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Kohaku

Proportions

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MAY 27- new image added

JUNE 22- new image added

JULY 23- new image added

 

 

As I develop as a potter, I'm becoming increasingly sensitive to proportion and flow in my work.

 

I'll often create a piece these days, and have an instantaneous, overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction with the form I just generated. Sometimes this leads to smashing things in a fit of pique... but other times I second-guess my own instincts.

 

Overall, I think it's a healthy process... but I'm not always able to completely quantify why I'm dissatisfied with a particular piece.

 

Anyhow, I may post an example here once in awhile, in hopes of an objective opinion or two.

 

Here's a garden lantern I assembled a couple days ago. Something about this piece strikes me as a bit off... but I can't quite pin down whether the stand is too narrow for the top elements, or or whether I don't like the depth and curve of the top piece.

 

Or... maybe I'm just a bit too twitchy these days.

 

Thoughts?

 

IMG_1521_zpsd5a08374.jpg

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As I develop as a potter, I'm becoming increasingly sensitive to proportion and flow in my work.

 

I'll often create a piece these days, and have an instantaneous, overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction with the form I just generated. Sometimes this leads to smashing things in a fit of pique... but other times I second-guess my own instincts.

 

Overall, I think it's a healthy process... but I'm not always able to completely quantify why I'm dissatisfied with a particular piece.

 

Anyhow, I may post an example here once in awhile, in hopes of an objective opinion or two.

 

Here's a garden lantern I assembled a couple days ago. Something about this piece strikes me as a bit off... but I can't quite pin down whether the stand is too narrow for the top elements, or or whether I don't like the depth and curve of the top piece.

 

Or... maybe I'm just a bit too twitchy these days.

 

Thoughts?

 

IMG_1521_zpsd5a08374.jpg

 

 

 

You already said it. I think base is needs more strength. But don't go wrecking it yet. Maybe sippmple as adding platform below legs. Or "earth ring" if you will. I think that the the designs strength is weakened by weaker base. At first glance I'd be weary of it toppling over.

The top is on point design wise.

 

The traditional legged lanterns I've seen all had beefier legs.

 

I'd be proud to own it as is. But if I had to pick between one with stronger base I'd pick stronger base.

 

Your work is very much organic..... visualizing the following may be difficult.....

On flip side of coin this composition will work in a non traditional setting, house with simple open lines, modern, steel and glass, inorganic design, Horizon pool..... (In this case a single glaze finish letting composition do all the talking).

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You already said it. I think base is needs more strength. But don't go wrecking it yet. Maybe sippmple as adding platform below legs. Or "earth ring" if you will. I think that the the designs strength is weakened by weaker base. At first glance I'd be weary of it toppling over.

The top is on point design wise.

 

The traditional legged lanterns I've seen all had beefier legs.

 

I'd be proud to own it as is. But if I had to pick between one with stronger base I'd pick stronger base.

 

Your work is very much organic..... visualizing the following may be difficult.....

On flip side of coin this composition will work in a non traditional setting, house with simple open lines, modern, steel and glass, inorganic design, Horizon pool..... (In this case a single glaze finish letting composition do all the talking).

 

 

Thanks... that backs up some of my own thinking. Much obliged.

 

The funny thing is that it's almost a direct translation from my sketch book... and I liked it just fine as a drawing. Odd how the extra dimension can change your thinking...

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I like it. For me the weak parts are where you make cut-outs. The bowl shape is strong, the donut in the center is strong and the piece on top is strong. The decoration is nice. The two pieces that have cut-outs, especially the bottom one are weak. By weak I don't mean they need to be bigger, thicker or stronger (even though Big Lou is right about the bottom), I mean a stronger form for the eye. It's the edges of the cut-out that are a problem. Even smoothing and rounding those edges would help some, but it needs more than that. With that said, let me repeat that I like it.

 

Don't over think it. Walk away from it for at least a day and look at it with fresh eyes.

 

Jim

Idaho Potter and Feldspathic like this

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Is that top curled object a hollow extrusion? If so, I see it filling with water when it rains then either stinking with algae or growing mosquitoes.

