Monday, July 5, 2010

My Time in the Military, Love of Flowers Depicted in Ceramics

I hope you all had a great Fourth of July and loved the fireworks.  I also hope you are staying cool whenever possible because it is hot out there!

Well, I didn't get the junk room cleaned.  I woke up with a really bad headache and I was not in the mood to tackle that room.  Though I really need to get in there, sometime in the near future, and clean it.  I am also waiting for the camera to charge so I can take photos of things to post out on Etsy.  So, while I am waiting for the battery to charge, I thought I would post photos of my ceramic pieces from my spring semester class.

A disclaimer first.  During the spring semester I wanted to incorporate images of my time in the military and flowers.  These works are not a commentary against the military, our men and women serving our country or the wars we are engaged in.  The military images have personal meaning for me.  I love photographing flowers  My professor challenged me to combine these elements into my semester final project. 

These works are test pieces for me, because I have my senior show next spring semester.  I want to figure out what to have in the show.  The pieces allowed me make and to test underglaze colors and celedon colors to determine what will and won't work during firings.  I had a great time making these pieces and it brought back tons of memories.  I hope you enjoy my take of my time in the military with a bit of a "Mother Nature" spin.

My first pieces - it just hit me to go with pastel colors, because I am female, and when you think of a girl, you stereotypically think of pink.  So the M16 being pink is the first piece I did for my military theme ceramics.  I also liked the idea of the grenade and an explosion of colors.  I am also experimenting with slips and underglazes for the colors of the flowers and grenade.

Pink M-16 and Flowers

Pink Grenade

Flowers and Grenade

My next project was incorporating my dog tags.  I also want to some way incorporate my great grandfather's, grandfather's and my dad's dog tags in the next project.  I am still contemplating the design.

My dog tags and a For-Get-Me-Not

My Rank During My Time in the Army

The next two bowls are of the vehicle I worked with while I was at Fort Hood.
TLQ and Flowers

TLQ, Flowers, Peace and Love

A gas mask and flowers.  The first image is just in black and white and flowers were suppose to be blue and purple, but they didn't fire right, so I will have to use a different underglaze when I color the flowers.  The second gas mask I love!  I wanted to somehow incorporate camo in my images and I loved how this turned out and the colors.

Mask and Flowers
Camo Mask and Flowers

I wanted to do a series of plates with my combat boots (I know weird, but I miss how comfortable my combat boots were and how much a part of your life they were).  The first plate is a nice looking boot with a tree full of flowers depicting the enthusiasm and how "gung ho" I was when I joined.  The second plate is an old and tired looking boot with a dead tree and only one branch showing a sprig of life.  This depicts how I felt when I left the army - worn out and disillusioned.

New Boot and Flower Tree

Old Boot and Dead Tree

The next three plates are just ideas I was playing with.  One is an effigy to a scale because I freaking hate being weighed!  There are some stupid things I did to try and make my weigh ins and I refuse to do it now!  The next plate is of my 4th ID patch and a life cycle of a flower.  The last plate is of a pick, chains and a wall and on the other side of the wall is a key.  I thought if I just got to the other side of the wall it would be all better (becoming a civilian) but the other side of the wall has its own set of problems.

Effigy to a scale

4thID Patch and Life cycle of a flower

Pick, Chains, Wall, Key

The next two bowls are of what I did in the military and an issue I had with one of my troops.  My job in the army was a Russian linguist, though I mostly worked in the motorpool or was out in the field. The image of the barrel of a gun and bullets was the only image I could come up with to show what happened with one of my soldiers.  I was his squad leader; he was my responsibility.  It is accurate, but fear not, I wasn't injured and defused the situation successfully.
Headphones, Russian, Flowers

Bullets, Barrel of a gun, flowers

Outside of the bowl with bullets

The final project I did for class is very near and dear to my heart.  While I was stationed at Fort Riley I was on a funeral detail.  I was a member of the firing squad who performed the 21 Gun Salute.  I felt honored to provide this service for those men and women who were being buried and for their families.  I am also still really angry that my grandfather refused to have a military funeral when he died.  Believe me, I nagged and nagged him, but he said no.  So, this project is sort a way to show my time of being on the funeral detail and dedicated to my grandpa.  I threw about 60 small plates and chose the best of the plates (21), I then drew on the plates "Taps", the plates were dipped in Celedon and then fired.  This is still a project in the process of being made.  My professor and I critiqued it and I think it is going in a totally different direction.  Here is my first trail of 21 Gun Salute.

Layout of 21 Gun Salute

Close up of Taps

That is it for the spring semester.  This fall I will be a ceramics and metals studio tech.  I really don't know what to expect from doing that.  I know I will be working on my senior show projects.  Once I have the projects created I will post more pictures.  I hope you enjoyed my take of my time in the military depicted in ceramics.


  1. Those are terrific.

    I was in the military, too, in the USAF, from 89-91, as a Cryptologic Linguist (Korean) in Korea. I was there when Desert Storm started.

    I just got done reading "Matterhorn", a very realistic novel about Vietnam. It's not for the faint of heart, and many Marines say he nailed it, but if you are into that sort of thing, I highly recommend it.

  2. Thanks Lori. I will have to give the book a read because I love reading books about the Vietnam War. And thanks for the compliments about the ceramics. I was not sure how people would react to them.

  3. I could see you approaching museums about these, you know?

  4. My professor has actually talked with about doing that. I guess there is guy in Chicago who looks for military/artists and she thought, if I make better pieces, I might want to send him photos. Though I am so hard on myself that the stuff I make is not good enough. I am trying to get mom and I to stop being so hard on ourselves, but it is difficult because we both don't consider ourselves artists.
    Your comments and the other outstanding artists (Juls amoung many) have helped us out tremendously to take our work seriously!
    Thank you!!!! You be the best!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...