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My Adventure with Ceramics.

August 11, 2011

Since classes ended last week, I’ve been basking in the glory of having nothing to do in regards to school work. I took Intro to Statistics (which was really easy for me; it’s meant as a really low-level math course and I just needed to get it out of the way) and Intro to Ceramics. So many of you helped me with suggestions when my final project rolled around and I had no idea what to do, and I wanted to make sure I shared the final product! So here’s a little tour through my work from the class.

First, we started out on the wheel with stoneware clay. I’ve never done anything quite like spinning pottery on a wheel; it’s truly a unique experience. I’m so glad I did it, but there were several days where I seriously considered just throwing in the towel.

This is from our first assignment of making 6″ tall cylinders. I’m pretty sure none of mine ended up that tall (clay shrinks a ton in the bisque and glazing process), but this one is the perfect height for my makeup brushes. The bottom was too thick and damp for the kiln in the first firing, so it blew off. Thankfully this one still looks pretty normal if just a little leaning. :)

This is another cylinder that holds my makeup Q-tips on my dresser as well. Clay is such an imperfect and uncontrollable medium when I’m so used to computer work and working with paper. It’s hard for my brain to wrap itself around the idea of clay completely. :)

Next, we made pitchers. I started to get a litter better grip on the wheel here and found out I have an aptitude for handles. Who would’ve thought that one can be good at handles? Haha!

Our last assignment on the wheel was bowls. I wish we would’ve had more time to work on this one so I could’ve made more. These things are all over my house now, and I love them. I really like the glazing on this small (4″) one.

Here’s a look at the inside.

This bowl is my biggest and is the perfect size for a can of soup. It’s so unbelievable eating soup out of a bowl you’ve made! This one’s a little wonky and dented from being accidentally pushed up against another one while drying, but I love it anyways.

I really found my groove with the wheel here and loved making bowls. I even actually had fun footing all of my bowls (where you leave excess clay on the bottom and then trim it off to create a foot for the bowl to stand on and to round out the bottom). I love the inside of this one. Like a strawberry with white dots or something. :)

Trixie likes the bowls, too. She tries to drink out of all of them (this one actually has tuna water in it) because of their reflectiveness. Such a cute kitty thing to do.

Then, of course, we had to switch to handbuilding (and earthenware/terracotta clay) eventually. My first slab-based project was this one above meant to look like an open envelope. It sits on our coffee table and holds coupons now.

After a couple little intro pieces like the one above, we moved on to our first single-piece project of the semester: a tea pot. My idea was to emphasize the gorgeous color of the clay by making a terracotta pot-shaped tea pot. Not going to lie, I love how this turned out.

Here’s a close-up of the lid.

Trixie likes it, too. Hehe.

The next project was the one that really stumped me. We had to create an interpretation of something architectural and bring it into modern times. It aso couldn’t be functional, and that concept is super hard for me to grasp considering that the goal of almost everything I do is to make it functional. I ended up (thanks to the wonderful input of Chari) creating a building inspired  by Ronchamp in France with a textural treatment inspired by the Water Cube in Beijing.

I agonized over this project for too long and ended up only having a day and a have to complete it, so it was stressful to say the very least. I like how it turned out, but I think I may want to do something more mixed-media with it. We’ll see.

Oh, and Trixie likes this one, too. This isn’t the first time she’s stepped on it. She only weights about 7 pounds, and the clay is strong, so it can support her.

So that’s my journey through ceramics. Hope you enjoyed it! I loved working with clay, but it’s not my medium of choice. I’m wayyy too OCD to leave behind my digital and paper work!

I also wanted to share this tutorial I made up the other day when I made cupcakes and needed a plate that I could give away with them. I created this little plate + card set and thought you’d like to see how I did it. Here’s what I created:

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Thanks so much for stopping by today and making it through this really long post. Hope it was worth your while. :) I have a lot of exciting things that I’m working on here for the blog (including that huge giveaway I keep mentioning), so I’m hoping work slows down soon so I can spend some more time on that. Yay! Also, be sure to stop by the Young Crafters Unite blog for an introduction to our sponsor. Only a couple more days until we announce the DT!

