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GoneFishing

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  1. Just gonna leave this here... :-) https://justpaint.org/painting-on-ceramics-with-acrylics/
  2. That seems so odd to me! A lot of sculptors make maquettes (smaller versions of large works) in clay for later scaling up and also many high-paid sculptors work in clay as their primary piece to make plaster (or other) molds from for bronzes at the foundry. To my way of thinking: Design, balance, structural integrity, texture and (most importantly) thinking in 3d can all be easily learned with clay before attempting to go into something more difficult, expensive or time-consuming like wood or steel. Many 2d students that I've taught have absolutely no idea how to think in terms of 3d and what the unseen portions of something might or should look like. Clay is a fast, easy way to get them over that hurdle. I've also taught 2d students to use modeling clay to fashion a miniature of what they were drawing to help them see how it's shadow might look in certain situations. I used that all the time back when in illustration work to make sure my shadows looked correct.
  3. It makes total sense to do this in a classroom setting. You have knowledge about glazes which should be passed down to the students in a ceramics environment where the end result is not going to have as much importance (so lessons can be learned) as studio works by someone making art for a living (and all the freedoms/pitfalls that presents). But at some point, students who stick with it after graduation will see that there are alternatives/cold finishes which - more and more as time goes on - are acceptable by the larger world of art for non-functional works. It's nice to know that there are other instructors that are allowing cold finishes because that's where the world of 3d ceramic works - in part - has been heading. I see many examples of alternatives on Instagram all the time, from galleries and museums to studio artists. It's a big world, lots of different things to try. I'm not a huge fan of boxes or rule/limits.
  4. Why don't you build your pieces out of glass or steel or wood? Put yourself in my place and think for a minute how you would react if someone asked you - someone who has worked in clay for a long time - that? Why did Rodin make his final pieces bronze? Why did Van Gogh use oils instead of tempera? Why does any artist choose their medium of choice? It just seems like an odd question to me for this particular thread about "cold finishes". Given that people were seemingly attacking my choice of cold finishes, it seemed like yet one more odd thing to ask, IMO. First, it would have been harder (for me) to make it out of anything BUT clay. I don't have wood carving/finishing tools or machines to work metals. Cardboard or fabric would have been too flimsy. Add to that the fact that I work in clay (as I had for the last 10 years) for most of my 3d works. I was in the middle of creating many pieces for an upcoming show. Clay is a wonderful, plastic medium that can assume many shapes easily and quickly. And I had about 100 pounds of it available at the time. As I already stated, I liked the challenge. Having those cubes stay in place without sagging (though they did sag a tiny bit) or cracking (which they did not) and then wanted to mimic metal with my finish. Try to build something like this sometime, it's not easy, but I think the piece succeeds. Plus the symbology of the cubes being held from moving by the tiny red sphere. The piece is called "Women" because of how many systems are held together and would fail without them.
  5. Exactly my thinking. The end look is everything on non-functional pieces. Are they potentially fragile? Yes, and so is glass sculpture, so are many types of sculptural works, even those which are vitrified. (Check out jennifer mccurdy's work sometime if you want to see things that are far more fragile than mine!) There seems to be some here that want to put me in a curmudgeonly camp of not agreeing/arguing with people about "what is ceramic" or "what is acceptable", when my question was basically "what do YOU find acceptable", which means there are no Right or Wrong answers. But I can't exactly sit back and have people say "you aren't doing it right" or "you aren't using good craftsmanship" or some other silliness like "why did you build that out of clay?" without defending myself a bit. It's hard to hear tone, and most of what I've said has been done so with a good attitude and an open mind, naysayers notwithstanding. I was going to bring up the indigenous people's methods here as well yesterday but decided to let it rest. People who throw mugs and pots and other functional wares are used to what they're used to and possibly aren't thinking outside their own realm when it comes to non-functional, sculptural wares. But the two types of work are totally different creatures and have totally different approaches, uses, acceptance and perceptions. It seems rather silly to think of one of my pieces as having to go under the rigors of a dishwasher-microwave-food-safe vitrified mug when it's simply there to be a piece of art and give a space interest and give someone joy when they add it to their collection and home or office or get it as a gift. As to paint flaking, chipping, etc... I use a very thin wash of color and do this in a series of layers that gradually soak into the fired clay, so it's not like the top layer is sitting there waiting to flake off. Believe me, it doesn't, hasn't and this is on over 140 pieces using this technique. These are pigment heavy professional paints and dyes, not typical craft paint. I've tried to scratch off paint on some of my pieces and it won't come off, it needs to be sanded off fairly deeply. As well, I often use a matte or gloss indoor/outdoor varnish (in some cases a varnish that is used on car engines and can withstand weather as well as 2000º) for additional protection over the paint layer. In some cases I use a spray-on enamel. In some cases I use glass paint that is "fired" on in the oven at 400º as an additional layer if some of my colors aren't quite bright enough or the velvet underglazes don't quite color up like I want on the first/only firing. It does a great job and is very permanent. As to the piece going outdoors... well... I think I've already spoken to that. Thanks for everyone's input, even those who seemed to be itching for an argument or had an ax to grind. Life's too short, especially when it comes to a subject as non-confrontational as "cold finish". Perhaps I stumbled into a hornet's nest and those who are against cold finishes or bisque-fired-only pieces released some pent up angst and are now feeling better. I come away from this thread smarter than I entered it. Cheers!
