Sunday, December 2, 2018


clay, glazes, oxides

This is the 38th year that I have taught this assignment
and the kids never fail to come up with completely new design ideas.
The main requirements were to work to at least 8 inches high
and to come up with at least 2 separate coil patterns along with going round and round.

This first beauty is the work of senior Catherine Lu.
She picked the perfect glaze to hug her coil work and show it off,
Cobalt Blue Gloss.
And then contrasted it with our Black glaze on the inside.

Senior Michelle Hwang created a piece that feels inspired by an Asian temple from Antiquity.
Love how she glazed it.
First she stained it with all four of our oxides then wiped them off 
and dipped the whole piece into our Transparent glaze.
Really looks ancient.

This next one doesn't have a name yet,
but I'm working on it.
I really like the way the coils flow around the pot with little balls put in here and there.
And the glazing is perfect.
This is out Tan glaze with the oxide Rutile brushed over top the balls after the glaze dried.

Here is another remarkable pot by junior Michelle Son.
She also used the Tan glaze with oxides brushed over top to high lite areas of pattern.
Love how she finished it with the lip treatment that looks like petals of a flower.
Clever young woman.

Don't know if you remember me posting about senior Christian Balbido's coil pot last year
 that was broken as he transported it from home to school.
 he cleverly used those pieces and made a mask out of them for extra credit.
 Then he had to build this second coil pot to get his grade for the assignment.
He had to work quickly to be able to meet the firing schedule,
so this piece turned out more spontaneous then his first attempt.
 I really liked it because he created so much movement with his coils.
and loved the strong ending which is critical on a good coil pot.
Also loved how he glazed it.

This adorable coil sculpture is the creation of junior Lina Kim.
This piece was way beyond a beginning piece.
In fact,
I wasn't sure when she told me what she wanted to do that she'd be able to pull it off.
Boy was I wrong!
The construction took her 3 times as long as the other pieces,
and Lina came in everyday after school or would take it home to give it the extra time needed.
We were all so very impressed when she finished this remarkable work.

And then there was junior Sara Ryave.
This coil sculpture was probably the most remarkable coil pot to ever be made at Whitney 
since I've been teaching here.
I felt that this piece was college level sculpture and belonged in a gallery.
When Sara began it she didn't know it would morph into a figure sculpture,
that came later as she was working on it in class 
and several of us remarked to her that it was starting to resemble a nude.
So then she went for it and really worked it into more of one.
And then the way she glazed it with the oxide staining on the outside
and the contrast of the glaze on the inside;
just brilliant work Sara!

I am so very proud to show all these off.
As I've said so many times,
it is such a pleasure and a privilege to teach here at Whitney with these crazy bright young minds.


  1. I have a question ... what are the dimensions of Lina and Sara's sculptures?

  2. Hey Liz, sorry it took me so long to get back to you, crazy busy with letters of rec to write for my seniors. Sara's pot was about 13" wide by 15 " high, and Lina's piece was about 10" wide at arms and 20 " high. The rest were only between 8-10" high. 8" was the minimum requirement in height.

    1. I'm quite sure you are swamped with requests for senior letters every year ... who better?

    2. I was actually surprised at the sizes ... the last two have so much presence I thought them to be larger than life (although I figured the kiln size couldn't be but so big).

      Anyway, breakfast being done, I moved my coffee cup back a bit, folded over the NYT xword and started taking notes. Hang on ... there are a lot of them!

      First off, is it me, or is there a face at the top of Catherine's piece ... and a hand reaching out ... for a hug?

      Me being me, I saw a lighthouse as Michelle's tower came into view, the alternating bands reminding me of my beloved Hatteras light. I can well imagine a light beaming out.

      And what a joy-full piece wrought by ______? I was especially taken by the holes that are such a whimsical counter-play to the beads.

      By the way, it's amazing how these pots revealed themselves as I scrolled down, which was especially fun with Michelle's "flower pot." And that petalled top (is that a word?) recalls an early 20th-century piece of art pottery that my folks had back in the day.

      Christian's spontaneous construction brought to mind the stormy spots and swirls of the planet Jupiter ... and the color blue totally works if you consider that the Greek god Jupiter was ruler of the skies.

      And Lina ... intentional or not, I'm seeing an elephant trumpeting out of your epic piece!

      Last at last, words (almost) fail me as I try to describe the impact of Sara's master-piece. The coils could be alive, seeming to sag under some unbearable weight, parting to reveal beads of ... what? Wisdom? Knowingness? In all there is a sense of flow crowned by what looks to be a beaded Elizabethan headpiece that opens to an interior shining with a dark inner light. Wow ... just wow.

    3. The time you put into the feedback you send to each of these children is such a treasure to them, and so truly appreciated. You always find so much more, go so much deeper than I can, thank you Liz. I love reading what you come up with. Wait till you see the green totems that this years kids just finished. Unbelievable!