## Friday, April 24, 2015

### The 50% Solution

The ceramics professor has a special project for his classes involving making a wall object. He calls the assignment "Off The Wall". The only stricture for the project was a rule that the ceramic object be incorporated in a larger wall piece such that 50% must be clay.

How that rule is interpreted is up to the student. So, 50% by area? Volume? Weight? What?

Since I was volunteered to help build any wood or metal portions for hanging clay on walls, I chose to participate as well. And I chose for my 50% rule composition, or tried to, which is, I guess, partly by area, but mostly by "looking right". I guess this involves not just the pieces and arrangement and rhythms and negative space, but also imaginary space.

Just so you know, the square root of negative space is imaginary space. Ah-ha-ha.

I decided to make more than one piece to see how things worked out. Here is the first piece:
 Off The Wall #1

The second piece:
 Off The Wall #2

The final piece:
 Off The Wall #3

The method I chose for composition was also interesting: no or minimal measurements, so that any pre-planned thing in my head just kind of had to be made to fit as I went along. Some people, puzzled, asked me "So, you find that fun?" And I said "Yeah. It's a different approach for me as normally I draw out the design beforehand and then just follow the algorithm to make it. This changes on the fly".

I don't recommend this approach for everyone on everything. For example, don't build a bridge or a dam or a road this way (although perhaps, in ancient times, they did). This is more in keeping with flint knapping or booby traps. You adapt, improvise, overcome as it happens, which is frustrating and also liberating. No plan, dude. Just do it!

Speaking of impromptu or extemporaneous activities, I'm considering getting a tattoo. For the longest time, I thought most tattoos were stupid. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some fantastic art on people's skin, but I thought a lot of them stupid mainly because the people who got them just got them for no particular reason. Or for shallow or trivial reasons. Not everyone, but a lot.

I guess what happened was I got a student who is a tattoo artist in my bronze casting class. He had some pretty amazing stuff in his portfolio, and I mentioned I had kind of an idea for one recently. During the last bronze pour, this student noted that I was absolutely fearless around all of this dangerous shit. I had no problem exposing myself to fire and flame and intense heat, and what point my welding glove caught fire, I nonchalantly flung it off and gestured for a new.

My answer to him was: Yes, I am absolutely fearless when I do this. I'm not foolhardy, and of course, I am conscious of everything going on. But when a student gets in trouble, I have to be ready to step in. I explained that one of things I do before a bronze pour is to psych myself up. And one technique I use involves a considerable amount of symbolic association. And it goes like this. I'm a Taurus. Not that I believe in that, but it's a role play. As a Taurus, I'm an Earth sign.

I am a Son of Mother Earth.

As such, just like Mom, I have a white hot core for a heart. I'm just clay, or mud, or silt, although that's there. I'm also rock, and magma, and magnetic dynamo. Mere fire, mere flame, got  nothing on me. So, that's how I get fearless. There's a lot more to the process than that, but that's the semiotic gist of the procedure.

So anyway, I thought about a visual representation of what I do, and I came up this design, which, yeah, I'm about 80% certain I'll get from my tattoo artist student:

 I am a Son of Mother Earth

#### 1 comment:

1. I have been informed that my tattoo design is "faggy to the extreme", so I will investigate other designs..