Spirals … continued

Spirals … continued

The spiral jars were first realized  on the wheel. After making a perfectly shaped vessel, whose body resides between the cup of the base and the opening of the mouth, i wanted to create tension between these two areas and so i decided to  twist the body much like an umbilical cord. Somehow in sketching out the image i inverted the twist to make it look more like a common household screw and started playing with that as the surface of forms. These hand built forms that i have been obsessed with have been about controlling the water  while I build these elaborate sculptures. I’ve lost so many beautiful pieces because I allowed them to dry too fast, I let the water evaporate unevenly, forming cracks, and i’ve learned even more through futile attempts to save vessels from these cracks by gently reintroducing dampness around the vessel through wet towel wraps and vinegar. 2/23/17

I’ve developed the spirals into more, making small water pitchers, and large beer mugs.  But still calling them spirals seems limiting, as they seem to more personality than a spiral. As some have said they are organic, and move like larvae or chrysalis, snails, bee hives, melting ice cream, shaving cream, a tornado.

I began my summer work at home with porcelain, a material that was soft as cream, but also  ate away the skin of my fingers leaving them a sore mess. requiring me to learn to coat my hands several times a day in vaseline to keep up with the damage that the porcelain was doing to my hands.  Working with porcelain also proved to be trickier than stoneware, which i could handle rather roughly in comparison and still the vessels survived cracks and seams not joining properly.  Building in porcelain, the material felt more fragile, delicate, and also finniky and heavy as it was not able to sustain its own weight and i would keep having to stop and allowing it to harden with proper support. This took some time to get used to, piece after piece kept breaking and I would have to start over. In many ways this was liberating as I just focused on trying to get the  pieces to stay upright and together, the form underneath and the spine radiating on top of the form  took on a life of their own. These few months leading up to this winter, were ones in which i gave myself over to the material and allowed whatever to develop, while I went through the motions of rolling out flat thin pancakes of porcelain, cutting them into thin strips and building the vessels with a certain amount of automatic labor.  While my fingers worked on through cutting, pinching and molding  endless pancakes of porcelain into circular vessels, as I became familiar with the malleability and strength of  porcelain, I began to make circular vessels, much like sake jars, with a body that would be round, orange shaped, with a long slender neck, and eventually just simple moon shaped jars as there was something about the white porcelain that reminded me so much of egg shell.

Looking at the piece in front of me, I can see the impression and depression of every finger mark on this first porcelain vessel. A few cracks have opened up under the pressure of the cone 10 firing, and the piece barely stands on its own, it might need some help adjusting. The form beneath the spine looks like two shapes, or rather a top shape breaking free from the bottom shape. The spines seem to pull it in many directions, some of them are small, others are longer and bending freely without care for the pattern the spines around it might be trying to follow. They are uneven in length, irregular in bumps and cracks and they are fighting the form underneath for supremacy in controlling the form, is the from controlling the directions and movement of the spines or is it the other way. While all i can see are mistakes, i like the piece, occasionally  i can see the a form underneath that is a perfect capsule for water ans as pure as the shape of a drop of water. And as I focus on that shape, I lose it and instead get caught up in the accordion movement on top, the stillness of the shape underneath I had glimpsed is lost. , the shape that would hold water. – 1/10/17

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