07 July 2018

Studio Saturday

One task, in this project of figuring out how to make "competent" dipped pots, is to record the pots being made - materials and methods.

In addition to the series of self-supporting sinamay pots, another series uses the "bias tube" and various types/thicknesses of silk from my fabric stash. 

The bias tube makes for two layers, so if the clay doesn't penetrate both and make just one layer, the pot can be double-walled and rather fragile - which could be good, or could crumble to the touch. The aim is to find out...
In progress - using some found tassels

Stitching finished. 
Sometimes when a pot is ready for dipping, I hesitate - and leave it "till later". Later=when I know how they'll be displayed ... perhaps the display will be a crowd of ceramic AND fabric pots.
Too big to dip?

Plainer = better, just at the moment

Very plain! a fabric sample, still with its paper glued inside, top and bottom

Thick silk, with lots of lumps and bumps
When not at the studio, I'm sitting on the sofa (or in the park) sewing -

I've been making "dipping hoops" from corset boning - dividing it into 8 and making nicks for the threads. A division of 8 is easy to transfer to the rim of the pot, with pen marks or with pins -

The hoops and threads not only keep the top of the pot nice and round, but can also be used for suspending the pot while it's still dripping after dipping. My latest invention is a multi-level drip array -
Something that came up elsewhere, but is relevant to photos of pots, is the unsatisfactory photos produced by my phone camera under certain lighting conditions. One byway this week has been to find out more about taking better photos with the camera on my phone - and if that's not possible, I'll relearn how to use the digital camera I haven't used for well over a year (but first, find it and the charger).

Some progress with dipping pots, showing the "support towers" in action. They are made with empty water bottles, pierced to hold skewers at various heights, on which the hoops are balanced, first to let the excess clay drip off, then the height is adjusted so the clay tube rests on the clay puddle that forms the base.
Gravel is a good counterweight (the dipped pot can be quite heavy) -
 Three pots dipped in one session, with notes taken and the slip thinned a little with each pot, trying to judge consistency...
 Covered to retard drying, in hopes of avoiding cracks -
Gradually my surroundings are getting sorted, into a comfortable workspace. These snippets of mark-making - a project on embroidered speech/conversations - turned up among the things I'd brought to the studio.
B.P. (Before Pots) I took them along on train journeys to work on ... several are unfinished ...
These marks would look good on the pots. Sometimes, in groups, they look like they're talking to each other ... the groups could become Conversation Pieces. (But first, enough pots need to be made....)

Friday, a check on the pots left to dry, and trimming the ragged bases. This one, nicely crumpled, has an air bubble that needs dealing with, as well as too much trimming on the base - time to get out the gum arabic and mix up a little Special Crack Filler ....
A sample of silk becomes a crumpled tube
 Another three pots to dip -
Trying out the support system. The bases will be poured on the plaster bat to help with the drying (plaster absorbs moisture) and the pot supported on the skewers as it dries -
 This bit of crazy stitching got dipped as well -
I continued to add liquid to the dip to see how thin it could get and the pot survive. It'll be a while before there's another stoneware firing, so I'll need the external memory (ie, notebook) to try to figure out what actually happened, at what point the slip got too thin. Meanwhile it's "onward and upward".

When writing the notes I noticed the sunlight coming in through the open door and making its way through the bubble wrap that covers the (slowly) drying pots -

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