Friday, April 19, 2013

Mishima Slab Vases - Student Work

These are only about 4" by 2 1/2" but boy oh boy, are they sweet.  Two porcelain slabs cut into an asymmetrical shape, then scored and slipped together.  But it's so much more then that, it's about clay inlay, a Japanese technique called Mishima.  After the vase is is put together and it's slightly leatherhard, the kids take a pointy instrument like a bug pick, and draw out a design that flows visually with the vase form, pushing into the claybody at least an 1/8 of an inch deep.  Then I give them white porcelain slip, and have them add liquid oxides to change up the white.
In the piece above senior Stella Park added red iron oxide to her white slip so that she got a medium brown shade.  She both paints and pushes this slip into her her linear design.  then she lets it dry till it's a bit past leatherhard.  Next she takes a flexible rib and scraps off the topmost slip to reveal the inlayed design.   
I really like how Stella did a different design on each side.  She finished off the work by dipping it in transparent glaze to show her inlay work.

In this next piece by Senior Rita Labib, she went for a highly asymmetrical form with a bit of inlay on the clay tips in cobalt carbonate (blue).  She then finished this off by dipping the Mishima tips in transparent but did a black and blue glaze dip on the rest of the piece.

And our last one by senior Eddie Ponce is simple but elegant.  I forgot to mention that another requirement was to make the lip (top) of the vase asymmetrical as well.
I use this assignment in my 2nd year clay class at the beginning of the year to review their slab building skills from 1st year, and also to introduce them to more surface design treatments in clay.

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