Monday, February 23, 2009

Winter Sunset, Trials of Facebook

A lovely sunset from the end of last week. Late winter and early spring provides us with some beautiful sky color.
I have been trying to post a page for Bluegill Pottery on Facebook. Not sure that I accomplished it after several hours of work loading images, etc. Obviously I don't quite get that medium yet. I recently signed up personally because old high school friends were on it and have been pretty hesistant to add yet another computer venue that I have communication coming in on and need to update and check constantly. I feel like it would be very easy to suck all the creative time away from making work by getting more and more wrapped up in the computer. Already the urge to post and update is pretty intense. Probably for me, this acts as the "creative writing" I've always wanted to do, so there is more to it than pensive thoughts about pottery and a journal of made work. Anyway, I am done with the computer for the day and off to make some work. If anyone has some quick knowledge about facebook pages for businesses, please shoot me a line.....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Yard Art

Top "fortress", with Japanese architecture as an influence.
Close up of the trees and into the courtyard.

This is one of the first ceramic projects I did in North Carolina. I took a class at LSU in 1979 where we learned to throw on kick wheels, mix our own clay in a big dough mixer and create basic forms. After my children got in school and I had a flexible work schedule, I enrolled for some classes at the local community college in our town in NC. After a painting class, I signed up for a sculpture class. I had found this large rock and wanted to incorporate it into a piece, deciding to use clay to create a top and bottom for it. This rock is heavy. REALLY HEAVY. Keith Lambert was the instructor and he assisted me in the attachment of the pieces with portland cement, and lifting the rock into place atop the base. After completion, it stayed in our house for about 5 years, then I decided to move it outside. The original wooden platform eventually rotted, and I moved it this spring out into a natural area in the backyard.
Hope you take a look at the link above. Keith and his wife, Willi, are gifted artists. I was incredibly lucky to get back into pottery when he was in charge of the program at Gaston College and be inspired by his vitality and exuberance for the medium. I admire Keith's willingness to encourage a novice in sculpture and ceramics to think big!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bowling for Dollars Event

Some of the bowls I made for Bowling for Dollars, February 26 , 2009 at the Cleveland Co. Arts Council, Shelby, NC.
You can also grab a Bluegill bowl at the Second Harvest Empty Bowls on Feb. 27, 2009 in Charlotte

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spring Daffodils and Cleaning

The daffodils think it is full blown spring here. They are lovely under the trees in the back, and the tiny little tete-a-tete daffodils that I nonchalantly stuck in the ground many years ago are nodding their minute little heads from under a shrubbery. I love the fact that these flowers grow and multiply without much regard for gardeners. They seem to know their purpose in the flower world and really go at it wholeheartedly, without much assistance. No coddling for these guys!
I have been cleaning out my office in an attempt to smooth the wheels of 2009. Keeping ahead of filing bills and orders and keeping my mailing list updated can be a task on the bottom of my "to do" list. However, I have gotten last year's paperwork up to date and it will soon be in a properly marked box, along with new files for 2009. This sorting always involves getting rid of mounds of papers I have kept for reference and ideas. I am a fairly visual person and I love looking at images, so anything is fair game. Hence, lots of piles. The goal is to have surface area in the office, in which to work, eat lunch, etc....I'm getting closer. Perhaps I'll post a picture when done as an incentive for it to stay that way through the year. Here's to your spring cleaning!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oribe style dish

This is one of those things that has been percolating in my mind for a while. I made 3 different versions of this piece. This is the "Sandy Beach" version--named for a traditional style, 3 lobed shallow dish you see in the Oribe tradition. The others were a gourd shaped dish and one that turned out like a bicycle seat (think large, comfort minded bike rider seat). I caned a dark reed handle for this one, used a bamboo handle for the gourd shape, and did little reed knots for the bike seat.
These were all thrown as big, shallow, flat-bottomed bowl forms with straight sides. Immediately after throwing, I cut through the wall at the base of the floor, then moved the walls inward to alter the piece, smoothing and rejoining, and cutting the excess floor (now on the exterior of the pot) away. I learned this method of altering from Cynthia Bringle, who showed it for making oval or squared dishes. Your limitation is the original size of the bowl and the degree you want to alter the form.
The finished, handled version was on the set of images that disappeared from my camera. Use your imagination.......
If you would like more info, see these links: Birmingham Museum, British Museum and Asia Society.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pierced Hearts and Plum Blossoms

