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Pres

Stretching Your Limits

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We have seen a lot of discussion over the years about throwing larger, developing more texture, breaking out of slumps, becoming more creative. I was wondering how you prepare for doing something new, or returning to something you have not done for a while. I have been reading a fantasy novel lately where the character is constantly trying to improve his strengths by doing a little more "exercise" each day. I find that when I am trying to throw larger, especially of late :wacko:, I try working with larger and larger amounts of clay over a series of weeks til I get to the point that I am throwing at a limit, then I push for a little bit more. The same goes with shaping(inflating) the form. Larger forms have a tendency to be standard columns with some shaping for the belly, shoulder and neck, but I try to inflate the forms more past what I am used to by careful working of the form to get a much larger diameter even though that causes a loss of height and sometimes collapses completely. There are other examples of how to "stretch your muscles" what do you do?

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Well......on that topic, I have spent the last 2 months struggling to develop a new esthetic.  as of yesterday, the greenware pieces have made me very happy.  As of this AM , after unloading the bisque, with a 50% loss due, I think, to stress in the form, I am not so happy.  Now I need to decide if I like the work well enough to continue to struggle with eliminating the stress without loosing the look.  (Probably yes, but not today).

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Clay Lover, describe the type of defect you are experiencing. Years ago, I was throwing with a different clay body getting some really tall nicely shaped larger pieces with tight thin walls-1/8"thick to 1/4". . I did a bisque with four of these large pieces in the kiln with a bunch of smaller pieces of the same body all around. Two days later, I opened a kiln to beautifully fired smaller pieces packed around the larger ones looking just fine. When I got the others out of the kiln to take out the larger pieces, I found that those had one continuous spiral crack running from 1" from the bottom all the way up to 1" from the rim. Like a spring! Hmmm. after lots of research, and talking to others including the folks at SC clay, I changed my firing schedule and had no problems.

 

Sometimes not all is a disaster, and a little help and research might help.

 

Best,

Pres

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We have seen a lot of discussion over the years about throwing larger, developing more texture, breaking out of slumps, becoming more creative. I was wondering how you prepare for doing something new, or returning to something you have not done for a while. I have been reading a fantasy novel lately where the character is constantly trying to improve his strengths by doing a little more "exercise" each day. I find that when I am trying to throw larger, especially of late :wacko:, I try working with larger and larger amounts of clay over a series of weeks til I get to the point that I am throwing at a limit, then I push for a little bit more. The same goes with shaping(inflating) the form. Larger forms have a tendency to be standard columns with some shaping for the belly, shoulder and neck, but I try to inflate the forms more past what I am used to by careful working of the form to get a much larger diameter even though that causes a loss of height and sometimes collapses completely. There are other examples of how to "stretch your muscles" what do you do?

I'm still getting excited that I can do something. Bis isn't on my radar. Just getting some getting someone to say, wow and how much, puts me over the top. Maybe some day I will go for large, but for now, eh, knowing it can be done, makes doing it a goal.

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Stretching your limits can mean a lot, like venturing into uncharted territory like making a new form for you-casserole, soup turene, or a new type of decoration-faceting, or some other path not taken yet. Just to see if you can do it.

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I found that those had one continuous spiral crack running from 1" from the bottom all the way up to 1" from the rim. Like a spring! Hmmm. after lots of research, and talking to others including the folks at SC clay, I changed my firing schedule and had no problems.

 

Sometimes not all is a disaster, and a little help and research might help.

When I was doing engineering we "stressed to failure".  That was the ONLY reliable way to see how far a limit could be pushed in a real world situation. We pushed the limits till it failed... re-tweaked and tried again. Failure is absolutely essential... just as long as you are in a position to set things up so you learn from it... like Pres.

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I am struggling with the feet of my tripods and have to practice and pratice..... Since I want to give every tripod a special foot that relates to the form, it is hard to find feet forms that arent warping in the kiln or giving me other problems. But strangely I am always thinking of even more complicate feet forms than thinking of simpler ones. That's me, always looking for trouble.... :lol:

 

Good topic Pres!

 

Evelyne

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Pres, the base forms, thrown tall things, are fine it is the wheel thrown add ons that are cracking . It it difficult to apply them firmly enough with out deforming the texture, and the cracks are in exactly the same place on each. Where they were flexed the most. I am going to try again and look for ways to work around that.

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Do you use slip, or magic water? Could the additions wait a little longer for joining later leather hard? I this in porcelain, stoneware, or earthenware? Just thoughts, and no, I did not think you worked in earthenware, but wanted to be certain.

