Glazed Teeth

June 18, 2009

Unfortunately, these are probably the only glazed teeth that will ever exist… At least for now!  I’m so in love with the watercolor/wax technique that I plan on just focusing on developing that further and leaving glaze by the wayside.  Trying to glaze the teeth on all sides just became a complete nightmare and I’ve decided to give up on glaze for now.  Sadly, I also ruined the work of many other people during my glaze disasters so…  Perhaps if I ever own my own kiln and can run my own firings without anyone else’s work being affected, then I would bring glaze back into these pieces, but for now I love the wax, and I’m not sure why I would ever glaze these again!

Anyways, here’s all the pieces that survived the many disasters of the glaze kiln:

A crawly glaze

A crawly glaze

A pretty layered celadon mix

A pretty layered celadon mix

I love when Shinos do ridiculous things like this...

I love when Shinos do ridiculous things like this...

Another greasy looking crawler

Another greasy looking crawler

Another oddly textured one

Another oddly textured one

The first of the itty bitty ones

The first of the itty bitty ones

Itty Bitty Number 2

Itty Bitty Number 2

Another mini

Another mini

Last of the surviving glazed

Last of the surviving glazed

So yeah!  Glazed teeth.  If you have any questions about the glaze combos on each of these, feel free to ask–in theory I know what they all are…!  Next up I’ll either finally share the glaze disaster story(ies) or post some better photos of all the waxed teeth…

Sculpture Residency!!

May 14, 2009

Oh!  And I got a residency!!  I got the official acceptance letter today (even though I’ve known about it for a few weeks now) with the handbook and request for a deposit.  Of course it has to cost money, which is most unfortunate, but they’ve agreed to pay for half through grant aid and work study, so I figure I ought to be able to save up the rest.  It isn’t until November, so I have plenty of time to prepare for it (which is really good–if it was this summer as I’d originally hoped, I wouldn’t be ready for it!!) and it’s at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnston, VT.  I’ll be going for sculpture for a month from November 22-December 18.  It’s sort of unfortunate that it falls on Thanksgiving, but seeing as I don’t really go home for the holiday anyways (VA is pretty far to travel for only a weekend), I don’t really mind.  And winter in Vermont will just mean that there really isn’t anything else to do except concentrate on my work, and isn’t that the whole point of a residency?  So I’m pretty psyched about that.  I didn’t have to specify any plans about how I want to spend my time there, but I’ve got a few ideas…  so we’ll see where I’m actually at when November rolls around…

And since I went ahead and started a new entry, I might as well try to do some catch up work:

3 "Mini" teeth, Blue box of real wisdom teeth (donated by Casey--thanks Casey!!), and beginning of a new "giant" tooth

3 "Mini" teeth, Blue box of real wisdom teeth (donated by Casey--thanks Casey!!), and beginning of a new "giant" tooth

Finished "giant" tooth, realistically modeled after oe of Casey's wisdom teeth--pictured side by side to give a sense of scale

Finished "giant" tooth, realistically modeled after one of Casey's wisdom teeth--pictured side by side to give a sense of scale

Completed mold of Casey's wisdom tooth

Completed 3-part mold of Casey's wisdom tooth

First successful porcelain cast of Casey's wisdom tooth

First successful porcelain cast of Casey's wisdom tooth

"Mini" teeth glazed and waiting for their turn in the Cone 10 Reduction Kiln... sadly none of these survived, they all melted into a disastrous pile

"Mini" teeth glazed and waiting for their turn in the Cone 10 Reduction Kiln... sadly none of these survived, they all melted into a disastrous pile

Tooth on a post, waiting for Cone 10 Reduction Kiln--I promise I'll tell the story of the ruined teeth soon... the wound is still a little too raw, even after all these weeks...

Tooth on a post, waiting for Cone 10 Reduction Kiln--I promise I'll tell the story of the ruined teeth soon... the wound is still a little too raw, even after all these weeks...

I’ve also been working on some EVEN BIGGER teeth than the biggest ones pictured here.  Two have been modeled and molded, but not cast yet so… hopefully they will all work as intended.  I’m finishing up the last of them this weekend and will test cast them after I return from VA in another week and a half so stay tuned for more on those… Plus the horrific glaze kiln disaster story, and pics of the new waxed teeth that I’m loving!  I haven’t actually photographed any of them yet (hopefully they won’t all be sold before I have a chance!), so I’ll try to do a lot of that this weekend before leaving the city.  So don’t touch that dial!  I’ll be right back with more…

Glaze Tests

April 13, 2009

I got my first batch of glazed teeth out of the cone 10 reduction kiln last week and it was a complete disaster.  I’ve been too depressed by the loss to write much or even go to studio (plus I worked 6 days in a row at the bakery so that put a damper on progress as well), so I guess I’ll show some of my initial glaze tests to prepare for telling the depressing glaze kiln story.  I did these before I had any cast teeth to test glazes on, so I just used some abandoned pottery (there’s lots hanging around the studio) to try out some of the studio glazes since they are all completely unfamiliar to me.  For the most part, I stuck with glazes that were white, yellow or some variation of the two.  I threw in a couple that I was just curious about, like a blood red copper glaze and a carbon trap and made a matrix to try every combination of the 10 or 11 glazes so that I could see how they interacted when overlapped.  Basically I dipped each plate or bowl in one glaze, then painted on a layer of each of the 1o other glazes, counter-clockwise so I would be able to figure out which was which when they came out of the kiln.  Here’s some photos, highlighting some of my favorite effects from each sample.

