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   THE CREATIVE PROCESS


 Creative Process  |  Meryl at Work

Sketching  |  Patterning  |  Constructing  |  Kiln Firing  |  Glazing  |  Cold Finishing 


 

Overview of the creative process.

 


   MERYL AT WORK

The series of stop-action photographs presented here offers intimate insights into the details of my creative process. The dynamic images are intended to graphically illustrate the sequence of steps that I usually take as I pursue my quest for artistic authenticity and development of my ceramic art works.

Each of these image groups depicts another stage in the evolution of a given work from conceptualization to sketching, design and formulation, and then to construction, firing, coloration and completion. More detailed information about the specific ceramic piece that is shown being worked on, Kit and Ka-Poodle, is provided on its own object detail page.

Site visitors are invited to survey the entire sequence below or to sample it piecemeal as time permits and interest warrants. For further elaboration of the creative process, please also see the insightful photo essay by Cheryl Rau about me and my works reproduced on this website.

 

 

     SKETCHING

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Sketching is done preliminarily.

  • I am shown here drawing the preliminary sketches for the ceramic piece.
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     PATTERNING

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Clay slabs are formed in the size and shape of cardboard templates.

     CONSTRUCTING

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  • I cut cardboard templates for use in construction of clay panels.
  • Clay slabs are rolled out, and then cut to size and shape.
  • After the slabs are dried, I join their edges together by scoring and slipping to form the shape of the body of the piece.

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  • Here I add details to the front panel of the piece.
  • Plastic covering, shown here, is needed to prevent drying at this greenware stage.   

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A side pocket is formed from clay slabs and attached.

  • The side pocket is formed from predesigned templates for clay slabs that have been previously rolled out and cut to match.
  • The pocket thus constructed is then attached to the body of the work.     

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Another side pockets is formed.

  • I now proceed to design, form and place the opposite side pocket for the ceramic work.

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  • I now roll out clay slabs, which are then cut into long strips and attached as faux leather strings to the front of  the satchel body.   

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Strings are fashioned from clay strips and attached.

  • Having rolled out the clay slabs and cut the faux strings, I attach them to the satchel front panel.

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Straps are designed for the piece.

  • First I assess the design and the size of the front strap for the knapsack.
  • Then I determine how and where to locate it.
  • Detail work follows after I have attached the strap in place.  

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Straps are constructed from clay slabs and dried by hot air gun.

  • The strap is being constructed for the back of the knapsack.
  • I begin by cutting the double straps and applying a pattern to them.
  • A hot air gun dries the straps after they have been shaped, but before they are attached to the back of the satchel.       

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  • Small incremental pieces of clay are used to construct the poodle's head. It is further modified by carving to add delicate details.      

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Details are added to the dogs' heads.

  • To create an accurate portrait likeness of the poodle, I sculpt intricate details of its face and head. 

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Dogs' heads are sculpted.

  • Further refirnements are made for the sculpted dogs' heads to ensure realism.
  • Many deliberate details are added as well.   

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Sculpting touches are added.

  • Here I add further intricate scultping details for the heads.  

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Modeling phase is nearing completion.

  • Process photographs show the ceramic work in the advanced state of construction as I near completion of the modeling phase prior to the piece's first kiln firing.   
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Clay slip is applied to complete the modeling phase.

  • I provide the last finishing touches to the sculpting process by adding more clay slip to create the proper surface texture and for enhancing the dog collars. 

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Sculpting is completed.

  • More process images of the work after the sculpting phase is complete and before firings are undertaken and coloration embellishments with glazes are begun.

     KILN FIRING and UNDERGLAZING 

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After air drying, the work is subject to surface underglazing.

More underglazing is done.

  • I continue the long intricate process of applying detailed underglazes to the work, shown here as the leopard-skin pattern is hand-painted onto the body of the work.
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Clear glaze is applied to the surfaces.

  • Having completed my preliminary underglazing, I apply a clear coating of cone 6 glaze to the leopard skin area.
  • The dogs' heads are not glazed so as to retain their matte finish in the completed work.

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     OVERGLAZING and COLD FINISHING

Meryl applies cold finishes.

  • After yet another firing, gold luster is applied to the hardware and mother of pearl luster is hand-painted on the rest of the piece.
  • A final refiring is also done. Addiitional cold finish touches complete the work.

 


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