Love,
Britta

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2011 8:52 pm

    So cool, Britta!

  2. August 11, 2011 9:59 pm

    Love the plate you put together and the card! And the cupcakes look really yummy! As for your ceramics, you did a GREAT job on all your projects. LOVE EVERYTHING you made! The final project you did, the architectural item, you did a fantastic job with that! I am impressed big time! And thanks for putting pics of Trixie checking out all your fabulous ceramic items. She’s adorable! Curious little kitty! Such a personality and she knows it too probably! LOL! I’m back to staring at your gorgeous projects! I agree about ceramics. I took ceramics classes in high school back in the dark ages and that wheel is hard to manage and get used to. Say, Ellen Hutson got her shipment of the new Jenni Bowlin ink pads colors and paint dabbers. I kinda like that lavendar sachet color and the speckled egg color. I know you order from Simon Says Stamp. But they are out now!

  3. Tess H. permalink
    August 11, 2011 10:03 pm

    All of the projects are wonderful. We collect bowls in my family so I’m a little partial to them, But I like the Envelope container the most. The color is fabulous. Congrats on a job well done!

  4. August 11, 2011 11:23 pm

    Those are great! I love bowls so those are my fav!

  5. August 12, 2011 7:00 am

    Absolutely love your ceramics! I would love to take a ceramics course! You did a great job! Also, I really like the plate idea! That’s awesome! I think that would also work well for a cake. As for your card, I was thinking it looked a lot like Kristina Werner’s designs! LOL! Great Job!

  6. Maria McClure permalink
    August 12, 2011 8:21 am

    Great job on the ceramics! and thanks for the tip of using the ruler to line up letters…

  7. August 12, 2011 11:18 am

    I loved the peek at your ceramic creations! That flower pot and the red bowl – LOVE. I think the red bowl is my favorite! :) Pet Trixie for me – she sure is getting big!

  8. August 12, 2011 11:25 am

    No Way! I had no idea you had taken my suggestion for you final project. I love the way you added the modern finish. I spent and entire semester studying and designing an “addition” to Ronchamp. Talk about difficult! Your project turned out fabulous! You captured my favorite features of that church, the sloping roof and the cool windows. Thanks for sharing your other projects too, it makes me want to take a pottery class again. We didn’t have assignments in my class so I basically had a bunch of small bowls by the end. And, love the cupcake plate idea! I will have to use that one in the future for sure.

  9. Victoria H permalink
    August 12, 2011 1:37 pm

    Your bowls are fantastic. Love the cupcake plate and card idea. The school fete cake stall will get better than a flimsy paper plate next year!

  10. August 12, 2011 2:42 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your Ceramics love! They are so beautiful! I loved ceramics in high school! We had to make a jewelry box and, unfortunately my jewelry box came out a little flawed, I was overzealous with my lid and it did not fit correctly! Oops, loved the class anyways, lots of messy hands all the time! Great looking cupcakes!

  11. August 14, 2011 2:50 am

    WOW! you certainly having been the potter, really love the blue and red bowl…awesome blog post! Hugs!

  12. August 14, 2011 4:24 pm

    love pottery! your work is great Britta…Trixie has great taste too!

  13. StampinPenguin permalink
    August 15, 2011 5:08 pm

    I took ceramics in college. One requirement was to do some kind of addition. I made a bowl but the professor said I had to add something to it. It kinda made me mad so I just rolled out some dots of clay to stick on. They didn’t stick so I poked them with a pencil. For some reason, only the top third of the bowl ended up glazed so the bottom was just brown after firing. The result was – uh – interesting. I was holding it thinking, “The professor is either going to love this, or hate it. I wonder if I should turn it in for credit,” when the professor approached me. He exclaimed, “Are you going to turn that ugly bowl in or not?” Taking a deep breath, I replied, “Yes!” and handed it to him. “Great. I give you an A!”

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