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Thursday, May 8, 2014

An End to an 'Era'


Well folks, this is my final post as an undergraduate!  I walk the line on Monday and receive my honors cords the day before-YAY! No worries, I will still be posting to this blog to an extent; however, the formatting of my posts will change (still working on the details). So please stay tuned.

In reflection, I have found that regardless the sometimes extreme trials I faced while in college, I am very grateful that I did not give up and kept headstrong!  I learned so much from the fine faculty of the Fine Arts department and I shan’t forget the amazing Honors Program!  Thank you to all of you (you know who you are) who helped in making my dream a reality!

Let’s get a little more specific now. Concerning ceramics and my endeavors, glazing has been an adventurous endeavor all its own! I have created many glazes and still need to perfect more on them and I really can’t wait to do this.  By perfecting my glaze recipes and application techniques-I can better enhance the passion and creativity that I painstakingly put into all of my ceramic work.  I have also enjoyed experimenting in the field of glazing and look forward to really being able to sit down soon and solely focus on both my recipes and techniques…who knows, you may eventually find one of my glaze recipes/techniques in your own studio!

Next topic. Throwing. Honestly, due to my circumstances, I was not able to explore, in great depth, my throwing capabilities.  However, I definitely plan to remedy this in the coming months!  Even though I am more of sculptor, I would really like to pursue combining both throwing and sculpting techniques.  At this point, I have learned to see the wheel as another valuable tool in my studio and not that it is just for “potters.” Thank you for that Professor J  Also concerning the wheel, I am dead set on continuing in my challenge of creating nice spheres on the wheel.

Oooh! Time for a reflection on my mad skills >.< Posited question: what can I get better at?  Well, let’s see, I can get better at everything. As an artist and with thanks to my personality, I feel that while I may be somewhat decent at ceramics and art in general-there is and will always be room for improvement in all aspects of my artistic life.  To name just a few areas off the top of my head, I definitely want to improve on the wheel, creating new clay bodies and glaze recipes.  I would also like to continue my endeavor for improvement on the surface texture of my pieces-like getting the entire surface super smooth or incorporating more shadow lines to enhance the 3D feel of the piece.  With my personality and passion for art, this is ALWAYS going to be something I challenge myself at and enjoy doing so!

Moving on from my OCD of always challenging myself and pushing my abilities further and further, I shall now address my Professor’s ‘favorite’ OCD that I have.  PLANNING!! “Hello, my name is Kirsten and I am an extreme planner.”  My plans for the future as an artist are many!  Overall, as an artist I would plan to do such as I have stated previously in this post: continually challenge and experiment to better myself craft.  I also have a dream goal of one day being able to open my own teaching studio to the public.  There are many reasons for my dream goal, but the two main reasons are these: 1. Unfortunately, the ‘man’ is seeing it more and more fit to remove arts from the public school systems. Which a complete atrocity seeing that EVERYTHING is directly linked to art! Not to mention, I truly believe that those who hone their skills in the field of arts, make better of themselves and those around them and all in all make the world a better place. (Maybe a type of creative ‘pay-it-forward.’ 2. By being able to own and work in my own art teaching studio that is open to the public, I will also be fulfilling a dream of being able to offer absolute wonderment to everyone and not just those that are rich enough to afford the ‘finer’ things in life.  ART is one of the top ‘finer’ things in life and so it shall be enjoyed and available to ALL! Besides, the Earth without ART is just eh. Ponder on that.

In ending on my reflection post, I would to address a question that has been asked of me more times than I can count: Why studio art-what gets me up every morning to do studio art?  Coffee! Coffee helps to get me up in the morning ;)  Joking aside, my decision to do studio art and what gets me up every morning is simple…it makes me very happy and feeling whole. It also provides me the opportunity to share my happiness to the world, which, in turn makes the world a better place and it also makes life a lot easier to handle.  Unfortunately, our world has become more and more fraught with hardships and disappoints-by doing art every day and passing it on to everyone I meet, I am able to lessen the impact of the negative aspects of life and build upon the positive aspects.  I may not be doing art with the purpose of turning a monetary profit, but I do art to turn a spiritual profit (so to speak).  And this is what keeps me going to the studio and gets my wary bones out of bed each morning (besides my family).

