The Polymer Clay Guild I belong to does periodic “challenges”, particularly when we are coming up on a group exhibit but also just for fun. The challenge for February is to make a “bowl”, however you define that, and I have been wanting to try some polymer vessels in addition to the fiber ones I have been doing up until now. This coincided very nicely with my survey of vessel forms that I have been collecting on Pinterest for a while and my need to do some experiments from that survey as examples for my Voice class. I love it when a plan comes together…. 😉
I started small, using a gourd for my form, and experimenting with recreating a raku effect that I love from ceramics. I liked how it came out, but felt it is a bit small to carry well in an exhibit unless it was part of a collection of similar forms.When browsing for Christmas gifts last year, I had found a rice bowl with a very lovely form and no seam around the bottom that seemed like it would be a good candidate to use as a form, so it was the next experiment. I had seen some vessels in Pinterest that had ragged edges, so putting the two together I ended up with a bowl that had an okay inside, but the outside didn’t seem to go with it.
For the next attempt, I went with smaller pieces and no solid outer shell, and used inks to age the outside after curing. This was much more successful, if still needing a bit more polish in the design:
And then the Art Bead Scene challenge with Hundertwasser intruded in to my rambling thoughts, and I decided to go even more organic. The flatter form went through several curings to build up the layers and there isn’t a way to really show the entire form in one photo, but I like the surprise that people get when the look below the lip and see what’s on the bottom. I was moving away from the poster that was the inspiration for the Art Bead challenge and toward Hundertwasser’s architecture for these. I love the flowing colors and irregular forms that he melds in to the surroundings.
The last couple of experiments went even further toward the organic and involved custom forms for their support. This one used foil for the support and has a flat panel on the inside that can be viewed through the windows. Technically, I think it is rough and in need of a better choice of placement on the front windows (!), but I liked the character that it has enough to make it a small stand to raise it up a bit to allow the viewer to see inside better. I also liked how the clay ended up resembling stucco in texture and color, though I of course ignored all of the good advice to keep track of how I got that particular color!
I have more trials to go for additional vessels and form supports, so future posts will cover those adventures.