A porcelain block with all the samples overlapping an ice blue celadon

A porcelain block with all the samples overlapping an ice blue celadon

The top right glaze has been duplicated on a tooth--it is one of the few that survived the disaster kiln

The top right glaze has been duplicated on a tooth--it is one of the few that survived the disaster kiln--here it is on stoneware, not porcelain

This is also one of the few glazes replicated on a tooth that survived the disaster kiln--here it is on one of the porcelain shards from Post-Processualism

This is also one of the few glazes replicated on a tooth that survived the disaster kiln--here it is on one of the porcelain shards from Post-Processualism

Hard to see what's going on, but I like a lot of it!  The far right glaze was successfully duplicated but had to be chiseled out of the kiln in pieces...

Hard to see what's going on, but I like a lot of it! The far right glaze was successfully duplicated but had to be chiseled out of the kiln in pieces...

Love this glaze--have yet to duplicated it...

Love this glaze--have yet to duplicate it...

Some blood reds... not sure yet if they're appropriate for this piece, but there's definitely lots of potential for future pieces...

Some blood reds... not sure yet if they're appropriate for this piece, but there's definitely lots of potential for future pieces...

Next time I’ll either show some images from the glaze disaster kiln, or finally give a slip-casting/mold-making demo…

Nightmare Teeth

April 1, 2009

Cast Porcelain Teeth

Cast Porcelain Teeth

As usual, the blog is about a month behind where I actually am in studio, so let’s start catching up a bit!  I guess it’s time to finally reveal something about the big spring project that I’ve been hinting at.  It’s about teeth!  Shocking, I know.  I’m working on a large scale sculpture/installation based on nightmares about teeth.  You know, that super common one everyone seems to have where all their teeth fall out in a number of gruesome ways.  Personally, mine are always slightly different.  Sometimes it starts with one wiggly tooth that you push back and forth with your tongue, sometimes it starts with a tough piece of toast.  Sometimes they fall out with little trouble, sometimes they crumble, and sometimes they pour out in a seemingly infinite wave.  Regardless of the means, the end result is always the same:  I’ve lost all my teeth and am completely mortified and horrified.

After researching a little about the supposed psychological origins of this dream (add to all this the fact that I grind  my teeth in my sleep as well) and discovering that it is THE most commonly shared dream among… well… humans, it occured to me that a sculptural response was necessary.  For whatever reason, the idea of a dreamcatcher for teeth popped into my head and has haunted me for about a year now.  Versions of what this “dreamcatcher” might look like, how it might function, where it might live have been floating around in my head for months.  I spent some time just researching teeth on their own (and the various diseases and viruses that plague them) and since have become completely fascinated by these bizarre bones/organs. 

From the beginning, I knew it would be porcelain, given the fact that the most accurate dentures are made of porcelain, as well as its permanence.  This idea of teeth as permanent (and yet we have to work so hard to keep them!) stuck in my head and what better means to signal this idea than the permanence of porcelain.  I also wanted them to be slipcast and therefore hollow.  This would make them incredibly fragile (and maybe even some in the sculpture would be broken open, revealing their instability as functional objects?), signaling our ideas about the perfection of teeth and what lenths we’ll go to in order to keep them perfect.  The rest I’m sort of making up as I go.  There have been thoughts about velvet gums, leather cord, and a big luxurious bed with a hand-sewn duvet cover… those are still up in the air.  In the meantime, I’ve begun working on the teeth themselves by creating some “miniature” versions for testing glazes, firing techniques and hanging/display techniques.  I call them “miniature” because they are smaller scale than what the final pieces will be (close to the size of your head?), but they are much larger than life size–about the size of the palm of my hand.

I made some teeth models just from my imagination and began the mold-making process

I made some teeth models just from my imagination and began the mold-making process--about to pour the 3rd part of a 4-part mold

A finished 4-part mold, that produces 2 teeth

A finished 4-part mold, that produces 2 teeth

Prepping the slip--probably one of my all-time favorite parts of the slip-casting process

Prepping the slip--probably one of my all-time favorite parts of the slip-casting process

Opening the mold after it's first cast

Opening the mold after its first cast

A pair of finished cast teeth, ready for the kiln

A pair of finished cast teeth, ready for the kiln

Part I:  Test Teeth Mold-Making!

Next time, Part II:  Casting, casting, casting!

