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Face off

Yesterday was a struggle. After building the head, one piece at a time, I couldn't get it right. Cut the front of the face off twice to rebuild, put on the muzzle, then cut the whole head off and shortened the neck an inch. And it still didn't look right.

I finally put on the ears, threw plastic on it, and called it good. But I also wedged up some more clay and rolled out an extra slab, just in case.

Today I came back rested, and with new eyes, and realized that, though the cranium was all right, the face was still too long, and the muzzle way oversized. I cut the whole face off, shortened it by half an inch, paddled new slab into place and sculpted a smaller, correctly tapered muzzle. The last thing I did was trim a half inch off the circumference of the ears, reshape and roll the edge. And I think I've got it right, finally.

Sorry for the dearth of process photos. As I got more and more stressed, I forgot to take pictures, and by the end of the day, I just wasn't happy with what I'd finished. (Hence the radical face-ectomy today.) I'm much happier with today's progress; think I'm gonna clean up the studio and do some simple, repetitive production throwing tomorrow.

The end?

What's ursine?

Made a lot of progress today, after a fairly rocky start yesterday. I wound up recycling the whole first batch of slabs, because they were too thin to hold their weight. Made legs from thicker slab, then left them and some slab to set up overnight. Today I face the prospect of figuring out how to put them together.

In the past, when I've made quadrupeds (both elephants, as I recall), I've build the torso, let it stiffen, then attached legs and flip it onto its feet. Couldn't do that here, since I'd built the legs first, so I connected the hind legs together with a belly slab, did something similar with the front legs, then linked them together. Afterwards, it was a matter of adding shaped pieces, one at a time, to define the fairly complex curve of back, hips and shoulders. I'm using another roulette for texture, this one a fairly coarse hair pattern that works very well at hiding seams and paddling.

A pretty good day two. Wrapped the neck in a produce bag and threw plastic over the whole thing for the night.

A new project

Starting a new slab project in the studio this week, a sculpture for Ceramic Showcase next month.

What do you suppose it will be?

Oh, all right. It's another bear.

Cry wolf

Linda Williams is a colleague at Club Mud who builds beautiful wall-mounted face-vases. Beautifully serene humans, cats in several sizes, even a grizzly bear, pressed from slab into molds she's made from her original sculptures. This year, she's adding some canines: a coyote, and this rather enormous grey wolf, here in its first pressing.

The big reveal

It's a bear! Of course, it's a bear. What do you expect in this family? In this case, it's a baby present for a potter from my studio who should be delivering any minute now...

Get stuffed

Somebody is getting the stuffing knocked into them.

Maybe it's a turducken?


My new Envirovent arrived Friday afternoon; all shiny and new and... uncorroded. Isn't it pretty?

It took most of Sunday afternoon, and a good bit of Monday to install. First I had to patch the holes in the bottom slab, then drill new holes, in a different diameter and configuration. Then I had to mount the fan on the wall, where I discovered that the old vent used 4" ducting, and the new one only 3", so I had to scrounge up some insulation to pack around the pipe, and I still need to jury-rig a collar and vent hood on the outside of the wall to keep the fiberglass in.
patches to patchesdrill makes dust

After that, it was a matter of connecting the bits. Screwing the hose clamps tight, to connect the dryer duct to the fan, and to the "plenum cup" that goes under the kiln. Threading the spring onto the monopod and the pod into the cup and then--the hardest part--lining the darn thing up so it's tight against the bottom of the kiln, right in the middle, where the new holes are drilled.

After that, it's just reassembling the kiln, stacking and aligning the rings, latching them tight, putting the circuit box back on and connecting the wiring. (One of the trickier bits, as these first-generation computer kilns aren't as well designed. I had to figure out how to stuff three thick wire leads into a screw block designed for at most two. Took sleeping on the problem to realize the trick is to untwist the twisted wire leads, making it easier to pack them into the crowded space.)

Lastly, reattach the lid, put in the peephole plugs, and test the fan. Which you do by turning it on, then putting a lighter next to each of the holes in the lid and watching the flame get sucking into the kiln. Which it did. Success! And I'm no longer tripping over kiln parts in the middle of my studio.

Inside out

More pictures from my mystery project. Still not sure what to make of it. Seems... twisted?

What do you think?

Ce n'est pas une souris

nor mice
This is not a mouse.  Though the cat doesn't believe me. She keeps trying to steal them.

What do you suppose they are?

Bwah-hah hah hah!

It's a severed head!

(Hint: It's not a severed head.)

The mystery deepens...