Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crowded City

Originally I thought about making a narrow window box shaped vase. I wanted it to look like slabs of granite were leaned up against one another and were standing upright. As I was working on the piece, I realized thick pieces of clay would not work since they would be too thick to go through the firing process. So I changed my intention midstream. I've named my vase Crowded City since it feels like many buildings were crowded into a small section of land.

After I made the drawing in my journal, I realized I would need some sort of form to make the geometric pieces of clay. I cut out cardboard templates for the front and back of the window box. I drew the sides and bottom pretty much freehand with a ruler after I assembled the front and back, that way I knew what size to make the sides and bottom. I guess this is what folks call an intuitive process. The birth of this clay piece was rather traumatic and halfway through I was wondering why I was attempting to make the piece.

original-drawing-for Crowded-City-window-box-by-Linda-Starr
While I was working I was feeling the tension of how to fit the various geometric shapes of clay together as one. I wanted to attach them all together, have them stand upright, and have them function as a whole. This piece has 17 separate sections I fit together. I somehow got them to stand upright all at the same time, and assembled them into a functional piece. The window box is 14 inches long 9 inches high and about 4 inches wide.

It was really difficult to get this piece to come together, but now that I have it assembled I am really hoping it makes it through the drying and firing phases. Drawings are so flat and my clay pieces have so much more depth and look completely different than what my drawings do. Often, I am pleasantly surprised at what I create from clay.

Here's today's rose from my garden. While I've been perusing my rose photos I noticed I took most of them in the bright sunlight and many are out of focus. I guess I'll get busy when they start blooming again this year and take more photos.


  1. Gee, now I am wondering if it is too late to put a band around the very bottom of the piece all the way around? I'll see about that tomorrow. My original drawing shows that and someone I got so caught up getting the piece together I completely forgot about that. Ummm.

  2. I like this. You're so creative!

  3. Hi Judy, thanks, has your heat wave dissappated? Hope so.

    Hi Amy, thanks, these things just pop into my head. I can't believe I am saying this but I'm actually thinking of making more of these and some others like it but with round or triangular shapes. Perhaps a few window cutouts, maybe a smaller size and some different types of feet.

  4. Really nice thought process, I like the city scape imagery, it's very strong.

  5. looks like this opens a whole new chapter of opportunities for you in clay. I've recently enjoyed writing on clay, so I wonder how etching journal entries or a bunch of words written on each slab, put together--- how that would look.

  6. Hi Ron, thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. I have gone back and done a little clean up tonight on this vase. I just relooked at your blog and re-remembered your paper templates. Reminds me of when I used to make my own quilting patterns, I used cardboard. I need to go back read again as I already thinking of making another vase similiar to this.

    Hi Amy, I just made a comment on your blog about writing on slabs - I think it would be a great idea. Take a look at wikipedia dead sea scrolls first photo - I can definitely see you doing something like that. Thanks so much for your ideas.

  7. I like the idea of granite slabs of clay. It does look like a crowded city too. A small band around the bottom as you suggested would "ground" it. It reminds me of the DaNisha city scene bowls. Like the buildings inside the bowl in this picture:

  8. Hi Barbara, thanks, I do want to do something with some granite looking slabs, still thinking about that. Yes I thought a band around the bottom would ground it. I was also thinking a band around the bottom would look like a road going by the buildings and perhaps I could put some cars on it. This one idea can be adapted to a whole grouping of various pieces. The DaNisha bowl is great. This just reminded me, I must be drawn to city scapes because back in my partying days in SF I went to a halloween party as a skyscraper. I used cardboard and cut in windows so I could see out - an inexpensive costume and great fun. I was already thinking of re-doing this vase with some cut outs at the top with some windows. Thanks for your thoughts.

  9. One of the things I love most about ceramics is "stumbling" upon something you may only intend to create once...then suddenly it sets off so many other possibilities to explore. When I first started modeling birds they were only meant to be test tiles for raku glazes. Thought I'd make about a dozen. Since then I've probably made close to 200 and have fired them in all manners available to me (least of all raku.) I LOVE the cityscape window box and hope you'll continue to explore that design!

  10. Hi Becky, you are so right. I was saying to my husband last night, how, in the past, I never wanted to make the same piece more than once. Now I feel I'm going to a another plane wanting to re-do certain pieces to see how I can improve or change them. Examining this piece, the one on Critique My Pot, and those I just posted on the right of this blog. I just love your birds by the way. Oh, I found another site about pit and barrel firing which has info which looks promising, I'll email you. Thanks so much.

  11. You think outside the BOX for sure and I love that. Very creative!


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