Maria Margarita Mapa
Prompt: This assignment was the final project for the Intro to Ceramics elective, and we had to make a at least two pieces using the slip casting method. It was our first time being exposed to slip casting and mold making for reproduction purposes.
The research that brought this piece to life was acquired slowly throughout the semester. The materiality of clay varies greatly from slip or plaster, but this assignment required me to be intuitive of all three. It was my first time making molds, but that was at the back of my mind when I was conceptualizing the skull. Initially, I wanted to make human skulls but it seemed a bit cliched and less elegant, so I decided on a shih tzu skull mainly due to my homesickness amid longing for my own shih tzu, Thursday. Bones have a sense of presence because they are the framework of many animals. They have a sense of biology, history, and art: when we look at a form shrouded in flesh or fur, lifted areas come off as subtle, but when reduced to bone, the form is very exaggerated and compelling. I also wanted to use the white slip provided by the shop thus creating a form that would suit the color of the slip. I sculpted the skull with clay and referring to reference pictures, but also simplifying the form for the sake of casting, then separated the main skull from the arches, and the jaw–the sculpture then became three parts, with a 5-part mold for the main skull, 3-part mold for the jaw, and 2-part mold for the arches. I glazed only the teeth because of a suggestion made by the shop technicians. I hope this sculptural piece would sit nicely in my apartment and remind me of home by immortalizing the dog that I love immensely.