New Work!

Howdy!

I’ve been working hard on photographing a backlog of work from this summer. Here are a couple of finished images. I’m going to post a link on my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Uthus-Artist/101902445002) when they’re all uploaded to my portfolio site. If you haven’t already “liked” my facebook page, doing so is the fastest way to stay up-to-date on all the latest news… and there are some big changes on the horizon!

Slip cast Dixie cup (sagger-fired porcelain), charred wood. 2014.

“Dixie”. Slip cast paper cup (sagger-fired porcelain), charred wood. 2014. Not yet for sale (is going to be entered in upcoming competitions.)

Untitled. Slip cast, sagger-fired porcelain and charred wood. 2014. $250.

Untitled. Slip cast, sagger-fired porcelain and charred wood. 2014. Not yet for sale.

"Impetus". Translucent porcelain boat (1 5/8"x 3/4"x 1/2"), charred wood. 2014. Not yet for sale.

“Impetus”. Translucent porcelain boat (1 5/8″x 3/4″x 1/2″), charred wood. 2014. Not yet for sale.

I was really hoping to get all the pictures done today, but I realized (after shooting all the pics, of course) that I had my white balance set incorrectly. So. I have to reshoot a bunch of them tomorrow morning, when the natural light comes back to my east-facing apartment. That means I get to live with this setup in my apartment for another night. Yippee!! 🙂

Stuff EVERYWHERE. Ugh. Clutter makes me feel like a crazy person!

Stuff EVERYWHERE. Ugh. Clutter makes me feel like a crazy person!

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A Rude Awakening

Well, I’ve been back at work here in my MA studio for a little while now.  Last week, I had the brilliant idea to slip-cast some large panels and sagger fire them.  In the process, I found out just how much muscle mass I’ve lost over the past 7 months.  To be fair, I did have some major medical issues for most of the summer, so I’m cutting myself some slack.  However, last week I was made well aware of the fact that I need to go back to the gym, if for no other reason than to make it possible to do my studio work.  See, I have these big molds that I use:

plaster mold with yardstick

They didn’t use to be heavy.  And now they are.  Last spring, I could crank out 8 or more panels in a day – I was only limited by the amount of time it took the panels to set up (can’t take the slip-cast object out while it’s still wet and runny!).  My body was not the limitation.  Now it is.  I made 4 in one day and stopped because:

#1) I was exhausted,

and #2) I seriously thought I was going to injure myself.

It’s super disgusting to me.  I used to always be able to count on my body to do whatever I wanted it to.  I was in competitive sports starting with YBL (Youth Basketball League)  in 1st grade, I think, and going continuously through my 3rd year of undergrad, where I was an All-American in track & field as a sophomore.  Even after quitting track to focus on other things, I continued to maintain a fairly consistent level of fitness up until last summer.  I think it’s safe to say this is the most out of shape I’ve been in my entire life!  Maybe this is what it’s like to be an old person?  Needless to say, I will get back into the gym, beginning today, but I’m dreading it!  Which is why this post got written…

Here are some results from my sagger firing, unloaded today.  Half of it is still in the kiln.  I like the burnt-up board almost better than the ceramic piece.  What do you think?

sagger firing results - porcelain on left, burnt-up boards on right

Hot Red Wine

After a day mainly consisting of rice, chicken broth, bottled water, and clean laundry, I’m feeling much better.  You know how it is sometimes when after you’ve been sick for a couple of days your sheets and pillow and pjs feel super grungy even if you just washed them the day before you started feeling crappy?  Maybe I’m totally alone in this and you all think I’m a weirdo!  I don’t know.  But I do know that I always sleep better if everything’s nice and fresh feeling.  So, I did that yesterday and slept really well; it’s nice to feel better.

Yesterday I had a productive day despite not feeling so great, which was good.  I got several saggers done (for a technical explanation of saggers, please see the comments after my previous post).  I have six more to make today, then I should be able to fill the smallest gas kiln halfway.  The rest I’ll fill with saggers made of brick and shelves of plain tiles to be fired white.

I plan to bisque them all on Monday, then fire the gas kiln at the end of the week.  I should be able to get 60 tiles in the saggers and maybe 20 more on the shelves.  Hopefully they’ll be out by Sunday, so I can stitch some of them together and have something to show my adviser on Monday at our first skype crit.

Last night, just as I was finishing up, Harmony (an American who was visiting the studio for a few days) asked me if I’d like to go to the town square with her and Kata (sp?).  They’d heard that there was live music.  So we went.  I’m going to try to put up a short video clip here.  I should have recorded the song after this one.  I liked it much better!  I apologize for my terrible cinematography.  The buildings were lit up and it was really pretty, but it doesn’t show at all in the clip.  Anyways, it was fun to hear some traditional Hungarian music.  I guess when the crowds are bigger, the people in the crowd will spontaneously break out in traditional folk dancing.

Okay, never mind about the video – it costs $59.95 to add the option to your blog.  Sooo.  I’ll put that up on facebook, for free, and put a picture of Kata and Harmony here instead!

International Ceramics Studio

Kata and Harmony, in Kecskemet town square

It’s been sort of difficult for me to wrap my head around all of the traditions in place here.  Many people I’ve talked to, regardless of what (European) country they’re from, have asked me about traditional American music and dancing.  I find it to be a difficult question to answer.  Each section of the country seems to have their own traditions, mainly based upon the origins of the people who settled there.  I don’t know if there is one “traditional” type of music or dance across the whole of America.  The best answer I can come up with is jazz, maybe. What do you think?

While listening to the music, Kata generously bought us some special Hungarian food and drinks.  We ate pita-pocket type sandwiches filled with hot ham and cheese and pickles (surprisingly delicious!), and we sipped a unique Hungarian drink – hot red wine.  It smelled like hot apple cider with cinnamon and nutmeg, and tasted like a cross between the two drinks.

Tomorrow the plan is to cast tiles all day!