Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weighing in on clay

This is pear week.  These hang on the wall.  I just had to weigh them.  I am pricing them per pound.  $24.00 per pound  : - ) .  Although I know some will think---real pears are cheaper.  These won't rot.  Guaranteed.  When they are done (they need poaching in the kiln) I will hang them in groups, take photos and post them.

After that off they go to the Pence Gallery for the holiday market.  By that time I may come to my senses and price them accordingly. 

Keeping with the pear theme......I've started some small paintings of pears waiting for the kiln to cool down.

It is so still and serene outside with such autumn goodness. It is hard not to run off and go for a hike somewhere.  I have a list of things I should do when I am restlessly waiting for the kiln to cool down. The biggest one is to go through all my books and sort them to either sell or give away.  Trouble with this plan I end up reading one and get only halfway done sorting.  I think after weighing all my options I will go outside--sit on my little deck and just breathe.

Friday, October 21, 2011

With clay feet I can touch the sky

Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. We walk through it, yell into it, rake leaves, wash the dog, and drive cars in it. We breathe it deep within us. With every breath, we inhale millions of molecules of sky, heat them briefly, and then exhale them back into the world. 
                                            ~Diane Ackerman from  The Natural History of the Senses

Thinking about our five senses lately.  Beginning with feet.  I began asking myself how often does my feet make bare contact with the earth?  I know it's not a daily thing.  A month ago I wiggled my toes in wet sand along the coast.  I haven't touch the earth with my bare feet---a full month. I went outside to my postage stamp yard and took off my zories.  I stood on my sorry excuse for a lawn.  Felt alive and silly. I looked up at the sky and watched a small plane flying over head.  Standing on clay soil.  With my bare feet.
Touching the sky.


Friday, October 14, 2011

What goes up, must come down

Last weekend for Think Twice in Healdsburg Center for the Arts.  The show comes down Monday.  Many pieces found their way into art collections in the Napa Valley.  I hope these pieces will give their new homes solace, reflection and a little bit of quiet joy.

14"x 12" x 11"
coil built earthenware, porcelain parts, found objects, silkscreen transfer
multi-fired cone 06-1,  terra sigillata, oxide stains, glazes, encaustic
(from the series Words My Mother Gave Me)

Many techniques were used in Archived.  The major part was the silkscreen transfer and copier print transfer.  Inside the box is another silkscreen transfer done with ceramic ink and covered in with a watery teal-blue transparent glaze. The strip on the front was done with a laser print copy transfer using CMC, lots of water and ceramic ink.  All porcelain parts were fired separately-branches, stones, twigs, acorn, birds and paper. Very last thing was a bit of encaustic on the twigs and pod.

I made a silk-screen of a postcard with my Japanese grandfather's script.  I had to work with it in Photoshop.  First, enlarging the text which was very tiny and beautiful.  Next, grayscale and flatten several layers. Finally, onto the silkscreen.  I decided not to flip the text.  I do not read  Japanese so I thought it should be a reflection of my half/half-ness.  To read it, a mirror must be held to it.  I know that some who could read it may think---oh, this is a mistake!  Those who can't or can read it will rely on their own interpretations. A collection of bits and pieces picked up here and there.  Boxed in by nature and ancestry.  Kept and made whole.

If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come. 

~a Chinese proverb

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

sketch here clay there

Started to do some heads this week with the intention of getting a 6 completed.  Mother Nature had other plans.  It rained.  So the clay remained damp.  Three days later they are still too damp.  I moved on to do some doodling. Six hours of back and forth.  It seems like I accomplished nothing.  But the sun is out and it is autumn. 

I'm making this face up as I go along.  That's why it appears flat.  I do not have the patience to sketch for long.  It's the feeling I am after for a larger sculpture.  When I get it then I move on to clay.  Except the clay is too wet!

I am trying.  I paddled on two more inches! Now to avoid clay and think about the full body sculpture I want to do this winter.

More doodling. 

 I wandered back out to check on the clay.  It is still very wet.  I decided to finger paint with it instead of coiling.  That worked out and felt good, too.  Something completed. Now for a walk on the shoreline.........More sketching........

a plover 

which leads me back 

When you start with a portrait and search for a pure form, a clear volume, through successive eliminations, you arrive inevitably at the egg. Likewise, starting with the egg and following the same process in reverse, one finishes with the portrait.  ~Pablo Picassso

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Unbricking a clay block

found with a rip in its bag

hard as a brick

drilling holes 

looks like a domino

placed in a 1.5 qt plastic container

pour water about 2"--- leave cheap baster on top of brick

cover with plastic/ then lid/flip when bottom is soft/baste daily

Every once in a while, one bag of clay gets a rip and somehow it's always the one way in the back.  It will take about a week for this one to get to the right pliable condition.  In the meanwhile, I worked on which  keepsake needed what done to it.  One got a nick in it so I had to carve it.  I then decided it needed a little porcelain spoon. Only 2" long with a wire stem.  It can only hold one teardrop or a pinch of salt. 

“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.”

 Isak Dinesen

Monday, October 3, 2011

Keepsake Jars

It was a beautiful day and I had to get some keepsake jars I made last week done. The bottoms were still a little soft so I  put outside on a cafe table I have in the shade.  They were all perfect to open and trim by noon.

One little keepsake got a little bit of sun.  It is sunburnt.  I will not be adding anything to this one!  I may get out the shellac and water etch it. 

Some of the keepsakes will get little bits of clay added, some dipped in white porcelain milk.  All interiors will get white slip except the ones slipped white on the outside.  Some will have something special in the inside. Most of these are small.  They fit in your hand.

I didn't measure a lid for this jar.  I made two---eyeballing.  Turns out they both fit just right.  I guess after a while your hand/eye just knows.  I decided to use the tip of my wood trim tool to press into the soft clay in one of the lids.  Doing this got me thinking about using this in a sculpture.  Then I did some more thinking (ouch) and decided that I need to make up some test tiles.  Test tubes, actually. 

The attractions of ceramics lie partly in its contradictions. It is both difficult and easy, with an element beyond our control. It is both extremely fragile and durable. Like 'Sumi' ink painting, it does not lend itself to erasures and indecision.
                                                                                          ~Isamu Noguchi

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