Last Week Gabe and I had the good fortune of attending a Rain Harris workshop in Hays KS as a part of my midterm critique weekend. We had a fantastic time, meeting people and learning the new techniques that Rain brought to teach. The workshop centered around her black flower bouquets, which when paired with resin coated plastic and silk flowers, become a commentary on the distinction of good and bad taste.
Using a black clay called Cassius Basaltic made by Aardvark Clay, we were instructed in making the beautiful and delicate flowers seen in the sculpture above. Typically, Gabe and I had a hard time staying on track with the assignment. This was our first workshop in a long time and we were so excited. Gabe especially was determined to “blow it up”, his way of saying the was going to go all out. So while our class mates made beautiful flowers ,mounted on nichrome wire, Gabe and I made monster flowers.
The top image shows the clay wet, and the lower is after the clay is fired. Both these flowers were made by Gabe, true to his word, he blew it up…in more than one way…
The process of firing the work is very aggressive, these went into the kiln and were fired to cone 5 the night they were made. “I told you I don’t know what I’m doing” was his comment, (though truly loosing one of 7 isn’t bad) and off he went to vacuum the kiln. We then gathered all the pieces for the next phase of the build.
Our class mates took the lovely flowers on wires and made arrangements using the black clay again as a center piece to hold the wires together.
This is the piece that Rain created, but all of them were really terrific. And then there’s us. We took our frankinflowers and the broken pieces and pushed together a strange collaborative hill of weirdness.
We left lots of the under clay exposed and textured it and forced the broken pieces in, then shoved on the other flowers, most of which did not include the wires that our more skillful and attention paying fellows added. In spite of its odd ball status, we were happy with it and having a blast. For good measure I held it up and asked Gabe to poke it a few times. Im laughing as I type, because we blew this one up too.
please note how awesome most of these are. Somehow we were just not destined to be among them this weekend. No tears though, we salvaged what we could and may make some further monstrosity later. Gabe also got to make a new friend.
Thanks to everyone at FHSU for the great weekend!