 

If those legs were wider apart on your next one, it would make a visually stronger base. Right now the width difference between them and the bowl shape is what throws it off, but I would not make the bowl form smaller. They could also look good shorter, wider and studier.

I think you are onto a very good form ... I like the top pieces and the base is definitely on its way to being there.

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I think the base is to weak-the form seems top heavy-mening the legs seem to little. I think it would fall over easy.

I also ope drainage is built in otherwise its someones problem.

I agree with Jim that the cut outs are the main issue .

Mark

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Thanks everyone- lots of comments here in line with what I've been thinking.

 

Chris- the top piece was thrown and cut, with caps... so no algal gardens, hopefully.

 

Aside from the width of the base, I agree that the cutouts are wrong. Apart from other considerations, the shape is almost moorish- doesn't really fit with the overall Japanese aesthetic.

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I agree with Chris and BigLou but I wouldn't trash it yet make two more and try modifications on each one and then compare. See what modifications you want to keep or throw out and then make another with your new changes. Denice

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Thanks everyone- lots of comments here in line with what I've been thinking.

 

Chris- the top piece was thrown and cut, with caps... so no algal gardens, hopefully.

 

Aside from the width of the base, I agree that the cutouts are wrong. Apart from other considerations, the shape is almost moorish- doesn't really fit with the overall Japanese aesthetic.

 

 

If the Japanese aesthetic is what you are after check out the book -Japanese Homes and their Surroundings by Edward S. Morse

I have had this book since the early 70s it a good resource.

Mark

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Thanks everyone- lots of comments here in line with what I've been thinking.

 

Chris- the top piece was thrown and cut, with caps... so no algal gardens, hopefully.

 

Aside from the width of the base, I agree that the cutouts are wrong. Apart from other considerations, the shape is almost moorish- doesn't really fit with the overall Japanese aesthetic.

 

 

If the Japanese aesthetic is what you are after check out the book -Japanese Homes and their Surroundings by Edward S. Morse

I have had this book since the early 70s it a good resource.

Mark

 

 

Cool- thanks. I need to dive into that world more deeply, since it's definitely an influence.

 

Looking at the design (and re-visiting images of some traditional lanterns that I like) one thing that's very consistent across the trad designs is that the 'plinth' (the doughnut-like piece that the actual lantern element rests on) is generally quite robust- often broader than the actual lantern element.

 

As the piece stands, I worry that broadening the base would mar the vertical flow... but I can see that a fatter plinth element might solve this. Something to incorporate for the next one.

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I love your design, enough to copy it for inspiration for my own garden. I agree with what has been said about the base. The one you made, especially with the cut outs, gives the base a lot of lift.

 

Robin Hopper's book on functional pottery has at least one chapter on form and proportion. I took some drawing and design classes hoping to get more information on this topic but did not find the classes helpful. If anyone knows of a good book about this just for potters, I would love to know about it.

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I love your design, enough to copy it for inspiration for my own garden. I agree with what has been said about the base. The one you made, especially with the cut outs, gives the base a lot of lift.

 

Robin Hopper's book on functional pottery has at least one chapter on form and proportion. I took some drawing and design classes hoping to get more information on this topic but did not find the classes helpful. If anyone knows of a good book about this just for potters, I would love to know about it.

 

 

Thanks Diane... I'd love to see the piece that you generate when it's finished.

 

In the meantime, here's another recent effort (below).

 

I love making these complex assemblages.. but again, I don't feel like my sense of proportion and flow is 100% calibrated. I generally know when a piece 'works' (I can look at a Hans Coper vessel and swoon)... whereas I can look at some of my work and see that it's not entirely 'there'... but not feel confident as to the exact reason.

 

I generally like this lantern... (I was able to restrain myself from smashing it)... but I think there are some areas for improvement. Rather than outlining these, however, I'm interested to hear what other people think...

 

1264917_orig.png

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I love your design, enough to copy it for inspiration for my own garden. I agree with what has been said about the base. The one you made, especially with the cut outs, gives the base a lot of lift.

