Tuesday, March 29, 2011

more on surface and form

I thought we had a good class last night.

I am also extremely proud of all you guys. There is no greater joy for me as an instructor than to see my students embrace new things with a fearless attitude. You guys are great! And everybody is making some cool stuff too!

So, in our discussion at the start of class we explored some of the issues connecting and separating the details of form and surface. We noticed that both things can point to the same part of the pot but that each embodies a different way of looking at it. The form can be more like the structure or the bones of an object, and things like size, proportion, and all the variables and changes of direction are indicated. The surface is like the skin that is stretched over the form, something like how clothes overlay a person's body. The underlying form can be hidden or highlighted depending on what is done to the surface. And also, we talked about how certain things that add dimension to the surface also have consequences for the form. Some embellishments will effect both, like stamping, squeezing, or applying slip, while others, like painting a picture, effect only the physical surface of the pot but don't change the form. And yet this surface treatment is all about how we see the object. It can be something like looking at this image of the duck/rabbit:

When we see the painted picture on the surface of a pot are we also necessarily looking at the form at the same time? When we observe a texture on an object we can notice things about the form, but would it be more honest to say that we were looking at the surface? And when we notice how details on a pot's surface can be stretched when the pot is deformed out of round, we can see that these clues tell as much about the form as they do the surface.They two are interrelated but not the same.

So there are lots of things to play around with, and the more tools we have in our toolbox the greater our ability to give life to our imagination. These kinds of ways of working with our pots give us just that much more control over what can happen. We now have more options to play around with.

So here are some pictures and videos that can be used as reminders of what we talked about. The potter is John Bauman, who makes some really fine pots, and is a true master of these decorating techniques (unlike the guy teaching your class...).  Check out his blog for some great tips, conversations, and general information that might interest your potting brain.

And here are some videos he has shared that demonstrate his use of these ideas. Hope you enjoy!

If you guys have some favorite videos to share, please do so. Later!

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