Monday, January 25, 2010

Innies, Outies, and Flatties

I didn't make this pot; Dan Anderson, of Edwardsville, IL made it, 20 years ago; although you'd never guess it looking at his current work. Actually it didn't look very much like his work at the time, either.  He made it as part of a demonstration for his Ceramics 202 students, and, as happens to me now in my own classes, items made for demos often bear little resemblance to your body of work; I suppose because you are using techniques you wouldn't normally use, for your students' edification. (This, incidentally, is one of the main benefits of teaching. It keeps your work fresh, as you have to continually dredge up techniques you'd almost forgotten you knew. The other main benefit is all the cool people that you meet. But I digress from my digression.)

I was a grad student at the time, but I was fascinated by this demo, and later purchased the pot to commemorate the insight it gave me: that the tension between the mechanical qualities the wheel imparts and the squooshy organic qualities of clay itself are what inspire me. I had always done a lot of stretching and alteration. After seeing this demo, I made myself some stamps out of clay. I still often use stamps. I have approximately one billion of them, if you count the rollers. Outside of rollers, they fall into three categories: flatties, innies, and outies

Most of my stamps are flatties. They are the easiest to make, and sometimes when I want to be in the studio but can't think of anything I want to make, I might make a few flattie stamps.  I start with a little coil with one flat end, let it dry a bit, and then carve or impress the design into it. Here's a flattie stamp, right here, with the impression that it makes:

Flatties are technically a subset of innies, I suppose, in that they compress the pot wall inward; but the impression itself is flat. True innies are concave, the center of the impression deeper than the edges, so they read as more organic. Outies, naturally, cause the clay wall the curve outward. It is necessary to push outward on the wall with a fingertip while stamping, to make the clay fill the stamp. Here are an outie and an innie stamp (respectively, from the left)and the impressions that they leave:

Fun stuff!


Jerry said...

Innies and outies!! I just made a number of stamps, but never considered convex or concave designs. Thanks!!

Sister Creek Potter said...

That was a fun lesson! Thanks!

DirtKicker Pottery said...

Those are so cool. Great blog post :)

Linda Starr said...

What a great and fun post. I need to make some innies and outies too. I love the photos you have showing the difference too. Just like Jerry I never thought of making convex and concave designs, thx.


had to read your entry with a title like "innies and outies" what a hoot.