Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Raku Firing!

Just in case you were wondering what I've been up too................

I've been working in the ceramics studio an awful lot lately working on various projects. Mostly just playing around with clay. This semester I took on an internship working with my ceramics Professor and learning the different aspects of a ceramic studio. One of the things that I've been working on is firing pieces in our small kilns here (pictured above). This is the initial firing for all of the pottery made here. It's called a bisque firing. After this firing we glaze the pieces and fire them a second time in a much larger kiln where they're fired at a higher temperature. After that firing the pieces are complete.

One of the new firing techniques I've been taught is Raku firing. This technique is where you have a bisqued piece of pottery with a special glaze on it specifically for Raku and we then fire it in a different kiln outside for about 45 minutes at very high temperatures as you can see below.

Now I don't know all of the technicalities of it all but the basics are that we take the pottery out of the kiln while it's still orange and put in inside a garbage can filled with sawdust.

After placing the pottery in the garbage can we throw a few fistfuls of sawdust on top of the red hot pieces and cover them up so they can burn some more (you can see me in the picture below getting ready to throw the sawdust on top of the pieces once placed in the garbage can).

After letting the smoke and fire die down for about 10-15 minutes in the garbage can we take them out and dunk them in water.

This type of firing is very unpredictable but so much fun and has some amazing effects when finished. There's lots of different glazes and the two cups below are Copper Penny. Very glossy and iridescent in some places.

The cylinder below was glazed with Gun Metal Black. Very cool! I think I'm going to try this on a few of my pieces. It's not very practical or functional but it's so much fun to do and the outcomes are quite stunning (most of the time).

For now though I have quite a bit of glazing to do for the regular glaze kiln. A lot of these pieces are going to be Christmas gifts and contributions to a Craft Sale that I'm helping to coordinate at school.

Back to glazing!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rain and sunshine!

The other day I was able to spend some time with some of my favorite people in the world. Most of which are 12yrs old and under! We did our lesson on Thanksgiving and went around the room sharing what everyone was thankful for. I have to admit that being thankful is something that hasn't been on my mind a lot lately. Life has thrown a lot of stuff my way in the past few weeks and I've been keeping myself too busy to be thankful. Well, that has to change or I'm going to begin to fester and rot. Here's a list of things that I am thankful for:

- the rain, so that the plants can live
- getting drenched walking in the rain
- that feeling of coming in after a good walk in the rain, changing into dry clothes, and cuddling up under a warm blanket (next to a warm fire if possible)!
- can you tell it's been raining here lately?
- the peole who love me so much in my life even though I feel completely unworthy at times
- classes that feel more like I'm playing than working (most of the time)
- thrift shops
- sleeping in (on occasion)
- sisters who never leave life dull for me (and don't either of you try to deny it)
- parents who are so full of grace and patience
- sledding (not quite time for that yet, but soon)
- friends who are completely wonderful (most of the time:)
- Most importantly though a God who created everything perfectly to fit His plan.

One of the challenges given to the kids that I work with was to write down at least one thing every night that you're thankful for before you go to bed. I think that this is something that everyone should consider doing at some point to kind of put into perspective all that God has given us. We take so much for granted and don't even consider giving thanks to God when it's due.

Well I hope that you had a Wonderful Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for!

The mysteries of life

Monday, November 13, 2006

50 years!

My Grandparents celebrated 50 years of marriage this past weekend and all of the family got together to celebrate. I love both of them so much. They are two of my greatest role models with their love of Christ, of their family, and of each other. I've been truly blessed to be raised in the family that I have with so many talented musicians. My Grandparents played a duet of a very 1950's song that was lively and fun. They claimed that their old fingers couldn't play like they used to but it was still beautiful none the less.

Here's our giant family portrait of their children and grandchildren. We make a big group of people when we're all together, which isn't as often as we'd like. Hopefully we'l have everyone back here for Christmas though.

It's the in-laws pretending to be out-laws.

It was so good to see some of my family that I haven't seen in a while. We're kind of spread apart here with some family in Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland and then I'm in Pennsylvania.
At one point I was in a caravan behind everyone to meet at the church we were headed to and everyone in our caravan had a license plate to a different plate. It was pretty bizarre.

My beautiful parents.

"Lizard" taking a sewing lesson while we eat. She's a quick learner!

I give them the camera for a minute and this is what I get back.

Here's to another 50 years!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

William Waite

This is going to be a short post today as homework is keeping me extremely busy.

At my school we have a Gallery where the Art Department features a new artist every month or so. This month the artist happens to be an artist by the name of William Waite. His content is religiously based, but it's not always obviously so. His choice of medium is highly varied and he's constantly experimenting with new materials. It has been interesting to see his work and borrow some of his techniques (which I absolutely plan on doing as soon as I have time!).

Here are just a few examples of his work:

I'm particularly fond of his canvas within a canvas paintings. They are simply stunning!