Photos and text by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL 62035, USA
A few years back I had to make do with s mall electric kiln that plugged in to a regular wall socket, and didn’t trip a 20 Amp circuit breaker. The small diameter of the kiln would limit the size of flat pieces (a bowl or tray) I could fire. If I wanted to continue making larger pieces, then I had to build taller pieces with relatively small footprint. I started to design sculptural pieces that conveyed my visions of Beachfront Pottery. Most importantly, the sculptural pieces were to be assembled from smaller modules. The assembly got reduced to the process of just placing the modules on top of each other either in a random fashion, or a more planned out way.
The Effort and the Resulting Pieces
In order to make a Feeding Frenzy sculpture I used a bent, curving teardrop shaped module. I explored the flat, curving teardrop shaped module a six/seven years ago on a large wall hanging titled “Unsheltered Great White Shark I”.
First, I formed the flat modules from a sheet of white earthenware clay, and bent it by pressing the wet clay module onto a mold.
On these two pictures you see the still wet curving teardrop shaped modules in a bisque bowl. To the left and front of the bowl you see a single module. These modules are drying, and will be bisque fired, and the glazed before the assembly of the modules.
Here I played around with assembly of the individual bisque fired modules. I used a can to hold the modules in position while I take a picture. All these arrangements represent a version of the swirling sharks focusing on their prey during a feeding frenzy.
Here you see how the glazed modules are assembled. The white paste you see on the top module is a slurry of glass frit. The assembled piece was glass fired to obtain the final piece. In plain English, the molten glass is the glue that holds the modules together.
So, here is the final piece, as it has appeared in juried exhibitions.