Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A bit of new

In the midst of scrambling to finish up a large shop order for the Gardiner Museum Shop last week, I started working on a few 'new' designs.  When I say new- often it doesn't quite mean re-inventing my wheel- usually it just means taking some ideas that have been stewing for a while and re-configuring them.  Like most artistic people I know, we get a little bored of the same old, same old, so for me, when my production starts bogging me down, I need to shake things up.  I think it's a healthy way to keep the creative juices flowing and not to put too much energy into just one kind of work.  Unfortunately in this economy, most shops are asking for the work they know will sell, so I am making work I've been making well for the past few years.  It sometimes makes it hard to justify working with new ideas and making new work when every piece I place in the kiln these days seems to already be sold. 
This is just one of the cups that came out of the kiln yesterday- I hopefully can swing in another firing before we take off for some much needed holidays next week.  I have been working with a new porcelain slip-casting slip instead of my usual stoneware slip (my wheel-throwing clay bodies have stayed the same).  Porcelain is always more challenging to work with- there was some warping but surprisingly no cracking.  I might use the porcelain for another round of casting with my new production moulds, but I'm not convinced it's worth the trouble.  The glazes look brighter and are a little more runny but the work feels more weighty.  Maybe that's ok.  It's hard to know whether other people will notice the difference besides that it's a denser, heavier clay.

I decided to head out to the Multiples Show at Emily Carr yesterday- taking in the sunshine and grabbing a bite to eat at the Granville Island Market.  There were a few interesting things at the ceramic show- although I was hoping for a little more work to look through.  There seems to be a big trend at the school to pair ceramics with wood- and most of the work was by Product Design 3rd year students.  Whatever happened to ceramic majors?  There were a few bowls that were wheel-thrown, otherwise everyone slip-casts. No glaze on the outside is still the norm over there- of course, a glaze fiend such as myself finds this pretty disappointing.  I think it's a shame when work looks too polished and finished when someone is in 3rd year.  This is the time to take risks- to try things in a big way without having to put a price on it.  Anyways, that's me and my opinion, so I should probably keep it to myself;)!
Hope your week is going well!


krystal said...

Okay, now really. This is my favourite new pattern. Chevron heaven. And great colours, too. I like your thoughts on the continuing "bare exteriors" trend in ceramics. It keeps going! And can be quite lovely, but as a friend of mine admitted, she uses the bare clay surface only because she is intimidated by glazes. Hopefully it isn't just becoming a fall back?

dahlhaus said...

I don't doubt that it has the most to do with people not being familiar enough with glaze. It takes a lot of practice and some courage to commit one's work to glazing- because it's the final part of the process and so much depends on it. Let's just say I have a mountain of a shard pile with badly glazed pots for the ones that make it out of the firing in 'perfect' shape...