Saturday, 28 August 2010

Hobby: Ceramics

I love creating with my hands. When my daughter suggested that we take a ceramic course at the community college, she did not have to convince me. Over the course of 2 summers and 2 semesters, we created some original works of art, some decorative and some more functional.

We learned the basic terms about ceramics - to create our clay designs, we could do it by hand with the help of forms or molds or by using the potter's wheel; glazing techniques - by dipping, spraying, or by brushing. From clay to greenware, to low firing the greenware into bisque, applying glaze, then firing in the kiln using firing cones to gauge the temperature reached, we were either happy or disappointed to see our finished products. Here are some of our creations:

There was a curriculum to follow, and one lesson was to make a food presentation with a twist - to put in an unexpected element. I made a breakfast meal and showed the point of fertilization in the egg yolks.

After we did our course requirements we were able to make whatever we wanted to. This was when we got creative. I created this pitcher using a cylindrical cardboard tube as my mold, and glazing by dipping part of my bisque form then dripping some of the glaze material at the bottom part, to get some effect.

I use this pitcher as a flower vase, too, for my flowers from my garden.

One day, on my way to class, I had this inspiration of making something with the rosebud shape. This is what I came out with.

After our lesson on making molds out of wooden boards, I started making embossed pieces on clay, then patching them up together. This is my planter, measuring about 14" x 14" x 12". I noticed that several of my classmates copied my style as they also borrowed my embossed designs to make their own projects.

This doubles as my vase for big center-piece arrangements, for my backyard parties.

This is the coiling method, where we had to prepare long pieces of clay by rolling them on the table to a certain diameter, then wrapped around a mold. When the coiled clay gets to be a bit dried, the wooden mold is removed from the inside, then the coils are bound together by smoothening the inner portion with a gadget (or an old credit card worked too), and alternately sponged with a bit of water. I designed this to be a magazine holder measuring 12"x 14" x 6".

My daughter, Pia specialized in making cut out designs. Here, her original design looks Indonesian-inspired, although she did this free-hand.

Pia also took a fancy to "throwing" clay in a potter's wheel. This is one of my favorite pieces she made, where she allowed the side to collapse for an uneven but interesting shape. I use this as a salad bowl, and it usually draws raves from my guests.

To use all our clay scraps, we re-knead then and make little things. Pia did a study of glaze colors with this little discs - how they would look like when used in combinations of 2 or more...

while I made little things like this odd-shaped plates.

Our time spent making ceramic projects in our 5-hour class, each day, was always interesting as we discovered how we each could get to be so creative, trend-setting in coming up with new ideas on what to make, and innovative in the use of the materials. This also afforded us time to think that all was well as we forgot about the world out there.

Oh how I would love to get my hands all dirtied up again to touch clay and play!


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