Friday, July 31, 2009

Today's work

Today I went in to work on the Pip hobo jug a little more and prep for tomorrow's tile work.

Tile stuff: First I rolled a half-inch-thick slab (Waterworks has two slab rollers!), smoothed the surface with a metal rib to get rid of the canvas texture, and used a template I'd cut out at home that's about 4 3/4" by 7" to cut out the tile (the original comics are 4x6, but the clay will shrink probably about 10% so it will probably be fairly close to original size in the end). Once that was cleaned up, I let it sit out while I was working, and it's sitting in the damp box now and hopefully will be close to leather hard by tomorrow so I can work on it. It may be just a clay rectangle now, but tomorrow, it will look like this! ... Well, actually, I will be happy if I just get the background skyline done. That'll be dug in, and then the trees and the cats will be built up.

That done, I got Pip out to see what could be done about giving him arms. This is what I got:

Pretty cute, no? I'll have to clean it up a bit once it's more dry, but it's pretty much done.

I had some clay that was a little dried out from rolling the slab earlier that I wanted to use up (it'd be too dry for another time), so I cranked out one of these:

A wonky-eyed owl. I started making little coil owls years ago. I must have made about 60 by now. I've got wads at home, sold others. My mom's commissioned me to make her some because she gives them as gifts for graduations with quotes about wisdom.

I got the idea for owls out of a kids project book for clay. Theirs were made out of pinch bowls, but I made mine out of coils and I've got all sorts of feather-ish stamps made for them. Just take a blade to a pencil eraser! You can carve anything you can carve on a tiny, round surface.

Signature Stamp

I made this initial stamp several years ago.

It's bisqued clay. You can see that there's a chip on the edge, too, from when it rolled onto a concrete floor a couple years ago (shouldn't have made it all round). I've used this on every piece I've made since somewhere between five and six years ago, minus a few because I lose it every now and then. I know most potters won't sign their work until it's done (superstition, or something), but I usually sign mine first because they're too big and delicate to pick them up and stamp the bottom at the end. However, once or twice I've stamped them at the end on the outside toward the bottom. I guess I'm not really consistent at all.

I prefer the stamp over an actual signature in the clay because I think it looks dumb (at least mine does) and also initial stamps are a pottery tradition and I like traditions. All my cool pottery profs have cool initial stamps.

You may note that it says "STK". I know when you have a big initial in the center, that's supposed to be the letter for the last name, but that's just not the way I did it. It doesn't matter anyway because "T" isn't my middle initial. It's just the middle initial I use to sign my art. There is a reason, but it's pretty boring and insignificant. Here it is: my sister and I have a friend who calls her "SB" for Sarah Beth. So I took "ST" because it rhymes with SB, and the T is from Stephanie. Some things (like drawings) I've signed "St. Kellogg" to differentiate from just plain S. Kellogg, which could be either sister. But then it looks like it should be Saint Kellogg, which actually I am fine with. My real middle initial is M. I don't like to use "SMK" because S and M next to each other just makes me think "S&M".

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Latest coil piece

I was thinking of cave interiors. Clearly it would be very difficult to actually recreate a cave, but the shapes (like the shafts and curves) and so on were on my mind. It may not look like much from the outside, I suppose. My head is always inside them (and looking down) when I make them so the outside doesn't always come out as interesting as the inside.

G. W. L.

Geoffrey asked me to make him something. Actually, I think he asked, "When are you going to make me something?" That was during the hand building class I took at Waterworks, and this is what I made. It looks funny now because glaze has been applied but it hasn't been fired. It should be white on top (and inside) and denim blue on the bottom.

The image is Geoffrey (drawn from looking at both a real photo of him and his comic version of himself), his initials G.W.L., and some trees in the left (he does work in the woods!).

There is no glaze on the decoration. Instead, I applied red iron oxide (brushed on, excess wiped off) to bring out the design and texture. It also looks really nasty right now because there are a couple layers of wax resist over it (to help keep glaze off when dunked in the glaze bucket).

I want to be leaf.

I'm going to be making a ceramic tile version of this comic for Apelad but I wasn't ready to jump into it right away. I decided to make a "hobo jug" to get started.

I learned to make this kind of bottle in a hand building class at Waterworks Art Studio here in Tulsa. It's slab constructed and is really easy and fast (considering I can do it in an afternoon rather than a period of days like my coil stuff).

This is the basic bottle with handle added (which I actually did last):

I'd drawn the leaf earlier to use as a template:

I suppose I could have cut it out and traced around it, but I didn't think of it. I did what I sometimes do when I want to transfer a design to a tile--lay the paper on top of the clay and poke holes with my needle tool. And then I can cut along the line marked by the dots.

I did a little work on the leaf, and then scored both the back of the leaf and the area I applied it to on the bottle, brushing on slip as a kind of glue.

Once the leaf was on, I started making Pip's face. Well, making a tiny cat face out of clay is not one of the easiest things to do. The hardest part was getting the eyes and mouth in place. My hand was shaking towards the end, too, so I "erased" what I'd done to finish later.

I'll get it right eventually:

I think when it's all over, Pip will also have arms as if hanging onto a ledge (or looking out a window) so he's not so much just a disembodied head. Like I said, this is just a warm up.

*Edit: I couldn't find it earlier..I want to be leaf.