Thank you again to all of you who helped me on my education endeavor-I will be forever indebted to you!  Now to preparing for the next stage in my life…becoming an artistic inspiration to all!


I will see you soon with newly formatted postings :)
Don't forget to feed the fishies!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Just for the Prof


Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word, Word.

 

Haha!  I had to do it since this is my last semester with such a wonderful Professor!  You know you will miss me Brian >.< Yes, there are 200 ‘words’ there!

For real though, I loaded and unloaded my last bisque load as an undergrad this week-how bittersweet L  Beginning tomorrow, I will be glazing and firing until Sunday (honestly, it should only take 2 glaze runs if I play my cards right ;) )




Monday, April 21, 2014

Dinnertime!


Never fear, dinnerware is here!  This past week I have been diligently working on making a new dinnerware set for my home (and possibly available for retail in the future).  This is only something that I have wanted to do since I began my endeavor in ceramics >.<  So far, I have made six dinner plates, 3 bowls and a couple of lunch plates.  Due to the design shape of this set-it takes a bit longer to hand make these instead of throwing them on the wheel (which some could do-if the shape were easier-in no time). But, I do love the challenge! By Thursday of this week, I plan to have at least six to nine pieces of each ware.  This way, I can load them in the bisque on Thursday-thankfully, I made them of a thinner design and have finally narrowed the best drying method within my studio that will prevent them from drying too fast and cracking.

As for the rest of this past week, I have continued working on graduation prep and I finally got my handmade announcements out (I saved over $100 doing my own!).  I mean honestly, what kind of artist would I be if I didn’t design and create my own graduation announcements? >.<

This past weekend was also Easter, so I had a little art fun in the kitchen too (ART IS EVERYWHERE!).  Instead of dying the shell of the eggs, I decided to dye the cooked whites and make them into deviled eggs (which are our favorite!). They came out very nicely! I do believe this will become a new tradition of my family’s J

Well, that is it for the recap of what I have been up to-now it is time to get back to work!  Enjoy the photos and don’t forget to feed the fishies!








Monday, April 14, 2014

Busy, Busy


This week’s post will be quite short due to the fact that there is less than 28 days left of the semester J YAY! And ACK! Both sentiments come to mind right now. So much to do with so little time left!

Last week, I was able to figure where I need to be and I was finally able to pin down a game plan to finish the final semester of my undergraduate career.  I am so relieved to have this vital information because we all ‘know’ that I am a planner-haha.

So, I have been working on graduation preparation (which turns out to involve a lot more than you would think!). Within grad prep, I have designed and am not bringing to life my own graduation announcements.  Boy am I saving a whole lot of money doing this!!  Besides, I figured since I am an artist it would kind of be sacrilege if I did not make my own announcements >.<

OH! I have also received some VERY good news…I am officially graduating with ACADEMIC HONORS!! WOO HOO!!!  I even get to attend a prestigious event the day before commencement to receive my distinction J  SO excited!!

I am also very happy to give a huge CONGRATULATIONS to my ceramics professor for making TENURE-WAY TO GO!!! You definitely earned it J

Well, I need to get back to the grindstone-until next week!!! Feed the fishies!

 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Honest Truth


Okay, I have to be true to myself and everyone out there reading this. I am finally going to pick myself backup and attempt to clear my head of all the confusion I have been under this semester (specifically since my show ended).  Honestly, I have not been able to distinguish whether I am coming or going!  Could it be because graduation is so close and my whole being has been shutting down since my final show?  Or could it be because my body is shutting down from the toll of the preceding years?  I am not sure, but I do know that I feel like I am drowning and missing important information.  Truthfully, at this point-I am truly afraid of my ability to graduate as expected.  UGH! However, my next step is to get the vital plan/agenda needed in order for me to graduate as expected and I will be doing this step beginning TOMORROW!

