Tuesday, May 26, 2015

final presentations from risd students,
a feast for the senses

For their final project, my tableware students had to create dinner place settings for at least four people. Each setting had to have at least three pieces, and the table had to have a centerpiece. These parameters were open to interpretation to fit the theme of their dinner setting.

The sets could be hand-built, thrown, or slip-cast. The finals were presented at Ewing House, a small cozy building on RISD’s campus. What an incredible time we had presenting, eating, talking. It was the most satisfying critique I have attended. Perhaps because I saw the students grow so much in their knowledge of clay and tableware production process? Here are five presentations that show the variety of ceramic production techniques used in the class, so much for the eye to feast on.

^Abigail Heingartner carved the originals for her shapes out of plaster, made molds, then slip-cast her pieces in porcelain. The texture on the bowls and tumblers was created by carving into the slip-cast piece. Abby baked delicious cheese biscuits presented in the oval serving dish, accompanied by a thrown on the wheel butter crock. Abby hand-built the votive candles for the centerpiece, and filled them with wax.

^Adriana Gallo worked with porcelain to hand-form the Italian feast serving plates and platters. The organic shapes were slumped over found beach rocks, and the rims pinched for a lovely undulating edge. Serving utensils were also hand-formed. Adriana made a whole lot of anti-pasta, presented on a striped tablecloth, transporting us to southern Italy. We ate this set up outside, of course.

^Brandon Saisho threw his bowls and cups on the wheel, then built the table to hold the pieces in the centerpiece/storage cabinet. Each piece had a walnut lid, which could also be used as a coaster. Brandon made black sesame pudding, rice, and red bean soup to serve to the class. A very meditative set up, we spent a lot of time exploring the table/cabinet, cradling the dishes, experiencing the exotic flavors of the food, and talking.

^Briana Duffy’s set was formed out of found objects and sculpted plasticine. Bree then made molds of the models, and slip-cast four plate shapes. Her centerpiece was assembled out of found shells held together with plasticine. This model was made into a plaster mold, and then cast in porcelain. Inspired by the ocean, the shapes and glazes evoke wave-washed stones, bits of sand dollars, and shells found on a beach walk. Picking up on the flows of the slip-cast porcelain, the glaze shows off the one-piece mold process. Bree served spring rolls with her dishes.

^Abigail Griswald threw her shapes on the wheel, made molds of them out of plaster, and used the molds to press in slabs of porcelain. The result is a gorgeous set of rustic dishes, with a satisfying weight, satiny glazes, and an inviting personality. The edges are exquisitely formed, creating a sculptural effect when stacked. Abby also made a tiled/mosaic tray, and woven matching place mats to complete her extensive set.

So much talent in one class.