Banner: Meryl Ruth, Ceramic Art

 

  BENNY'S TREAT JAR, A CERAMIC VESSEL


 

Ben's Treat Jar is formed of a Springer Spaniels body.

  • This hand-built jar was constructed of stoneware clay in the image of a Springer Spaniel to the buyer's specifications.
  • Its sculpted form was hollowed out in an early phase of its development.
  • The dog's head constitutes the jar's fitted lid.
  • Construction sequence:
  • Size: 9.75" x 6.5" x 8.0.
  • Date: 2008.
  • A commissioned work.
  • Sold.

 

   

        ENLARGED VIEWS

Enlarged view shown.

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Enlarged view shown.

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Enlarged view shown.

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   CREATIVE PROCESS

 

Sculpting and hollowing illustrated.

  • This work was commissioned as a memorial to Ben, the buyer's beloved black and white Springer Spaniel. Based on a dialogue between artist and buyer, the work evolved into a treat jar (because of Ben's love for treats) and materialized into a portrait of Benny himself. Design details focused on his coloration and special attributes of long back curly ears and "awesome" nose.
  • This stoneware clay vessel was created from large chunks of clay to build it up quickly like a gestural study, a term applied to human action figures. The structure was then dissected into parts and hollowed to create a jar form.
  • The separate parts were adherd together after hollowing by score and slip technique. Reshaping and detail work was then done to provide a portrait image.

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Stoneware clay forms hard, durable ceramic objects by firing at high kiln temperatures. Click to open Glossary.

  • Detail work for this piece involves use of strings of extruded clay to create a ceramic version of fur.
  • These are added, as shown here, to embellish the long ears and emulate the dog's generously endowed ear fur.

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  • The form is elongated in the greenware state to add height and balance to the design of the piece.
  • After measuring the neck to ensure proper size for the intended design, Meryl cuts strips of extruded clay and adds them to form the collar.

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  • The sculpting phase of the piece nears completion as more faux fur is added to the neck and the forelegs.

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  • Preparatory to the first kiln firing, Meryl finishes sculpting the treat jar in Ben's image.

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  • Meryl has finally completed the intricate sculpting sequence.
  • The piece is now allowed to air-dry for at least a week.
  • When thoroughly dry, it will be fired for the first time in a cone 06 temperature electric kiln.

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  • Meryl begins the glazing process after Benny's Treat Jar has been successfully fired to cone 06 for the first time.

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  • Meryl puts the finishing touches on Benny's Treat Jar by air-brush glazing the faux fur, applying the black coloration to penetrate its ceramic strands thoroughly.  It is shown here being worked on without the separate jar cover, the dog's head.
  • Special care is taken to retain the white patch on the left side of his back. This is the only white area on the black back coat. It is a particularly-prized feature of the fur pattern.
  • The glazing is now complete and the piece is ready for its second firing. After firing is completed, cold finishes conclude the process.

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DETAILED VIEWS *


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Hand-building is the process of creating ceramic objects by the artist's hands alone or with use of simple tools. Click to open Glossary. Stoneware clay forms hard, durable ceramic objects by firing at high kiln temperatures. Click to open Glossary. Firing is the process of converting clay from soft greenware to hard ceramic state by exposure to high kiln temperatures. Click to open Glossary. Cones are pyramids of clay and glaze that melt and bend at specific temperature. They are used to determine the optimal temperature for a given ceramic object in a kiln. Click to open Glossary. Glossy glalzes are coatings applied to the surface of a ceramic work to form a shiny glass-like covering. Click to open Glossary. Air-brushing is a method of applying thin liquid slip, glaze or stain by spray to the surface of a ceramic work. Click to open Glossary. Underglazes are colored slips applied to greenware or bisque-fired objects before firing. Click to open Glossary. Cold finish include various techniques used to complete a work after final firing. Click to open Glossary. Acrylic paints are fast-dryng water-soluble, permanent paints useful as a cold finish. Click to open Glossary.