I’ve been thinking about my New Year’s resolution to stick with one theme for awhile. I have not been doing real great in that area, so I when I read on the Fine Mess Pottery blog about Lori’s challenge to herself of making 100 mugs in 100 days, I got inspired. All of her mugs will be somewhat different, with the idea of using one functional form and coming up with new ideas and forms. She will be having a gallery show and coffee and talk with the artist – herself, of course – at the end of the 100 days. It’s a wonderful project in so many ways. You can see her progress at http://finemessblog.blogspot.com/. I am excited about doing something similar. I don’t do much – well, not any – throwing so I won’t be doing mugs. I make a lot of plates and bowls, but they are kind of moving along right now and I’m not moved toward a challenge with them – maybe later. What I keep coming back to that I would like to explore more and improve my skill on is the human head.
SO, my challenge to myself is to make 20 heads in 20 weeks. (OK, that doesn’t have the excitement and poetry that 100 mugs in 100 days does, but I want to be realistic and have some chance for success.) I would like to explore heads and faces that are not as studied as the ones I have made before. My idea is to make quicker forms, almost sketches in clay, but within the context of the head, using some of the techniques, textures, glazes, and clays that I have been wanting to try. But who knows where it will take me.
I thought of making lists and assignments for myself, like making a drawing to go along with each head, but then I remembered how badly I react to authority even when it comes from myself and I know I have to keep it a little looser. The idea is to explore and expand, not get too fussy.
Here are some of the ideas I have come up to experiment with. I’m very open to suggestions of what to add or forget about. 1. building process – coil, slab, pad, armature, solid and then hollowing, etc. 2. building from the neck or shoulders up, or from the top of the head down to the neck. (working upside down would be a challenge within a challenge, maybe like drawing with your non-dominant hand.) 3. trying different clays 4. adding molded parts 5. size – especially going smaller since I tend to work on the large size 6. expression 7. finding matte glazes that I like and trying crawl glazes 8. using oxides 9.using colored clays 10. making faces that do not look like me.
I haven’t decided yet if I will include head “vessels”, but I can decide that later. Here are some that I have done before. Not that you can tell from these pictures, but the mug is about half the size of the container with the bird on the lid.
I am starting this week, so by June I should have 20 sculptural heads. I’ll keep you, er, posted.