student life

First thrown piece this semester written off

[crack on my first piece thrown this semester]

The first piece I threw has now been destroyed, after spotting two cracks on the inside this afternoon. I now have two almost-finished pieces destroyed for reclaiming, but since I have made so many more pieces this semester I still have almost half a dozen in the pipeline. I still have lots more opportunity to practice and try new stuff. And for what’s worth, it was a practice piece and I’ve already done a lot of experiments on it so it’s ok.

Anyway, this is the second time I destroyed a piece that’s already bone dry, and this time I was not going to just dump it in a bucket of water, so I actually tried spraying water on it and scratching it to let it absorb more water more quickly, and I suddenly realized these scratch marks actually look kind of good:

[scratch marks I made on the piece in the process of trying to destroy it]

I have no idea if anything scratched like this is still structurally sound or safe to fire, but I guess if I leave enough thickness for me to scratch it will be safe; this will be in the queue of things I’m going to try.

I have also accidentally deformed the first plate I successfully threw. It looks like it’s still in one piece though, so I’ll still fire it, if not just to practice glazing. But it looks like the next practice piece is going to be another plate.

Looks like I only got one and a half months less

June 20, 2014.

That was what I saw when I dug out my old thesis proposal — the one I abandoned in favour of the one I submitted but now also abandoned — today to figure out my direction.

I knew we now only have eight months, but I had forgotten that before the change we still only had nine and a half months instead of a full year. Under the new scheme we actually “only” got one and a half months less.

Which sort of makes things look brighter, I suppose.

And while still tentative, it now looks like my direction has firmed.

First day at the wheel this semester… left me physically exhausted

I couldn’t really stay for Throwing Club today, but I managed to spend two hours after class at the studio to practice. Not having thrown for four months, I almost failed to even centre the clay. And when I tried to shape it it almost felt as if the clay had no plasticity.

So when the first blob of clay collapsed, I grabbed my second blob and, for the sake of making something to later practice trimming on, decided to pretend to be Ayumi Horie. And I eventually managed to make something that at least looked like a small handleless cup.

[Photo of second piece thrown on September 12, 2013 that managed to not collapse]

Of course, having tried this last Winter I know that if I have to pretend to be her it doesn’t really mean there’s anything wrong with the clay; it just means I’m no longer physically fit enough =P

Indeed, after the whole exercise I felt more tired than playing three hours of badminton. But the two hours at the studio did seem to calm me down tremendously. I think I’ll have to, whenever feasible, aim for heading to the studio first thing in the morning before I tackle the other, technically much more important stuff.

Something has changed this year: Our program is no longer unknown

Something has changed. Last year when I told people which program I was in most people just drew a blank: They had never heard of our program. This year people might not know a lot about our program, but they seem to have at least heard of it.

Last week when I slipped into the Student Union office to ask about volunteering I was asked if I was in the undergrad program or the grad program. Today I was chatting with someone else from the SU and I was again asked which program I am in, and when I told her she called our program “the mystery program”.

And she asked me how classes were going and I told her I am quite worried because all the courses this semester are basically “do your thesis”, “one way to help you do your thesis”, and “another way to help you do your thesis”. (“But you are just second year. Are you sure you’re not third year?”) Oh, and I told her we don’t actually call it a thesis. But what answer did I get? “That’s a thesis. It takes a whole year to do, right?”

People still aren’t aware this is a two-year program, or why it’s a two-year program for that matter. But our program has graduated from being the unknown program to “the mystery program”: That is an improvement.

Spec, something that people in my program shouldn’t even be worrying about

Today is August 30, the last day for submitting an entry to a certain design competition, but I’m not going to submit anything.

Nor will I likely submit anything two months from now when the other competition closes — one that, if this means anything, I would probably not do well in any case but was still really excited about — in my eyes, it’s all about identity and EGD. And if you asked me, I was really disappointed when I found this other competition to be “equivalent to spec”: I was talking about my ideas with one of the docents at The Power Plant and neither of us thought there’s anything wrong with that competition.

I had dug through hundreds of discussion postings on spec-vs-no-spec before I had any connection to the AIGA, but I have always felt real contests — especially those that are clearly branded as student contests, one that you find on your art school’s job board even — had to be some kind of an it’s-still-ok-even-though-it’s-kind-of-grey area. But compared to AIGA’s pretty much advisory position, RGD’s position leaves little room for interpretation. In a sense, the RGD’s much stricter position forces you to think more, so it’s a good thing, I guess.

My program’s program director likes crowdsourcing, thinking it to be possibly a good way to get those pesky accessibility problems solved. But crowdsourcing in tech circles isn’t really the kind of taboo it is in the graphic design world. So who in my program will worry about spec? Probably very few.

In any case, September is coming, and I will be back in the ceramics studio very soon. If I’m fortunate enough to be able to log sufficient time to enable me to produce some decent work before I finish my thesis in what now appears to be May, then maybe — just maybe — I might be able to show my work in some less controversial venue.

Another deadline looming and not ready for it

Just got notice that there’s another deadline in two and a half weeks. I really feel this is being rammed through.

Maybe not for others, for those who have succeeded in keeping up with all the previous deadlines (which, in theory, are all reasonable and laudable); but I just barely managed and I’m no longer keeping up. I have barely even finalized my direction, and now I have to formalize this direction which hasn’t even been finalized. I wonder if I’m going to make it ever, and if I do manage to, what kind of work I’ll produce. I suspect it won’t be very good work.

The first professor I talked to (I don’t even remember who that was) who discouraged me and tried hard to talk me out of it was probably right all along.

On the Robart’s bizarre T-card policy

UofT’s Robarts has a T-card policy that I totally don’t understand. And I’m not just saying this as a non-UofT student; I’m saying this is actually a hassle even for UofT students.

So you need a T-card to enter the stacks: In other words, if you are a student who’s studying at a different university, and you found out that you need to take a quick look at a book that Robarts has to write your paper (because your own university’s library happens to not have that book), you can’t just go to the stacks to look at it and then put it back. However, you can request an interlibrary loan.

So instead of keeping the book at Robarts, which guarantees the book to be available to UofT students, the T-card policy forces students at other universities to take the book out of UofT for an indeterminate amount of time (obviously not going to return it early since it’s so much hassle to take it out), virtually guaranteeing that book to become unavailable to UofT students for a needless amount of time. How is that benefitting UofT students?

If someone at Robarts could give a coherent explanation of the T-card policy’s logic I think UofT students will be eternally grateful.

Syndicate content