The Year of the Pig
Click on the thumbnails above for a larger picture
I had several good ideas for this round, but I kept coming back to the
image of the pig as a finial. In lamp shops I have visited in the past I
have seen many whimsical finials, it just seemed a natural. I bought the
largest vase that would fit the height of my kiln, but I think I would
have preferred a jar about 10 inches taller to better fit the proportions
of my dancing swine. I did not receive the pig until, I had already
designed the piece, bought the jars, and was working on the mosaic
pieces. Needless to say I had not expected something so heavy or so
I had only done three very simple, flat mosaics before this round. So,
this was a real challenge for me in design and shape. I had seen in a
magazine the mosaic pots of Laurel Yourkowski, Portland, Oregon. She had
used a kiln to soften the edges of her glass pieces. However, my design
used very large dramatic pieces as the focal point. I did learn why all
the pots I have seen have small pieces.
For this design, I purchased an extra pot, which I cut in half while it
was still greenware. I used these two halves for molds to slump the fused
pieces over. Even so, because of the irregular curve of the top of the
jar, I had to build dams of plaster to hold the glass in place while
slumping. As well as, prop the halves up with stilts to compensate for
gravitational sliding of the initial placing of the glass on the pot
curves. It took me two tries to slump the top three curved pieces in the
right spot for both sides. This slumping/positioning is something I would
like to experiment with in the future.
I used a Dover publication for authentic Chinese designs. I painted most
of the work on clear glass and then fused to the white. I used "bending
colors" from Reusche. Because I fired the painting on the clear once,
then fused the clear to the white, and then slumped twice, the edges of
the design soften. I really liked this effect. It reminded me of
"Flo-Blue" pottery, but my pot had a softer less obvious flow. The front
and the back are painted exactly alike, but the two sides are different
designs. I painted the pieces touching each other and then spaced them
later on the piece. I think it gives a better continuity for the lines
and forms, but there is some distortion.
I made about 5 sizes of cobalt blue tiles. I just kept cutting and
firing, until I built a very large pile. I had no idea how many to
estimate? I used all of the different sizes for filler around the primary
design. I like having the flexibility to choose the right size, rather
than have to cut the tiles. The grout is a dark slate-blue...but it
really looks faded in the picture. I chose a dark color to help the white
show up. I grouted the inside of the pot, as well as, the bottom.
My friend, Carmen Gutierrez, found a large sheet of aluminum florescent
lamp grid. I cut this in a lattice work design for the sides of the
base. I had originally had planned to use white paint on the blue glass,
but after three attempts using different paint mediums for the white
paint, I was not happy. It kept firing off-white or creamy white, and I
needed that bright white look.
The pig is standing on the clear gem. I ground down the pointy side of
the crystal and drilled a hole large enough for my screw. I drilled a
hole in the pig to secure to the lid. I used the bevels on the sides of
the stand, and the filligrees in the corners.
I liked doing this piece. It was more pleasure than work. The painted
detail really makes the mosaic more than just carefully arranged tiles and
colors. The design captured an authentic "chinese" look. The stand and
the lid seemed to complete the overall look of the piece.
Click on the thumbnails above for a larger picture
At last! A giant, unwieldy lead pig to work with! Oh, if I only had a dime for every time I've said, "You know, this project would be perfect if it only had a giant lead pig in it!" So here it is: my Swine Lake music box...er, jack-in-the-box...er, pork-in -the-box...Well, anyway, here it is.
Actually, the pig was really cute...but uncooperative. I had a very difficult time trying to design something that would be substantial enough to support the weight of the pig, while still highlighting her lovely porcine qualities. I wanted to make something unexpected, something that would play on the incongruity of a rather portly pig in a graceful setting--so a pig ballerina immediately came to mind. I had in mind a sort of combination music box/Jack-in-the-Box design, something where the contents of the box would sort of pop out and surprise you: "Hey, there's a pig in there! And it's wearing a tutu!" After a few near-disasters with the pig on a giant coiled spring, however, I realized that having a hefty lead pig "popping out" at you might indeed be a surprise, but not necessarily in a good way. So with my mother's cries of "You'll put your eye out!" ringing in my ears, I reluctantly abandoned my "Pop Goes the Porker!" design and settled instead for a "surprise" box!
of a different kind.
I made a box of iridescent white glass, with the bevels serving as corners, and extra bevels edging the removable box lid. The crystal is glued onto the lid and serves as the handle. The 4"x6" pieces of iridescent white glass are layered with 4"x6" mirrored bevels. The two side walls of the box are hinged so that they can be opened out to any angle, and the front of the box is hinged on the bottom so that it can be lowered like a drawbridge. (Two small hook & eye type attachments keep the front firmly anchored into the side walls so that the box holds together when closed.) When making this, I kept remembering the Barbie cases I had when I was young, where you'd open up a very plain-looking carrying case to find a whole magical Barbie World inside. I wanted that sort of feeling with my pig--sort of a portable boudoir/stage--so I tried to have the outside look very simple and "generic," so that the inside would look like a kind of fairyland or ballroom when opened.
The mirrored walls on the inside of the box are strung with ball chain that I painted with a coat of pearl glaze; I wanted it to look as though the walls were draped with strings of pearls. I cut the filigree pieces in half, painted them with pink paint and a second coat of glitter, and they became the tutu. (And actually, the way the pig's legs are bent and the filigree sticks out, the pig looks kind of like Marilyn Monroe in that famous "Seven Year Itch" pose.) The stage is made of mirror and strung with "pearls," as well. (Pearls before swine, after all...) The base of the stage hides a musical movement, and the stage itself is mounted on an acrylic turntable, so when wound up, the pig will rotate to the lovely sounds of ballet music. (Although, to be honest, I'm not sure how many rotations the movement is going to last with that heavy pig on top!) Then there was a final coat of lipstick for both me and the pig, and Swine Lake was finished!
I can't wait to see what everyone else made with the Round 4 objects. I also want to say how pleased I am to be in a head-to-head New Mexico round--although I'm currently living in Illinois, I'm from New Mexico, so this is actually a Grants-Las Cruces battle!
||Crew at Youghiogheny
||Marianne & Charles Warner
"Jaramillo: An attractive pot. Good colors, nice painting and kiln work.
Migotsky: The box is simple and elegant, making the pig all the more ludicrous when it is revealed!"
"Excellent piece! Very creative, outstanding craftsmanship."
"What a terrific way to incorporate the Theme Items into a beautiful design."
"Very funky, high marks for inventiveness."
|Claudette Jaramillo 64%
Sharon Migotsky: 36%
|Winner: Claudette Jaramillo