Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adventures With Clay

For the past few weeks I've been playing with clay --  four hours a day, four days a week! You may have noticed I've had less time to sit here and write blog posts. I have three classes left for my AA degree in Art Education, and ceramics is one of them. I hadn't done any ceramics since I was about ten years old and my mom had a little ceramics studio set up in our garage. Mind you, she made lots of cool stuff, but my sisters and I made pinch pots and I don't know what-- because it's all in the garbage now. 

Obviously I saved the ceramics part of my degree for last because I'd rather be drawing or painting, but this class has surprised me. 

Our 1st assignment:
  • Take four hunks of clay (apple size) 
  • Make four quick "sketches" (10 min. each)
  • Subjects for sketches: transportation, food, furniture, and something that represents you
I felt so awkward handling the clay, and wondered briefly how I was going to make it through six weeks of the stuff. Oh, and we were informed that one third of all pieces made by beginners break in the kiln during firing. Goodie! 

Here's what I made:

Go ahead and laugh --especially at my "furniture".  I ran out of time, so I made a quick birdbath -- figured it was bird furniture.
 (They didn't break in the kiln!)

2nd assignment: coil pot
I will use this to hold my long-handled paintbrushes (if it doesn't break in the kiln).

3rd piece: free choice
I will add this to my sun collection hanging outdoors 
 (Hooray! It didn't break in the kiln.) 

After glazing it looks like this:

4th assignment: sculpt a pet
At this point I became very excited! It felt like a true adventure (taking place in a ceramics studio of course) I wanted the cat to be big, so I used the whole bag of clay (about 25 lbs). My instructor showed me how to beat it with a special stick -- hard on the arms, but satisfying and therapeutic.

The cat began to take shape -- I was thrilled! He stands about 15 inches tall. My wimpy muscles got a work out just turning him from side to side to work on him.

Day 2: By now I felt like I could become addicted to sculpting! In the background is the picture I used as inspiration.


Day 3: I learned how to cut him him in half, hollow him out, and put him back together. By this stage of the project, many of my classmates were quite attached to this hunk-of-clay-kitty, and someone named him Pooders!

Day 4 : I Finished sculpting the details and got it to stand up! Victory!
The thing that looks like a fifth leg is a temporary clay brace.

Day 5: I laid the cat down and hollowed out his legs. My instructor warned me there would be some collateral damage, but I could fix it -- no problem. Yeah. This part of the project was stressful, but ended a success.

At this point in my Adventures With Clay it
 was 4th of July weekend, and Pooders was left to dry  in preparation for the most risky part of this adventure -- THE KILN !

Any ceramicists and potters out there? Or just people who like to bet? What do you think? Will Pooders survive the kiln?

to be continued............


  1. Pooders WILL survive! Great job Lacie!

  2. That is sooo neat that the class named him Pooders. Especially since that was the nickname for the cat you had before you had me, or OUR first cat. Phelps ie: Phelper-doo or (Pooders).


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