29 February 2013
Okay…time to admit I’ve somehow got myself into a little mess. Not in a bad way, but with making so many tests, I can’t keep up with my manic creations! It’s one thing to create your ideas and think yes, I have a possible body of work, its totally another to work out which process, glaze for the clay, high fire or low fire, can I do stains on top of glazes, can I have some work bisque and others glaze in my final work (as Jacob says ‘that’s a loaded question’!), and so on.
I’m half way through my residency and feel anxious, as I need to make some decisions and trust what I create may or may not be the final work. I may go home to Canberra, use Southern Ice Clay as part of the work and test the stains/glazes created in Denmark to see how they compare to the Danish clay/low/high firings. What clay do I take home and do I take it as a bag or break it down to save on freight? How will I make my yellow tiles as I only made one mould? (generally you use one mould for white clay and another mould for coloured clay). See. Are you confused now? Its not easy being an artist 😉
But all is good…I’ve made progress and its all been a learning curve. So, what have I done?
Mould making with Ryan
Between him and Lee – these are the mould making gurus – they do it for a living as well as there artistic practice and know what they are doing. While Ryan is in the plaster room he watches (rather grimaces politely) at the way I’m setting up my blocks for the plaster making. He kindly offers to help me and I literally jump down his throat. Yes! Yes! Damsel in distress!! Actually, I promise him a couple of beers and we make a deal pretty quickly.
So here are a few photos of the mould making taking place. Basically I need to make a model in clay and then pour the plaster in to make the opposite – my tile. This sounds easy but took ½ a day and a lot of agonizing on my part.
Experimenting with glaze
I was very lucky to have two intensive glaze classes at university with Gail Nichols – (http://www.craftact.org.au/portfolios/artist.php?id=298 ) – who is highly regarded for her approach to soda firing. She advised us how to record making glazes and while I did this diligently in the classroom…I’m all over the place here in Denmark when it comes to grams/weight. Did I measure 0.1 or 1, did I add 0.1 + 0.1? It’s critical to know what you are doing and I regret I didn’t bring Gail’s template she gave us to record correctly. However, I’m determined to keep trying. I got some results on Saturday and while happy with the majority, I will admit there was one colour that was not very nice. Just imagine yellow/brown and nappies – I don’t need to go any further!
This has been a slow process, as I have to do three firings. I hope to finish the test firing this Friday. Lee and I are sharing a kiln and again…another beer in exchange for advice…gotta love it! Post-note: the decal tests came out Sunday and I’m happy with the results. While some minor blistering…overall the effect is fine. Its interesting but there has been debate here about using still, mineral water or tap water when placing decals in water to then place on the ceramic. Apparently, different places have different levels of certain chemicals – chlorine, calcium and so on.
In between all of this I am on a secret mission. I’m quietly doing a little project on the side. It’s a little something ceramic, for each of the artists/technicians, as a reminder of their time at Guldagergaard. Cross fingers please, as I navigate my way through Danish websites, sourcing white silk cord, tie-pins/brooch clasp and glass beads. Oooh! Are you curious? It may be the beginning of a new line of work so watch my website for updates.
Finally, Kym from Louisiana, USA and I made the group dinner last night. We braced ourselves and wore three layers of clothing to walk through a snow blizzard to get to Netto (the local supermarket). We made margherita, vegetable, zucchini & mushroom pizzas and salad with celery, apple, pistachios and lemon/dill mayonnaise. All made from scratch and with love! Another great meal at the G and moi (the manic woman behind the camera!) forgot to take photos! We were too busy serving up and rewarding ourselves with red wine!! So here are some photos from another dinner…