 

Robin Hopper's book on functional pottery has at least one chapter on form and proportion. I took some drawing and design classes hoping to get more information on this topic but did not find the classes helpful. If anyone knows of a good book about this just for potters, I would love to know about it.

 

 

Thanks Diane... I'd love to see the piece that you generate when it's finished.

 

In the meantime, here's another recent effort (below).

 

I love making these complex assemblages.. but again, I don't feel like my sense of proportion and flow is 100% calibrated. I generally know when a piece 'works' (I can look at a Hans Coper vessel and swoon)... whereas I can look at some of my work and see that it's not entirely 'there'... but not feel confident as to the exact reason.

 

I generally like this lantern... (I was able to restrain myself from smashing it)... but I think there are some areas for improvement. Rather than outlining these, however, I'm interested to hear what other people think...

 

1264917_orig.png

 

 

Nice. Much stronger shape. Solved my complaint about the cut-outs elegantly! The cut-out here works.

 

Jim

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Nice. Much stronger shape. Solved my complaint about the cut-outs elegantly! The cut-out here works.

 

Jim

 

 

Cool- thanks Jim.

 

Mind you- I'm not sure that I solved your complaint so much as side stepped it. I definitely want to make lanterns with a more traditional tripod base... that's where I'll definitely need to work on a stronger base...

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Ok I'm going on first impression....

 

Bottom circle / wheel. A bit too strong. The lantern house or top should be dominant feature with base and legs supporting. Here my eye goes to wheel shape vs. moving with in composition. The wheel shape ends up demanding to much attention .....

Side view works.

Again it's a lantern I would not be ashamed of. I would be proud to own it.

 

Your first one had to delicate legs this one a little to beefy.......

 

First thought is thinner wheel, larger open circle. Possibly larger feet.

 

On second look while compositionally sound d side view . An issue with this is support system is linear, as in there is no leg support tipping forward or backward. you still have three point attachment however linear.

 

I'm imagining same design with four foot base. Or a three foot base upon wheel sits. Which leans towards traditional designs .

 

I think base must be strong (like in martial arts). It is light for both proverbial and literal pathway.

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if you hold a ruler against the photo, side view, you will notice that the center line is not in the center of the piece. otherwise looks ok. what do the local mosquitoes say about the top swimming pool for their larva? i bet they like it.

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Ok I'm going on first impression....

 

Bottom circle / wheel. A bit too strong. The lantern house or top should be dominant feature with base and legs supporting. Here my eye goes to wheel shape vs. moving with in composition. The wheel shape ends up demanding to much attention .....

Side view works.

Again it's a lantern I would not be ashamed of. I would be proud to own it.

 

Your first one had to delicate legs this one a little to beefy.......

 

First thought is thinner wheel, larger open circle. Possibly larger feet.

 

On second look while compositionally sound d side view . An issue with this is support system is linear, as in there is no leg support tipping forward or backward. you still have three point attachment however linear.

 

I'm imagining same design with four foot base. Or a three foot base upon wheel sits. Which leans towards traditional designs .

 

I think base must be strong (like in martial arts). It is light for both proverbial and literal pathway.

 

 

Thanks. You seem to have an affinity for eastern forms, so this carries a lot of weight.

 

You're quite right about the lack of support on the front-back axis. I though about making the base a disc, but was concerned that doing so would add one element too many (I'm not a big fan of the 'frosty the snowman' look). As it is, this one is definitely going to have to be an interior piece (probably put glass and a soft electric bulb in the lantern).

 

I sketched a whole range of ideas, with the 'lantern house' varying in size. This one was intermediate... but I definitely think I might have done better to make it larger.

 

Cheers...

 

David

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if you hold a ruler against the photo, side view, you will notice that the center line is not in the center of the piece. otherwise looks ok. what do the local mosquitoes say about the top swimming pool for their larva? i bet they like it.

 

 

I think this one is going to be staying indoors... as Biglou noted, the base lacks the kind of tri-point support you'd want for an outdoor feature. It'll be about 16 inches high when fired.

 

If I was going to market it as a garden piece, I'd cap the swimming pool.