Now that sounds like a Valentines Day title! These are some of the pieces I made for Treasures of the Earth. I took some shots of my setup but they have disappeared into thin air. The top vases are actually the same glaze color as the heart shaped vases. Just some bad, inconsistant lighting and too little time. Hope to rectify that soon.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hayne Bayless Workshop

Printed Slab that will become a plate.
Finished Version of printed slab

Hayne Bayless demonstrating his teapot assembly. This is one of the pieces that uses a clay hinge to attach the lid to the teapot. It was very interesting to see how he handled the lid and hinge. The body is printed and textured and the handle and spout are extruded, as well as the hinge assembly.

Finsihed teapots. You can see the hinges between the lid and handles.

Some of the great tools he has made and uses in the studio. Just the way they are stored looks so sculptural to me. It reminds me of some of the assemblages of wood by Louise Nevelle (? now my art history memory is going blank, so pardon if I have the name wrong--will update you on that later).

Dies for a small extruder that he has made.
I enjoyed the workshop and seeing how the pieces were made. I have admired his work for several years and it is always great to see how the pieces that inspire you are created and the process they go through on the route to becoming.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Training, Set-Ups and Cooling Kilns

Treasures of the Earth is set up. It took longer than I thought (what else is new?) but I did get to spend an hour having lunch with my friend, Bobbie. My kiln firing schedule was a bit off, so I have things cooling that I will have to hustle to the reception Thursday evening.

My dear old Scutt that I bought in 1997, used, had it's elements replaced and some new brick work. It looks GOOD inside!
It's funny because I was thinking of how much money I had spent on this piece of equipment, what with buying the elements, getting my kiln expert out to install and replace a fair amount of brick (Yes, I know I could have done some of this myself, but I would rather pay him and spend the time making and marketing pots than trying to figure out how I messed up my kiln). Yesterday a former student asked me if I thought her work was good enough to sell. I told her a qualified "yes", but I was thinking that she probably had no clue what the materials and equipment cost, much less rent, power, etc. I know I didn't have a clue when I first started in clay. I began to realize it though when I bought my wheel in '95 and then the kiln in '97 and had started buying clay and glaze materials during that time. Thinking about all this made me realize that I had a responsibility not to let my teaching turn out students making pottery who were glib about pricing their work fairly. Right now it's not an issue since I don't have any ongoing classes, having taken a break from teaching. But I think it will cause me to restructure my class fees so they do reflect material usage and costs better.

I'm in training to become a better pack leader. This is for my dog's sake. We have had two lessons together and I have homework to teach Cherokee the "Come" command, that a clicker means treats, and that his bed "poops out treats" (the words of the dog trainer) so that when I say "Place", he will run to his bed and stay there until I give him a releasing command. All of it is needed since I intend to have him in the studio all day, and he will be exposed to people who may not enjoy large dogs. I'll keep you posted on how I shape up as a pack leader!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Treasures and bowls

I'll be setting up for Treasures of the Earth tomorrow in Shelby, NC. It's always a fun show and a great reception. I get to catch up with lots of potters that I haven't seen in a couple of months. Ron will be there and I have updated my blog link with his new website/blogsite. Now you can jump over and see what's happening in his studio. Glazing today and firing a last minute kiln. Maybe I'll get a few pictures up in the next few days. Have been making a lot of bowls for an Empty Bowl function and the Bowling for Dollars that the Arts Council puts on in Shelby. Love making bowls but it will be nice to switch to a different form for a bit......