Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Shiny Fancies: Part 2--Head Cups

Ceramics is a class I took early on at the Craft Center, but never really got into it. My problem was that I'm not good at throwing, and when I went in to practice, I spent hours making mud. Mud between the fingers is very nice and soothing, but I kind of wanted to be throwing mugs and bowls and nice pretty useful things. I'd make a couple wonky vessels, then not set food in the ceramics studio for another couple years until something would spur me to try again.

Glass I like. And glass can be attached to ceramics. So I do ceramics in order to attach glass to it. And I keep practicing because maybe one of these days, something will click and my body will balance and out will come a symmetrical bowl. Until then...

I made these head cups to practice throwing off the hump. It was wonderfully freeing; since I was going to connect and sculpt the thrown shapes, it was ok if they weren't wonderful and even and it was totally fine if they leaned and had thin spots. I threw tiny saucers for the bases/necks and larger cups for the heads and didn't care if they got all distorted when I took them off the wheel.
I snapped photos of myself making different faces to sculpt the expressions, then flameworked glass eyes. Each eye was made as a miniature marble with the structure of a real eye: retina backing a clear posterior chamber then the colored iris surrounding a clear window (the lens/pupil) to the back of the eye with more clear glass (cornea) in front then white wrapped around the back for the sclera. The hot glass eyes were then squished into the clay so there would be more surface area to glue. Worked great except you can't see the eyes really well on some of the cups. Some of the girls got earrings and nose rings as well. The hair is from various sheep, alpaca and goat fleeces. Head #4 above has cormo (a very soft breed of sheep) locks from hogget 910 of Cormo Sheep and Wool Farm in Orland, California.
Head #2 above has suri alpaca locks from "Juan Valdez" of Smooth as Silk Alpaca Ranch in Deerborn, Wisconsin.

Head #3 has merino cross locks from Humble Hills Sheep and Wool Farm in Franklin, Missouri.

Head #1 has yearling mohair locks from "Otter" of Eureka Mohair Farm in Tollhouse, California.

As head cups, they obviously needed their heads filled with something besides hair. I usually work quite small; the class I teach is titled "Tiny Glass Sculptures" for a reason, but for this show, I branched out and made BIG marbles. Making big marbles is hot!

Next: more ceramics, i.e. things for glass attachment

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