I made a menorah for my stepson and his family to welcome them into their new home. The shape of the menorah was inspired by a vase I was working on (still unfinished) and I used the tar paper technique of hand building ceramic shapes that I described earlier in the year.
Here are some construction pictures. The menorah is hollow.
And here is a picture of the final product after bisque firing and glazing.
Ever wonder what happens if you give a cat a dreidel? If he’s Boris he’ll play for treats and clean you out.
Here’s hoping you find whatever it is you’re looking for this Spring!
Boris was not the inspiration for this figurine although I have been taking a figure drawing class and drawing Boris for practice. No, he does not pose for me. What cat would? But he is good for ten nanosecond poses and gesture drawing. Sculpting a cat figurine sounded like a a fun idea. I have sculpted two cats before, but both were in polymer. Now that I have access to a pottery studio, I decided to try my hand at making a terra cotta cat which is a horse of a totally different hue.
Here are the preliminary stages of the figurine. You have to be careful not to leave any air bubbles in the clay. Small ones will probably dry closed but big ones can explode in the kiln. And unless all the clay is thoroughly dry inside and out, there is a danger of explosion in the kiln.
Here is where I started adding character. You will note that the cat looks well fed. In fact, I had to make his tummy hollow to insure that the clay would dry and that the figurine would not weigh a ton. I made an air hole underneath the figurine, wrapped it in plastic, and when the clay was hard enough, I put the puss on two sticks so air would reach the hole and dry inside. I put the figurine aside and forgot about it for a few weeks as it dried out slowly-the best way to prevent cracking. I did some painting with underglaze before putting the cat in the kiln. When he came out in one piece, the hard part was over,
I glazed the cat with matte clear glaze for the final firing. the white, orange, blue and other colors you see are the underglaze.
And here is the finished cat! His I.D tag, which is hard to see, says “Tiny.”
The resident art critic seems to approve.
I have to admit that I was very sad when I wrote last week’s post. But Boris is is coming out of his shell and worming his way into my heart. There is nothing like a kitten to beat the blues.
Plumpton used to hang out in my workshop and Boris seems interested in doing the same. It will be nice to have company s long as Boris behaves himself. But what are the chances of that?
He was fascinated with the pieces of baked polymer that I am playing around with for a wall piece I am making for a fund raiser for the Fleisher Art Memorial. Just the thing for a kitten to bat around.
Playing with the colors, shapes and textures inspired me to try a new earring design.
So it looks like Boris might be inspiring me! That’s good. I could use some inspiration right about now.
A charming side trip in Amsterdam is a visit to De Katten Kabinet, a museum set up in an old mansion that is devoted to displaying art depicting cats. You’ll see everything here: paintings, prints, sculpture, movie posters-even a mummified pussy cat. The Egyptians loved their cats, too.
The story is that a rich Dutch banker wanted to do something to commemorate his beloved orange tabby John Pierpont Morgan (Tom for short). So he turned his house into a museum and put J.P.’s image on a fake dollar bill. This seems strangely appropriate cine De Katten Kabinet is located on Herengracht, a street in Amsterdam that is home to numerous banks and investment firms. On the other hand, I have yet to meet a cat who gives a fig about money.
After we went through the museum, we went into a back garden area where two kittens were engaged in some serious play.
And then out sauntered three chickens who were more concerned with sunning themselves than worrying about the kittens!
If you are a cat lover, De Katten Kabinet is worth a visit your next time in Amsterdam.
Herengracht 497 – 1017 BT Amsterdam
My Feline housemate and sometimes artistic collaborator Plumpton told me about Henry. Plumpton often helps out when I am beading or working with fiber. These collaborations don’t always go smoothly, but Plumpton has never sought another collaborator. That should mean something. Shouldn’t it?
It looks like Plumpton had a good time!
I have been experimenting with patinas on metal. You can buy patina chemicals, but you can also use things from around the house, like salt, rust, and ammonia. My feline companion Plumpton and I sometimes collaborate on artistic projects. Here are two examples of copper buried in Plumpton’s litterbox.
Why buy iron oxide when it grows wild everywhere? Yes, iron oxide is another name for rust. Take a rusty object and put in into a plastic bag with a few drops of water and the metal object you want to have a rust patina. Here is a what a steel washer looks like, before and after.
The next items are salt and ammonia and the process is called fuming. I cleaned brass and copper with a wire brush and wiped it clean with alcohol. Then I filled a small jar with white ammonia and put in inside a big jar. I sprinkled salt in the big jar (not in the ammonia), put in the metal, and screwed on the lid.
More experiments to follow . . .
A final note – I took “Forming Lasting and Meaningful Attachments” with Robert Dancik last weekend with the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild last week. The class covers cold connections and is one of the best classes I ever took. I didn’t make a thing, but I don’t care. I learned so much it will take time to process it all. Take this class if you have the chance.