Next steps

Updated: May 19

Anthropomorphised vessel out the kiln:

Thankfully, this survived the kiln without cracks or any damage! I'm happy it survived but the shrinkage rate of this clay seems to be extremely high - before bisque, this vessel stood at about 40/45cm tall whereas afterwards is 30cm. Same with the width, before the circumference was much more dramatic than after the firing. This clay does work very well for hand-building and I like the colour and effect of it when glazed, but the shrinkage is very dramatic. When I'm building the pieces at the clay's wet stage, I push it very close to its limits before it would collapse/crumble, so building any larger could be a difficulty without breakage. A way of avoiding this could be to use props/sponges to support the overhanging clay until it is dry enough to support itself - allowing me to build larger over the courses of a few days so that it is stable enough to support its own weight. I want to build larger vessels as I think they have much more of an impact on a viewer than the smaller ones. The bigger they are the more they seem like a mammal and closer to humans, although a deformed and decaying anthropomorphised being, rather than strictly human.

Whilst taking it to the kiln to fire, I had a comment from a tutor on another course saying it looked like something other animals would live in, like an ant colony. I was very happy with this comment as it suggests decay - other animals often inhabit abandoned buildings or feed off of other dead animals, if this piece has the appearance that it has being lived in/inhabited, then that gives the idea of decomposition and the organic decay I was looking to create. Furthermore, as it is still a vessel, other things could be put inside to 'inhabit' the space. Exploring this route of what a vessel could be is interesting and not one I had thought of before. Could I explore things to go inside the vessel when displayed?

Following my four-legged vessel successfully coming out of the bisque firing, I want to consider the next steps for my work. I'm currently developing methods of decorating the pieces, experimenting with oxides and glazes as shown on one of my previous blog posts. To develop my concept, I want to develop my forms more. Oscar suggested in a tutorial that I won't know how far to go until I have gone too far, in which case I could always take it a step back.

So, some of the next steps I want to take include:

  • Experimenting with different vessel neck shapes and different vessel forms

  • Experiment with the addition of arms/handles

  • Experiment more drastically with the leg height - very long. spindly legs and a small vessel body, or very short legs and huge vessel? - make smaller experimentations.

  • Add other human features? - Further idea that vessels listen, taste, smell etc by adding ears, lips. Disguise these so not immediately viable? - again looks like the piece is melting away.

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