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You all have probably seen this pot, or one like it, on this web site or on eBay in the recent past. Well, I got hung up on making a few more like it -as you will see.
I love these pots. They have a false bottom in them so it looks as though the pots are nearly filled with venom from the snake fangs. They are appropriately called "Venom Pots".
I also have a new way of working. When I throw a pot and trim it, I IMMEDIATELY take the trimmings from the pot and make something with the clay. It is usually something small like this octopus...
or a small gourd. Anything to take advantage of the clay and make a buck with it. I throw virtually nothing away. There are a few more examples of this frugality down the page.
I have always been a devotee of classic laser shaped forms. In this case, it is a clean Persian bottle shape.
I decided to add nine snakes to the bottle and weave the snake's bodies together.
Texture the body and "walla", a finished pot. I put these pots under plastic to let the moisture in the clay equalize and evaporate slowly. I am never in a rush and let thing dry for weeks under plastic.
Another topside picture of the false bottom. I was making the eyes and fangs out of wet clay, but that takes way toooooo much time so now I make the eyes and fangs out of porcelain, fire them up separately and just push the porcelain white eyes and fangs into the wet clay of the snakes head. I am nearing the completion of a long making cycle. I have 40# of porcelain to use up and I will stop making and start glazing for the next six months. (Just in time for Zanesville??) Anyway, I have a lot of pots to glaze and they are generally the more elaborate and higher dollar pots. I think I am going to make some dragonfly pots with the remaining porcelain.
I regularly make this type of pot. I love those handles and the fluid lip flowing over them.
Here are two more pots that are made of pot trimmings. These have no foot so to speak. Sort of a Native American Indian shape pot.
Here is another Venom design and this particular pot is one of the most "harmonious" I have made. Everything about this pot is a pleasure to view. I don't think the photos convey the beauty of this particular pot. It reminds me of the Grueby Kendrick pot or one of the multi-handled Teco pieces.
Another Venom pot, only this time, the snakes are not woven. My goal with this one was to make the pot a figure 8 shape when finished.
Those porcelain eyes and fangs really pot, don't they? Next time I make Venom pots- if there is a next time- I will make the eyes with color clay so I don't have to glaze them.
Again, the false bottom.
Another 15" Persian bottle getting the snake treatment.
I made four of these very elaborately carved floral pots.
And yet another Venom pot. This one has the false bottom that comes right to the top.
This is another trimming piece. The last Venom pot I made was going to have nine snakes, but there was only room for seven. So I took the two orphan snakes, threw an egg shape with some trimmings and wed the two together. It is a small ikebana style vase with two snakes trying to swallow an egg. The plastic covered clay in the center is for temporary support until it dries.
I have very intention of making a series of glaze-painted panels that deal with trees. My wife I were walking in the Japanese Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden and I took some photos for future reference and use.
I'll make something beautiful with these images.
Speaking of beautiful, how about this glaze? This is my "Opal" glaze and I have been working on it for six months. Still not where I want it.
Speaking of jewels, where do you think this little jewel covered box was made? Email me please, if you have an idea. I am guessing somewhere in North Africa, but I am not sure. Maybe further east. Syria? Further east? India?
Art St. Louis sponsors an annual juried art survey titled "The Exhibition." It is a survey of the regional art and I always enter and generally have a piece or two in the show. I sent photos of five varied pieces for the juror's consideration. She was not interested in my "Snake Charmer's Pot"...
nor my painted lady pot...
she did choose this group of gourds for the show...
and this piece titled "I Love Glaze."
She did not fancy the fifth piece of me drinking white glaze and peeing colored glaze on a pot. I call the piece "I am a Prism". I would have expected that if the juror liked the one figure- "I am Glaze", she should most likely like the second figure- "Prism" as well. Wouldn't you think so as well? I came to the unfounded conclusion that perhaps "Prism" was objectional because it had an "active" penis and "I Love Glaze" had a "passive" penis. I came to the conclusion that some type of censorship was at play.
That erroneous thought got me to thinking and making a few pieces of sculpture that were comments on censorship.
The first piece I made was a huge phallus- sort of a lingam. I combined the penis shape with the traditional object that represents censorship- the fig leaf.
Upon "completion, I came to the conclusion that the piece was toooo "obvious" and I toned it down to this:
The thought that I was somehow censored lingered on and I had to make another fig leaf themed piece. I wanted to make a figure this time. I started to make the figure for the piece and after three or four hours of rendering a figure, I thought to myself, "Why not make a mold of a partially rendered figure so the next time I want to make a figure, I can press out a figure before I give it "personality?" So I decided to make a mold of a figure- me- that I can use in the future to make other figures. Here is the process pictured. First, I make a figure with no "personality" and embed it half way in a sheet of clay. Then I build a box around it and pour a few inches of plaster over it.
When I remove the box and the sheet of clay, I end up with the figure half embedded in plaster as pictured here. Again, I put the box around it, coat the whole thing with a release agent and pour a few inches of plaster over the back half of the figure. I let the plaster set, remove the box, pop the two halves apart and remove the clay figure. In the future I can press clay into the two halves of the mold and quickly have a partially render figure that I can "render" with my current idea.
So I am still thinking about censorship and fig leaves. I want to make a nude figurative sculpture with the titled "What's the Big Deal?" -that would show me naked, shrugging my shoulders and posing that question.
Here is the studio set up that I use when I am making a self-portrait figure. I have large opposing mirrors that I use so I see myself front, back and all around. (this time I show myself dressed- unlike this time.)
Next I render the figure even more and in this case, I put some glaze on the wet clay.
Then I cover the whole figure in small porcelain fig leaves except for the traditionally censored spot!
So I sit here and wonder...