Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Art - Ceramics workshops

The Art Project hosted two ceramics workshops thanks to MTN SA Foundation.

In October 2010, Margy Malan ran a one-month workshop

Nine adults attended. Some had little or no practice in drawing. All engaged with enthusiasm and determination.

The first part of the workshop consisted in drawing and observation using sketch books and digital camera to collect data for a journal. The handcrafting of the books in the form of a journal, cardboard boxes became rich tactile pages line drawing in pencil and brush as well as watercolours, gouache and collages, telling stories.

Photographic images portraying homes enabled access to the inner story – each person has a unique contribution.

Margy Malan went to the homes of all nine people to make photos. This contributed in a closeness and sharing and being able to have friendship and understanding working on the books and pottery.

Then came practical steps in pottery hand technique and the application of design – extracted from journal, using appropriate technique – simple press moulds (original moulds – not plaster of Paris) and slab technique with colour pigments for decor – there is the added advantage of utilising the printing facility for decal application.

The firing of entire works to completion – Bisc and glaze, slab making for press moulding was prevalent using a bisc bowl and plate. These shapes became canvass for interpreting images from their journals. They used underglaze paints on green and bisc ware – with transparent overglaze – mixing of glaze and glaze application – as well as packing and firing the kiln.
The students were experimenting using the decals from the photographic images of their journals onto their own smoke fired pots. They also tested decals on commercial white china.

An exhibition was set in December 2010 for the official opening of the ceramics studio. The decal decors were much appreciated and sales were successful.

In February 2011, Susan Sellschop ran a one-week workshop

The participants experimented clay printing process using a monotype technique and cobalt oxide as the print medium.

Slab making techniques were demonstrated and the slabs made into a flat dish and a tall cylinder vase that would be suitable to make using the printed slabs.

Two glass sheets were covered with a cobalt oxide and frit mix and dried ready for the demonstration.

All participants were asked to make a plant drawing ready for the next step of the process.
The printing technique was demonstrated using layout paper with a drawing of an aloe on it. The drawing was transferred to a slab which was later formed into a flat dish. Printed slabs were also made into cylinder vases.

After bisque firing, a process of colouring the drawings in a soft, water-colour technique was demonstrated.
All the bisque ware was glazed.

The firing was successful and the well-finished items are booked for an exhibition at Oude Libertas in July 2011.

Post by Florence Danais
after reports by Margy Malan and Susan Sellschop