This is an image I drew from photos I took while at the LA Museum last fall. It was a beautiful plate from Persia and I think it was about 500 years old. What I really loved about it was how abstract and simpified they had made the plant designs.
I ran out of my postcards for the open house this weekend and had to have a quickie printed while traveling, so this is what some of you may have received.
I am still on the road, so the studio will be closed until I get back, which I am hoping will be Thursday night. I apologize to anyone who has stopped by or phoned and couldn't get me today through Thursday.
This should make life exciting as I have an Open House this weekend. Well, "Life, so they say, is but a game and we let it slip away..." or so my memory of an old Seals and Croft song goes.
Since I forgot to take any pictures of my booth at the beginning of the Treasures Show, I thought I would get some before I packed everything up today. This was my new display, using recycled doors for the background and a handy bunk ladder that I stashed away when we got rid of the kids' bunk beds. It was one of those "I know I will find a use for that at some point in the future" moments. The show was very nice and I did pretty well and I came home with some pots for my Spring Studio Open House, which de-stressed me. It will be here all too soon and I have been busy working on custom and gallery orders with little time for anything else.
These are some sauce bowls that someone came into the studio and decided they would like them personalized for a family reunion. After much stressing on how I could accomplish this, I found these great china painting pens which can be fired on. They also have them for glass. I don't know what is in them, but they hold to a vertical surface without pooling or dripping. You fire them between 300 and 350 degrees for about a half of an hour. That means I got to bake them in my oven, rather than my kiln because I could not figure out how to program such a short, cold firing. I was pleased with the results and so was the customer and I see possible future post firings, especially for sculptural work. Now all I have to do is get smarter than my computerized kiln controller.
We have been working with some slip in class. The top image is a white and blue slip applied to brownstone clay when very wet, then carved through immediately with a wooden tool. The bottom piece is a fired sample of four different slip colors I mixed up. I used 1 oz. samplers of some Mason stains that I have had for ages and added them to 3/4 of a large yogurt container of my white stoneware bucket leftovers. I did thin the white stoneware and then blended it in a blender to get out any globs before adding the stain. I have a test piece on the white clay body to see how different the colors will be. Fun. Got to run, pots to pack and pots to make before I sleep.
I had a great time at the Potters Conference. Here are a few photos of work in progress. Each person had such a different way of working and it was thought provoking listening to them. In the end I always find that I have to compare everything with the way that I work and my own dreams and goals as a potter, then incorporate what works or find the viewpoint shift to move into a new level for myself.
The first piece is a house pot by Mary Law, from California. I enjoy the reference to architecture in her work and she is a no nonsense gal to listen to. She says that her students refer to her as the "school marm", which I took to mean that she demands their best, no excuses, and she pushs them to make good pots.
The second is by Jane Hamlyn, from Great Britain. I first discovered her work about 5 years ago and looking at the way she paid attention to the details, such as textured handles and feet, caused me to look at my own work and focus on the smaller, finer areas in my handles. It was "jolly good fun" to hear her. I learned these British slangs:
"He's not got the bottle to do it", which means not have the courage. When we queried how that came to be, Robin Best, (try www.ceramicart.com.au/articles/CAP61.htm for the link, as I could not seem to get it to work from here) from Australia, interpreted it as having to resort to the bottle or drinking in order to gather your nerve or courage. I did not get any images of Robin's work, which was very intriquite and laborious in creation.
My favorite was "And I said, 'Blow this game of toy soldiers!' " which I took to mean "I'm so done with this" or whatever stronger version you might use, depending on the circumstances.
Anyway, home with lots of ideas and a lot of work to finish, hence the reason for not posting.
I talked to a couple of people who said they found me or looked at my blog and that was nice. I do a lot of talking out loud to myself at the studio, so it was good to hear that this is not just more of the same all the time.
I thought I would show a section of my workspace at the studio. Behind the wild fabric are two rolling carts with more forms that I use in handbuilding. The plastic shoe boxes hold texturing materials and on the large metal rolling rack are more forms. You can just make out the edge of my slab roller. Of course, I expand to fill any space, so I usually have things on every flat surface, not only in here but in the handbuilding class room and in the storage area, which doubles as a bathroom for the studio. I took some shots of the areas of the studio for the Claymatters meeting in April. A lot of those folks haven't been to the studio and I thought I would give them a rough idea of what it looks like. Today I finished up a kiln firing with promised gallery work in it. Fingers are crossed because I had to mix up new blue and green glazes and fire without testing first. Tomorrow will be a road trip to the Potters Conference. I've got my bag packed and fresh notebook ready. Hurrah!
My friend Ron Philbeck has been making movies and posting on his blog site. I'm really interested in learning how to do this because: 1. It's really very interesting. 2. It's a wonderful way to give someone the real essence of your ideas. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a movie brings the picture to life. 3. I kept thinking how fun it would be to help the kids produce a movie when they were younger, but we never got a video camera. 4. It is something new and different. 5. Maybe it fulfills on some very basic level my desire to be a performer/rock star/movie star (but I have made myself a promise not to sing if I do it). Anyway, check out the tour of his studio either through his website or look below at Blogs I Like for a short cut.
I don't know about you, but I tried to cram all I could into the extra day we had yesterday. I was able to get new photos made of some pots, so that means I can update my website again this spring with some newer work. I also had a meeting to discuss a website for the Carolina Pottery Festival. We're trying to have a better web presence for the festival in 2008. Buffalo Creek gallery got some new pots since they were low. At the studio I have been whittling away at my "create list" for several galleries and special orders. The kiln is firing, full of bisqueware and some slip experiments that my class have done.
On Thursday I took more work out to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. The drive is usually very nice, but I went around a bend in the road and saw the biggest bunch of buzzards. There were probably 30 to 40 of them. On the way home they were still there, gathered around a furry creature who must have sucumbed to HBC (hit by car, as they say in the vet business). It was quite freaky looking and straight out of the Hitchcock movie.
Today will be more clay production and then some planting around the house and garden. Jim has declared a "yard work" day and I guess it is time. Going to get some pansies this morning and maybe some veggie starts for the garden. We have been real movie buffs the past few weeks. We discovered that the BiLo store near our house has a vending movie machine for a buck and a half. Pretty cool, no lines and you can pick up a "happy" (my sister's word for a food treat that is not on your eating plan). Last night we saw the movie "Rendition". It was disturbing on many levels, but most of all because it spotlights our supposed "no torture" policy and how that plays out in fictionalized "real life". We also had to resort to the dictionary to figure out how that title word was being used. I thought that it might have a specialized political meaning, rather that the one I was used to, as in "his rendition of Bach's piece was stunning". The world atlas came out after a discussion of what countries comprised North Africa. Maybe tonight's film won't be as intense.