Goodbye FURSCA summer 2012!

Dear Fursca blog reader, In this last post of mine, I will be sharing with you results from the last firing and images of my selected finished work that I used to apply to MCAA Michigan Ceramics 2012 Biennial Exhibition and Competition. With the help of my advisor, Lynne Chytilo, and photography professor Gary Wahl, I took some photos of my summer FURSCA work to submit them to the show. FURSCA has been great fun and a major stress point of my last college summer (I’m a senior, this fall), but I am very happy that I finished it and gave it my best shot. I am very grateful for this opportunity to advance my work quality that will hopefully prime myself for my future career goal. I still have a couple of sculptures that I will be glazing and bisque-ing during the semester, but everything else is finalized. Fingers-crossed, I’m hoping for the best and that my work is good enough to be shown in the exhibition. However, I am also expecting the worst… wish me luck! So here goes the pictures! The last bisque kiln

Last Bisque kiln

a couple of pagodas popped in the kiln

Glazing the final pieces

I glazed this piece three times, firing it to cone 05 after each glazing, which means I glaze-fired it three times!

Glazing the bed sculpture which I titled, "Sleep" now

Final selected sculptures

Title: Palette House . Media & Technique: Handbuilt earthenware (cone 05), Glaze and Oxides. Dimension: 18x 12 x 8.5 (HxWxD in inches) Year completed: 2012


  This’s about it! If you are curious and want to check out more random ceramics stuff, please visit my other FURSCA blog. Thank you very much for your interest! FURSCA rocks and Ceramics is awesome! Major thanks to FURSCA, again! Cheers, Soe Yu Nwe’13

Approaching the end

This week is the week before my last week of Fursca and I will be sharing some pictures of my fired work from my last glaze firing, some new unfired sculptures that I made in the last two weeks and something exciting that popped up unexpectedly. So here it goes…

Sculptures in progress

Bed (Bird's eye view)

Head view






Bird's eye view

The handbuilding part of this piece is over and it is left to dry for now and scheduled to be fired on August 13. For more picture views, see here.

This is a work in progress.





House and Pagodas

This is a group of sculptures I am scheduled to be bisque-firing on Monday, Aug 13th. More detailed images, here.


test glaze tiles

For more pictures of the test, click here

Pictures from Last glaze firing

Fired gas kiln


Fired sculpture



detailed view of one of my favorite finished sculptures


Take a look of the pictures of the fired sculptures, here!


Lastly, I want to share with you something that I did not expect from FURSCA: my friend Ken Chen’s tattoo. My friend recently got a tattoo of my test tile on his back. Honestly, I did not have anything in mind when I carved onto those two pieces of clay. I was just intuitively reacting to the lines, shapes and forms of the clay because I did not want to throw it away. Originally, I made a rectangular-ish form to practice carving (carving onto a three dimensional form is my favorite among all the processes involved in ceramic) but the tile fell to the floor and broke. So I threw away the smaller pieces that I could not find the reason to save and work on the two bigger ones.

The thought of a FURSCA project accidentally giving birth to the imagery of my friend’s tattoo makes me giggle every time I think about it. Indeed, you never know what’s gonna come out of the kiln. Who knows, a tattoo?

Yes, another lesson on expectation management.

Out of the blue riot!




More images of Ken’s tattoo from dried to bisqued to fired, click here.

Visit my Tumblr to follow more of my work in progress, studio photos, etc. Thank you for checking out my post! I will say goodbye in my last FURSCA blog post next week! See you then.

Phase One: Complete.

So FURSCA’s finally over and while most of the people who participated have left campus and gone home, I have not. More on that in a second.

In terms of the end of my FURSCA project, really it’s just Phase One thats over. This summer, I completed the first part of the research I wanted to get done – profiling a voter and a protestor in Lansing, MI. I also was able to profile a registered non voter and a non voter in general. The next steps are pretty clear for me. In the spring, I plan to complete my directed study and tie up some loose ends from this summer as well as prep for next summer. Then, for next summer’s FURSCA, I plan to take what I know about voters and protestors and come up with marketing techniques to attract the underrepresented populations of voters in the polling booth.

