When glazing things for firing, please remember:
Pottery stickers are here. We have five designs, and they are each $4. 100% of the profits go to the Burnish Clay Studio Grant fund which is used to fund scholarships for BIPOC and LGBTQ students and workshop participants.
You can buy these at Burnish. Just ask an employee or Heather about purchasing. Thanks so much for your support and keep your eyes open for more designs each month.
These stickers are designed and created by Burnished Clay Artist Collective, an organization which exists to raise money for the Burnish Clay Studio Grant Fund. The organization will also be holding art events such as art pop-ups, art invitationals, and collaborative shows, as well as creating educational and instructional content which will be made available to subscribers for a small monthly fee, all of which will go to support the Burnish Grant Fund.
October Soda Firing
The next Cone 10 community soda firing lead by Zoe Petersen will be loaded Mon 10/9.
A big thanks to all who participated in the workshop with Eva Funderburgh. By all accounts it was a great opportunity to learn new skills, work with an exceptional artist, and try new things in clay. A big thanks to Eva for the time and the expertise. Come back soon!
Upcoming Surface Design Workshop
As an instructor who has taught many sculpture and throwing classes at Burnish, I can say without reservation that more than anything else, I see people shy away from creating interesting and varied surfaces for their work. THIS WORKSHOP will help with that. If you have any hesitance around glazing or surface design at all, sign up for this workshop. It is an incredible price for what you will learn.
Sat 10/21 & Sun 10/22 1-5pm with Stephen Robison (they/them) - In this workshop Stephen will focus on surface and form. The main demonstrations will focus on using bisque and 3-d printed stamps. They will also address working with slips. It will be applicable for both wheel and hand built forms.
Participants who register prior to October 1 will be able to submit a line drawing that Stephen will 3D print into an embossing stamp for you. More instructions on that will be provided once you register. Drawings will need to be simple line drawings and the final version must have all lines be a minimum of standard sharpie marker width - thinner lines do not work well.
Experience level: This class is for people who are actively working with clay already, having taken at least 1 wheel or hand building class in the recent past. It is not appropriate for new people who are looking to try out playing with clay.
Sculpting in a Pottery Studio
It is an interesting thing to teach sculpture with a medium that has a long history of use in the creation of functional ware.
From The History of Information: "Fragments of pottery 20,000 years old found in Xianrendong Cave in Jiangxi Province, southern China, in 2012 are the oldest known pottery. Archaeological studies of the cave indicate that it was inhabited by mobile foragers who hunted and gathered during the Last Glacial Maximum. The vessels, which may have been concave, were probably used for cooking food. The site in which the pottery fragments were found is one of the earliest kitchens."
Clay comes pre-loaded with tens of thousands of years of meaning, so asking yourself why you are making a sculpture with clay as opposed to plastic, or fiber, or metal, should be at least considered when you approach the material.
Furthermore, the difference between making a mug and making an object to look at is the "why?" that pushes the object forward and into the world. There is really no need to justify making a mug, outside of the reasonable political/social construct that some surface decoration might imply. When you sit down at a potter's wheel, you make something that a person can eat, drink, or pour from, this outcome is a reasonable expectation.
When you sit in front of a lump of clay hoping to make art, it is a bit more intimidating because making something without an obvious function with a material that for most of its history was used to make functional ware can be challenging. There is no "mug", "bowl", or "plate" template to follow like there is in pottery, so where do you start?
Outside of any desire to express, what are you hoping for when you make an object for people to consider? Are you hoping to make people think, feel, or act? Are you hoping to help people see things in a way they have never seen before?
It is scary to make art, because there is a certain level of "taking up space" in the world that a mug just doesn't have to answer for. So what do you do? Will you take up that space without apology with the fuel that fills your soul and yearns to be let out into the world to inspire others to do the same?
It is indeed an endeavor worth throwing yourself into, if only to connect with the part of yourself that you are encouraged, most of the time, to ignore. This is one of the great values in art making- it is total and complete justification for getting in touch with the feelings you are taught to suppress with food, drink, drugs, and entertainment. It is the part of yourself that can and most likely will surprise you if you tap into it.
So go ahead and surprise yourself.
Tip of the Week!
TRIMMING YOUR POTS.
When trimming your pots, it's really a good goal to shoot for only trimming the bottoms of your pots. A lot of beginning students feel like they want to trim the tops (lips) as well, as to make them more symmetrical and even, but the reality is that the more time you spend trimming your pot on the wheel, the more opportunity there is to mess it up. So when you trim, stay away from everything below the belly, (as the pot is upside down on the wheel head), and as you improve your throwing and trimming skills, you will find that you have less and less to trim.