Kiln work

While shopping for housewares on etsy the other day I ran across Alice’s kiln work shop. Alice got her start as a glass artist experimenting with small torchwork beads and marbles. She eventually yearned to move on to bigger and better pieces, so she bought a kiln and taught herself the rest!

First she cuts appropriately sized pieces of glass for the base and decorative elements of the piece. She stacks them and fires them in the kiln to fuse them together. A single piece may be fired several times as design elements are layered on. When the flat blank is complete, the piece is returned to the kiln for shaping. This time the piece is placed across a form. As the temperature rises, the glass slowly slumps to take the shape of the mold.

Of what inspires her, she says, “I think I just enjoy being around glass. It feels good to the hand; it’s cold & smooth sometimes—rough other times; it’s a solid and a fluid . . . . There are so many techniques to learn and styles to dabble in that I find that just playing around with the glass tends to yield more fun projects than I could ever complete.” Keep playing, Alice, your work is beautiful!

Djenya

Ceramicist Jack Kalish has spent several years perfecting these adorable bookends. I love how realistic and soft they look, and the clever name he gave them — Bukushuns — or “Book Cushions.” Below he shares his inspiration, process and how they came about.

Bukushuns
Bukushuns

I originally fell in love with ceramics during my senior year of college at Rochester Institute of Technology where I took an elective course in the subject. This is where the idea first came to me to create the Bukushins as my final project for the course. I was inspired by Wendell Castle, an artist-in-residence at my college, in his remarkable ability to render wood into seemingly soft blankets, sheets, and pillows as is seen in the incredible piece “Chair Standing on Its Head.” Not knowing what I was doing, I meticulously carved two pillows out of solid clay, and they shattered in the kiln!

It was not until after I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2007 and discovered Choplet Studios that I again had my hand at ceramics. Having taken a course on mold-making there, I decided to try to make the Bukushins once more. This time, slip-cast. Again, I carved the pillow out of solid clay, and used it to make the mold. After casting, firing, and glazing the pillows, I fill them with sand to add weight, and seal them with plaster. I am constantly refining, tweaking, and improving the process.

I am interested in creating work that is both functional and artful. Though professionally, I mostly work with computers as an interactive designer and developer [check out Jack’s commercial work at www.kalicious.com], I really love working with my hands as well, and ceramics is my outlet for that. I currently produce my work at Choplet Studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Thanks very much, Jack! Bukushuns are available to purchase here.

Sown

I have been in love with Rebecca of Sown‘s work for a long time. But, because she just can’t seem to keep anything in her shop (she sells out all the time!) I haven’t been able to feature her. She recently stocked up again, so hurry up and check them out!

Rebecca makes the coolest pillows from vintage feed bags and the occasional modern printed fabric. You all know I’m a typography nut so I especially love the ones with writing on them, but the color choice and modern composition makes each one a gem.