Sgraffito

One of the truly amazing things about going to class is that you get to learn and experiment with new pottery techniques. This one is called sgraffito, which has got to be up there on the list of things with truly awesome names. Take the piece below, which is a combination of two bowls (one larger, one smaller and upside down) and joined by a curvy cylinder:

trimmed

While the piece is still moist after tooling/trimming and joining it, a layer of slip is applied to the surfaces I want to be decorated. Slip is basically runny clay which has colour stain in it. When fired, the colour comes out. When the slip is leather hard dry, the drawing is carved out. The parts that are carved out will then come out white. This is the piece once the slip was applied and the drawing carved out:

IMG_0597

Once bisqued, that is, fired to 1000 degrees Celsius, the colour started to come out..

IMG_0670Et voila! Herewith the final product. PERFECT for little sweet things, like truffles and Easter eggs 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANOTE: All photographs by Araceli Robledo

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Guggenheim vase

First of all, very sorry for my radio silence of late. I’ve been struggling to find time to post on here since I began my ceramics degree at TAFE, but I am hopeful things won’t be as crazy going forward. It is all a question of managing my time, and I am slowly learning to do it better. ANYWAY… I’m back! And what better than with a really interesting piece in progress I’m very excited about. I present you my Guggenheim vase, unglazed (can’t wait for the vibrant colours to show up and the pencil lines to disappear).

Guggenheim vase a

Guggenheim vase b

The vase is very tall, almost 40cm (biggest vase I have ever made). Being so big I just HAD to do something really special to it. Enter Pinterest! And this 1975 cover of the New Yorker by Laura Jean Allen. It was pinned to one of my boards over a year ago, probably waiting for the right moment to say “this could be a GOOOD idea”. I spent all of today researching the collection at the Guggenheim, designing the vase and having an absolute ball. Below is but one of the pages of my sketchbook filled with inspiration for today’s piece.

Guggenheim sketches

This isn’t my first museum-inspired piece (MoMA, Met, Prado), but I think the reason why the Guggenheim has been in the back of my mind these past days is because of the current exhibition in NYC: Gutai: Splendid Playground. You must agree with me it looks absolutely brilliant. I love how certain ideas resonate and linger in my mind for a while until I do something about them. Sadly, I always have more ideas than time to carry them out… Ah well 😉

First day at school

On Wednesday I went back to school. But not to any ordinary school no, it was my first day at my Ceramics Diploma at TAFE. Look at this incredibly welcoming door…

Entrance to TAFE

Our teachers are a dream, not to mention the amazing facilities and ease of schedule. But the part that really got me was our program for Term 1. By way of a snapshot:

[…] Term 1

* Thrown forms with applied glazes

* Investigation into curatorial history written research project

Option 1: To produce a series of three cylindrical forms which explore the possibilities of joining thrown forms.

Option 2: Small one piece lidded vessels with organic forms or larger ovenware chicken pots. […]

Even if I were starting at Hogwarts I don’t think I’d be as excited as I am about this certificate. There was even time to get messy on the wheel:

throwing

and start making the vessels I’ll join together next week.

first pots of the year

Classes are on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and every other Saturday. Heaven.

Note: All photos are by Araceli Robledo

Greenwich House Pottery, the results!

So after doing a fantastic course at Greenwich House Pottery in NYC in July, and going back in September do glaze my pieces, my wonderful friend Maria went to pick them up this week. Herewith the results:

ensemble

Now the bowls:

the bowls

Look at the double rim made for this one. Munemitsu showed us how to make this feature based on his own work:

rim bowl

 

I remember tooling this bowl so as to make it as thin as possible:

thin bowl

And a pasta bowl too! This one is actually rather big:

pasta bowl

And my first ever plate. Can’t wait to eat out of it. Preferably a steak or a nice roasted fish!

plate

NOTE: None of the pictures were taken by me, but by my lovely friend Maria.

Facebook page

I don’t think I have mentioned it on here yet but… I have a Facebook page! It also feeds directly from my Instagram account. Together with this blog, all three pages? Interfaces? (My IT vocabulary is not very extended but I think you know what I mean!) ANYWAY, all three complement each other in sharing with you what I am up to in the absolutely fascinating world of ceramics 🙂 Please feel free to “Like” the FB page or to follow me on Instagram!

Greenwich Village in porcelain

SO OBAMA WON!! YESSSS!! And how is Manhattan celebrating? IN BLUE!!

And this post has just GOT to be inspired by this amazing city, and how it inspires my work once again. But first, let’s go back in time, to 1957 to be more precise, and to Greenwich Village.

A party hosted by Art Ford in his brilliant Greenwich Village apartment and with Cy Coleman performing – I can’t think of anything quite so glamorous and just FUN! And what about the closing illustration of Washington Square? ANYWAY…. I then thought, why not do a piece that captures the fun and sophistication of this era? And so my Greenwich Village bowl came to life.

I painted the outside inspired by Greenwich Village facades with the inside being an Art Ford party in full swing! Then I got excited about the results and did another bowl, this one smaller, just concentrating on the guests and musicians.

And then I just HAD to do a mug as well, this time ONLY with dancers. I have more plans for this Greenwich Village party theme, so do stay tuned!

NOTE: Photo of Manhattan in blue is by Shane Walton, and the rest are by Araceli Robledo.

NOTE2: On my way to Jim and Valerie‘s to deliver their Greenwich Village bowl, together with the MoMA and Central Park bowls they had also purchased, the bag in which I was carrying all 3 pieces broke and they smashed into the pavement. It’s been just a few weeks, but don’t think I have recovered from the trauma just yet…!

Queen Victoria Building

In the heart of Sydney’s central business district (or “CBD”, as it is known here), lies this sensuous 19th century shopping centre.  Queen Victoria Building’s interior design is wonderfully lush and romantic, just look at its lifts:

I had originally gone to buy ink for my fountain pen, but spent longer than expected looking at everything the place has to offer. From Aboriginal art galleries,

to a Viennese cafe, Klimt reproductions on the walls and Sacher torte included.

 

There’s also an abundance of jewelry shops – look at the size of the Australian baroque pearls of this necklace oh la la!

And believe it or not, there’s a shop that specialises in tin soldiers!

However, my biggest surprise came when I saw a Metropolitan Museum shop! With classic gifts and merchandising one would buy in New York, this shop was fully stocked.

And in case you missed my posts here and here, I do find a lot of inspiration in museums for my porcelain bowls. For a second time, the Met was subject of my work:

NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo