Much of my surface comes from colored slips that I apply in the green state. It's kind of a tricky process because ideally, I'd like to apply slip when the pot is leather hard so the clay and slip dry together, allowing for a thick, rich application of drips and color.
However, I've found that the cup (or whatever I am working on) absorbs the water so quickly in the leather hard state, that the piece becomes soft and malleable almost instantly, making it impossible to handle until the next day.
So while not ideal, I have mostly been applying thin slips in the green state. If the slip is thin enough, it dries quickly and the water does absorb into the walls of the piece. But if it too thick, the slip will pool up and crack off.
I hope once I am able to establish a routine/cycle down in Florida, that "day of waiting to redry" will work its way in smoothly. I'd like a bit thicker application.
These guys just went for their first vacation to kiln land. Looking forward to experimenting applying washes and glazes a tad different this time.
I started throwing again this week. I just picked up a new porcelain body from Sheffield - wow what a difference. I try not to blame my problems on my surroundings, but this is an exception. All of my frustrations this past year were the clay's fault. I blame the clay. It sucked.
I went through several clays this year, each one was an improvement from the former. First I tried two different recipes, homemade, non pugged stuff. Very very difficult to throw with. So being crunched for time, I bought a bunch Elaine Coleman's porcelain from Sheffield, which was highly recommended. Don't....get....me....started....
It threw beautifully but was such a disaster drying and attaching. So yadda yadda yadda, long story short, only 50% of what I threw ended up making it through the final glaze firing.
Now I just picked up 100 lbs of a different porcelain (forget the name) and as I said earlier, wow. No issues. Dries evenly, throws beautifully, handles gracefully, and attaches marvelously. Really though, I never thought I'd enjoy throwing like I used to, but now there is hope.
I've always felt that blaming the clay is a copout. Skilled throwers should be able to use any clay successfully. But, seeing the exponential increase in productivity and success in the last couple of days, proves to me that it is not, in fact, a copout. The numbers speak truth. 100% success rate (aside from my own mistakes: cup flies off the wheel, too thin of a bottom, etc), compared to 50% success rate.
Much anxiety has been lifted tonight. I'm one happy potter.
A new mug form inspired by a reoccurring mug on Arrested Development
Simpler mug forms in the works. New surface ideas are developing with new forms!
Bookmark my website if you'd like! www.LydiaJohnsonCeramics.com This has links to my blog and etsy. Eventually, when I build up enough work, I'll be able to sell directly from my site as well. It also has a "News" tab where I will be posting about shows.
Currently there is only work from this past year, but when the fall rolls around, I'll be updating this frequently (as well as posting to this blog).
It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out in our office. Nobody (expect Teagan and Amy), truly understands the amount of requests we get a day. The ever constant flow of people and personalities popping in with ideas...Oh the stories I could tell.
This fast paced environment is NOT a bad thing. It is great to be challenged and always have something to do.
But here is the thing. Making good & beautiful creative work for the store takes time. If someone comes in with a graphic that is 2" x 3" and wants it to be redesigned to a 22" x 26" poster, that takes time. If someone wants a logo designed, that takes time. If someone wants a team member portrait done, that also takes times. But that "time" is not available in the ever changing retail world.
So I often find myself sacrificing the quality of work in order to check more things off for the day.
This post has nothing to do with the good people of Whole Foods, it is more on what I have learned working in a creative role in the corporate retail world.
1. There will always be frustrating misunderstanding between the corporate, business-minded non-artist and artist.
2. The creative things you make at work are not your own personal art. Separate the two. Yes they came from you - but you need to know how to handle yourself when someone tells you "that's lame, redo it"(eh hem).
3. There is never enough time in the day so don't over promise. This is my weakness. "Yes, of course I can make an 8' fish out of cardboard by tomorrow".......
I have certainly learned a lot the past year and a half and I have 1.5 months left to make the most of this opportunity. The times I DO spend a little time getting lost in the magic, I constantly tell myself "I can't believe I get paid to do this" (Which what I got to do this week!). Such a blessing. I'll get off my soap box now. Additional work I've done can be found here.
Love drawing flowers, especially on cardboard. It's the easiest surface for me to work on - sucks up the marker. Its just like drawing. Work in progress
Some fun floor writing! Gets scratched up a good bit.