Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When is a large slab like a large white canvas?

Often painters will face the fear of the first stroke on that large white canvas. What to place there, what image, realistic or abstract, or somewhere in between. It is the same at times for a potter working on the wheel or with a block or slab of clay. Should they create a functional piece, or something sculptural.  Years ago, one of my painting professors said sometimes you just have to jump in with some idea where you want to go, but no real plan. There are times that I have done that on canvas, and times when it has happened to me when working with the clay.

One day I had a large slab of clay, and some idea of where I wanted to go. I had just read the Tolkien trilogy and decided to do something based on the theme: Two Towers. this started with the idea of being a fountain, and therefore would have lots of open dish type space. From there I had no idea where it would go.

 As you can see from the image on the left, I had considered the need of a hole for the cord and plug of the pump to come through. The two towers had openings for hose and would actually pump the water out through the towers to slide back in to the water basin at the bottom.
After considering this piece for a while, I have concluded that I am not happy with it as a fountain, it takes up too much space, and needs to be near a wall all the time. At the same time any fountain is not practical with the cat in the house; he always wants to be in the water. I considered making it into a bird bath outside, but really don't want a lot of birds leaving their calling cards on the deck-no yard.  So in the end I have decided that it will become a cactus garden.  Sometimes making use of the  product of the large slab is more troublesome than the idea itself. However, I like working this way with small slabs pieced together to make a larger whole. Joins are not a problem as I have become very cognizant of the scoring and slipping with compression. I also use a little "magic water" in with my slip to make it work a little better.

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