Plan of Action to start the semester-

All three of the projects I’ve set for myself for the semester are centered around my interest in patterns, more specifically quilt patterns.  Quilting interests me because of the many different layers of patterning that work together to become a cohesive piece.  The fabric chosen is the first layer of pattern involved in a quilt, and the choice of fabric can completely alter how the final pattern turns out.  These fabrics are then pieced in a specific order and create another layer of patterning.  When physical layers of backing, batting, and quilt top are put together the quilt is given a final layer of pattern in the stitches used in the quilting process.  These layers and cohesion what I’m aiming to translate into my ceramic work.

All of my work will start with a white clay body or casting slip, and I will be working at cone 6.

The first project I’ve set for myself is all about material explorations.

Before I can make work using the patterns I’m interested in I need to figure out the best method for me to translate them in clay.  I’ve been doing a lot of research and browsing for ideas to create my patterns and have settled five explorations to start out working with.

  • The first method I’m exploring is the way Peter Pincus works, using a process of painting layers of colored casting slip onto plaster molds.
  • The next method is something inspired by the lace tile work of Jessica Pezalla.  I’m going to trail a slip outline of the pattern I want to use and fill in the spaces with different colors of slip.
  • This method is basically the exact opposite process of the one previous to it.  I’m going to lay out thin slabs of color that I’ve pre-cut to create the patterns I’m looking for, and pour slip over them to hold them together and fill in the gaps between the pieces.
  • This method is very similar to the previous one in that the pieces will be pre-cut and placed before being covered with slip.  The difference here is that the pieces are slices of clay canes made in simple patterns.
  • I will also be experimenting with mishima as a way of layering the different elements of the patterns.

All five of these methods involve achieving specific colors, and ‘m preparing to start testing many different mason stains to decide on what will give me the colors I’m looking for in both casting slip and a plastic clay body.

These explorations will lead into my other projects: plates and tiles.

Plates are a utilitarian object that present an open working surface to use as a canvas, and are often presented in multiples.  One of the things that interests me most about quilt patterns is the many pieces and smaller units that make  up the whole.  Some of the work of Marek Cecula is a source of inspiration for this project.  Initially I was looking at his carpet plates, but am more interested in the piece where he recreates an image of The Last Supper which has a more unconventional positioning of the plates.  I want to find a way that the patterns used on the plates can inform where an individual belongs in relation to their companions.

Tile work is something I haven’t really explored up to this point but am interested in diving into, especially considering the clear translations that can be made from the patterns I’m attracted to and the format of tiles.  Once I decide on some methods of creating pattern that I’m happy with I want to be able to create larger patterns using tiles as smaller units, in the same way that individual pieces and blocks come together to make a quilt.

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