Potter Going Crazy

It is 0330, I should be asleep right now, but as much as a try, I can’t fall asleep, all of these thoughts are converging on my tiny brain at once.
With such a short time remaining (14 days) it is becoming more of a challenge to keep these thoughts under control. I am going to spew them here….
1. I am thinking about scrapping the original set of sculptures idea, instead, making the drawing (see a few posts back) the final member of the set, and starting from a much simpler point, the sculptures have to be 12″ tall, so I will do a large bowl, cut a hole in the bottom, add a cylinder that is almost closed at the top on top of that, make it have a hole in the bottom as well. That should be 12″, or higher, so that will be the first one, and I will develop from there to arrive at the final piece, which is in the diagram. If I can’t think of enough transitions, i will go back to my adding vines idea to finish out the set. Doing it like this presently is just too difficult, I am a wheel potter, not a sculptor, so the intricate detail of the vines, leaves, and flowers (well… wheel thrown roses aren’t that hard) is just an overload that I can’t do, i took a risk on trying it, and the risk failed.
2. Talked to Molly a lot today, and we came up with a plan to mid-range fire some ware upon approval from Keith. Keith always says yes to a reasonable request, so we are go for that. I am planning to mid-range fire my sculptures just to make sure they have more of a chance of survival. I mean no disrespect to the mighty Alpine and Geil kilns, but the gas reduction is just a bit too much for some of my ware, so a Cone 6 oxidation might just do the trick to settle my nerves. (will custom mix glazes)
3. I am planning to fire the soda kiln, since no one else is, i’m going to light a [metaphorical] fire under my subordinate classmates (the lower level of wheel students) to get them to prepare some stuff for that kiln. I have a piece that fired apart that I plan to have glazed fired in here to make sure it is a safe ride for it.
4. Projects Remaining –

  • 3 – 5 sculptures
  • 2-3 more big bowls (final project)

The sculptures will just round out the last few pieces of the set and make sure I have enough to cover my ass. The big bowls are to be really creative big bowls that will stand out above the rest of my work. I am working diligently to make sure my final project is a success. I have worried myself about my lidded wares, but I have finally convinced myself that enough of them exist and that everything will turn out OK. I have 5 seated in the piece and a lot more seated in the lid. I think I have met quota.
Let’s do a quick check to see that I have done everything, shall we?

  • 5 small cylinders – check, all accounted for and done
  • 10″ or higher cylinders – check (little low on these, but more have been thrown to cover my ass and I have a few that count as multiple)
  • Lidded forms – check (see above)
  • Sets (2) – check (bowls and steins)
  • Sculptural forms – almost, working
  • Cumulative Body of Work – check (but with uncertainty)

5. Glazing – not exactly on my high priority list, I will eventually get to it before the end of the semester. I’m looking forward to getting this finished. If I am not careful, I will end up being my own glaze load or two, I should probably start on that soon so that I can stager the load over all of the remaining glaze kiln loads.
6. The weights of my clay balls – so many times in the past few days I have been asked how much clay I use for certain things. I DONT KNOW! I have ceased weighting my clay, I just crab from my personal barrel what I think I need and I work from that. There is no science behind it, just ceramic intuition. I feel bad that I don’t have the numbers for those that ask, I am going to try remembering to weight after I pull out of my barrel so that I have more to offer than a dumb look.
7. Space Consumption – I have 2 standards (5 shelves each), one table (about 10′ x 4′), about 3 other shelves and some floor space (for the really tall ones) currently claimed with my ware. I am concerned that I am becoming a studio hog. I have so much ware and I don’t know what to do with it all. I want to be more organized about it and clean up a bit, but i just don’t know how to go about it. I didn’t really ask if I could use the table (i just sort of started landing on it one day and it has grown from there). I have bisque ware on several shelves, glaze ware on one shelf, and the rest of the space is greenware that hasn’t been fired yet. I don’t know when I will ever find the time and patience to manage to get everything dry enough to fire. More importantly, when do I stop throwing? I know I can work until the last day (April 26th), I’m just not sure how that will work out. I want to clear out my table of greenware, and turn it into a table for glazing (mostly for me, but kinda open for others too).
8. Bonus project – if I complete my sculptures in my next visit or two to the studio, I plan to utilize the time to work on another “final project” of sorts. I want to work more on my tall vessels. Up to this point, all of my tall vessels have had “accidents” in the kilns (2 in bisque, 1 in glaze). I want to take some time and attempt to do 6 – 10 tall stacked pieces to sort of utilize the last days as best as I can and maybe show Tweedy my dedication to the course. In addition to these tall things, I intend to work on doing small projects for myself as well. I have had a request for some salad bowls, which will be a challenge for me, but I think I will enjoy learning how to make them. I hope my friend Oscar won’t be too critical of them since this will be my first time doing a shallow bowl. One thing I found the night I did the set of steins (yes, the whole set, in one session) is that I am good at sets. I have a talent for repetitive throwing (Tweedy mentions that a lot, but not usually in a good context), I want to exercise that talent.
9. Wheel work at home – I have been working some on my wheel at home, I have gotten good at sets in earthenware too. I am more conservative with my clay at home than at the studio (where I have been given Carte Blanche on clay consumption), because at home, I have to pay for my clay. I likely won’t do anything big at home during the summer, but I will keep throwing as long as I can still afford to buy clay and can throw things small enough to fit in my kiln.
X. Tweedy has pneumonia, this doesn’t make me happy, since there is a lot left to be done, critiqued or put down. How can we finish the semester without Tweedy? Also, I have noticed that I am the only person in my class who is this far along to completion, everyone else is trailing by at least two projects. I am trying to offer encouragement, but these guys are easily put down by their own bad emotions relating to the stresses of the course. This isn’t a course that can be done lightly with success, it requires skill, motivation, and most importantly, a belief that when it all comes down to the last few moments, your ware will all emerge from the kilns and be safe, and the course will come to a dramatic halt as the pieces are paraded like show horses on a summer day in Tennessee. I feel really bad for Tweedy, at the start of the semester she stepped on a needle and was out for a few weeks and now she is ending like this.
Its 0400, I feel slightly more tired, but not by much, but at least I have had a chance to do a proper memory dump.