"Your biting sarcasm wounds me, Madam..."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ceramics class is so therapeutic.

Remember this post about the pitcher I made in ceramics? Yes, well. Yesterday in class, I was at the point where I could stop what I was doing to glaze it and finally get one whole project finished. We are in the 3rd month of being in this class and not one of us has totally completed a single project. It is a little unsatisfying.

There's only about 12 glazes to choose from, which may seem like a lot, except that 8 of them are various shades of blue, one of them is clear and the only one that is reddish may be corrupt or the firing instructions mislabled because that huge bowl that someone worked very hard on over there? Turned into a muddy green/black, bubbled piece of shit. Huh. That poor girl is going to be VERY upset when she sees what happened to her work. VERY UPSET. I know i would be.

I'm not complaining about the limited variety of glazes, now, cause that would be obnoxious of me. What I am complaining about is that my professor did not seem very concerned that the three of us who were kneeling in front of our 5 gallon buckets of glaze, elbow deep, trying to mix it with our hands, were really unclear about how his whole thing was supposed to work. She had given us a demonstration, but that was two weeks ago. And I don't think any of us really remembered the 'do's and don'ts' because we were all kind of staring at each other, mumbling things like, "is this right? I don't know..." and "we're supposed to, wha.." and "how do I get it to, uh..."

The easiest way to evenly glaze something is to just dip the whole fucker in the bucket and pull it out quickly and evenly, coating the entire piece. Seems really straight-forward.

My piece? Kind of tall. No fit in bucket. Um... so... uh... what? Do I...? Uh... How...?

I wound up dipping the thing too many times, trying to coat the whole thing in glaze. Not realizing that I had to let each coating dry before I dipped it again, I wound up totally saturating the pot to the point that it was just globbing on the surface and not sinking in. It was drying in layers and then cracking. And then chipping off in clumps. And then there was a little crying. Also some quiet whimpering.

Professor Whatshername was not particularly sympathetic or helpful and told me that after it dries more, I can try to smush the cracks in the glaze closed with my fingers and then paint on more glaze to the parts where it clumped off.

That doesn't work so well for those of you playing along at home.

You know what you do when the glaze goes on shitty? You WASH IT ALL OFF and watch it go down the drain while your classmates watch you and smile sympathetically, trying to soothe your fragile self. Then you can't touch it again for another week because the bisque is saturated with water and won't accept a glaze.

Now, I'm a little concerned that this thing that I worked on for about a month and a half was not washed off thoroughly enough and that there is still some glaze residue lodged in the pores of the bisque. Will this effect how it absorbs it next week? What about the stuff on the inside walls of the pitcher that I couldn't scrub out because i couldn't reach it? All of this and more to be answered next Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, I'm not the only jackass that had trouble. The 3 that were glazing next to me were freaking out, too. One of them particularly, and I don't blame her because her piece was really, really cool and she had something specific in mind for her finished product. However, she didn't have to wash hers off like I did.

Later on, there was a second group of people on the floor that had their arms, elbow-deep, in 5 gallon buckets of crud. The only difference with them? They had the professor's full attention.
What the frick.


  • I got frustrated and anxious just READING this. Can't imagine what it would be like to live it. GAH!

    By Anonymous guinness girl, at 11/15/2006 2:26 PM  

  • guinness girl - hi! thanks for popping over. it IS frustrating and I'M SO REEGGGHHH about the whole thing, you know?
    was that like a constipated sound? I totally didn't mean that.

    By Blogger claire, at 11/15/2006 4:30 PM  

  • I'm sorry this was not the experience you had hoped for. =( Classes like this should be FUN!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/15/2006 5:05 PM  

  • nikol - that's what i thought! if you'll excuse me, i have to write my 5 page paper on Native American Pottery now... GAH.

    By Blogger claire, at 11/15/2006 9:22 PM  

  • I'm with Nikol. The BOYFRIEND actually suggested we go to some type of crafts course. He has no idea how serious I take these sorts of things when I get into it. And I do get into them.

    By Blogger Christine, at 11/15/2006 10:41 PM  

  • What, you guys aren't on to Western Raku technique by now? That stuff is the shit.

    Gah, that sounds so maddening. What was up with the teacher? Did you guys ask her for help? Can you ask for different glazes? Can you just buy & bring in some of your own?

    Anyway, bad teacher. No teacher biscuit. I think she's crusin' for an unflattering stick figure drawing of her on the blackboard, if you ask me.

    By Blogger Da Nator, at 11/16/2006 12:19 PM  

  • I just had a moment of silence for your pitcher. I really hope it glazes okay next week!

    By Blogger Cassie, at 11/16/2006 2:35 PM  

  • christine - boyfriend.. crafts? really? well don't take anything too stressful. my suggestion would be basketweaving.

    da nator - Raku! oh, sure! yeah, we did that like the first week.. *cough*. We can't bring our own glazes because different glazes have different firing needs and temperatures. That would be way too complicated for them and would probably wind up ruining my pieces anyway. No biscuit, bad lady.

    cassie - lets all bow our heads and have a moment....... ok.

    By Blogger claire, at 11/16/2006 9:24 PM  

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