Monthly Archives: September 2011

.bowling

As of the last few weeks, I’ve been throwing bowls. Many different style of bowls. From brown clay to b-mix to porcelain. I’ve been bowling it and I’m liking it. However I am running into the problem of thin bottoms. Throwing off the hump or straight off the wheel, it doesn’t matter. A majority of them have thin thin bottoms. I’m trying to correct the problem. Problem is I’m stubborn and want to get as much weight off the bottom so I don’t have to trim. But I do have to trim so I can have a nice foot. The area where the foot is is fine, the inner area for the foot is where I’m having issues.

I have a few solutions.
1. The most obvious one leave a thicker bottom. I hate to waste clay. I guess I’m frugal in that manner. Hey, when your working at 3 different studios you kinda gotta be. Trimming can waste clay since I’m a horrible wedger. I need wedging 101 because I suck at it. I’m like the bubble master when it comes down to it. Bubbles here bubbles there, bubbles everywhere.
2. For the bowls that don’t have enough, add clay. I’ve been doing this process by re-centering when almost leather hard and adding just enough clay. Last sat I did the procedure after I trimmed. Bad idea. From now on I do it before trimming. Also if I see that I need to add more clay while it’s being throw, I will add at the time so I don’t have to recenter.
3. Trim differently so that the middle is a little higher. I’m not sure yet about this but it’s a good solution.

My Shapes are varying. Last Thursday night I went to Echo to trim bowls I threw the prior sat and drop of two trimmed bowls I trimmed at Berman. Ki was there late loading a bisque so I stayed late too. Ended up throwing 5 small to medium bowls. Working out a idea in my head right now so these were tests. Last Sat I threw 6 bowls only 4 made it. These are taller ones that will have a long foot. I’m still working on the shape so they are on the smaller side. Would like to throw larger ones.

Last night Jim was giving a demo on plates. OH DARN!!!! I forgot to bring a bat. OH fucking well. I threw a small plate that came out pretty decent off the hump. Fellow Asian student, Jason, threw without a bat. Yes the two odd balls but hey we still came out with pieces. Anyway more about plates in another post. So course because i can and I am stubborn I an throwing mediumish bowls off the hump. I was trying to throw a shallow bowl. Th first 2 scrapped because they were crap. The third tore in one part due to lack of water. It looked good being half torn so I am keeping it. Not sure how I can trim it but I’ll figure it out. The 4th rim was messed up. Again went with it. The last bowl of the night was the shape I was looking for and I was able to get the bottom weight down. Fucked up part is that I messed up with taking it off the hump. I’ll have to adjust the bottom on Sat. That bowl is what I have been after during and after i threw the mega bowl. It will of course include some kind of cut out decorations.

Probably going to Echo on Friday to get away from the crazy animals, trim and throw some more.  I do think a lot of my designs elements will work it’s way onto or into the bowl. I played around with one idea that failed so hard I wanted to smack myself. Fortunately I still saved the bowl. After this week I gotta start getting back in my regular stuff. For now I’ll keep on bowling it.

copyright anna becker 2011

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.copyrighting designs & concepts

I’ve always been skeptical of showing my work on a blog, website or social network. I want to be able to share my work with friends, family and whoever may stumble upon my blog or website (social network I can control a bit more). I pride myself in having very original design elements that have become a signature niche of mine. Design aspects that are very much me and from what research I have done (not much) have not seen done by any other artist.  I don’t know if that sounds cocky but at some point as an artist you start to have somewhat of an ego or high self portrayal.  I struggle to deal with this issue as I really would take it personal for someone to start copying me. Yes its flattering I guess but to just copy and not heavily tweak it to make it look like or reflect like your work is very bothersome. I’ve definitely been influenced by other artists but it’s sparked a completely different idea. At what point does influence turn into flat-out stealing a design, concept or idea. How does one handle this issue? I expose myself  by inviting people to view my work through my blog and website (um.. yeah that hasn’t been updated since I made it 4 years ago) and by working at multiple studios. The only thing about working at different studios is that a lot of people see the progression but not the end results. I subject myself to this so how can I protect myself?

I recall in my first few years of learning, my idea for the woven series was copied by another student. I was truly angered by this as I had drawn up the design a few months prior and had made my first prototype. It’s highly unlikely that she just ‘came up” with the same design. It’s not something that one just happens to pull out of their ass when someone has done the design already. It’s pretty obvious she saw my piece and tried to copy it. My piece had been through a  bisque firing, her’s was still greenware. I don’t recall how we came to the outcome of her having to destroy hers. I do know that I huffed and puffed about it though. Granted it probably wasn’t a big deal to her, maybe it was, but I was truly and utterly furious. From that day forward i vowed that I would try to protect my ideas as much as possible.

