Friday, 14 October 2011

Steampunk sprigs

I never write about my actual university projects on here. You know, university? That place I'm supposed to be earning a BA in Ceramic Design at? Central St Martins? Famous art school... ring a bell?

Well anyway, I don't generally put that stuff up on here. 1) because I don't think it's very good and 2) because it's nice to get away from all that junk and post the stuff I actually like doing. Not that I don't like ceramics. I love ceramics! It's this wonderful alchemy where you take dirt and rocks out of the ground, add some heat, and somehow make something beautiful or useless (sometimes BOTH!). But it's just so demanding. Sometimes it feels like more like a duty. I have to perform. I have to earn a degree. I have to research and finish things. Whine whine bitch bitch, you get the gist here.

My current project is all about surface design, either 3d modelled surface design or sponged patterns, lithographs, sgraffito, slip trailing, or any other way of prettying up a plain surface. The theme I've gone with is steampunk. Why? Because it's easy and there's a target market of nerds with too much money and I can look at lots of Victorian pottery in the V&A. That's why.

One thing I've been looking at is sprigging, the kind of 3D decoration you find on stuff like Wedgewood Jasperware. To make sprigs, you need to make a mould of a design. So yesterday I played around with some polymer clay (Fimo), and made up these:

 For scale on this one, the inside edge of the cog is the size of a penny.

They're not great. I need a lot more practice, I'm not used to working Fimo or on such a small scale, and I don't have the best tools (here I use a craft knife, 2mm crochet hook and a manicure hoof. I ordered some tools, but they arrived and they're a bit big). It doesn't matter because these are just maquettes- a way of sketching in 3D to see what you can achieve. These won't work for making moulds from, because they have undercuts so they (and subsequent mouldings) would get caught by a lip of plaster and not work. I need to work on that.

So that's what I've been up to. I really should stop listening to the Kiki's Delivery Service OST and go and do some more work (even if there is a Jiji on my bed ^-^)

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