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Archive for September, 2009

Art meets Function

I absolutely love it when I can actually use the art that I create.

I haven’t been to the ceramics studio in a while because I’ve been working on creating clay flowers, but I still had some pieces that I needed to pick up at the studio.  We came home just in time to eat dinner so we immediately put our pieces to good use.  Normally I would put my side dishes for our meals in generic corelle plates, but these bowls were the perfect sizes.   I was telling Bernie how I felt that the food tasted so much better knowing that we were eating out of pieces of art that we created!

My father-in-law commissioned me to create a mug before he left for Korea. However, the turnaround in the studio is kind of slow so he wasn’t able to see the final product after it got fired in the kiln.  I tried to create a one of a kind design, but it didn’t come out exactly the way I had imagined.  It reminded me more of a 5th grade ceramics project, but I love it anyway because it was truly a labor of love.   While I was in the process of making the design, my ceramics teacher looking at the piece with a puzzled look told me that it reminded her of a jacket that she owned.  I looked at her and immediately knew that I would probably have to make another mug for my FIL.  I’ve kind of adopted the mug myself and have been drinking out of it everyday!

This last piece I worked on is a sculpture I did in class.  On that particular day, we had the privilege of sculpting a live model. I’ve never sculpted a figure before and my only experience with the human body was in drawing. I had so much fun that day and never new how much I enjoyed reinterpreting the human form through clay. Everyone in class was really inexperienced with this, but we were all happy with what we created. Some people tried to make a abstract interpretation of the body, some literally tried to make the figures lifelike and as for me I tried not to make it a mess=)

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My wonderful husband took us both on an amazing anniversary trip to Maui where we first honeymooned after we got married.  We snorkeled nearly every day and saw fish, rays, and of course sea turtles.  Bernie had the misfortune of swimming in the midst of jellyfish and got stung, but he thought it was worth it since he got to swim alongside a sea turtle all the while being in pain!

I got so inspired by the amazing beauty of the island and took pictures of gorgeous hawaiian blooms that I wouldn’t be able to see back at home.  The hibiscus and plumeria are beautiful flowers and I was so happy to see them up close and study their intricate details.  I tried to make them at home, and the more I try to make them lifelike, I’m realizing that God is truly the ultimate creator.  His creation can be unmatched!

I wanted to post some of my recent projects. This is a favor box with some plumeria, gardenia and a hibiscus.   A lot of the artists that use deco clay have a lot of clients that use them for their weddings and these types of favor boxes are really popular in Hawaii.

I’ve also been working more on creating figures.  This is a project that I also had to complete for my class which is a young angel that’s singing.  She’s a little chubby and short, but hopefully I’ll get better proportions as I practice more.
I’ve been having a lot of left over clay and didn’t want to waste it so I experimented with making miniature flowers.  I think they’re quite cute!
I’m currently working on a gardenia for a friend who’s getting married. I thought I might make a flower hairpin since it’s costs so much money to use a real one.

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In addition to my clay flowers, I’ve been taking classes at the local art center to learn traditional ceramics. I recently started to learn how to throw pieces on the wheel.   I’ve always had a fascination with wanting to work on the wheel and it wasn’t because I watched the Ghost movie too many times=)  I originally learned how to throw bowls and cups in Korea so I thought that it wouldn’t be too hard to pick this technique back up in class.  Mind you, it’s been 8 years since I’ve thrown pottery so I knew I would be rusty.

When I sat at the wheel and tried to follow through with what my current teacher was teaching me,  things weren’t going as smoothly.  After many failed attempts, I realized that I had learned how to throw with the wheel spinning in the opposite direction.  For some reason, potters in the U.S. decided to do things differently… not sure why.  Unfortunately, I had to relearn everything.

Here are some of my pieces. This first picture is the very first bowl that I threw.  Seasoned potters are able to make their pieces thin, but mine as you can see is very chunky.  Hopefully, I’ll get better as I start practicing more.

One of the exciting things about pottery is that you can actually use and design what you make.  I had made some tea cups on the wheel since that’s the easiest thing you can make when you’re first learning.  When I got them back yesterday, we immediately started using them to drink water with our dinner.  I don’t know if it’s because we’re biased, but water never tasted so good!

Glazing is another animal I had to master and learn.  One of the fun things about glazing is that it’s often times unpredictable how your pieces will turn out. You may put a blue glaze on your piece, but it may turn out a gray.

Since we’re both novices we just went crazy dunking our bowls and cups in whatever glazes were around.  Here’s what our finished products look like.

Some of the pieces look like a muddy mess, but that’s the fun of it all!

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