Sunday, December 2, 2012

Exploring and Translating

I'm not a great traveller. I have grown up in an increasingly multi-cultural nation, in a family where English was a second language. So I am familiar with the challenges, oddities and impossibilities of translation. As an artist I'm forever exploring new territory--resorting to sign language where necessary in my attempts to understand and be understood.

This term I've had a bit more of a chance to explore working with clay. One of the local Neighbourhood Houses offered a one-off workshop to make clay beads. It went so well, that an ongoing class grew out of it. It's a whole new world for me. I'm intrigued by the possibilities. This morning I needed to unwind. And I had a bit of porcelain clay waiting on my table.

I made this.
I started off with a basic pinch-pot. Then I thinned out one side of the bowl a bit more. The pleats came next. Unlike fabric, clay doesn't easily form a crisp fold. Next I shaped the other side of the bowl, then worked the lower part to the point that I hope it will be translucent when fired.  I fiddled and refined as much as I could, never quite sure when communication between myself and my chosen medium would break down completely. I think we're still on speaking terms.
I'm happy with what I've managed to form. I can see things that could be improved, but am not confident enough to push it any further just yet. My plan is to bring this to class next week and see what the teacher has to suggest. If it survives the firing process, I'm planning to use it to hold a candle. Now there's something I couldn't say nearly so well in my usual language of textiles. 

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