Since I don’t have a title for this project yet, let’s just call it… Dreamcatcher for now…

Studio Show

March 22, 2009

It hardly counts as a show, but I set up a small selection of the tiles, both framed and in piles, at the Harvard Ceramic studio in one of the showcases we often use to highlight members’ work.  For the most part, no one knew what to make of it as there isn’t much in the way of conceptual work made at the studio, but that sort of made it all the more fun in that lots of people had questions and it sort of gave me an extra opportunity to practice talking about it.  The pieces were there for probably 2-3 weeks immediately following de-installation at the Arsenal and now are all back in their respective boxes, stored in my living room until I can find some other use or opportunity to show them…  A handful of the smaller shards has made fantastic test tiles for glazes for the next project, and I’m thinking of assembling more shards into some place settings for “A Place at the Table,” a Harvard community project I’ve been helping out with.  Other than that, no time for lots of writing or anything informative–I still plan on posting a complete budget for this project, and then it will be on to photos of the next project in progress!

studioshow2

studioshow1

studioshow3

studioshow4

Unemployed!

March 13, 2009

So my first full week of unemployment has been crraaazzyy!   First of all, I’m not actually unemployed.  The day after my last day as a designer I started training at a local bakery, thank god not as a baker because I would ruin it, but as a front store, pastry selling, barista, sandwich making, etc. person.  I had 3 training shifts, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday and my first full official shift today!  Inbetween those I’ve been running errands, making various doctors appointments before my insurance runs out, trying to get a bit done in studio, and getting really really sick.  In fact, my first day with NOTHING on the calendar, when I was supposed to get sooooo much work done in studio, some sort of flu-like illness swept in and completely knocked me out.  So that’s been lame.  But there have been lots of other insane stories like the most ridiculous bus/crazy bag lady/public transportation story EVER (maybe one of these days when I have nothing else to post I’ll write about it–I wish I had taken some photos to back me up because it’s too good to be true) AND my apartment building caught on fire!  In fact, the trucks and crowds are gathered outside right now.  Any normal person might take all this as a sign that maybe they shouldn’t have made this rash decision to ditch design in favor of art-making, but instead I’m blissfully posting photos from the de-installation as the fire trucks battle the flames next door, with tissues stuck up my nose to stem the endless flow…

An overview half way through de-installing aka. sorting out the mess...

An overview half way through de-installing aka. sorting out the mess...

I was amazed at how much people had re-arranged things on their own...

I was amazed at how much people had re-arranged things on their own...

I liked these shadows that were left...

I liked these shadows that were left...

A different kind of shadow--left from brushing aside unsalvageable shards to find the nice big pieces that were left

A different kind of shadow--left from brushing aside unsalvageable shards to find the nice big pieces that were left

Boxing up the last of it...

Boxing up the last of it...

What now you ask?  Well… I still don’t really know.  Basically every page was broken.  I was pleasantly amazed to find a few complete sheets–sometimes even super thin ones–at the bottom of some of the stacks.  The weight must have been balanced exactly right, and the stars aligned when I set those down, for them to have survived 6 weeks with 100 other ceramic pages on top.  It’s possible there will be future showings of the piece, each one more degraded, broken and with more missing information than the last.  I feel a little weird about showing it anywhere other than the Arsenal, but maybe if the actual information is unintelligible anyways, it doesn’t matter?  I’m not sure, I haven’t really decided yet… In any event, they did have a mini show at the ceramics studio immediately following the de-installation.  So next time I post something, I’ll include some photos of that.  And maybe a crazy bus lady story or two…

The Show

January 14, 2009

The "staircase" display when you first walk in the door.

The "staircase" display when you first walk in the door.

 I finally managed to find some time to drop by the Arsenal and take some photos of the completed piece so here they are!  I also received this link to a flickr page that RISD is maintaining for the show.  It has images of all the work in the show (in case you can’t come see it in person) and will supposedly be updated with photos from the opening at some point.  Of course these photos are not even vaguely equivalent to seeing the work in person, but it’s a good start.  And lastly, I’ve started my own YouTube Channel.  Originally I opened it just to post the one video in the previous post, but now that it’s there I might as well put other things on it!  There’s only one additional video right now, but I hope to post a couple more of both this piece and the Paper Jungle.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Installation Photos!

The final layout of stacks and piles
The final layout of stacks and piles
Broken Tiles Pile
Broken Tiles Pile
Single Broken Sheet
Single Broken Sheet
You can even see all the dirt on the fabric/tiles from people going up and down the stairs
You can even see all the dirt on the fabric/tiles from people going up and down the stairs
Post-Processualism = Archaeological Theory related to Post-Modernism
Post-Processualism = Archaeological Theory related to Post-Modernism
View from the 2nd Floor, looking down
View from the 2nd Floor, looking down
A couple of the framed pieces, scattered throughout the gallery
A couple of the framed pieces, scattered throughout the gallery
One of my favorites
One of my favorites
Some of the frames in context
Some of the frames in context
They are purposefully scattered in forgotten places
They are purposefully scattered in forgotten places
Oftentimes the forgotten spaces are unlit, making photographing the pieces quite difficult
Oftentimes the forgotten spaces are unlit, making photographing the pieces quite difficult
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