Thursday, February 28, 2013

Field Trip: The Edward Orton Jr. Ceramic Foundation

The Edward Orton Jr. Ceramic Foundation
And the field trips continue! This week we visited the Orton Cone factory located in Westerville, OH outside Columbus. The pyrometric cones that we use in ceramics today were developed by Edward Orton Jr. His father Edward Orton Sr. was the first president of Ohio State University. Edward Orton Jr. started the first ceramic engineering school in the United States at OSU, later the fine arts ceramics program started as a branch of this program. 
Orton developed his cone system gathering research from the work of Seger Cones originally developed in Germany. The cone is an important part of firing ceramics because it measures the heat work in the kiln. Heatwork relates to the effect of time and temperature in the kiln. Not simply the temperature that could be measured with a thermocouple. 
Visit my teaching resource Oh Happy Clay for more information on cones and firing!
Today Lindsay Scypta came in as a visiting artist to the class I teach. The students were so inspired! Thank you Lindsay for taking time out of your busy day to come visit us!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

the broken plate

Yesterday, I broke another piece of ceramics. I have been on a bit of a rough streak these past few months. Casualties include but are not limited to a Russell Wrankle, Jen Allen, and now an Andy Shaw. Below is the letter I wrote to Andy expressing my deep sadness in the loss of my plate but also my realization of the importance of handmade ceramics. 

I came across a piece by Yoko Ono this morning, a glass bottle inscribed it said 'Not to be appreciated until its broken'.

Last night I broke a plate. I was devastated I left it on the kitchen table and walked upstairs. I heard a loud crash and I fumbled downstairs as fast as I could. I did not need to go downstairs to know what happened. I knew the plate was broken. The cat had jumped on the table and somehow pushed your plate off the edge. 

Forrest gave me that plate as a gift during our first semester apart. It was a prized possession for many reasons one being that it was a gift and a very thoughtful gift he knows I much prefer little plates and picked out a perfect sized lunch plate. The other being that it was handmade, I could feel the love and craft that was put into the piece. I used it everyday. I used it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I was home of course- not as often as I would like! I knew in the back of my mind that the plate was special but I never really thought too much of it. I would wash it after each meal so that it was clean and ready for the next. I never put it back in the cupboard it was always migrating from my hands to the sink to the dish rack and back again.
Maybe like Yoko Ono's piece suggests I can't fully appreciate it until it's broken. I wish that was not true. I wish I could have my plate back, but the experience is making me think about the value I have on these handmade objects that have made their way into my home and life.

As a maker of functional objects, I can only hope that my pieces can make the impact that yours made on me. 
Thank you for making.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

a friendly update

Hello Everyone,
 Welcome to February! I have include a few photos from the reception for the first year graduate show here at OSU, an exhibition I had through the Society of Composers National Convention, the new Slacklining club I joined, and a tour of Mayco Colors.       
My piece included a video and hanging tags. The video was a filmed performance of my feet and the tags asked the viewers to interact by claiming a tag and performing the directed task. I brought my ceramics class to the exhibition and I think they had more fun then they were expecting! Ann Hamilton one of my professors here at OSU asked if a fellow graduate student and I would be interested in using the space avaialble as part of the Society of Composers International Conference.  I decided to reinterpret the tags piece in this new space. You can see them in the photo below hanging along the railings.
OSU vs Michigan gymnastics meet with some wonderful friends for my Birthday! Thanks Lindsay and Gun Young for joining me!
OSU Slacklining club, I saw this group on campus a few weeks ago but I was in a hurry and did not have time to stop. But I could not stop thinking about it, what was it that those people were doing it looked like they were floating. I spotted them again this past week and took my shoes right off to give it a try. I promise this is harder then it looks I was barely able to take one step. But I joined the club and I plan to keep practicing. I'll keep you all updated!!
 As part of my Material Science class taught by Rebecca Harvey we went on a field trip to Mayco Colors. It was amazing to see behind the scenes glaze making!
Thank you to my wonderful classmate and Mayco employee for setting this up. Thanks, Josh!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Soda Firing, winter break

I used to soda-fire a bunch of work in undergraduate and over the last couple of months I have been really missing it! In the soda firing process, sodium carbonate is mixed in a water solution and sprayed into the kiln at a maturing temperature, the sodium vapor combines with the silica in the clay to form a sodium-silicate glaze. This process also creates a large amount of variation on the surfaces of the work.

At LSU last spring we tore down our soda Kiln with the intention of building a new one. Since LSU's studio arts building is being renovated next year we are going to wait on the rebuild of the soda kiln. Luckily Jeni has recently become interested in soda firing and they have a soda Kiln at OSU. She wanted to fire a cone 6 soda over Christmas break (I know this post is really late) and I really wanted to cone 10 soda, so as a compromise we were able to do 2 soda firings! And I must admit it was my first ever cone 6 soda firing and although I was at first skeptical, the results were pretty good, we had a few pieces that didn't reach temperature which we re-fired in an electric oxidation cone 6 firing.

Here are some of the results from the Cone 6, unfortunately we don't have any pictures from the cone 10 firing and many of those pots were a little too "juicy" and require lots of grinding. Together as a team we made a set of cups and bowls for my Dad and Stepmom. Jeni threw the bowls and I trimmed, I made the cups, and Jeni did most of the glazing. All of the images down below are from our cone 6 soda-firing. Thanks for visiting! My semester is in full swing and there is lots of work being made and lots of work to make; which means there will be some more posts coming in the near future.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Life Continued

Hello everyone!
 I am welcoming myself back to the world now since I have been on and off sick for over a month. I am doing everything in my power to stay healthy now! From the flu to joint pain I am ready to move on. Making work has been a slow start but it is finally coming, and the excitement is coming back!

On to the good news! I was published for the first time in Ceramics Monthly, in the current February issue! I had an image accepted into the book 500 prints on clay last year and it will be in print next month! Get your copy now for 50% off at Barnes and Nobles.
This breathtaking entry in the highly successful 500 Ceramics series ventures into the hottest area of modern ceramics: image transfer on clay. Juried by the renowned artist and teacher Paul Andrew Wandless, it showcases a visually intriguing collection of contemporary work in this rapidly evolving field. The featured pieces include silkscreen; newspaper, tissue, and digital ink transfer; stencils and more, printed on everything from earthenware and porcelain to stoneware and vitreous china. 

Tonight I have a closing reception for Recent Arrivals: Department of Art First Year Graduate Student Exhibition! I will post photos soon.

In January Ben Carter headed to Columbus to film a video and do a workshop for Ceramics Arts Daily/Potters Council/Ceramics Monthly. He was able to spare a day and come visit Ohio State University Ceramics. He provided wonderful entertainment, a great lecture, and a demo! Thank you Ben!