Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wedding, Family, and Happiness

My family and I spent much of last week running around, preparing for my brother's wedding in Washington DC. We had so much fun hanging out together. My brother is generally a well organized person but this wedding challenged him to his limit. The schedule for the wedding weekend was as followed:

basketball game with friends & family
family dinner
drinks with friends at a bar
hindu ceremony (the bride is indian)
vietnamese traditional ceremory (the groom is vietnamese)
civil ceremony
brunch with family and friends

How many couples do you know have three ceremonies at their wedding? Three! There was delicious food everywhere, I ate so much that I nearly popped out of my dress. But now that the wedding is over, I can't seem to go back to daily routines of life, especially here, in California, where smoke still fills the air.

My sister, brother, and I ran errands during rush hour. The ipod kept us amused.

My brother, get this, bought his tux two days before his wedding! My sister and I helped him with the shopping. Luckily, the seamstress agreed to have his pants hemmed in one day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Before and After

It never fails. The successful rate for plates has always been 3 out of 4. I guess consistency is a good thing.

First Attempt at Mold Making

A couple of days ago my boyfriend and I tried to make a mold of this small bowl. The attempt was not a successful one but the process was fun nevertheless and I learned a thing or two from it.

The first step to mold making is to create a container for the plaster. Usually people use four boards to make a bottomless box. Greg wanted to be innovative and used a small UPS box instead. It worked well but we had to tear the box apart in order to free the mold once the plaster was set. Thus, the re-usability factor is clearly zilch. In hindsight, wooden board is a much better option. We then placed the bowl, face down, inside the box. Next, we mixed the plaster thoroughly using a mixer attached to an electric drill. We poured the plaster into the box until it completely covered the bowl. Here was when we made our second mistake. The plaster should have been a creamy, not pudding-like, consistency. If the plaster is too thick, it is more likely to trap air bubbles. That was exactly what happened to our mold. It had a couple of holes on the surface. Oh well, practice makes perfect, right? I'm looking forward to our second attempt.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

New Twist on the Traditional

Inspired by traditional blue china, I threw a porcelain pitcher on the potters wheel and decorated it with whimsical sceneries. This project was a joy to work on but the process was somewhat tedious. It took me a couple of days just to glaze.

Notes: This piece is glazed but not yet fired.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Latest Batch of Mugs

Do you remember these glazed mugs from last week (or was it the week before)? Here they are... done, finally.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mold Making

The holiday season is approaching at warping speed. This is the busiest time for us artists. I've been struggling with how I can make the same piece uniformly, repeatedly, and quickly. I have examined and refined every step of the process but still, production isn't fast enough. Wouldn't it be great if we can operate proficiently on a 4-hour daily sleep? Then there will be 4 extra hours in the studio every day. Don't laugh, but I've tried this, and of course it didn't work. I ended up making more mistakes and working slower. As a die-hard potter's wheel devotee, I couldn't fathom the thought of molds. But after weeks of struggle, I'm warming up to the idea nicely. So, one night, I went online to do some research and ran into a book by Andrew Martin, titled The Essential Guide to Mold Making and Slip Casting. For those of you who are interested in learning the process of mold making and slip casting, I highly recommend it.

This self-published book contains literally hundreds of color photographs to illustrate step-by-step instructions. Martin left no details unanswered. He started with an overview on tools and materials, continued on with plaster recipes, one-piece to multi-piece molds, slip formulation, slip casting, and finally troubleshooting.

After reading the book thoroughly from front to back, I bought a 100lb bag of plaster and some slip. This weekend, I will attempt to make a few molds.