It takes a lot of skill and attention to be both a focused artist and teacher. Brian Harper, ceramic teacher at I.U.S., made this evident by bringing Matt Mitros to campus to work with students.
If you read our previous blog you know about Matt’s innovative art. Let’s now take a look at his presentation about ceramic 3D printing.
Matt began by demonstrating Rhinoceros, a 3D graphics and computer-aided design (CAD) application. Using this software, Matt designs objects and molds for objects in his art practice. He uses Rhino to operate a CNC router to carve molds from solid blocks of plaster.
Aware that students learn best through hands-on involvement, Mitros facilitated group design of a ceramic vessel using Potter Draw software. Laughter ensued as students created a fanciful vessel on screen.
Next, Matt shot the design to a program, called Slic3r, located on a computer attached to a 3D printer. Slicer programs put designs into layers; create codes that determine scale and wall thickness; and can design inside and outside walls of a pot differently. These aspects of 3D printing alone distinguish this technology from wheel-throwing, even hand building, with clay.
Mitros made the point that he works with printers in order to be innovative with the technology and to add to the conceptual framework of his sculpture. Furthermore, Matt loves textural qualities of clay that physically show the process of creation. For example, he casts clay into plaster molds and doesn’t remove the seam lines. He often produces objects on printers that show each layer produced by the nozzle.
As a grand finale, Matt Mitros demonstrated a specific use of the printer that he uses extensively: one object, such as a clay-printed toy, can be attached directly on top of another, such as a clay-printed potato.
It’s all about having fun with machines to create new ideas and new art objects.
What is the life of an artist and what does it take to be successful?
Amy Elswick has the answers.
I met with Amy at her renovated, spacious studio/home on East Chestnut in Louisville, KY.
Amy’s Appalachian heritage includes parents, aunts, and uncles who took the opportunity to explore and learn at Berea College. She used her years at Berea to work in the ceramics studio as a production potter where she could experiment with numerous clays, glazes and techniques. Amy began as a Spanish major who subsequently found that clay “fit her hand like a glove”.
Amy’s work includes sensitively carved vases, fluid spiral patterns painted on inviting bowls, gondolas with surface treatments that are as intriguing as the food within. Notice the earthy, restful glazes that are reminiscent of colors in the Kentucky mountains.
In short, Amy Elswick makes pottery for lovers of the expressive range that only clay and glaze can create.
Amy’s business is one in which she makes gallery connections at national wholesale markets, such as the American Craft Council show. She reliably fills orders by first determining how much money she needs to make at a show or gallery, then outlining production methods and outcomes that succeed in fulfilling her plans on time.
As early as 37,900 BCE a human hand was placed on a rock surface in Indonesia and pigment was then blown through a hollow tube (bone or reed) in a diffuse cloud over it, leaving a silhouette image of the hand on the rock. Such images occur in many prehistoric sites all over the world and were created by people of all ages and genders.
Spraying glazes is currently a popular technique for the surface decoration of ceramic art. Spraying underglazes, glazes and colorants can be done with a variety of tools including systems comprised of compressors, spray guns and ventilated spray booths.
AA Clay Studio and Gallery now offers studio rental of such a system, along with training in the application of sprayed glazes.
Two contemporary potters, Martha Grover and Stephen Hill, describe their reasons for spraying.
Martha Grover:“I started spraying my glazes about 4 years ago. I found that I was unable to achieve evenly layered surfaces and color transitions through traditional methods of dipping and pouring. By using two sprayers, one small for my bright colors concentrated at the edges, and a large one for the overall piece, I am able to create a varied, even surface that shifts from a bright color to light seamlessly.”
Stephen Hill: “Spraying permits me to blend multiple glazes together seamlessly and also gives me the ability to isolate colors on the rims handles, and feet of my pottery.”
Following are some general tips for spraying glazes.
All materials must be finely sieved, preferably through a 100 mesh screen.
Keep the gun tip at least 6 inches away from the object.
Keep the gun pointed squarely at the work.
Spray in long even strokes. Make each stroke separately and release the trigger as you finish each stroke to avoid pile-up.
Make several passes over each area, with thickness testing using a needle tool.
Wear a properly fitted respirator with a hepa filter.
Stephen Hill demonstrates his glazing process
As you see, spraying a glaze is no more complicated than spraying paint. You may need only to cover a sculpture or vessel with an even coat of glaze. Additionally, this technique has many decorative advantages.
L.O.C.A.L.S. is a group of Louisville potters who have come together since the 80′s to support each other and to present two ceramic sales events each year. The Summer Pottery Sale took place on July 7th this year. The Holiday Sale is held on the weekend following Thanksgiving. You can find detailed information on LouisvillePotters.org.
L.O.C.A.L.S. (Living On Clay and Louisville Soil) began in the early 80’s when Sarah Frederick invited artists to join a Holiday Sale at her home; followed by a summer “seconds” sale. These well-attended sales events provided opportunities for clay artists for many years.
