Jeremy Randall "Red and Green Oval Plate" 2009
The Meaning of Making
This is an article written by Bruce Metcalf on the ideas of making and the address of the art/craft debate. I feel this debate at times is overly discussed, but I feel like a lot of his comments are right on the mark. I am thinking of this this morning after having a critique and subsequent talk with an pottery focused student about the inherent concepts involved in making things. It is interesting that in this day and age we still choose to "craft" things by hand, and I feel that it is an incredibly potent political act. Even ones choice to use handmade objects goes against the mass produced mindset found throughout current contemporary culture, and addresses subtle ideas about the importance of personal connections between object and maker. Good things to contemplate at the start of the day as I sit with my coffee with my daughter reeking havoc on the house.
I am about to go into the studio to do surface, slip and glaze testing and hopefully extract a few new surface options to begin to introduce to my work. I have been wondering what a shift to Cone six might do for some of the technical issues that I have been having lately. I also have been getting tired of burnishing multiple colors of Terra Sigilatta on each piece. I have used some vitrified slips in the past and also thought about what that would do for the durability of the work. I dread the testing process, however I am really exited about the opportunity to be able to start a new dialog with the work and potentially some new color information.
I just finished repairing and retrofitting a small electric enameling kiln with a kiln sitter to be able to do some small test loads. It will be nice to be able to have that option and not have to do full loads of work in the large kiln to be able to get out a few tests. I also have the task of kiln repair on the large electric to do before I can fire again, which always seems to happen in the middle of the winter when standing out in the freezing temperatures is my last desire. It's nice that I have access at two schools to be able to fire in the meantime, so it takes a bit of the pressure off. Our home kilns are situated outside but under a large kiln shed roof beside the barn studio, but even though they're undercover I think the components corrode faster than normal. I have to change leads on the switches fairly regularly and is usually a spring overhaul/maintenance activity, but is a pretty easy task. Well, during the last bisque firing everything was cruising along and I went out to see if the sitter had tripped before going to bed, and noticed that the sitter box was black and smelled like electrical fire. Not good, but it got to temperature and wasn't actively on fire so I figured I would deal with it when I woke up in the morning. I took the box off to take a peek, and the hot lead to the sitter switch had looked as though it had arced out and the wire was burnt completely through. Looked like some corrosion had built up from previous firings and I'm sure the resistance was high, but thanks to circuit breakers the juice was cut off and no big time damage happened. Electricity is one of the things I don't like to mess with unless I have to and 220/240 volts is big enough to make me nervous. There has been talk recently about the opportunity to rebuild the studio, increase the square footage as well as having more storage and barn space available. It would be great to be able to enclose a kiln pad and rebuild the soda kiln in a space that was a bit more protected. I could look forward to swinging a hammer this summer for the sake of building a new barn. Hmmmm...
Time to start the day. Happy Friday.
Jeremy Randall "Green and Yellow Tank" 2009