There have been multiple other occasions were ideas where used and infused into their work without too much tweaking.  To me it’s annoying because I don’t really look at other peoples work that I share creative space with unless I am collaborating with them. Let me rephrase. I look at their work.  I appreciate their but out of respect, I look the other way when it comes to their elements of design. That is their thought/idea of design for their work. While I truly appreciate the piece as a whole, and maybe they would be flattered by some  influence, I really do not have a desire to incorporate it. Even it’s just a little bit. At some point I hope others would respect me in that same manner. There I go again by being all high and mighty and shit. I don’t have any other way to describe how I feel about this. I know when people work together in a studio, at times there can be many similarities in work such as glaze, shapes etc. One time I was asked if it was okay to use the same technique. I ultimately said yes but was still erked by it.

I know my work is different, I like that my work is different. I don’t want to start seeing similar work as mine. I don’t think anyone really does. It’s taken a long time to get to point I am now. I am finally able to output ideas that have been in my heart and head for years. For someone to simply take away from that would be extremely hurtful. To think about feels like a part of me is being taken away. A very near and dear friend of mine commented and complimented my work when I sent him a quick text image.  My silly response was that my work is very much like me and to handle with care. Although there are multiple styles, they are all thrown thin and quite fragile but strong at the same time. For those who know me well, they would probably agree. I’m also just a bit of a nut case though so most of the shit that comes from my head and output into the world through speaking or writing  really is  complete and utter shit. Haha. At least in my opinion.

So back to the point of this post. How does one go protecting thyself? Do you go to the extremes of documenting and mailing yourself a copy of your design keeping it for future proof. Do you simply just add “design and concept copyrighted” with your name and year piece was created? I suppose both would work and probably best to do both. Is the latter of the two enough to hold by itself though? I don’t really know the whole legality of self proclaiming a copyright though, especially for a design. From what I understand, as soon as a work of art is made your are the sole owner unless you were an employee for a company. You have all rights to your piece and no one else can sell your work unless  you hire them too. I understand this point for creating prints etc, but when it comes to actual design elements, how do you copyright it. I’ve been trying to squeeze time in to research this topic but I haven’t run into any information that is relevant to just elements of design. Only about selling  reproductions or work/images images without consent etc or posting images without permission.

I’m still skeptical with all this, and even more so with this post. For some reason I feel someone would do it out of spite because some silly little girl bitched about it on her blog. I am in hopes that this would never be the truth. For now I just add a footer that anything posted on my blog is under copyright.

copyright anna becker 2011


.textured drop series

I attempted this design again. My first go around, I actually preferred the design when it had no glaze. Then I fucked the piece up with improper glazing. It was just okay, not something I really cared for. I do however think if I did a better glaze job, that is would have looked amazing. Maybe under glazes will work for this. I have ideas, I don’t know how much time or effort I really want to spend with this series.

I was able to complete the design on the  piece in under 2 hours, maybe less and 1.5 hours last night. I’m not quite sure since I was multitasking last night with glazing and trimming in between design.  Most of my efforts were put towards my obsession to create smooth clean edges and surface. It pretty quick to finish the piece. Jim let me stay after since I didn’t want to take the piece home. Lord knows what I might had added to it.

There is one more bottle I have that I have decided to use this same design. Maybe add more drops because it’s a bigger piece.  I really do like the design, I’m just not in love with it at this moment. I don’t know if it needs something more or not. I think it’s a go to design when I don’t know what the fuck to put on a piece since it’s quick and easy. It will probably grow on me when I find the right glazing method.

copyright anna becker 2011


.studio comparison

BERMAN
Location: North Hollywood, CA
I first started here when I moved back to Los Angeles. I  am very happy and comfortable at the studio. The thing I probably like the most about being apart of this studio is Harry’s direction for experimenting. He gives us the opportunity to participate in different firings and introduces us to different techniques. This is the biggest edge over the other studios. I also like the fact that I am able start do some glaze calculating.

Robert Miller & Kitty are a  HUGE plus to the studio. Robert is a  great instructor, thrower and overall a nice guy. Kitty is a great instructor and thrower as well. Last but not least, the friends I have made feel like family. I love & appreciate everyone there, well maybe not love  but I do appreciate everyone.
At times I feel that Echo is too far but in reality it’s not. Also there is something comforting when I am their working alone. I do like that it is smaller for that reason.

