Thursday, 18 November 2010

Day nine in the Uni ceramics dept, Cumbria

new shape

Very productive day today with three new shapes turned on the lathe and two cast moulds. Two more chucks cast for tomorrow one quite large to get some scale in to the work. Am getting on well with the plaster till one of the seams split when pouring this morning just to remind me not to get too cocky with the material as it will bite back.

Alison the star technical demonstrator

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

falling in love with lathe work

So my time on the AA2A scheme is in week long blocks and I am in the middle of my second week, it has flown! I am slowly and quite scarily falling in love with lathe work. I have an adversion to plaster after many disasters along the way but this maybe turning in to love for a material that can be turned into some amazing forms. I turned up on my first day saying I need to work with plaster but I really had a hatered for a material that would always work against me by spilling over cobble floors or on my favorite shoes. Thanks to Gwen, Alison, the ceramic technician and Steve I am starting to make friends with the material and get some very successful forms by turning it on a lathe.

my third form with chucks cast up for more tomorrow  
I have designed some very simple forms that echo my own work but have gentle sloping sides and a slight curve towards the base. I will be cutting and altering the forms once cast but fell I could also cast these quite simply and draw with my copper wire techniques by firing upside down. I can't wait to get back to it tomorrow and start turning again.I think I did actually utter the words 'I love plaster' very quietly to myself and wonder how much a lathe would be. But lets see if I can walk before I can run shall we with the next stage.

ceramic studios, Brampton Road, University of Cumbria

 I would like to say working with the 2nd years yesterday I can't believe that there are only 16 students in their year on the Applied Arts course. The facilities and campus is amazing the workshops are one of the best equipt I have ever worked in and can't believe that potential students aren't tripping over each other to get a place on the degree course. I know I may be slightly biased as I did study here. I am less impressed that the library has moved off site but each student has their own designated space to work in and the technicians and lecturers are second to non in their expertise in their field. If I could do it all over again I would still apply to Cumbria as I was given the opportunity to learn a variety of skills with all sorts of materials that will stand you in good stead as an working artist in the future. I would like to see more students taking up the opportunity to study at Cumbria and keep this course alive and thriving and not see it go the way of most other ceramic or textile course across the country.

Monday, 15 November 2010

playing with plaster and puppy dogs ears

Not at the same time obviously but as I write I have my puppy dog friend Dylan curled up next to me on the sofa so excuse the bad spelling as I gently scratching his ears.

My friend Dylan
Well I am back in Cumbria again at the Uni on the AA2A scheme. Today was really productive as I sat with the second years watching Steve Ogden, the principal lecturer on the Applied Arts degree demonstrating how to turn plaster forms on the lathe. It was a day of mixed emotions as I am not confident with plaster and with some trepidation I created a plaster chuck to have a go myself after being shown how to work safely.

Steve demonstrating the lathe
After trying to produce a straight graduated cone shaped form I gave in to the temptation of creating a more rounded form. I worked all afternoon so the students could get on the lathes tomorrow with their 'rhino' rendered 3D forms very flash but all too complicated for me, pencil and paper was good enough for me and then I changed it in the making. I have to say I was quite taken by the process once I had pared down the form to straighten it up. I am back tomorrow to cast the positive mould and maybe just maybe get back on the lathe second year students permitted. I think I might be hooked. 

my final form of the day

New in my Etsy shop

I am currently uploading work into my Etsy shop as my laptop has died after water damage and I can't access the back end of my website...