Sunday, February 28, 2016

Process with Wheel Project (To be continued...)

Before starting our wheel project, we had to knead the clay and make sure there were no air pockets to avoid cracks in the process of firing. After that, we got a flat surface and put our clay in the middle. Once all the materials were prepared, we began to center the clay. This is the most tedious, and challenging part above all, since nothing will work out if your piece isn’t centered. Therefore, the most important step is to have a good, comfortable position. Instead of using your arms as strength, it is vital to place your elbow near the stomach area and use your body’s force. This will allow you to work for a longer period since your arms will have a place to settle and avoid tiredness. As mentioned above, this step was the hardest in my opinion due to the fact that it takes time to settle into a secure position, and it usually seems centered to me when it may not be in reality. Furthermore, I also had complications in making a “hole” or a dent on the clay. I would often mess it up by making plate with uneven sides, or I would actually create a hole accidently. It took me several tries to successfully (in my belief) make a plate/cup. Not only that, but when the clay actually did come out like a cylinder, it looked more like a cup because of the height. Sadly, all the other students had made a beautiful piece, and I was just there sitting like an ugly-duckling trying to fix the problems. What made me feel pressured was when I made nothing during the class due to countless mistakes, and when I thought I made one, the bottom was too thin that it eventually didn’t work out. Despite all these failures/mistakes, I continued so and made 3 acceptable plates/cup!

Moving on, once the pieces were all dried, our next step was to trim the bottom. The trimming process was much easier once I learned how to hold the trimming tool properly (holding it with my hand, and controlling it by your second finger. Also, you have you put your other finger on top of the cylinder so that it doesn’t go all flying around.

(Images will be added)

Monday, February 1, 2016


In Ceramics II, we will be either using the extruder or the wheels for our projects. In my case, I will start the project by using the wheels to make plates. For some historical background, ceramics were used for various sources: decoration, hold/store food, other utilities. Before, these ceramics were made out of animal fat and bone mixed with bone ash and fine clay like material. Then, they would be fired at temperatures between 500˚C - 800˚C

From watching Ms.Ariani’s demonstration of using the wheels, the hardest part of the project would be centering since it involves the different speeds, and you also have to be very gentle with the clay. Not only that, but centering is also the most important because if the plate/pot is not based correctly, it won’t have a good product and will mess the whole project. It is vital to always wet your hands when working with these wheels since it will spin smoothly creating a rounder texture.
Moving on, the second project is to work with the extruder. An extruder is a machine that extrudes the clay. What’s very interesting about this is that you could use different “molds” to choose the shape you want your coil to come out (ex. round, square, polygon with a hollow). There will be more information on this later once I start working with the extruder.