If you were at this year’s Summer Sale you would have heard comments from exhibitors like: “The customers were happy and interested in my work.” “Sales were very brisk.” From consumers you could hear these comments: “What a fun and easy way to spend the day.” “The variety of items and quality of pottery are what I’ve come to expect.” The weather under the Masonic Home shade trees was spectacular.
Enjoy scrolling through a few of the exhibiting members and guests of L.O.C.A.L.S.
Why not mark your calendar today with next fall and summer sale dates. The Holiday Sale will be held at Melwood Art Center on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The Summer Pottery Sale will be held at Masonic Home on the Saturday closest to the July 4th weekend. louisvillepotters.org
See you there!
artaxis.orgpromotes the professional pursuits of a growing network of ceramic artists.
Mission: to enrich the ceramic field while providing a direct conduit between artists and viewers.
What can be found on the site?
• Artist works, websites statements
• Job and residency opportunities in ceramic art
• Calls for entries
• Exhibitions Articles and reviews
• Workshops and lectures
Brian Harper, www.brianharperstudio.com. of Indiana University Southeast, founded Artaxis is 2005. Brian currently serves as executive director of the international non-profit website.
Who is using Artaxis?
The website receives thousands of views everyday from around the world. Artists, curators, gallerists, educators, students, and ceramic enthusiasts use the site as a source for peer-reviewed ceramic art.
Over 600 artists from 40 countries have been juried into Artaxis.
The jury process and all other activities are managed by volunteers. Prospective members of Artaxis are juried by current members. The process rotates between over 300 jurors, seven at a time, and is completely anonymous. The inclusion of so many jurors allows each Artaxis member to have a voice in the direction of contemporary ceramics.
Sculpture; Vessel/utilitarian; Figurative; Installation; Imagery; Time- based. These categories, used by Artaxis to present the variety of members’ works, are an indication of the strength and range of ceramic arts today.
It was a two-hour clay event on June 12 at KY Mudworks in Louisville that rated high
on the fun-scale for area artists.
The complexity of the teapot is well known to potters.
We added a challenge to the process by mixing and matching separate functional and aesthetic components (body, spout, handle, lid). Each finished pot consists of parts made by different contributors. We call this the “exquisite” teapot.
You could not have found a happier group of artists at play.
We have membership events such as exquisite teapot-building,
as well as demonstrations and lectures by visiting artists.
Check out our website at louisvilleclay.org. Members can easily create profiles to share news and information with the Louisville Clay community.
1. Confidence – because we make an object that is relevant to our lives.
2. Focus – because we concentrate on specific methods and results.
3. Creativity – because we make highly personal decisions
about artistic forms and meanings.
4. Physicality – because clay “pushes back” as we exert control.
5. Relaxation – when we get into the “flow” and lose ourselves
in a meditative state.
6. Sociability – when we enjoy sharing knowledge
and creative time with friends.
AA Clay Studio & Gallery is a shared working space with modern clay equipment. Our goal is to promote excellence in the field of ceramics by providing the necessary learning tools and equipment for personal development. The studio is an access point for emerging and practicing clay artists.
AA Clay is Louisville’s original open-studio for ceramic artists. We proudly present seven of our member artists in an exhibition and sale that is open to the public. Closing Reception: Join us Saturday, May 19, 6 – 8 pm. Celebrate the work of our artists. Refreshments will be served. The following pieces are available for … Continue reading “AA Clay Studio and Gallery: Members’ Show”
AA Clay is Louisville’s original open-studio for ceramic artists. We proudly present seven of our member artists in an exhibition and sale that is open to the public.
Closing Reception: Join us Saturday, May 19, 6 – 8 pm. Celebrate the work of our artists. Refreshments will be served. The following pieces are available for purchase during the Members’ Show:
AA Clay Studio and Gallery is a community of artists from Louisville and southern Indiana. We support each other through networking, advising, and encouraging.
Clay blankets our earth’s surface with tiny particles of weathered granite.
“If one takes any finely grained non-clay mineral and mixes it with water, a crumbly mass will be produced with almost zero formability. If the same is done with clay, however, there is produced a mass that is readily formed into any desired shape and, most interesting of all, it will retain that shape under the force of gravity. In other words, the clay mass has three unique properties; first, it may be deformed without cracking; second, when the deforming force ceases, the shape will remain fixed; and further, when the clay mass is dried, it has considerable strength.”
— Studio Potter, Volume 4, Number 2 (Winter 1975/76)
It’s plastic because its molecules are shaped like dinner plates, with an average diameter of one micron (one millionth of a meter). When wet, the ‘plates’ slide against each other due to thin sheets of water between them. The presence of water allows clay particles to move against each other and change the clay form without breaking.
Pull, pinch, slice, carve, stick, roll, press, twist, and squash!
We can form almost anything out of clay.
As early as 24000 BCE people were making figurines for ceremonial purposes. Functional pottery flourished when agriculture became prevalent around 10,000 BCE.
Venus of Dolni Vestonice Ancient Mesopotamia pottery
(26,000 – 24,000 BCE)