Learning Ceramics and Pottery in Indonesia: my results

Pottery artwork: a gecko drinking from a pitcher

Practicing ceramics in Indonesia for me was like entering in a deep state of meditation, almost like a trance. I would forget about everything around me and get extremely relaxed. I liked the feeling of having a project and then being able to realize it, and even the tactile sensation and smoothness itself of the clay.

I haven’t had the occasion to practice with ceramics and pottery anymore after Darmasiswa scholarship, but I would be really happy to experience more in the future.

After having explained my frustration with the local teaching in Indonesia at ISI Yogyakarta and not being able to complete my ceramic pieces, it’s time to have a look at what I was able to  accomplish, a few unfinished pieces at the biscuit stage.

Gecko drinking from a pitcher

According to the opinion of several people that had a look at my pieces either in person or from my photos, this was my most successful artwork. Interestingly it was also one of the fastest to make, just in one afternoon when the deadline for the end of the projects was getting closer.
The pitcher was thrown on the pottery wheel, since the second module was focused on pottery, and the Gecko and the ropes hand sculpted.

Top view of the gecko drinking from a pitcher

The Gecko is standing on a bamboo stick and it’s bent over the pitcher drinking from its water: not only it is part of the aesthetic composition, but it’s also serving as the handle of the pitcher.

Side view of my gecko pitcher

Since Geckos are not missing in Indonesia, I just went around the ceramics department building looking for a live model to reproduce!

Close up view of the ceramic Gecko drinking from the pitcher

Hollow tree candle holder and aroma diffuser

This ceramic piece is a mix of wheel throwing (the trunk and the plate) and clay modelling. An hollow tree has a mysterious aperture on its trunk. It actually function as a stand for a small candle, that is enlightening the interior of the tree and warming up the ceramic plate on top, where to pour water and essential oils. The branches are holding bird nests serving as candle holders. The most complicated process was to create the very thin and flexible rope that was breaking really easily.

Organic candle holder and aroma diffuser

Top view of my clay hollow tree

Tree foliage and light shade

This piece started from a sphere thrown on the wheel. The second step was to draw the foliage and branches on the surface and then chisel out the empty parts. The artwork was finished adding some branches sticking out of the surface and smoothing all of the corners. The idea was to use it as a light shade for a candle or a light bulb, projecting the tree foliage on the surrounding surface.

Organic light shade

Light shade and hollow tree composition

The previous two ceramic works were modeled  at the right size to fit one on top of the other. So the Light shade could also be combined with the hollow tree after removing the essential oils plate, transforming it in a pure lighting object and reuniting the tree trunk with its foliage.

Composition of the ceramic candle holder and light shade

Back view of my ceramic organic composition

Ceramic Tea set with ropes

This was a simple project I did as my first one to practice throwing on the wheel basic shapes. A Teapot, a plate and several cups were thrown and modeled with the help of some functional ropes, recurring theme of this work. The major difficulty was to recreate the ropes, by twisting two rolled and long cylinders together, that were easily cracking because the clay we were working with wasn’t really flexible.

A ceramic tea set shaped arounf the theme of ropes

A teapot shaped by a rope resembling Aladdin teapot

 My sculpture for the Terracotta Biennale in Yogyakarta

While in Yogyakarta I was lucky to be able to take part to the first Terracotta Biennale in Yogyakarta, since the organizer was…my landlord! Pak Ibrahim Noor, an internationally known metal sculptor.

The Biennale was actually focused on creating installations composed of several pieces. Here a detail of my complex idea that was picturing a dung beetle rolling and destroying some dung balls from whose pieces a female creature representing a new world was taking shape.

The sculpture I made for the Terracotta Biennale in Yogyakarta
Technically the difficult part was to create the three organic branches, that were easily getting broken since they were protruding considerably, putting the resistance of the material in a stressing situation. I had to create them a piece at a time during several days, waiting for them to dry out to gain resistance, and using many sticks to hold them while still fresh.

Back view of my Terracotta sculpture

Source: Nomad Travellers
Learning Ceramics and Pottery in Indonesia: my results

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