Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mugging it up with Dogwood Ceramic Cups

This video was made last month.
 It was too long for Blogger.
I tried trimming it.  I deleted things I didn't want to delete.
I can't find the middle part. The one where I carved and modeled the face.
The only part that survived was the face painting part.
Even the painting part was too long for Blogger.
So I tried YouTube for the first time.
I hope this works.

(P.S. The mug starring in this video is the stunt double for the one above.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breaking clay rules and wide-eyed wondering

head for twine and fossil
fired once to Cone 04
terra sigillata, oxide stains, underglazes

clay is leather-hard with three layers of white terra sigillata
little hole for metal pin which will help anchor head onto body

hands dangerously far out from body
making it precarious
 in harm's way
 but too dry to fix
head getting bone dry--terra sigillata buffed with an old cloth
features made up with underglazes
hair has a Copper Luster glaze I mixed up
for blush I used crushed up clay body brushed on (like blusher!)
face done-hair next
checking for fit
fresh out of kiln-bisque-fired to cone 04
(looking Minoan)
layering of blue and yellow in the eye came out as a lush shimmering green
after first firing--needs to go back one more time as I need to do the back
and still worried about that hand

Sometimes I get caught up in a moment and forget about the "clay building rules."  The one in particular about appendages and things that stick out.

I really love how far from the body that hand is, but it is in a position to get knocked off.  Fragile. Yet I couldn't find it in me to change it.  Besides with all my indecisiveness, the clay made my decision for me drying fast and bone dry.  So into the kiln it went.  At least now it isn't brittle.  It is vitrified.

What was I thinking--oh, yeah---I liked the way it looks.  I still do.  A ceramic hand away from any supporting, bracing structure.  No buttress, no hidden wires. Not pressed against anything.  There's a feeling of depth, of personal space in that little distance.  Ethereal.  Delicate. Strong, a touch defiant.

I will need to think on this a while.  I will build another body and seriously deal with the depth and supporting structure--without compromising that feeling of space.  And I think I know what to do now.  It just might work. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Twining Carefully in Clay and Thoughts


Twining Thoughts

Timekeeper's Crown and Nest Dreamer in Blue Skirt
sold                                     sold

Hidden Fauna in Floral Spinning

There are requests.  To repeat a certain piece now and again.  I gently remind that I approach my work with an openness that what happens happens.  There are no molds, no formulas.  No time schedule. I have to admit I tend to do things in a rush when I have a deadline. That nearly last minute "what shall I do" sort of thing.  There are times when fear is running about in the studio.  Like a little rodent.  I  know to stay attentive to details, remain true to my intentions and convey my own sense of the world.  Even if fear is running about on little rat feet. 

Working on an un-promised piece, there is room for the moment. It is a little more personal, a little less anticipatory.  The secret is transforming the technical, pragmatic purposefulness into something visual appealing and inclusive.   It opens up possibilities, a new adventure.  It is unsure and unknown.  It wraps around and embraces.  It is work.  A labor of love.

When it is ready to go out to a gallery I hope it will connect with someone in a special way.  

currently working on teapots and face cups

The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly — without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectations. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need. Then set aside your fears and listen, the way a good parent listens to a child. 
David Bayles
Art & Fear

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The wisdom of Yogi and some Pear Butter

"If the world was perfect it wouldn't be."
Yogi Berra


Cyclical.  That's what's happening.  Something wobbly cyclical.  Summer hasn't march in an even beat.  It is still part of the circle but not ticking evenly.  It seems like summer speeds up and then slows down.  Then speeds up again. I wanted do something different, but somehow it was the same.  Then I realized there are little changes all the time in my studio.  I just can't see it because I need new prescription---or do I mean perspective?

"Pair up in threes."
Yogi Berra

Every year I do pears in the summer.  Not many.  Just enough to keep me busy, but not so much to keep me from enjoying making them.  This year they came out so beautifully stippled and scarred.  As if they were grown in an abandoned and overgrown orchard. Last year I trimmed an old magnolia tree and dried the branches just to make the stems for the smaller pears. The large pears (about 7" tall) have ceramic stems as I can make them thick and sturdy.  The terra sigillata was made last year and left to age under the work table.  It is now silky and goes on with a satiny hue.  A bit of flannel and an old polishing stone and  a bit of soft buffering was all that was needed. Oxidation fired to cone 05.  A finishing touch of a stem and they were done.  

"When you come to a fork in the road take it."
Yogi Berra 
We drive by the few remaining pear orchards (more vineyards now) whenever we go up to the P.S. house.  The Barlett pears are so buttery and sweet this year.  I bought 15 lbs at a pear festival.  They ripen all at once.  So I did a little canning.  Pear quarters bathing with a few cardamom pods, a couple of whole star anise, 1 rather large cinnamon stick in a honeyed light syrup. Yum.  I also spent some time making strawberry jam and pear butter.  The pear butter went into half-pints.  It reminds me that unlike my ceramic pears, these are not calorie-free.   A little bit goes a long way to tasty sunny happiness.

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