Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back To The Drawing Board

In this case, it's back to the slab roller, so to speak.

This was the result of my planter after Cone 10 reduction fire. It collapsed and "ate" two other pieces in the kiln. Sorry!

I wrote an earlier post about needing a new planter for my succulents which are overgrowing the current planter they are in. I decided to use some left over paper clay mixed with coffee grinds. The concept was good but the kiln gods and Cone 10 temperatures taught me a thing or two.

When everything turns out well after a firing, we seldom give it much thought. More often than not, it's a sigh of relief that the piece turned out well and came close to expectations.

I learn a lot when a piece does not survive a high fire. I begin to ask why it did not work and sometimes the answers stare back at me like, "Yea, you should have known about this all along." I learn more from my mistakes than my successes.

So, why did it fail?

Not a person to waste my coffee grinds, I used too much and the strength of the form where it contacted the base was compromised. At Cone 10 temperatures, it did not have enough vitrified clay left to hold its shape and hence, the slump. Moreover, the edges of the planter were rather thick so there is the weight factor.

When I redo this piece (because my succulents really need a new home), these lessons will come in handy for a successful second attempt.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Fired to Cone 10 reduction with no glazes. The buff color is the natural color of the Gault 10 paper clay. The twinges of oranges are from the reduction environment in the kiln.

I wanted to see how this experimental piece comes out in its natural state.

See my earlier blog entry on the start of this piece.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No Right Or Wrong Way, 2012

Hand built and dipped paper clay. The honey comb structure was from paper packaging and dipped in Gault 10 paper clay slip until the desired thickness was achieved. The final few coats were dipped in Southern Ice Porcelain paper clay because I wanted a whiter look. The same thing was done with the pods. In addition, I dipped the pods in a beaded white glaze while the paper clay was still bone dry. The pods were then assembled onto the honey comb base.

Close up of pods and the beaded white glaze
In placing the pods, the title of the piece came to me. There is really no right or wrong way for the pods to "grow" out of the base, hence the title.

The entire assembled piece then went through the bisque fire and to Cone 10 reduction. There was some movement of the pods during the final fire but that was OK. The beaded white glaze turned out really nice. I got small beaded crackles on the pods.

This piece is essentially a white on white piece except for the pops of red from the natural seeds in the cup of the pods.

This piece started out as an experiment to see what would happen if I used different materials coated with paper clay. I liked the direction of the piece and continued with it. It survived the firings with no problems and no cracking.

Approx. 12"W x 8"D x 5"H

Monday, July 16, 2012

ALL MEDIA 2012 Juried Exhibition at the Irvine Fine Arts Center

Anthony Foo is pleased to present his ceramic sculpture, CHRYSALIS, at this year’s ALL MEDIA 2012. This juried exhibition runs from July 28h thru August 25th, 2012 at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, 14321 Yale Ave., Irvine, CA 92604. Phone: (949) 552-2137.

Opening reception is on Saturday, July 28th from 5:00PM to 8:00PM. Admission is FREE.

Anthony Foo is an Orange County ceramic artist who has exhibited at the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA), Kellogg Art Gallery – Cal Poly Pomona, California State University Fullerton (CSUF) Grand Central Art Center, The McGroarty Art Center in Tujunga, and the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, California.

CHRYSALIS (http://anthonyfoo.com/Chrysalis.htm) is a continuation of my pod series of paperclay sculptures,” says Anthony. "Nature and natural forms are dominant in my one-of-a-kind sculptural works.

“This piece explores the genesis of life, as it transforms from one form to another. The outer “cage” protects the inside and creates a safe sanctuary for the inner being to develop.”

“The interior pod is raku fired, the outer is high fired to Cone 10 reduction in two separate halves and then assembled. The work is mounted with a stainless steel rod into a machined and textured solid aluminum block.”

To arrange an interview with the artist, please call (714) 528-9304, or send an email to info@anthonyfoo.com, or visit the website at www.anthonyfoo.com.

Friday, July 13, 2012

There Was A Time Before Paper Clay

"Elephant Romance" 1986. One of my early works. Hand built slab construction from SOBT clay from Aardvark Clay in Santa Ana, California.  Fired to Cone 10 reduction. Stained with red iron oxide. Approx. size 18'H x 10"W x 10"D.

When it was drying, some one wrote a note and left it. It said, "Elephant Romance." I liked the title and it stuck!

My original design called for tapering "branches" but as the piece got higher, it started to slump so the design was altered to this final form. This was the issue I was running into using a traditional clay body - the weight and the slumping when the clay is wet.

It wasn't until 2004 when I discovered paper clay while surfing the web for ceramic sculptures.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Design from the Least Expected Things

This is my recently completed piece. It's bone dry greenware and ready for bisque fire.

The base piece (the honey comb looking thing) started out as an experiment using cardboard packaging and coating it with paper clay slip. I have not done this before and wanted to try it out to see what will happen and how it will hold up in high fire to Cone 10 reduction.

I like the shape of it and where it was going so I decided to make it more complete by adding some of my trademark organic pods.

This piece will be essentially white on white with no colored glazes. The pods have been dipped in a beaded white glaze. At Cone 10, this glaze will "bead up" and crackle, so I hope. By using paper clay, it is possible to do a one-fire from greenware directly to Cone 10 and bypassing the bisque fire. However, since I fire most of my works in a community kiln, they may not allow me to do that.

I'll post the finished piece when I have it all completed.

Sometimes You Just Have To Give Up Control

I know for a fact that as an artist I like to control every aspect of my art production from initial design and concept to the fabrication process and all the way to the end product.  I think this is only natural as we all have an idea of what we want our piece to look like. Sometimes my finished piece comes close to my original concept, sometimes it far exceeds my expectations and at other times, it comes up short. That is just part of the creation process.
In this project, I dipped some coffee filters in my paper clay slip and let them dry.  I had no control how they would come out so I just went with the flow of things.

I joined 3 of them to make a subunit and from there, joined more to build up the assemblage. When joining them, I have no idea what the final shape will be like so I just have to trust in the esthetics of the project.  If I don't like the way it is progressing I can always split them apart and start over. That's the wonderful thing about using paper clay.

Right now, it is bone dry and ready for bisque fire. I think I will leave this in the natural color of the Gault 10 paper clay and take it to Cone 10 reduction and see what happens.

I like the texture of the piece and it looks different from every angle. This reminds me of some coral formation that you see in the barrier reef.

I'll post again when I have this piece fired. Stay tuned ...