the portable city

by definition, not static


status: archives being slowly restored, comics being relocated, new artwork and writing in the queue


Ceramics

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I’ve been learning ceramics in a casual ongoing way now, enjoying getting out of my comfort zone, and playing with a new medium. Much like printmaking, kiln fired and glazed ceramics are really a collaboration with chemistry and physics as well as a personal creative act, and I love that aspect so much.

Below I’m sharing my work in reverse chronology – the newest stuff is at the top. I think? you can see some real progress, but it’s amazing how much more I have to learn! I really love the feeling of being at the start of a long journey into a medium — it’s gotta be one of the most inspiring feelings I encounter as an artist.

In January 2024, I took a local intro class that included both wheel and handbuilding – I had to relearn everything left-handed and, in the case of the wheel, one-handed, so I set my expectations low, but I really feel like I was able to push myself and make things I am very proud of! The crystal island above was not planned — the instructor simply inspired me after he demonstrated his own whimsical sculpture approach, and I couldn’t resist trying! It feels like a miracle that it stayed together, stands up on its own, and looks this good, and it’s left me starving for the chance to make infinitely more islands!

Wheel throwing single (left) handed (above) was certainly a new challenge, and while I didn’t manage to work things as thin and delicate as I had earlier with my right hand, as you can see below. But they had such a wonderful range of glazes; and that small-mouthed shallow bowl is, it turns out, my dream water cup for painting – impossible to splash, easy to reach the bottom to wipe the paint off. And despite an s-crack in the base, it holds water fine! A miracle.

Below are five little cups I made over a three day workshop. First time making handles! As is traditional, none of these hold over 200ml of liquid due to shrinkage when firing – they’re so little! But I do still use them – the handles actually turned out lovely to hold, even if hilariously out of proportion with the little mugs themselves.

My first ceramics class, back in January 2023! Two functioning hands made learning the wheel a fun and exciting challenge, though at the time my handbuilding was frustratingly clumsy. Regardless, I got a functional (tiny) lemon juicer and a functional paint palette out of it, and I learned so much about throwing and glazing.

My favourite of all of this first batch is definitely the bubble glazed cup with the seagull silhouettes. Sadly the clear glaze on top crawled, but it’s a visual design idea I’d really love to try again soon.