About still being on campus – I haven’t permanently went home since school got out. I went home for two nights near the beginning of the summer and was just home for a night a week ago, but I haven’t moved back home. I’ve been living all around campus and honestly the experience of being on campus all summer has been awesome. I’ve learned a lot about what it’s like to be “all grown up” and live on your own – moving out of my college dorm on my own, or having to rent a storage unit, for example. I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn to cook better than I could before. Budgeting has become one of my big goals for the summer and I’m doing well on that note.

Not to mention being on campus by myself all summer has its benefits. I work at McDonalds on the side and President Randall came through the drive thru once. I get to spend as much time as I want in places talking to people. It’s been a relaxing summer, all things considered.

Here’s to FURSCA 2013!

Expectation management: Glaze firing

Our kiln gods sitting on top of the firing kiln

By this 7th week, I have finished handbuilding, bisqueing and glazing all of the eight sculptures that I started. By Friday, with the help of my advisor, Lynne Chyilo, I will have started firing the kiln and hopefully, the kiln will be cooled and be unloaded by this weekend. I am very excited to see how they’d look like since it is such a long process of creating them and I have certain expectation of them while glazing them. Just FYI, glazes are chemicals in powder form mixed with water to put on bisqued ceramics (ceramic ware that are fired once but still porous) for a glass-like layer of color or decoration. Since they are chemical and have to be fired to be bonded to the ceramic surface, they are different from paint. The way they look before they are fired is very different after they have been fired, so visually I had difficulties envisioning them when I put them on my ceramicware. I always end up being so disappointed at how they turn out. But this time, I felt a little more comfortable and confident that they would turn out the way I envisioned them because my vision has been adjusted with experience. I might be speaking ahead of myself.

Let me share with you some pictures of the glazing process and the glaze firing. I hope that by next week, I can share with you some pictures of the finished work.

I also did my presentation this past Thursday. Here is an overview of the slides I presented.

Here is the overview of the eight sculptures I created in the presentation. Photos were taken before they were dried, bisqued and glazed.

Thank you for being interested!


The Green Carnation (part 1)

One of the books I’ve read most recently is titled The Green Carnation (published in 1894), and it’s an interesting book—which is both good and bad.  The title comes from, as you can probably guess, a carnation that’s been dyed green.  (Creative, right?)  The carnation’s origin traces back to use in France by men who engaged in sodomy; the dyed flower served as a sort of “sign” of their sexual preference.  Wilde, of course, coopted the dyed carnation idea for his own (similar) uses in London.  While the significance of the carnation was lost on many, quite a few started picking up that there was something deeper and more meaningful behind the choice of color and flower.  One such man, named Robert Hichens, caught on.  So it fits that he was also the author of The Green Carnation.

Wilde was soon to refer to Hichens as a “doubting disciple who has written the false gospel,” but Hichens originally published The Green Carnation anonymously.  Hichens had followed Wilde and Bosie around with a notebook, talked to their friends, and gathered enough information on their goings and comings to write a satire about Wilde, Bosie, the “Aesthetic Movement,” and the effeminacy that was associated with all three.

The Green Carnation takes place over several days in the lives of a group of heavily satirized characters—the characters of Wilde and Bosie are so accurately (and humorously) described, though, that it was instantly obvious to the readers of that time that book was about the two.  The plot is centered on three characters, however.  The moral compass (and arguably the protagonist) of the book is Lady Locke, but I’m going to spend more time in this blog entry writing about Wilde’s character.  He’s named “Esmé Amarinth” although I’ll refer to him Wilde for the sake of clarity.  (I’ll be referring to the character of “Reggie Hastings” as Bosie, as well.)