  6. I got into sculpting in 2007 when I wanted to represent dimensional structure more for a solo show I had coming up dealing with houses. That first set were all bisque and all painted. That started my obsession with clay. I began to make more sculptural pieces with time and, to me, (maybe I'm wrong) they are sculptures, not paintings. I don't always paint the surface, some I did low-fire bisque glazes and stopped at that point. But if you want to think of me as a painter, that's no problem. As long as anyone is looking at my work, that's half the battle! :-) Also, I have no degree, I went from high school right into a professional position as an illustrator at the Saturday Evening Post company. It wasn't probably the best start for an artist but I learned so much more practical, work-based knowledge than I would have ever learned at college and did a lot of reading on my own in the evenings to get the aesthetic and history stuff that I was missing out on. As far as group critique, I got an awful lot of that at that first job and the 2nd one ( not to mention outright rejection of work! ) and that will thicken your skin faster than anything. Stand in front of a publishing house owner and their staff and try to defend your poorly-done illustrations. It's trial by fire.
  7. The 2nd firing is only needed if the piece is to be functional and hold water or be handled a little rougher without any caution for breakage. My work is almost all non-functional, except for some LED tealight pieces that I've made in the past or incense burners. Most of it sits on people's shelves in their homes or display cases. I've got several of them myself and none have experienced any damage to date and I started the process of working this way over 10 years ago. Does 2nd firing make the piece more sturdy? Of course. I'm not arguing that point at all. Does it make it ceramic? (uh oh, here we go again!) Well, both are ceramics in my book. Yes, my work is slightly more fragile than a twice-fired piece. But I'd bet both would bust into pieces if they hit a concrete floor. :-) As far as poor craftmanship? Again, your opinion, not mine. Simply defending my opinion isn't arguing with experts, it's all basically opinions on this subject anyway. There is no "right" and "wrong" on the subject of cold finishes, only open or closed minds. As of today, more people have chimed in and there are even more opinions here on the subject, many are aligned more with mine. Uh, and thanks for the compliment? LOL... ETA: Look up "bisque sculpture" in Google and be amazed at how many examples - both in and out of museums - are there. I guess they're all poor craftsmen? ;-) As well, the definition for "bisque" which I've seen in many places states it's ceramic. Just thought I'd add that little tidbit here for your edification since you have stated you are a novice.
  8. Thank you so much, you are validating all the things I've been thinking the last few days. Perhaps my question was a catalyst to help potters and other clay sculptors either open their minds a tiny bit or slam them shut permanently. TBH, I really didn't understand the "outdoors" thing at all, most high-end ceramics that people pay a fortune for don't end up outdoors for any reason. I also thought about the gold leaf situation and was going to bring that up, but by that point I had thrown up my hands and walked away from this for a bit.
  9. Yes, they are, in many cases, very fragile. But there are sturdy ones as well. I don't own a kiln and transport to the kiln I use is a tricky proposition (picture lots of packing materials and a car-load of boxes!). So taking them back home, glazing them and then yet another 50-mile transport to and from the kiln over hilly and bumpy roads, (not to mention a 2nd firing) is a lot of risk to take on for me, especially for the commissioned pieces. If I owned a kiln, I'd probably take much bigger risks with the work since it would only be moved from the bench to the kiln in each case.
  10. I like challenges. :-) And I had clay and like making challenging sculptures with it.
  11. And several said it doesn't really matter and not to worry about it, so I took both as answers and was fine with that. However, then you put words in my mouth and mischaracterized my original question which I find odd, especially for a moderator to do, especially to a new person to the forum. Your response to my defense of my own question seems rude to me and not very welcoming and not very good moderation, IMO. Bye.
  12. I'm not sure any of my pieces (other than my concrete works) live outside in anyone's yard. It would be the same as putting one of my paintings outside in the yard. The chances of someone putting a table-top sculpture of mine in their yard is pretty slim.
