Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Final Ceramics Project

For my final project, I decided to create an abstract piece of work from a poem by Walt Whitman called Calvary Crossing the Ford. I have had my final project thought out and drawn since the first few weeks of class, even before we were provided the parameters of the end project. I chose this poem because it was the first poem, that when I read the words, I actually felt connected to what was transpiring. The poem touched me to the core because of my personal experiences. I first read this poem in an American Literature class. We had to read the poem during class, and then discuss what we read. I remember reading the poem and being able to see the guidon flowing in the wind, hear the rattle and clinking of bridles, and see the weary bodies of the soldiers as they crossed the ford. While I was reading the poem, it struck me that the troops were coming back from a campaign. The soldiers were sitting wearily in their saddles, slumped forward in exhaustion, as they let the horses cross the ford. Their thoughts centering on returning to their post, their barracks or their home to recover, refresh and heal. I remember the discussion we had in class, because the class was split down the middle with half of the students thinking the soldiers were off to war and the other half saying the soldiers were coming home from battle.

I empathized with the soldier sitting wearily in the saddle. There were times when I came back from a two week to a month field exercise, where I could not shower for days on end, would be up for 48 hours straight, and was drained from focusing all my attention on ensuring my soldiers and equipment were taken care of, that I felt a bone-deep weariness . I just kept telling myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other to get the job done.

The main focus of my piece is the individual sitting on the horse. I wanted to convey the weariness of the soldier with the slumped shoulders and bent head. I wanted the focus on the soldier and what the soldier is feeling. The horse is just a body and the tail and head. I did not want viewer to focus on the horse exclusively. The white I used on the horse hints to the viewer the horse was a pinto. The slip colors I used on the solider are meant to depict the uniform era of the late 1800s.

For a long time I have wanted to do a series of art work, with metal and glass, from my time in the army. I have wanted to somehow incorporate my experience with my love of metals and glass but I have never had any idea on how to start with my series. The ceramics final project has given me a starting point to continue with the military series I truly want to work on.

Lidded Cylinder, Box Cylinder and 10 Throwing Cylinders

I finally have the finished glazed texture cylinder, cups, and lidded cylinder. I am so excited with how all of the cylinders turned out after the glazing.

With the cups and textured cylinders I was trying multiply glazes on each of the cylinders. I like how some of the glaze made patterns on the cups. The glaze ran down the sides and gave the cups a nice visual depth to the piece. (Is that some nice artistic talk or what?)

I am also so happy with how the lidded cylinder turned out. The clear glaze over the colors really made the images stand out on the cylinder. It is so exciting to see what happens after the firing of each piece. I was also really scared that the lid would get stuck to the body of the piece when the glaze melted. That happened to one of the girls and her lid broke off when she was trying to bang the lid and body apart.

My box cylinder came out of the firing in one piece and I was able to take the lid off, which of course I was worried about. I like how the clear glaze over the clay turned out, that was interesting.

The final projects I am waiting on to be fired are the “Plastic” form bowl, my hollow hand that was to be 3x the size of a regular hand, and my final project.

These are the 10 cylinders I threw and glazed to be graded.

Cylinder 1 & 2 Cylinder 3 & 4

Cylinder 5 & 6 Cylinder 7 & 8 Cylinder 9 & 10

Birthday Gift for Myself

For my birthday I decided to get another tattoo as a birthday gift to myself. I have had an idea for a tattoo for several months and I finally told mom what I wanted and asked her if she could sketch something up for me.
What I wanted was a bracelet around my right wrist of Forget-Me-Not flowers. In the middle of each flower I wanted the birthstones for mom, aunt Vickie, Brian, Kaitlyn and Skylar. I also wanted four smaller flowers at the end of the bracelet with both sets of grandparents birthstones in the middle of the flowers. I did not want a solid band between the flowers so mom drew a vine between each flower.

I did some research about the Tattooed Heart, even though mom and William have been there before, I still wanted to see the reviews from other people. I took my sketch in on the 7th of March and talked to Paul about my ideas. He said it shouldn’t be a problem and then asked when I would like the tattoo done. I said I wanted it on my birthday, Friday the 13th of March.
On my birthday I took my sketch in again and Paul made a copy of it and a stencil of the flowers. We had to make a change to the flower because the center of the flower is yellow and I wanted yellow around the center of each flower, but the flowers were too small for that. So we decided to make small triangles out from the birthstone to have the yellow in the flower.

I don’t think getting the tattoo was too bad. There were only two sensitive areas and the rest of the tattoo was fine. Once we got the placement of the flowers down, Paul did the outlining in black and then he took a smoke break. After the break he got out about 8 small cups for all the colors for the flowers and birthstones. It only took about 45 minutes for him to color in the flowers. I was so excited when he was done with the tattoo.

I am so glad I was able to get the tattoo and mom drew out my idea for me. We make a great team!
Here are some photos of the process. I still have to scan and post the sketch that mom made and I will post those pictures later.

Paul was prepping my arm for the tattoo
We are placing the stencils on my wrist.
Paul is starting to outline the tattoo
You can see the outline and the tattoo gun
Can see the ink and the gun on my skin
Paul is almost done with the outlining
The completed outline
Starting to work on the color
You can see Paul working on the side of my arm
Finshed tattoo
I will post new photos of the tattoo since the healing is done.

Mom's Birthday Gift

It has been awhile since we have posted anything, so sorry about that. Both mom and I have been a little busy with her starting her new job and my finishing up school for the semester. I thought I would start off with posting the birthday gift I made mom.

I know I have said over and over that I did not want to draw ever again. Well I broke down and drew a picture for mom’s birthday. I used a photograph of Grandma Mert holding mom when she was a baby. I love that photograph of them both. Grandma was a dish.

What made this easy to draw was that I gridded out my drawing paper and I gridded out the photograph. Don’t worry mom I photo-copied the picture and gridded it out on the copy.
The one thing I was worried about was the hair, mouth and teeth of the drawing because I am not good at that at all. I asked Gabby if she could help me with the finishing touches.

This time I took photographs of the different steps of the drawing process. I have a photograph of the picture I used, the outline of the drawing, when I started to shade, etc.

I did not get the drawing done before mom’s birthday. Once I am finished with the final shading I will have the drawing framed for mom. I did show the drawing to her on her birthday and mom said she loved it and it brought tears to her eyes. I hope those were tears of happiness and not tears of “OH, My God That was Terrible”.

Here are the photographs I have so far. Once I have the drawing I will post the final photograph.

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