Here are a few sneak peaks of new things I have in process in the studio this week. I've been trying a few pendants. Making jewelry has never been something I've really considered, but I have this magical dark clay, and these pendants are like sketches- quick ways to work out new ideas and try things in small ways (small things and ideas being of course my favorites).
This is a glimpse of something not so small- in fact, for me, it is quite big indeed! We shall see how this progresses... More will be revealed!
A test of the above-mentioned magical clay. I'm so excited about this stuff!
A splendid selection of fruits and vegetables.
And in closing, a Pondicherry sunset. Sleep well, people of the world.
It was a busy day of teaching today, but I managed to fit in some work time as well. It was also a lot cooler today, after last night's epic thunderstorm. I've found that my best work days are a balance of teaching, wheel work, and time spent looking and thinking rather than making. Today, this balance felt just right.
I have some new wall pieces in process right now, using a very gritty clay that is forcing me to let go of my tendency to overwork the surface of each piece. I'm trying to work more quickly and decisively, which means I spend a lot of time looking and thinking before making a mark.
I really enjoy the lines created when I cut these bowls off of the wheel with a wire.
These are the latest iteration of a series of bowls I have been working on, in an attempt to marry the ideas in my wall pieces with more functional objects. I think I'm getting closer...
In conclusion, to round things out, some goats.
My friend Antra gave me this lovely bouquet, which has been brightening my studio for the last few days, and making me very happy.
These are a pieces I made during my residency at GBP last year. They were fired over the months that I was gone, so I got to come back to new/old work.
I apologize for the poor image quality- these were taken with my phone, which I am using until I get the battery for my camera. I really like the way that the clay surface is submerged by the glaze flowing down the right hand side- like a curtain of heavy rain on a window, or a waterfall. I wanted to show these pieces because looking at and thinking about them has inspired a new series of pieces, which I will show in process this week.
Earlier last week, I helped Ray fire his large car kiln ("Carla"). It takes a lot of wood to get this puppy to 1300 degrees celsius. Also, I am extremely proud that I am starting to know some temperatures in celsius. For the first two months I was here, I was lost when anyone talked about temperatures, which is very hard for a ceramicist.
In conclusion, a sunset skyline view from my balcony.
The last few days have been rainy- quite unusual for Pondy at this time of the summer. It rains in small bursts, but very hard. After the rain stops, there are sometimes small floods, like this one. But these nice clay stepping stones make it easy to keep your feet out of the deep puddles.
The cooler days have been wonderful, but the humidity is very high, so the students were using this method to dry out their clay. Everything has been drying very slowly, which I actually really like, because it gives me a lot more time to work on things.
I've been working on a batch of mugs, where the clay has been cut and/or pushed through in a single place. The handles are still very much a work in progress, but I'm very intrigued to find new ways to bring the ideas in my display work into functional vessels. The balance between comfort and uneasiness is of great interest to me these days.
This is the front gate to Golden Bridge Pottery. GBP was founded in 1971 by my hosts, Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith. Six days a week, I cycle through this gate for a day of teaching and making. Each day is different, depending on what the students are working on and what they need. The time not spent with them is spent on my own work.
This is the handmade wooden kick wheel in my work space. I am happy to report that it is no longer this tidy.
This is another part of my studio space. There is plenty of space for all kind of work, and I started out with a supply of bisqued work I left after my previous residency at GBP in 2013.
I get around Pondy on this sturdy and reliable bicycle. My students snapped this photo of me as I was peddling along, blithely unaware that I was being watched. I am sure my helmet gets me all sorts of strange looks, but I'd rather be eccentric if it means I feel safe! Because I'm not used to driving on the left side of the road, Indian traffic took some getting used to, but I am now feeling quite comfortable. My daily cycle commute makes a nice beginning and ending to my day in the studio, waking me up in the morning and allowing me to wind down in the evening. The busy roads don't allow for much reflection, but there is always plenty to see.
I've been experimenting a lot with bowl forms. I'm excited about this new direction, where I'm finally finding a way to merge some of what I do in my wall pieces with my functional work.
I've been thinking about the insides of things; what do walls, barriers, and exteriors contain? How are hiding and containment connected? With this work, I'm trying to reveal glimpses of the things that are usually hidden and unseen. Small, functional objects are a wonderful vehicle for quietly expressing ideas in an everyday format.
This is my latest experiment. These are the first iteration of a new form, and the idea is nowhere close to resolved, but I'm very curious to see where it goes and how it evolves. Further updates as we get them!
There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in. -Leonard Cohen
My name is Sarah Camille Wilson. I am currently living in Pondicherry India and working as a visiting instructor and artist in residence at Golden Bridge Pottery.This blog is an informal way for me to share my experiences and ideas with friends, colleagues, and anyone else who is interested. Welcome, and feel free to comment.