First batch of lumps fresh outta the kiln. Now I have the interesting challenge of creating an integrated means of display for them. I am thankful for my friend Joseph Sivilli for firing them for me in the midst of a studio re-build.
They are strange objects and I am pleased!
This week I gave myself the gift of time: time to read and write, time to spend with my classmates and the people around me, time to think and pause.
And then I made a mold! (To be more complete, I made a mold and a cast and a mold and soon I will make more.) I’m expanding my toolbox, and I found a lot of joy (and stress, the stress of doing a new thing) in beginning to learn this.
(I made that!)
Last week we did a raku firing. It was a wonderful day. The firing process wasn’t a matter of putting a piece on a shelf and then getting it back a few days later; instead we got to see, physically see, the glazes transform after they emerged from first the kiln and then the combustible materials container. It was smoky, hot, messy, hands-on, communal, immediate.
I’m going to go ahead and find a parallel between the raku firing and change in a more general life sense. I don’t think I need to explain this really, other than to say that radical change is possible.
Here are a few more teeth vessels, fresh from the glaze firing.
I’m really pleased; they’re beautiful and repulsive and weird and funny all at the same time, just as I hoped.
I made a couple of tooth vessels at home on Sunday in an exploration of presence+absence and the body (my body?). They’re nearly dry.
In other news, I’ve been practicing backbends a whole lot, and I’m really seeing change.
And, more news! I’ve made up my mind about graduate school: I’ll be working toward my MFA in Portland in the fall, whoa! I’m thankful for this abundance of opportunity, and I’m excited, and nervous, but mostly hopping out of my seat all the time with excitement for the future. Also everyone I’ve told has been exceptionally kind and enthusiastic and generous in offering their Portland friends’ and family’s spare bedrooms while I find a place to live. Apparently the Tucson-Portland connection is strong. And I know a lot of really, really lovely people.
I am making a series of tooth vessels that will contain handwoven nests of different (significant) materials.
I got my first glaze fired pieces back yesterday, and I’m so pleased. Glazing is mysterious and magical right now (reminiscent of making a lithograph for the first time). I think I will approach my next pieces with a “less is more” attitude in the glazing department; these ones are glazed waaay too heavily and colorfully. I want the beauty of the clay to come through. Perhaps just clear with a little bit of color within the teeth to emphasize the recessed areas?
Regardless, I’m so happy to be learning something new that satisfies a lot of needs: to work with my hands, to work in a community, to create things that are both functional and thought-provoking.
I’m exploring different ways to make casts (prints?) of my teeth. My intention is to use the molds to create clay teeth to incorporate into my ceramic pieces. So far I’ve pressed clay directly into my teeth, and then clay wrapped in plastic. Both left some room for improvement, so I’m playing with different materials to hopefully create something interesting.
These are mouth guards.
I suppose I’m set to play contact sports now, too.
I have embarked on a new series of etchings regarding gratitude. Etching is hard and etching is time consuming, but I find it to be a really fulfilling process and it creates an image quality that simply can’t be achieved any other way. Such depth. I was talking to Charles about etching last night, and he made the interesting and fitting observation that etching is the one kind of printmaking that hasn’t really been modernized in the same way that other techniques have (for example, photolithography or the incorporation of digital technologies). Etching is metal and acid and drawing; there isn’t too much of a way around it, and I think this may explain some of its appeal.
In other news, I’m back at preschool and I’m taking a ceramics class at community college. Both of these things are moving along wonderfully and I am full of gratitude. In ceramics so far I’ve made three drawings (of my teeth, bicycle helmet, and a quoin key) and a really uneven pinch pot. But I really love working with clay and my teacher is wonderful. He said, “we’re not forcing the clay; we’re coaxing it,” which is really good advice not only in this specific situation, but maybe in most situations (working with children? Asana practice, mechanical things, interacting with people to get things done?).
I told the little girl that I babysit that I am in ceramics class, and she asked about clay. I told her that it is like play dough, but from the earth (I don’t know how good of an explanation this is), and she asked, “doesn’t it [the earth] get smaller if we take pieces off of it?”