This Weekend: Volumes

Usually I build with slabs in the plain-old plain-old way.

But, in keeping with the cross-pollination of textile & clay methods, I decided to experiment with making corners by making what are basically darts.

This does a couple of things.  For one it saves the trouble of cutting and joining six separate pieces to make a volume. Two, once the corners are scored and joined and the back slab is attached, the resulting volume has a distinct look on each side.  Unless you further alter or paddle it, there’s a kind of puffed quality to the front (as we’ll call it) and a much flatter, tighter boxiness on the back.

Speaking of backs, I should back up a bit, and I will very briefly: as I was doing a demo for making a box with leather-hard slabs in my Ceramics II/III class, I found once I had made the enclosed volume I couldn’t bring myself to cut open what was supposed to be the part of the wall where the lid would join the side.  The box said to me, don’t do it.  So I didn’t, and I used a student’s project and the illustrations from a book to show the technique.  And then my box turned into a burnished, slip covered, perforated black box, something akin to a speaker or what I naively thought an airplane’s black box might look like (and boy was I wrong). These were good associations for my current project, at least the part about memory, where knowledge is kept, and humans as innately flawed vehicles for, well, all kinds of things.

I know it would be helpful if I just showed you a picture of the thing, but I don’t have one yet.  But at least now you know why I’m all of a sudden talking about volumes.

This clay, by the way, is Georgie’s Pioneer Dark Stoneware (cone six, naturally). I thought I would be doing something similar to the perforations I’ve been putting in/on/through everything, but this instead ended up being about contrasting surfaces and levels.  My plan was to have this be a wall-mounted piece, and the carved out places would have what would amount to bandages made out of quilted muslin inset into the recesses so the surface would still be flush.  But then I really liked where the texture started going, and now I’m not going to decide on the final form until I get through a bisque fire.

Where I left off this evening.  The burnished slip is supposed to be a dark grey, but has a real blue cast that I am pretty okay with, considering this is a project that emerged from following the What if? path for the last two days.

The other recess, the squarish ovoid, that’s sort of the yolk, a secondary but important focus. The eye, or heart, or mind of the thing being bandaged (or smothered or secured or confined?), also mimicking the overall shape of the form.  I don’t know, the whole project is still not articulating coherently.  But it’s saying a lot, and keeping my hands busy right now, and I have no complaints.


  1. Hey, just because you are better than I am at Settlers of Catan doesn’t mean you know everything, you know… actually, well, I haven’t decided which way is up.

  2. You could be right. Upside down could be a little too facey. Facish. Face-like sounds dumb.

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