Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bigger isn't better...

Here are the 3 big pots that I was working on. I'm moderately pleased with them. I think the bases are too narrow...if I could chop 6 inches off the bottom of that middle one I think it would be perfect. The termination of the textures are up for debate...it stops where it does because it became too stiff to impress, I'll have to take that into account in the future. It seems like you can get away with a lot more with big pots because of the impressive quality of the scale, so it's important to maintain a critical eye. I like to look at the pieces and imagine them in a smaller scale...would they still pass muster? I've heard my grad school prof say(over and over) bigger isn't better, bigger is just bigger, a good thing to keep in mind. The tallest is 36", the pot on the left has 85 pounds of clay in it...I lost track of the other 2.


I made some plates and a few yunomi with my new clay...I like the way it feels, a little sandy but not too gritty, perfect.


One of the important things to me is the texture of the clay when it's been tooled. I like it to have a consistent light gritty texture. I can't stand fine bodied clays with large grog...bleh! This clay is comprised of stoneware clays, kaolin and ball clay. It uses 60 mesh sand and 48 mesh grog. This looks pretty good to me.



I made this plate from the trimming chuck for the above plates...before I pulled the wall all the way out I pinched four corners(kinda like a pitcher spout) and then contined pulling and ribbing. I kinda like it, it has potential.



Cheers!

6 comments:

KaratsuPots said...

Hello Brandon,

Impressive jars and plates. You are right about jars, it is easy to get wrapped up in the scale and forget the details. There is some sort of saying here about that, I don't remember specifically, but it paraphrases as something like "the rim is the life of the jar" or something like that. The 4 pinched corners on the plate are a nice touch. Hank Murrow from Oregon does a little thing like that with some of his forms, uses a thick piece of leather folded over the lip and pinches through that.
What kind of sand are you using? A silica sand that is refractory, or a feldspathic sand that will melt? We have a lot of the feldspathic stuff around here, weathered porcelain stone, etc... that works a real treat in clay bodies. I like it much better than grog because it becomes part of the pot.
Always love reading your posts...
Mike

Mesnic said...

Great stuff. Jars look good, but I think you are right, to narrow at the base... textures are wonderful I think they ended at the perfect spot, can't wait to see them glazed. Thanks for writing ... very informative and some damned impressive work

Hollis Engley said...

Lovely big pots, Brandon. I don't know that I agree that the bases are too narrow. They have a bit of the look of old Mediterranean amphora, which came to a point at the base for storage in the hold of a ship. But I do think you've got a choice about how narrow that foot is. Lovely work, in any case.

Brian said...

Ultimately, you decide if the foot is too narrow, but I'm with Hollis. I think they give the large forms a bit more lift than the standard 'wider' storage pot type form.

brandon phillips said...

Thanks for the kind words guys. I am happy with the pots but I think it's important to maintain a critical eye and keep in mind that there is always room for improvement. It can come across as being too self-critical but it's not, it's really just a way of moving forward by keeping an open mind.

I tell my students that if you get to the point where you can look at your own work and say "eh, it's good enough," then you've hit a wall and it's time to get away from clay for awhile. There are enough mediocre artists in the world, keep raising the bar.

Mike-I'm using silica sand. We don't have feldspathic sand available through any of the local suppliers...I know it's out there but the clay suppliers don't have it. I have to admit though that I love the texture after the firing, I'm afraid I might lose some of that with feldspathic sand. It sounds like something to experiment with someday.

Scott Cooper said...

I totally agree about scale and quality. Randy Schmidt at ASU summed it up nicely: "Big and bad is just more bad."