The most striking characteristic of Wilde in The Green Carnation is that he’s almost criminally insane through the way he speaks (both randomly and nonsensically) throughout the book.  He often ignores other characters, and is more than willing to talk about whatever he wants to talk about—regardless of the topic at hand.  I realize that simply stating it won’t do the character justice, so I feel as though it’s worthwhile to pull in some actual, and hopefully enjoyable, quotes.

The first example is Wilde speaking of how operas should perform matinees—the purpose of which would be to “unfit one for the duties of the day”:

“It makes me perpetually sorrowful in London to meet with people doing their duty.  I find them everywhere.  It is impossible to escape from them.  A sense of duty is like some horrible disease.  It destroys the tissues of the mind, as certain complaints destroy the tissues of the body.  The catechism has a great deal to answer for” (pg. 7).

In the second example, Wilde spontaneously decides to sing a song whilst accompanying himself on the piano:

“Go out into the garden all of you, and I will sing to you a song of the moon.  It is very beautiful. […] My voice will sound better from a distance.  Good voices always do” (pg. 74).

The third and final example is from the conclusion of the book.  As Wilde and Bosie ride a train into the metaphorical sunset, the two observe a pair of gentlemen trying to catch the train they’re on:

“Look out of this window, dear boy, and you will see two elderly gentlemen missing the train.  They are doing it rather nicely.  I think they must have been practicing in private.  There is an art even in missing a train, [Bosie].  But one of them is not quite perfect in it yet.  He has begun to swear a little too soon” (pg. 211).

The absurdity of Wilde, to an outsider, probably seems laughable.  But Hichens uses enough (likely) quotes and aphorisms from Wilde and others that it was convincing enough to fool many as to whom the actual writer was.  (As would be discovered down the road, Hichens had pulled at least one quote directly from a private telegram between Bosie and Queensberry.)  While I’ll go further into detail in the next post, it’s worth knowing that many originally thought Wilde had written the satire about himself.

Ending The FURSCA Chapter

Well, this is sad.

Even though break will be nice (and I’ve been craving Chinese food, which I live next to back in New Jersey), I’m really going to miss staying on campus writing poetry. FURSCA has been great, but just spending the summer here as been interesting within itself. For example, I couldn’t go to Baldwin everyday, and I really didn’t want to eat subway all the time, so I dedicated time looking for recipes for cheap and tasty dinners. It was really fun cooking for myself and experimenting. I can now say I’ve made chicken parm, burgers, fried chicken, bbq chicken, fried shrimp, shrimp and pasta and just wide variety of things I know I’ll cook once I live on my own again.

This is also my first time being in Michigan for the summer, since school always starts at the end of August when things are starting to cool down. I didn’t expect it to get so hot, but I loved it! Also, this campus never sleeps. I assumed the campus would be pretty dead since school wasn’t really going on (except for summer school) but this campus is still heavily active with other activities. It was pretty cool sitting on the quad and wondering why people were on campus.

Back to FURSCA. I must say this has been my best summer so far because of FURSCA. Getting paid to do something I’m interested in, and hearing about things other people are interested in was a blast. Honestly, it made me feel as though my ideas were important.

It’s great seeing that research isn’t just a science term and that the college lets non-science students perform their own type of research. I’m pretty much a FURSCA fan girl, but I believe the praise is deserved!

I know of a few people who are thinking about trying FURSCA but seem somewhat nervous. I say GIVE IT A TRY. It’s worth a shot.

Field work/ Lab work

Our projects involve two aspects of scientific research: a field component and a lab component. We travel to sites along Rice Creek to take samples of substrate, and then return to the lab to sort through what we have collected and to crunch the numbers. Featured in these pictures are Team Squaregills gathering a sample at site 63, Andrew Franklin looking intently into a sample tray back at the lab, and an example of what we pull out of the trays while we sort.

Can’t believe it’s week 6


Since I started my fursca on June 11th, I will be done on August 17th.

So this week is my week 6, already!