 

Best,

Pres

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when I am ready for a new phase, I clean out all the older work in the studio (finish the pieces and away they go). I know I am pushing it because I failed at two new pieces this week. It's ok. Always more to come.

Then I start experimenting with ranges of terra sig, or new glazes while the fresh ideas start accumulating.

Clay takes time; time to dry, time to bisque, then finishing firing.

Fortunately I am excited about what I am doing at the moment. The heat is holding up my firings. Up at 5 to fire early today.

Having my morning coffee and geek first.

Marcia

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I think it's so important not to stagnate. Right now I've been wheel throwing for less than a year, so my limits are pretty small. But I make it a point to push myself past whatever constitutes my comfort zone at the time. If I'm doing really well throwing 3 lb bowls, I'm going to weigh out some 4 lb lumps next time. If I successfully made a 7 in. cylinder I'm going for 8. I'm not going to jump from 3 lbs to 25 though, that would be discouraging! I also will watch some pottery videos if I want to make a form for the first time, like a citrus juicer, pie plate, or thrown lid. I also spend some of my time refining forms I know I like and some time trying new ones so I don't get stuck doing the same things all the time.

 

I'm sure this isn't world shattering information, but it's working pretty well for me!

 

Some of my favorite things have been the result of moving way outside my comfort zone and dancing on the edge of failure. This vase was supposed to be a mug, I was trying to do thinner walls and I got way too thin and it started to ripple so I went with it and this is one of my favorite things I've made so far.

http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/gallery/image/5792-ripply-wobble-vase/

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Being in this around 3 years its all pretty new to me so I have no real problem finding new things to try. I do get stagnant from time to time though and I try to just focus on the present moment and pay attention. Inspiration is everywhere. Keep a notepad next to the bed with some colored pencils and I "dream" of new things to try and if they are interesting enough I'll make a quick 30 second sketch. I pay attention to nature and find inspiration there. I try to find relations between things. I'm currently focusing on concepts relating to ceramics. Connections / Divisions / Unity, that sort of thing. I am a photographer as well so having those concepts and connections already there is great but applying them to a new medium is not dead simple. It just takes some time and thought and has to run through your own "filter" to become yours. The more it resonates with you the more likely it is to be yours.

I think that what you technically try to do depends on what you ultimately want to create. If it requires terra sig, then you go figure it out. If it requires a larger amount of clay than you are used to you practice until you can do it. I've got a million failed experiments that end up being inspiration and it does stretch your limits to try and do things that you have not done before. If you always throw big, start thinking about the concept of smaller (many of you may have already seen this amazingly small work http://www.viralnova.com/jon-almeda/) either by making smaller work or working in the abstract concept of small. If you usually throw small, same thing, try to do something bigger. If you tire of your glazes, go look at a wal-mart parking lot and imagine creating a glaze that looks like the oil stains after a quick rain.

 

I love love love GiselleNo5's concept "Dancing on the edge of failure". (I'm totally stealing that btw, I hope you dont mind ;-D )

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Pres, it is stoneware. If I wait until the added pieces are leather hard, they won't bend enough to wrap around the form. I am going to try shaping, bending them over plaster hump molds to firm up some. They might firm up some with the bend dried into them. I used slip made with magic waer. Does that make sense?

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I am struggling with the feet of my tripods and have to practice and pratice..... Since I want to give every tripod a special foot that relates to the form, it is hard to find feet forms that arent warping in the kiln or giving me other problems. But strangely I am always thinking of even more complicate feet forms than thinking of simpler ones. That's me, always looking for trouble.... :lol:

 

Good topic Pres!

 

Evelyne

Evelyne,

Have you ever tried firing the tripods upside down on the rims of the bowl? That might prevent warping.

Marcia

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I may regret saying this, but there's one way of stretching your limits that I haven't seen discussed.  This way is making something that almost no one else is making, so that every solution you come up with is new, at least in terms of contemporary studio wares.

 

I'm currently doing this.  It's a type of ware that a lot of folks might consider politically incorrect.  But the world is changing, and I see no reason why glass artists should break all the new ground.

 

These are effigy pipes.  Also one-piece water pipes:

post-65900-0-02810600-1437871848_thumb.jpg

post-65900-0-34831700-1437871876_thumb.jpg

post-65900-0-02810600-1437871848_thumb.jpg

post-65900-0-34831700-1437871876_thumb.jpg

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