ECHO
Location: West Los Angeles
I joined Echo earlier this year. Although I am not there are much as I would like to be, I do try to go at least once a week. I mainly utilize the space for glaze and firings. I do like the space though. Though it’s the smallest of the 3 studios, there is something quite comforting when I am there working alone or with 2 or 3 other people. I don’t know many people here as I am usually there after hours. The people I have met are really nice.

XIEM
Location: Pasadena
BY FAR the biggest and prettiest (to me) studio. I’m in love with this place.  I’m not a member but I did put myself on the waiting list. Crossing fingers to be a member soon although I wouldn’t mind taking Jim’s class for awhile. Hopefully by next year I will be a member. I know I will be spending A LOT of time there and once I am a member I will drop Echo. Though I will still buy clay from them unless I start to make trips to Aardvark but then I would have to buy at least 100 lbs of clay at a time. Still might be worth it though.
Since I am still quite new to this studio I can’t really make any real comparisons. I do like the fact that firing and a bag of clay is included with each class. Also firings seems to be more consistent. Oh and they have the FASTEST wheels. Love to throw fast.
I enjoy my class with Jim. We are a very small group but it’s been fun so far. I am enjoying my fellow class mates and I’m actually participating in the lessons. Jim is really laid back and a great instructor, reasons why I wouldn’t mind taking his class over and over. I can do my own thing and participate as much as I wanted.

Overall I am at a very a happy place in my life. I am able to create in different environments which I feel helps a lot. It’s one thing to have your own studio, it’s another to be a part of a studio. If I worked solely from home, sure it would be great, I would make my own rules etc; however, there is a lot of work in keeping your own studio so for now, that is not going to happen. Maybe in a couple of years. I think I would still be apart of Berman though. It’s one of my happy places. Kinda like cheers or something.

 


.fall & holiday sale

This year I am planning on participating in 2 sales maybe 3. I am already committed to the one I did last year @ Berman. I am hoping to get get the same spot as last year so I can be more prepared in setting up etc. Dates for this sale is Nov 19th-20th. Last year I had a blast. It was nice to be able to show my past and current work.

I just registered to have a counter top @ Xiem for their fall sale. Dates for this sale is Nov 11th – 12th. One week before. I wasn’t sure when the dates were. I had thought it was in Dec but I think that is for Echo. Originally I was just going to participate at Berman and Echo. I am really thinking that I will do all three. Will have to check with Ki about the Echo studio

I’ve got A LOT of work ahead of me. I have been on schedule with a lot of things though. The great thing about being at 3 different studios is the firings. I can get work fired quicker and I have a big selection of glazes to choose from.


.new geo orbs

Just a pic of the new orbs. Thought that I threw 11 but I either miscounted or somehow lost one. Don’t know what happened but oh well. Out of the 10 only 7 made the cut. I trimmed through 2 of them and one of them wasn’t thrown well. If there is a pit fire in the future, I’ll toss those in but for now, they are in the discard pile.

I learned a lot this time around. I don’t even remember the thought process for the first one. This time around I was able to achieve more texture, however at times I feel some things are being forced. When I get to that point I just move on to another one. Besides having more texture, some have very different edges. I burnished the piece when I trimmed  however when I am carving I am finding that I am getting a very rough look. I think the black mountain clay has a finer grit. I don’t remember. I will have go back and burnish again. Oh well.

I’ll be done with these little guys tomorrow. I would like to make a 9 piece series so I can sell them in individually or in sets of 3. The next two I throw will be a bit larger.


.productivity

Last night I dropped off 3 pieces at Xiem. I misread the firing space I’m allotted each class term and was SUPER happy that I’m actually given more space. This makes life a bit easier. I plan to have the larger and heavier pieces fired at Xiem and the smaller and much lighter  pieces fired at Echo. I don’t think I will have anything fired at Berman since it’s just too dang expensive for my poor bum.

A lot of work a head of me this week. The 3 pieces thrown last week at Xiem need to be trimmed tonight along with the 11 “Geo Orbs” and my large bowl. It’s stuck to the dame bat. I hope it will pop off tonight so I can trim it. I might throw today, not sure yet. Will have to see how much trimming I get done. Trying to get there early today. Gotta feed the animals and make sure they are happy before I go though. It’s been hot and my place gets so freaking hot in the afternoon. It was already hot when I went to pick something up around 10 so I left the air unit on.

So after finishing up some pieces, Jim was doing a demo on closed vessels and turning them into lidded vessels. He showed up a neat trick of using a chopstick to indent and mark your lid. My first one I wasn’t able to close the vessel well and ended up with a little dip at the top. I ended up liking it so I made a 5 piece mini series of them. I am thinking of using glass to fill the little dip. Again I forgot to take a pic but I do have pics of pieces that I dropped off last night. Will have to post those later


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