 

Mind you, I live in Northern Idaho, where the mosquitos are sparse and lily-livered. Nonetheless, as a canoeist with multiple trips above the Arctic circle, I should be a bit less complacent.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

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Love the new design, but on both I keep thinking the diameter of the inverted bowl should be no larger than the base. On looking at a neighbor's lantern, the way it stands reminds me of a sumo wrestler, very firmly planted on stocky legs.

 

I have copied and saved your photo, will let you know when I make one, now that I am inspired.

 

BTW, I can send you mosquitoes that are numerous and feisty.

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Love the new design, but on both I keep thinking the diameter of the inverted bowl should be no larger than the base. On looking at a neighbor's lantern, the way it stands reminds me of a sumo wrestler, very firmly planted on stocky legs.

 

I have copied and saved your photo, will let you know when I make one, now that I am inspired.

 

BTW, I can send you mosquitoes that are numerous and feisty.

 

 

Interesting. Intuitively, I might lean towards that rule of thumb (keep the hood narrower than the base)... but the in examples I've looked, its overwhelmingly the other way (broad hood, narrower base). There are so many styles, though...

 

On the mosquitos... I'm about to take a group of students to Ecuador for a month, and there will be plenty of biting things there. Yay bullet ants...

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Love the new design, but on both I keep thinking the diameter of the inverted bowl should be no larger than the base. On looking at a neighbor's lantern, the way it stands reminds me of a sumo wrestler, very firmly planted on stocky legs.

 

I have copied and saved your photo, will let you know when I make one, now that I am inspired.

 

BTW, I can send you mosquitoes that are numerous and feisty.

 

 

Interesting. Intuitively, I might lean towards that rule of thumb (keep the hood narrower than the base)... but the in examples I've looked, its overwhelmingly the other way (broad hood, narrower base). There are so many styles, though...

 

On the mosquitos... I'm about to take a group of students to Ecuador for a month, and there will be plenty of biting things there. Yay bullet ants...

 

 

I would do some what if. Usually this would be done in a sketchbook, but in this day of technology, take the images for both into Photoshop or a comparable program. . . cut the pieces onto different layers, and resize them putting them back together to see where it takes you. I do this with things as simple as mugs, and as complex as sculptures. It often helps me get a better feel for the design.

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I would do some what if. Usually this would be done in a sketchbook, but in this day of technology, take the images for both into Photoshop or a comparable program. . . cut the pieces onto different layers, and resize them putting them back together to see where it takes you. I do this with things as simple as mugs, and as complex as sculptures. It often helps me get a better feel for the design.

 

 

Very intriguing idea. I've certainly done some sketching before getting on the wheel (varying the lantern to base ratio, for instance)... but somehow, a two-dimensional drawing never seems to convey the look of a piece once you've made it on the wheel.

 

So- you import actual photos, chop them up, and alter the dimensions?

 

I'm an extremely inexperienced Gimp user, and this would stretch me a bit... but I'm going to try it.

 

Sketches_zpsd8367d9d.png

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I would do some what if. Usually this would be done in a sketchbook, but in this day of technology, take the images for both into Photoshop or a comparable program. . . cut the pieces onto different layers, and resize them putting them back together to see where it takes you. I do this with things as simple as mugs, and as complex as sculptures. It often helps me get a better feel for the design.

 

 

Very intriguing idea. I've certainly done some sketching before getting on the wheel (varying the lantern to base ratio, for instance)... but somehow, a two-dimensional drawing never seems to convey the look of a piece once you've made it on the wheel.

 

So- you import actual photos, chop them up, and alter the dimensions?

 

I'm an extremely inexperienced Gimp user, and this would stretch me a bit... but I'm going to try it.

 

Sketches_zpsd8367d9d.png

 

 

If you are familiar with the Gimp, you can do the same in there. I think you will find it a useful tool to use when you have a photo, and at the same time you could try mix and match. Take pieces from one design and move it to another piece. I try to use as many tools as possible to visualize things, sometimes 3D with Blender, sometimes with Corel Draw, Gimp, or Photoshop. Whatever gets the job done.

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