Saturday, August 18, 2012

When Things Go Terribly Wrong

All summer, I've had a pretty successful run. Most of the work that I've been producing for Open Studios in October has been turning out well. But, lately, I've been reminded that art is actually just a form of problem solving. We create problems for ourselves, in our minds or in our sketchbooks, and we try to solve them using our specific medium. The ceramic process is a lot like cooking. There are many steps in the process, and it's easy to ruin an entire meal by missing one small detail.

In my last entry, I posted some pictures of greenware trees of life. Well, they have been nothing but grief, in the firing process. During the second firing of two of the flat panel pieces, there was major cracking. So, I rebuilt the backing panels, and then recycled the wired leaves and flowers. Many people have helped out with advice. That's the good part about having a lot of knowledgable clay friends! Now, the new back panels are thinner, and the wire on the "pokies" is shorter, to keep them from piercing the back panels. Also, I'm placing the pieces on an asbestos blanket in the kiln so that they heat and cool evenly. Both newly resolved pieces just need time to dry. If these steps don't work, then it's back to the drawing board, to play Sherlock Holmes, figuring out what went so terribly wrong.

A couple of wall pieces have gone from sketchbook to successful completion. So, the walls won't be totally empty in October. These are clay paintings on wall boxes. And, the last one is a clay wreath. Thankfully, all are survivors.

Fingers crossed on this Arbol de Vida wall panel made from brown clay. I really hope that it makes it through, from greenware to completion.

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