week. bye for now.

Tracey Broome said...

Ang, I am going to BE Beatrice Wood one day! I love her!!
The clay I'm using is Raku clay and doesn't warp so bad if I take the proper steps, I have just been more worried about getting the surface treatment and construction the way I want it, now I'm making sure they don't warp. Raku clay is really sturdy and has good grog, without being a pain to deal with, I just have to do it right. Linda, maybe I'll build a clay barn for a studio one day haha!

cookingwithgas said...

It is all about the problem solving.
I think we spend as much time on the hows and whys as the dos.
How does this work- why did that not work and are we crazy to think we can figure this out.
Some days I think I should have stayed on the narrow path and not gone to the "other" side- let's see what's over here--- squirrel!
What were we talking about- oh- clay.
How long are your slabs?
What if you turned them over-filled them with soft brick and changed where the weight is?
Then under plastic and dry very slow- now let me just back out of the room.... just a thought.

Tracey Broome said...

That's a good thought Meredith, I like the soft brick idea and changing where the weight is because..... those chunky feet are heavy and that could be causing some of the problem, yeah.......great minds on this here blog!

cindy shake said...

I so love the look of the mixed media -the clay, wood and raffia -you are definitely on to something... For me the key word has always been TIME. It's needing that valuable time to process, learn, experiment, experience trial and error and to LOVE the medium with all it's ups and downs and discoveries (the raffia & wood). It's so difficult when you need to make to sell -time becomes even more precious.