Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Final Project

  • Has your definition of art clanged since from the beginning of this class?
My definition of art has evolved throughout this class in a variety of ways. The most significant difference in myself and the way I view art is in realizing that art does not have to be perfect. I prefer to paint and draw rather than to sculpt, and I like precise, "perfect" looking art. Sculpture is not my best area, and this resulted in many projects turning out to be less exact because I had much less control over my piece. My dwelling project is the best example of this change, because it is an abstract piece that is not nearly perfect, but is unique art. 
              Dwelling Porject 

Do over: If given the opportunity, which project would you do over? Describe why and how you would redo this project. Reasons might include choosing a different theme, using a different medium or creating a different idea completely. Include photo.

                 Human and Nature
For this project, I came up with what I think is a unique idea that wasn't carried out well. I made a vase containing a human heart/rose to match the theme. The rose/heart looks a little messy, but overall I think it looked okay. The sculpture ended up exploding in the kiln because I didn't hollow out the case and it must have contained air bubbles. Now that I have more knowledge on how to work with clay, I'd redo this project and use my new knowledge to successfully create this sculpture. 


Choose 1 piece of art that you used skills and techniques learned from previous projects.  Discuss your growth as an artist and how you incorporated these skills and techniques to create the piece.

                     Animal Head
I have already explained that I don't particularly enjoy working with clay, so I dreaded having to use this median again. However, I found that making my fox head was much easier than I anticipated. The skills I used in the Human and Nature Project (picture above this one) really helped me out and taught me how to work with clay more delicately. I learned how to correctly hollow out my piece so it wouldn't explode in the kiln. Although this piece isn't perfect, I believe that I improved so much in my use of clay. 

  •  Which project was your most successful? Describe the theme and or topic and the process you went through to complete the project. 
                        Free Project
This project was the most enjoyable and the most successful for me throughout this class because I was allowed to choose anything I wanted. I love dream catchers and have always wanted to learn how to make one. I used a recycled hoop, beads I already had, string from the classroom, and only had to purchase feathers; all of this was roughly 3 dollars. I spend an hour on YouTube learning how to create the inside of the dream catcher, which was tedious at first, but when I finally caught on, it was easy and fun. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do this project because I now know how to make something new that I truly love. 

  •  What is a technique you used in your artwork that worked well? Explain what technique it was and why it was successful.
                     Pit Firing Piece
I loved learning the foil sagging technique throughout this project. My ability to create out of cray had already improved so much, and learning to pit fire helped me create new and unique pieces that were so vastly different than the artwork I had created before. The pit firing technique to bake the clay create strange and unique colors on my price, making it interesting and distinct as art. Learning this technique helped me to improve as an artist, giving me more options in the future to use while working with clay. 

Pit Firing

                 Bowl of Strawberries

Although I am not a big fan of clay, I really enjoyed this project. I wanted to create something that I could put in my room or bathroom and still use, so I made a simple bowl. To make my project more interesting, I made some little strawberries to put inside. Shaping the strawberries took the most time, and I wanted to get them just right. I never had the piece fired in the kiln regularly ,and I was excited to see how it would turn out after the pit firing. I put my bowl and the strawberries seperatly in aluminum foil with sticks and leaves. Because I didn't fire the piece beforehand, it my bowl has a very dark look on the interior, which I love. I wish that the strawberries had turned out darker, but I love the parts of them that turned out red. I enjoyed learning a new method to bake clay, and I would definitely pit fire again.

Dadaism Extra Credit

                    Block of Cheese
When I first heard that we were going to be working with plaster, I was dreading this project. I began carving into the plaster, desperately trying to make some sort of interesting shape or form out of the hard white block. I realized that there was no way I could create an interesting curved figure out of the block with the clay tools available, so I decided to make something much simpler. I felt my plaster, and realized that it had the same texture as cheese; smooth and soft. I then decided to make a slice of a block of cheese, and carved downwards, adding big holes as I went. At the end, it didn't look quite like cheese, so I painted it yellow to make it more obvious. I did not particularly enjoy working with the plaster, but I did enjoy learning this new method. I have worked with plaster before; back in middle school, I made a human figure out of strips of player, which I did not enjoy. This project made working with plaster easier and more enjoyable than my past experiences with this medium.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


    What I liked about this project was getting to chose whatever medium I wanted to create a dwelling. We were given limits on how much clay we could use if we chose to use clay, and I didn't use cardboard or paper because I didn't want to work with a hot glue gun. I got the idea to create a transparent house with a deeper symbolic meaning. The wire house is all connected, and I like the abstract, even eerie feeling it gives off. The house seems sturdy; it has four walls and windows, but inside, it's empty. I love the 3D representation of this house. The house is not perfect; it has wire spirals and twists but that's what makes it unique. It was too difficult to create the house without ever cutting the wire, but I did so with different sections of the house to create that abstract effect. I wouldn't change anything about this project; it does a good job representing its given meaning and has a unique feel. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

What is pit firing?

  1. What is a pit firing? What is a foil saggar? What is a paper saggar? Include pictures for all. 
Pit firing is the original method for 'baking clay' that dates back thousands of years ago. The pit fire puts color and pattern on the pots during the process. It is done by making a pit or hole in the ground that is at lest a food and a half deep,  and filling it with a combination of saw dust, grass and wood shavings as the first layer. Then, newspaper can be put in to protect the pots or ceramics. Then, it is light on fire. The ceramics put into the pit will get unique imprints from the pit firing, adding a lot of character to the piece. 

A foil sagger is a container in which ceramics can be placed in during a firing, or a covering that goes over them, such as aluminum foil. Saggars trap the smoke in with the ceramic, so it can be absorbed by the piece. This process is to drastically change the look of the piece. 
Ferric Chloride can be put on the piece during the process. I even read aboutone technique that involved the use of sugar.

Paper sagging is the same as aluminum foil sagging in concept, but typically newspaper is used for this type of sagging. The newspaper is wrapped tightly around the ceramic piece to trap in the smoke, and imprint the pot with a unique design. It's like putting 'mummifying' the piece.

2. What makes these techniques special?
What makes these techniques special is they can always be adjusted by the artist. The length of time that the piece is in the pit fire, and what median is used for sagging the piece greatly influence the overall look of the piece. Any minuscule change in the process can create drastically different results that may be difficult to recreate. This makes every piece special and unique in its own way. There can be a 40% breakage rate with pit firing, making it a very risky process for artists, but one that is rewarding if the cernaics do come out in one piece.