Friday, May 18, 2012

Sketching, [Not So] Randomly

I just had an eye-opening tutorial, to learn about applying good ol’ Search Engine Optimization* to my website. More on SEO as I get more proficient. This has to be a serious priority for anyone with a website, so that it will show up in online searches. (*I am making place for an SEO hat on my metaphorical hatstand.)

Also, an electrician’s been in to the future gallery (finally!) to assess the work needed for radically improved lighting, and will give me an estimate Monday(ish). Electrical work comes before any other work.  I am going to be the general contractor*. (*Contractor hat, comin’ up.)

So instead of working with clay, being fairly distracted lately, I’ve been taking up pad, pencil and a kneaded eraser (love those) and I'm at least sketching (what else?) pots.

Started drawing spirals, which turned into pearlike shapes. I’ve built something like these out of coils before. But how would they be to make on the wheel and alter, instead? Would make them strictly decorative, and probably glazed simple white.

Also, I incorporated nails into low-fire earthenware years ago (as eye stalks for little monster pots, with wiggle eyes glued on the ends later). How would metal brads be for pear stems, at higher temperature firings like I do now? And could I also cut holes into the upper parts of the pearlike objects and make them into (no longer just decorative) functional flower holders?

Started drawing circles, realized I was still thinking Song Dynasty (see back a few posts), and evolved quickly back to that covered jar shape. It recurs, which means I’d better do this one (out of the new porcelain) just to get it outside my head and see how it goes. Would be wonderful with shellac resist designs.

Something else I’ve had in mind for a long time (see lower left of sketch): pots reminiscent of nests. This is a good sort of pot to throw thickish and carve. Inside would be very, very smooth and strongly or brightly colored, or bright clean white, with the outside stained sheer, matte, twiglike brown. All sizes. Really want to do this. These would be interesting to touch and look at, functional, and could attract birds…OK, not really on that last thing.

Another thing I’ve been thinking of: the sort of lobed pot (lower right of sketch) with a small, shot-glass like shape sort of set in as a rim.  I see this with sheer, light glaze of one color or other. Could be beautiful, or weird, or both.

Still itching to carve pots, so sketched the first two here:

The second from left has my typical leaf carving and the one on the far left has a raised band for carving the life circle and pumpkinlike “lobes.” The second from the right? Just a simple cylinder for a change, with possible underglaze brushwork and carving, maybe in the old Saturday Evening Girls style… And I’m not sure what the heck the pot on the right is, a single covered jar like a pot-within-a-pot; not liking. (Interesting to note that the new camera curved the image in at the edges like it was a wide angle shot. Have to learn the new camera settings better.)

Thinking (above ^) cylindrically some more…but I feel that these look like the light, colorful earthenware sort of pottery you can buy at Home Goods. Heck, my ideas are not all going to be useful ones- sometimes they’re just bad sketches. But all this drawing got me thinking about the simple cylinder shape with minor variations- it needs to feel handmade, or at least as if its surface matters beyond serving as a canvas for assembly line design. I think the cylinder is more challenging to decorate because it is such a clean, blank form that is open to imaginative handling or its opposite, minimal interference. Cylinders are a good exercise for any potter, beginner to expert. They give you room to roam.

Well, back to Search Engine Optimization…so anyone can go to my website and find what s/he is looking for.

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