Wednesday 6 February 2013

Ceramics update

Worked continuously for almost the entire three hours of last night's ceramics class.

Two projects are on the go a ce moment.

Firstly, a long continuous building frontage - basically, a load of working class apartments atop a row of dismal inner city shops.

This is a ceramic rendition of a cardboard mock up of same.

The cardboard mock up.

In situ

Next to the ceramic version.
The ceramic slab had been painted with a criss-cross of Shellac which is water resistant. The next stage was to use a very wet brush and rub away the unshellaced areas ie the windows and doors, so that they would be indented and thus emphasised.

I quickly manufactured a gable end for the building and etched on it a billboard poster advertising a fictitious brand of cigarettes, "Fume".

Those two pieces will now dry out over the next few days and then be fired in the kiln. At that point, the golden-brownish shellac will burn off.


The second project is the HO scale facade of a Parisien church, based increasingly loosely on St Paul-St Louis.

Last night was spent continuing to etch out details, imprint patterns with the plastic ends of felt tip pens, and stick on additions to give the whole thing depth.

For example, this is how one adds on a little rectangle of clay. One must etch cross-hatchings on both the surface to which the rectangle will be stuck and to the rectangle itself. Then one paints both surfaces with "slip" which is liquidised clay. Note, the state of dryness of both pieces of clay must be the same. Otherwise, they shrink at different rates and the adhesion fails or the add-ons crack. Rather like the parable of the wine in the new wine skins - I think.

The surface on the body of the church.
The rectangle to be stuck on.

The rectangle in position.

Gouging out some features.

Current state of play.
Fairly pleased with it so far. But am too aware of those 4 rectangular troughs, so to speak. Might have to stick on some clay bits and pieces within each of those sunken sections. Also, will have to make the pillars more prominent in the central sections, top and bottom. I've already gouged out clay between the pillars in the middle section. 
The real thing.

Currently listening to:
Beethoven's 'Eroica' Symphony.
This was broadcast yesterday on Radio 3. But of course one can use the BBC iPlayer to play it back today.
The conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra - Daniel Harding
Last night's dinner on a shoestring:
From today, the plan is to save money on food without compromising quality/pleasure.
Today's approach was to use up the contents of the freezer. Therein lay a pack of beef sausages. Not supermarket produce but ones from a local butcher.
These were stewed with onions and gravy and served with mashed up potato and turnip. Washed down with milk.
Thomas Merton:
Attended morning Mass at St Paul's Whiteinch. Walked there. On way back looked in on a new corner shop of Arabian persuasion. No customers. Very small selling a mixture of Cornflakes, Walkers crisps and exotic Arabian produce such as stuffed vine leaves and flat round breads. Hiding at the back was a tiny Halal meat counter.
On the way out the chap at the till asked me how I would be voting in the forthcoming (a few years away, in fact) Scottish Independence referendum. I don't feel that strongly about it but I told him I'd vote No.
"Why", he asked, "reasons of finance?"
"Yes, there's that", I replied. "And, also I'm English."
He seemed to find that reply very witty and gave me the thumbs up.
Of course, I'm half-English/half-Welsh and have lived exclusively in the Glasgow area for 55 years.
So, to Day 1 of my new super-charged prayer life.
In Catholic and intellectual circles, the American Thomas Merton has always been held up as a clever writer on the subject of prayer.
I'm not looking for cleverness; I'm looking for honesty and a direct line to God.
I'll give him a go though.

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