Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts on making sculptural things

I have made a series of sculptural pieces throughout the years. They have ranged from pretty small to medium large (between 24 and 30" tall). They are not functional at all but often folks would try to create a function for them when I included them in my display at shows. One person asked me if it could be converted to a lamp. Another asked if she could use one as an umbrella stand in the hall. Funny...
Yesterday one of my favorites left the gallery for a new home where it would be displayed and enjoyed for what it was. Sculpture. No function needed. The new owner asked me how I felt about it going away. I said that I enjoy making things that others love and will find a place for in their home but that's only part of the story. When I stopped and thought of the other pieces in the series that have found homes over the years, it made me glad. I know when I make these that it will take some time for them to sell so more than likely I will get to live with them awhile. Yet I still continue to make a very limited number of them, understanding they are for a few select folks who will find their way into the gallery and discover them.
I guess I realized that those sculptural pieces started out being made strictly for me. They are an urge to bring into the physical universe an idea that has delighted me. Then they become the idea itself, a complete whole thought and I move out of the equation. In that, they are different than my pottery, because my urge to create functional work is dual--creating shapes that delight me but for others who will find them beautiful and useful.
I know this sounds jumbled and may even fall under the category of "artspeak" which I really hate. Just some rambling around trying to pin down the whys of what motivates me to make certain types of work. Enough thinking, it's time for a little doing.... have a good day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Man, you know your pottery!

Oh, you, Ron Philbeck. You cast a doubt in my mind when you said you didn't recognize that pot on my ledge as yours. And YOU WERE RIGHT! I had to give it a good look after I read your comment and scrutinize for a mark. It is a Michael Hunt pot. I think. It's got a lower case h with an oval around it. And it has ash on the top, which should have been a clue, too, since you were firing in gas for those others! What can I say except a potter knows their pots like a mama knows her kids.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pots in use 3

The ledge over the kitchen sink. Left, Mr. Philbeck again! Gosh do you think I have a lot of his pots? This jar holds my scrubbies. Various bowls in the garden window, very handy for veggies and salads. A gargoyle my daughter made at school many moons ago. My "2nd" teapot that I steep tea in. A saki bottle by Kent McLaughlin (I think? I bought it with two sweet little saki cups at the NC Potters Conference several years ago.) displaying just a few flowers to brighten my morning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pottery in use 2

This is a little scene in my dining room. On the left is a saggar (a container used to either protect pottery from ashes, etc. in a wood firing or used to contain combustible materials and a piece of pottery within it, so that it doesn't affect the other pots surrounding it) which I made at Penland. It was only fired one time. I'll have to post a picture of the little sculpture that was inside of it later.
On the wall you see some boxes I bought from a clay artist at the ACC show in Charlotte a couple of years ago. Sorry--no name. Ron, do you remember who this was? The other two pots are mine, one from Penland and one with a glaze I was testing and really loved. The leg broke a bit so I ended up keeping it.
The photos are shots I took when we visited Arizona and New Mexico several years ago.

So, as to usage: Mostly these just sit looking peaceful and giving me enjoyment. Obviously the Penland pots have some wonderful memories. The vase holds flowers, but only on special occasions. The saggar and the covered jar can be used to secret items away. In my case that is usually candy that I am trying to hide from Jim. I will surprise myself when looking into things. Last week I found some lovely little Hershey treats when I picked up a box by my bedside to dust. I think they were back from Easter. Sometimes the hiding gets so good that I can't find them!
Now, this could probably lead to more posts on the different ways people like to experience things, especially food, but my brief observation is that a person who wants to savor treats and just eat one or two at a time usually ends up with a person who likes the idea of banqetting-everything on the table for consumption NOW!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pottery in use

Thought I would celebrate and illustrate how pottery can fill your life with pleasant moments. This is a little "still life" at my kitchen table. You see a Ron Philbeck covered jar at left, sitting on a tray by an artist from Colorado, next to a flower filled vase I made at Penland School of Craft, next to a square vase by Ron, which I use for napkins or flowers. The teacup, which is filled with Earl Grey is by Tiffany Owensby. I have a few more pictures like this that I will share over the next few entries. Apologies to those that I can't make out or remember the names of the potters!
Your work will have to speak for you!

Thanks for coming out!

It was really great to see all the folks who stopped by the booth at the Carolina Pottery Festival, admired new work and bought gifts for themselves and others. Thanks! It was great to see you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Almost Here!

Less than 48 hours...

Setting up tomorrow...

Going crazy today...

What did I forget???

Come See Me

At the Carolina Pottery Festival

I'll be hanging around with some of these cute little guys if all goes well in my super duper kiln "oven"

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Gillaroo

Seriously, this is the name of a species of fish that lives in lochs in Ireland. I had to start with this just because of the name.
Above is the book on trout that I got in Asheville. I found a form that I thought would work for a platter/wall hanging, and made a paper template for the fish. Second shot is the piece slumped into the form, with supports under head, tail and fins. The third shot is a detail of the features and a little texture. This will be in my brown clay, so the colors will be earthy and subdued.
I have already loaded the dried version into the kiln for bisque fire. It was a tight fit but will shrink enough so the glazed version won't be touching the kiln walls. If I like the way these turn out, I have plans for other versions, perhaps in the white clay, which will give more vibrant color.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Countdown to the Carolina Pottery Festival

Well, it is officially less than a week before the Carolina Pottery Festival. I have a few loose ends organizationally left to tie up, such as getting the programs, tickets, booth signs and name badges printed, and we have a walk through meeting at the location on Monday but in seven days the Board of Directors will be on the other side, thinking about what to do differently for the 9th Festival.
Today I worked on getting my last pieces ready to fire before the big day. You'll see gingerbread men and some fun ornaments, more handmade buttons and hopefully some gorgeous slip painted work. As well as all the other carved pieces, functional work, leaf trays, etc.
If you have never attended the Festival, it is an experience! Talk about beautiful and numerous work. All pottery. All inside. Well worth a drive, especially since gas is down to such a bargain! (Tongue in cheek kinda, but really, it's $1.76 less a gallon than when I was at the Utilitarian Clay Conference in Gatlinburg. Can you say "Presidential Election" anyone?)
Anyhoo, come on down, over, up, across, by foot, by canoe, by car......and bring some friends.