  13. No, that's not what I asked at all. Here's my original question: "Are alternative finishes a big no-no in the ceramic world at large?" and my title was/is "Question about alternative finishes for ceramics, Acceptance by ceramic artists." The subject is (and was supposed to be) general acceptance by ceramic artists of cold finishes. Others may have delved into the "is it art" question, and I might have replied a bit, but that was not my original intent with this thread at all. I'm not sure where you got "is this ceramics?" or "is this art". I know what I make is art, I'm very much not worried about that. And for my money, what I make 3d pieces with is ceramics. :-)
  14. Just for a clarification, they actually told me "Because they are painted, not glazed".
  15. Here, again, is a wrong assumption about the different types of work and my stance on them in general. I doubt someone would look at my work and look at the work of a production potter and say they are in the "same category". But they are both in the same broader group called "ceramics" in my view. We can agree to disagree on that. I'm not putting any one's art/craft down at all. I love all things clay. But a beautiful, unique fired and glazed vase, IMO, isn't in the same category as an interesting, non-functional sculpture. This isn't to say that they aren't both valuable or great art, but one could be utilitarian if the end user wanted it to be (or it could just sit on a shelf as decor) and one can only ever be a sculpture. It's not up to me to make a pronouncement that they are "art" or not, but I feel they both are regardless. I've come full circle on the question of "craft" as well. I think there is definitely art in the ability to throw a 1/8th inch thin, 18 inch tall vase. I can't begin to do it (I can't even throw a mug!). And if it's glazed in some amazing way and results in a successful piece, for me that's art. And the ability to repeat that exact vase/pot/plate/tray/whatever, over and over... that's pretty amazing. It's actually easier to create one-of-a-kind in that regard, even if the piece takes longer. I've been totally misunderstood a lot in my life, so having it happen here is just same stuff, different day. I'm used to it!
  16. Well, I tend to think it's a level playing field. We're all out there playing the best we can. I've seen pots that have left me breathless and sculptures that I wouldn't have bothered firing had I been the artist. And to speak to finishes, I am fascinated by glazes as well and think some of them are amazing. The reason I like cold finishes is the control and not being a production potter, I spend up to 3 weeks on one piece. I don't want to chance going into the kiln again with a potential disaster on something I've spent almost 200 hours on. I think that's the difference. A potter can throw 20 mugs a day, it's no big deal if one doesn't turn out right, they still have 19. This isn't a judgement thing either, it's a numbers thing. I can't replace each unique piece I build and everything I build is one-of-a-kind. So, IMO, a lot more is at stake for me when it comes to the finish of the surface. Not to say that pots aren't valueable, but if you put time into the equation, they are easier to reproduce. When I go to the bisque firing, I am a nervous wreck, both taking the pieces there and bringing them home! :-)
  17. Here's a sculpture that took me a while to complete the "faux bronze" finish on. "Empty Nester", 11 inches tall. Finally finished her today!
  18. I think this is where there may be a bit of misunderstanding. Like many other cold-finish adherents, I really am not trying to "create the same look". I could easily buy standard glazes and fire my works a 2nd time in the traditional manner. Instead, I'm trying to do something totally different, something unique and new. We've all seen what glazes can do but we haven't seen all that alternative finishes can do. That's what excites me and keeps me in the game.
  19. I've done that for resin casting! It's so process-heavy and error-laden. Very difficult stuff, same with foundry work. It's one of the reasons I wanted a less "surprise" more controllable finish on things. Little did I know how many surprises were waiting anyway. Ha!
  20. Oh, no worries. I've been creating and selling works like this for 10 years now. Since I'm new here I wanted to get some opinions and "read the room". From what I can see this forum is mostly pot throwers and very traditional (not that there's anything wrong with that). I think sculptors and slab builders are sort of a ceramics anomaly in the grand scheme. I like being an anomaly. :-)
  21. I wish you knew how many times I've sanded and sand-blasted off or used solvents/alcohol to get various cold finishes off that didn't work out right. A lot of experimenting and trial and error there too, we don't just paint over the mistakes. I just got done spending an hour re-doing a finish that didn't take to the burnished clay like I thought it would. A disaster at first, but we all have disasters. Mine I guess I can take back off. Glaze? Hmm, not so much. :-)
  22. At the end of the day, I make work that I have no reservations about. And the co-op gallery in question was the only gallery (in over 30 years of being in galleries) that has ever rejected work of mine out of hand. It was actually too far away from where I lived anyway, so I let it slide. My question here was more "in general" about attitudes toward alternative finishes. I see already that there are various viewpoints, some of which I agree with, others... well. :-) The world of ceramics is always changing and there are many new, exciting and interesting ways to use and finish ceramics as art, so some of the more "purist" types may drag their feet when it comes to progression. It's always surprising when a group of people that normally is creative and open minded takes a stance against any type of new approach. But I have also found divides between oil and acrylic artists, modern and traditional artists, production potters vs. one-of-a-kind ceramacists, and more. I guess that's just how we humans are wired! :-) ETA: Glazes are made from silica, metal oxides, sodium, potassium, calcium, alumina... they aren't clay at all. Should we perhaps call all ceramics "mixed media" ? :-)
  23. In many cases, they actually are glazed with velvet underglazes. As to perceived value, my works sell for the same basic price structure that fired glaze pieces do, so I'm not sure what you're getting at here. As to permanence, it's hard to see how a piece that's finished with paint or wax is going to fare any worse than a glazed piece if it's not broken and not buried. I'm not sure how much I truly care about my work surviving being unearthed a few thousand years from now. That's definitely not the approach I use when I create something and I doubt it is with many artists. It seems like something to use as a strong argument against doing anything other than glazes, however.
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