Tuesday, May 26, 2015

part 1: final presentations from my students,
a feast for the senses

For their final project, my tableware students had to create dinner place settings for at least four people. Each setting had to have at least three pieces, and the table had to have a centerpiece. These parameters were open to interpretation to fit the theme of their dinner setting.

The sets could be hand-built, thrown, or slip-cast. The finals were presented at Ewing House, a small cozy building on RISD’s campus.  What an incredible time we had presenting, eating, talking. It was the most satisfying critique I have attended. Perhaps because I saw the students grow so much in their knowledge of clay and tableware production process? I am presenting their set ups in three parts, there is just so much for the eye to feast on.

^Abigail Heingartner carved the originals for her shapes out of plaster, made molds, then slip-cast her pieces in porcelain. The texture on the bowls and tumblers was created by carving into the slip-cast piece. Abby baked delicious cheese biscuits presented in the oval serving dish, accompanied by a thrown on the wheel butter crock. Abby hand-built the votive candles for the centerpiece, and filled them with wax.

^Adriana Gallo worked with porcelain to hand-form the Italian feast serving plates and platters. The organic shapes were slumped over found beach rocks, and the rims pinched for a lovely undulating edge. Serving utensils were also hand-formed. Adriana made a whole lot of anti-pasta, presented on a striped tablecloth, transporting us to southern Italy. We ate this set up outside, of course.

^Brandon Saisho threw his bowls and cups on the wheel, then built the table to hold the pieces in the centerpiece/storage cabinet. Each piece had a walnut lid, which could also be used as a coaster. Brandon made black sesame pudding, rice, and red bean soup to serve to the class. A very meditative set up, we spent a lot of time exploring the table/cabinet, cradling the dishes, experiencing the exotic flavors of the food, and talking.

Briana Duffy’s set was formed out of found objects and sculpted plasticine. Bree then made molds of the models, and slip-cast four plate shapes. Her centerpiece was assembled out of found shells held together with plasticine. This model was made into a plaster mold, and then cast in porcelain. Inspired by the ocean, the shapes and glazes evoke wave-washed stones, bits of sand dollars, and shells found on a beach walk. Picking up on the flows of the slip-cast porcelain, the glaze shows off the one-piece mold process. Bree served spring rolls with her dishes.

^Abigail Griswald threw her shapes on the wheel, made molds of them out of plaster, and used the molds to press in slabs of porcelain. The result is a gorgeous set of rustic dishes, with a satisfying weight, satiny glazes, and an inviting personality. The edges are exquisitely formed, creating a sculptural effect when stacked. Abby also made a tiled/mosaic tray, and woven matching place mats to complete her extensive set.

So much talent in one class. I will post the next four final projects next week.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

gleena on food52

Very excited to be a part of Food52’s foodie product offerings. Beautifully photographed by Mark Weinberg and Bobbi Lin, the small bowls created exclusively for Food52 are extremely versatile:

beautiful as votives, these mushroom-inspired shapes are perfect for condiments, as snack bowls (carrot sticks!), or to hold dainty flower arrangement.

ideal for a scoop of gelato, these can be used for tea, or to hold an assortment of olives, or as salt and pepper cellars, or dessert cups (custard!).

A big thank you to Food52 for including gleena!

Friday, April 17, 2015

color inspiration

Living in a New England city, I am surrounded by gorgeous historical colors. They tend to show up in my work...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

throwing bowls

One of the assignments for my tableware class at RISD is for the students throw a bunch of bowls, hopefully coming up with a shape to make a mold from. The assignment gave me an opportunity to sit down at the wheel, and throw for a few hours. It’s been years since I have thrown, and it took me a while to get my groove back. The result is a collection of blue bowls, all have a different matte glaze on the outside. And a few shapes I even want to make a mould from and cast in porcelain.
freshly thrown
dusk at the studio

Friday, March 20, 2015

pinch pots

While teaching at RISD, I got to pinch a few small things, an inspiring break from my daily slip-casting process. Working with stoneware was also a nice change. Stoneware is not as finicky, not as snotty as porcelain. Plus stoneware can handle lovely matte glazes that tore my porcelain to shreds: see this posting form a while back.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

hand-building tableware at risd

I was honored to be asked to teach tableware in the RISD Ceramics Department this semester. The first project was to pinch, coil, and/or slab-construct a breakfast set. The students' enthusiasm for working with clay is inspiring. The result is usable sculptural objects, unifying art and function, with each student having a distinct approach, a unique visual voice.

The students considered how they eat breakfast, or what kind of experience they would like to have at the table, and created forms to reflect those concepts. The hand is clearly visible in every object, creating a strong connection between the artist and the user.

The work shown below is in the leather-hard, or bone-dry stage (my favorite and most fragile). All about the purity of form and touch, unglazed clay shows off its folds, dimples, and wrinkles.

Wei Che
Jack Yu

Megan Wu
Cathy Lee
Elisabeth Zhang
Brianna Duffy

Abigail Griswold

Danielle Glynn

Brandon Saisho

Adriana Gallo

Abigail Heingartner
Will Jackson