Regardless of the immense turmoil I am battling, I have been able to finally reclaim my studio and get back to work creating wonderment.  I am also going to be honest here-my throwing abilities are in desperate need of honing and I am afraid that it will demand more time than the mere 29 days I have left of the semester L  BUT!!! While I am no longer going to pursue my dinnerware project on the wheel-I AM going to continue challenging myself in being able to create a decent set of spheres on the wheel.  On that note, I finally managed to get a small one made (well, it mostly looks like a sphere). Never give up, never surrender!

I have also got a really good direction begun on my dinnerware project (that will now be handbuilt).  I am testing two principle designs: 1. Book & 2. Tort Embellish.  In continuance of honesty, I really like the prototype of the Book version but I need to reevaluate its ability at recreation.  As for the Tort Embellish, I really like the embellishment of the tor itself, but I am going to go with a different shape and style of the dinnerware itself.






 

Monday, March 31, 2014

The 'Break' is Over


Well, my Spring Break is over and I will be honest-I wish it could have been much longer!  However, on the good news front-only 42 days left before I take the “walk” of accomplishment!! YAY! Does anyone have a universal remote that can help me fast forward through 40 days?

Before the break the final fusion test results came out of the cone 10 reduction fire.  Also, my line blend tests between Kyanite and Soda Ash came out of the same firing.  I find it very intriguing how the dry material can react so differently than the liquid form of the material.  For example, in the fusion test, Kyanite kept its powder-like, white form-whereas in my line blend, Kyanite suspended in water reacted by coating like a glaze with a deep mahogany color.  The same type of radical results were found with my raw material Soda Ash.  In the fusion test, the powder form turned to what seems to be a corrosive liquid state that spread uncontrollably and turned to a dark glossy color that almost took over the full test tile.  However, in my line blend, which the material was suspended in water, the Soda Ash seemed to have little to no reaction and on some of the tiles, it seemed to have disappeared altogether.  We are unsure as to why these materials performed so radically different through the same firing process.  My intentions are to do a few more replications of the testing to see how the results compare.

On a personal note, I was finally able to reclaim my studio over the break and can now get back to the business of creating more art! PLUS, now that the weather is getting warmer-I can really enjoy my time in the (uninsulated) studio! YAY!
Fusion Final I

Fusion Final II

Fusion Final III

Fusion Final IV

Line Blend: Kyanite & Soda Ash (100A-100B) Kyanite is dark metallic sheen & Soda Ash is gray powder (large berries). Rest are mixtures of Kyanite & Soda Ash at 80/20, 60/40 and reverse mixtures.

Soda Ash Fusion Test

Kyanite Fusion Test
 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring is near, time for projects to appear!


The fusion tests from cone 6 fire have come back.  I am impressed to see that Potassium Dichromate did not continue its previous fusion voracity-it just seems to have stopped-hmmm?  However, its distant cousin, Red Copper Oxide, had no trouble in proving that it could do better fusing (it fused to the patty below!).  OOHH! Take a look at Cryolite, it is scary looking, especially since it looks like something one would find on a car battery!

My first bowls went into bisque this week as well as my line blends test ‘tiles.’  I cannot wait to see what they look like when I get to campus tomorrow J

On the home front, I have been ‘Spring Cleaning,’ so to speak.  I have many art inspired projects underway for the homestead and studio.  Right now, my throwing and pushing more clay has been put on a minor hiatus to allow for the homestead art projects.  I feel by getting the homestead artfully redesigned, I will be more open to much more inspired clay work J  I am so completely looking forward to it!  I really love being able to let my hair down and let all potential art influence me!!

Photo Gallery this week includes the Cone 6 fusion results and some snapshots of just one of the artful homestead projects I have been working on. Enjoy.