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Posts Tagged ‘hand-coiling’

Did I mention before that I have tried my hand at ceramics before?

It is one of those few topics that comes up every now and then, in the most unexpected of times. When i was speaking with an interviewer last week, we talked about crafts I have been attracted too. Since primary school, I said, I took up a ceramics class in the CC and this led to me using it as the medium for my O’levels artwork. She too used ceramics in her O’levels art work when she graduated from the same school! oh what a coincidence and it felt we got a little closer because of this unexpected ‘shared’ past.

Every time I bring out my knitted plants to show, customers and friends would ask, “did you make those pots yourself?” Sure, the focus of the product are our knitted plants but the little imperfect pots do steal a bit of the limelight for a while. again, I retell the story of my past experience with ceramics.

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A few days ago, I visited an artist friend’s ceramics studio at Goodman Art Centre, it was dusty (this is a clay studio afterall), a little dark, quiet but really quite cosy. A few ladies looked up briefly and smiled as I walked in and then turned back to their ceramic works. There is something relaxing about being in a ceramics studio. It is an art that cannot be rushed. It is a space usually free of music (not even light instrumental background ones). People are never in fancy wear, you expect to get messy so there is no need to dress to impress. I like that. I like the atmosphere of just being there to work silently in your own style. it is a meditative space.

As I read a blog post by the ladies of Hey Kumo, I am reminded of the slow process of making ceramics pots. I remember the rolling out of the clay in one flat piece, slapping it on a manual potter’s wheel, finding the centre, measuring out the diameter for my pot’s base, and then spinning the wheel and using my needle tool to aim and cut. Then comes the building up, I work in coils, scoring and wetting the areas for adhering before patting down the coils and smoothing it with the wooden tool… it is a long methodological process but like the blog post said, it slows you down. it calms and quietens the mind. and that isn’t such a bad thing in today’s fast-paced urban condition.

 

When working with ceramics, one of the stages that makes me cross-my fingers is when you cut your work off the wheel. I get nervous every time it comes to that stage. because I have spent so much time on the piece, this is the final make-or-break step. you don’t want to cut it off too high and end up with a hole in the base. Then, it wouldn’t function as a pot anymore, will it?

For that reason, I understand what it means to look at the base of a handmade pot. It is one of the least looked at areas of a pot, but it reveals a whole wealth of information about the origins and character of the pot. (Usually, it is also at the bottom where the artist marks his/her initials)

I enjoyed this read by Studio Kotokoto on the underside of handmade ceramics

“What does the bottom look like? What type of clay has been used? Is there a foot, and if so, what type is it? Does the maker sign the pot? Is it trimmed on the bottom?… To us it is just as important as the other more visible parts of the ware because it will offer you another perspective into the origins and characters of these items as shaped by their makers.”

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image credits to Studio Kotokoto

(image credits to Studio KotoKoto)

Ceramics. it is just one of those art forms that you will never quite forget after you experienced it once.

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