Ceramics reflection

In art class our unit is on Ceramics. Our unit question is “To what extent does form determine the functionality of an object?”. Recently we made our own Ceramic cup. We started off the unit by understanding what ceramics is and the difference between pottery. We were given a piece of clay to play with. We were then introduced to some of the basic parts to ceramics and pottery. After looking at different ceramics we were given a sheet where we were to design our own cups. After designing we started to make our cups, throughout the process of making our cups we learned more about pottery and ceramics. Finally our cups were ready to be painted, after painting we dipped the cup into glaze and waited for our cup to be ready.

Before designing my own cup I looked at many ceramics from different countries, as well as ancient designs and modern ones. Comparing the designs and style of the ceramics from different cultures was really interesting, each culture had their own unique style. For example the Greek ceramics had many designs that were similar to tribal prints and most of them had gold or black underglaze. The Chinese ceramics are very elegant and a lot are decorated with flowers, mythical creatures and most popular for blue and white porcelain. I noticed the Japanese ceramics were simple, not really decorated with any pictures but with colors and simple patterns such as lines, many of them had drips of underglaze coming down.

Planning how the cup would look took a while to do, since we never made our own cups before and we did not know if our designs would be hard to make. At the beginning of every step, we had a demonstration and wrote down notes we could use when making. The demonstrations made it all seem easy but when I tried it, it actually wasn’t. It was very hard to get the cup in the shape you want, get the thickness equal and I thought making the foot of the cup was most difficult because you need to trim the bottom but try to keep every side even. In my designs all the cups were going to have handles but I ended up not having enough time to make the handle. After forming my cup I decided weather to put relief pieces or other curving, There were various colors to choose from and looking at the samples I choose the colors that I thought would be suitable. So generally I went through the process of researching, planning, forming then glazing.

I wanted to make a owl design for my cup so I added two relief pieces for the eyes. Unfortunately after Bisque firing the pieces fell off so I decided to change my design that day. This was one of the difficulties I went through because it was impossible to add the piece back on, and I also did not have much time to put underglaze and my other designs seemed a bit complicated. So instead I thought of a pattern which I thought would look nice and was simple to do. I think that my researching was a success because it gave me many ideas when I needed them.

I think that strategies to further develop my artistic processes are to make the cup balanced in shape and more equal, where I mean to make the walls of the cup a more equal thickness and the rim of the cup seems a bit rushed. I think that if we had a bit more time on each of the steps it would have helped. Maybe we could have practiced some of the techniques that we need to use when forming the cup, for example when trimming and smoothing out the rim and curving the foot. I think that my cup was successful although there are some places I would like to fix and add, such as a handle so that it is more easy to grab on and one of the colors did not turn out I expected, so I could go over the color with more underglaze because the color turned out too light.

Overall, I thought that this unit was a bit different to most of the other units because most of the other units either last year or this year is usually related to drawing on a paper, but this unit I felt like we got to do something quite different. It was also a good experience in another type of art. I thought this unit was very enjoyable and exciting.

Finished cup

Finished cup