Oh my, where does the time go? 9 days till the exhibition at HCA opens. I've been busy.
Here's how to build a mountain. I used this wonderful heavily grogged black clay, which is about as opposite as you can get from the porcelain I usually work with. First I built a substrate of 10 x 10 cm squares, and made some felt inspired by geology:
The mountain is made of slabs of the same clay:
Move the mountain to its substrate, and let it nestle in its geologic felt. Oooh, landscape! Add the wheel-thrown, faceted rocks from all those weeks ago for extra effect:
As with most of the things I've tried during my residency, I'm not sure where else this will take me, but I've greatly enjoyed both the mixing of media and scale of the objects in this particular piece.
The past couple of weeks have seen further progress with my (probably too numerous) fibre and ceramic experiments. First, some lovely gifties from the kiln:
I'm not sure yet what I'm going to use the white ones for, but the green ones will be embedded in a felt landscape. Speaking of which, I had my second-ever foray into feltmaking. It's messy and addictive. From a textiles standpoint, these first pieces of mine probably aren't great felt, but I did get the colour and texture range that I was aiming for. If some of them don't look like they've been through the complete "fulling" process -- getting the wool fibres to interlock to the greatest extent -- it's because I did stop short, to keep some of the fluffy texture.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before it's beautiful, luscious, warm, touchy-feely felt, it looks like this:
|A tray full of wool, carefully (sort of) arranged in layers, ready for felting. I think there were 4 layers in this one.|
|You put a cloth over it, pour in hot water and a bit of dishwashing liquid, and scrub like crazy till the fibres don't left. Here it is, all soaking wet. Yeccch.|
Thanks to my wet hands, there are no photos of the final part of the process, wherein I roll up the sopping wool in the bamboo mat below it, wrap it in a towel, and roll, roll, roll it until something that looks more like felt as we know it results. Something more like this:
Lighter wool colours, aiming to evoke the sandy soil of the New Jersey Pine Barrens
|Close-up! Mmm, plushy.|
|I added silk fibres to the wool in the Pine Barrens pieces.|
Now I'm working on how exactly to get the porcelain rocks embedded into these and present them as evoking landscape. That's the task for the next couple of weeks.
Next post: So, how did that piece of red weaving that I was working on turn out?
My explorations regarding how to weave porcelain into a textile continue. This weaving is going much better than the first one. I bought proper cotton warp thread, which is much easier to work with than the crochet cotton I tried the first time around, and the silky red yarn I'm using for the weft is a pleasure to handle. The result is that this object is looking much more integrated with the fibre:
I'm also aiming to complete two felt/porcelain pieces in the next few weeks. I was inspired by Francoise Tellier-Loumagne's book The Art of Felt, which features beautiful textural pieces based on sky and clouds. In a sort of geologic inversion of this idea, I'm going to attempt felted backdrops with handmade porcelain "rocks" that reference terminal moraine and outwash plain. I'll give the felt a whack this week, but first, the rocks:
That's a 10-p coin included for scale. I chopped up the porcelain and wedged in all sorts of oxides: manganese, copper, black iron oxide, and rutile. These aren't fired yet and will probably be more brown than gray once they are. I'm hoping that in combination with lumpy, bumpy, shaped felt made from natural undyed wool, they'll evoke landscape. We'll find out in a few weeks!
Greatly looking forward to resuming work on ceramics and textiles at Hereford College of Arts tomorrow. I just got back from 3 weeks in the Philadelphia area, visiting friends and family and installing "Doily Diary" at the Clay College. For that project, I crocheted a doily each day during 2012 (actually more than one, so I'd have extras), then took the doilies and twelve 1 x 1 meter calendars over to the USA. At the Clay College, I dipped each doily in porcelain slip and fired them, then stitched them onto the calendars so that each represented the dates of 2012. Sewing the doilies onto the fabric calendars was much more finicky and time-consuming than I expected; thank goodness I had lots of friendly helper bunnies to get the project done on time.
The best part, other than seeing all that lovely porcelain on the wall, was seeing how excited people got as they looked for a special date: often their children's birthdays, but one lateral thinker was thrilled to snap up February 29! And a few folks who bought doilies just chose the ones they liked, nevermind what date it was.
I've included a few images of "Doily Diary" below. Now, keep your eye out for upcoming weaving and felting experiments.
|July (green), August (red), and September (pink)|
|May and June|
|February (think dark and stormy)|
For over a year, I've been planning to install a "doily diary" at the Clay College in Millville, New Jersey, USA. I was invited to do this solo show before I moved to the United Kingdom, and I'm in the States this week getting it ready. I've crocheted almost 400 small doilies -- one for each day of 2012, plus a few extra just in case -- and will be sewing them onto fabric monthly "calendars" for installation. But first, each and every doily gets dipped in porcelain slip and fired.
My latest image album shows how it's going. The show opens on 15 January, so I better get back to dipping and slipping this morning!
Once this show is up, it'll be back to Hereford College of Arts and further fibre/clay explorations. I can't wait!
And neither does art. Over the holidays, I've been plugging away at my first attempt at integrating weaving and ceramics.
Even after re-stringing the frame, I had so many twisted warp threads that I decided to stop this piece halfway up and only incorporate 2 of the 5 ceramic objects. Next time, instead of crochet cotton, I'll use proper warp thread, and a smaller frame!
The next challenge was how to get the warp threads behind the objects to disappear.
Now you see 'em...
The answer: lots of stitching, and lots of patience.
Now you mostly don't! Unless you get too close.
It's not quite the piece I want it to be, but it's been a great learning experience, and plenty of fun. Looking forward to continuing in this vein in the spring.
I finally conquered my fear of the unknown and have begun my first attempt at weaving ceramic objects into a textile. Getting the warp onto a weaving frame was one evening's major accomplishment. The first attempt didn't go so well:
The next attempt went a little better. Let's just say, I'm going with it and will see how it turns out once I start on the weft:
I used no. 3 crochet cotton for the warp, which I'm now thinking might not have been the best choice; it was awfully stretchy and hard to maintain a good tension. For now, however, the main thing is getting a start.
I've been making fine progress on the ceramics component of my residency, throwing loads of small porcelain objects for incorporation into textiles. I use a technique called "throwing off the hump." The images in the album "Wheel-thrown doodahs" show the process. (Yes, I really call those little wheel-thrown objects "doodahs.")
I'll be in tomorrow, working on cleaning up the most recent crop; there's a fair amount of post-production work to make them smooth and sugary to the touch, to bring out the best of the porcelain surface. The porcelain I'm using behaves beautifully: no slumping or cracking. Hoping to have glaze tests out by next week and be fully ready to start on the textile component of the project in the new year.