I am going to switch to Ro99 porcelain and Ro42 earthenware in the remaining few weeks.

Right now I have about eight sculptures that I made by using RO23 stoneware clay. I am drying them out so that I can bisque-fire them and glaze fire them to finish them up before my presentation next Thursday. But they are drying slower than I thought so I worry that they might not be dried enough to bisque on the scheduled date.


This is my favorite sculpture so far


Thanks for looking!

Closing Time

I can’t believe there’s only two weeks left of FURSCA. As the research portion of my summer starts to come to a close, I’ve been reviewing the work I’ve completed thus far.

I started FURSCA this summer with three goals – to identify the profile of a voter for the city of Lansing, to identify the profile of a protestor for Lansing, and to see if I could correlate voting and protesting within the city. I planned to use Census data and Facebook protesting data to achieve these goals, analyzing the data in SPSS.

The first two weeks were spent reading four different books – We The People, The Politics of Power, Introduction to Linear Regression Analysis, and the Michigan and United States sections of The Statesman’s Yearbook – 2011. This reading allowed me to have a better understanding of voting and protesting as it has existed and evolved in the United States, dating to pre-revolutionary times. This reading also allowed me to understand what SPSS (or Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) would do as it analyzed my data.

The third and fourth weeks were spent mainly in Lansing and Detroit, collecting data, information, and perspectives needed to complete my research. Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope was instrumental in getting me voting data – as he provided me with over 90,000 data points that I was then able to clean and organize into usable data for my FURSCA project. The Census Bureau office in Detroit provided perspectives on the national voting “scene”, which allowed me to later correlate my Lansing data to the national averages. The Capitol library in Lansing helped me get data and information on Lansing that would help me predict what the voter and protestor profiles should look like.

The fifth and six weeks of FURSCA were perhaps the most crucial to my research project. As I began to clean out the data, I noticed variables listed in Mr. Swope’s table that I couldn’t identify. Through conversations with him, I was able to identify them and further sort the data by the variables I had outlined in my FURSCA proposal. Through doing research on the Lansing area school districts, I was able to sort my data not just by age, gender, or location, but education as well. Additionally, through Senate and House district numbers, I was able to get a picture of what each voter’s elected official’s views were and see if that had any influence on whether people chose to vote or not.

After I had identified all the variables listed in the data, I began to run reports. I was able to get the profile of a voter and a registered non-voter for the city of Lansing, as well as a rough profile of a protestor (See attachment 1). I was not able to correlate voting and protesting within the city, as there was nearly 100x as much voter data as there was protestor data. I was able to correlate the voter and registered non-voter data for Lansing to national data.

As I was running these reports, I realized two very important variables I had not considered. As I was predicting what my voter would look like, I was considering what I thought to be the “population” of Lansing. However, because of Capitol Hill, my “population” thought was skewed. The majority of the people working in the Capitol or in the Congressional office are commuters. Additionally, many people that protest in Lansing aren’t actually from Lansing. Because Lansing is Michigan’s capital, many people come from all over the state to protest. However, in spite of these variables, I was still able to find conclusive data about the residential population of Lansing in terms of voting.

The data to the left is data for a registered voter (whether they voted or not). To input data into SPSS, it had to be numerical, so I changed the actual words for many of these categories into numbers. For example, under gender, female became 1 and male became two.

The State House and Senate codes indicate what Michigan legislative district the registered voter lives in, and the US Congress code does the same but on a national level. This allowed me to gain a picture of what area of Lansing the registered voter lives in.

The school code indicates what school district the registered voter lives in. There were four school districts represented in the data I had and I ranked them from 1-4 (one being best, four being worst) based on the school districts’ data.

Average age is computed using the descriptive statistics function instead of the frequency function, so I didn’t include that table here.


Average Age: 47

Gender: Female

State House Preference: Democratic

State Senate Preference: Democratic

US Congress Preference: Republican

School District: Mainly from Lansing Public Schools area