Thursday, September 18, 2008

So when a bit of insomnia overtook me this morning at 3am, I started surfing the web in my usual fashion. Going from artist blog to blog when I came across a few pieces in the Santa Fe Clay cup show from an old teacher of mine, Chris Berti, who teaches at Parkland College in Champaign. Here's the link to the entire show here. These are his cups below....drat, now I really want to buy one!

I'm excited to see his work out there. It's not very often that I see it even though he is a very talented artist but then again I am a bit bias, he was my teacher and clay mentor for 4 years.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yesterday, as I was taking the long way home from the ceramic supply store near us (translation: long way=very lost since I had never been there before!), I realized something. First a little back history, we've only lived in the Orlando area now for about 1 month and up until the last week, I was still chasing doubts about this being the right place for me to be. Not anymore, as I was driving home, I realized I wasn't worried anymore. What was the surprising reason for this? Was it because I had a job and felt financially secure here? Nope, that hasn't happened yet. But I have a studio and so I am content.

Little realizations like this make me realize that being a potter really is what I want to do with my life. I can think of nothing better to spend my life trying to do! That's a happy thing to know, and comforting especially when you find yourself in a new city 18 hours from everything you know. I found my studio so I am content.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Well, my first week at the studio went very well. I talked to a few guys yesterday and they're going to let me help them make and fire their wood kiln! It's a very large anagama with two chambers. They haven't fired it yet but I think they're going to soon. I'm always in on things like that! I love a good wood firing as much as the next potter....not that it really makes sense with my work but I would stick a few things in the 2nd chamber so they'd be a little more protected from so much ash. We'll see, I may just find a way to make it work with my work!

So since I can't go to the studio today, I've decided to make it a housecleaning/grocery shopping day! Already I've gone grocery shopping, baked a loaf of banana bread, watched Miss Potter (a great, GREAT movie) and folded and washed three loads of laundry. I think that's quite a lot to do before noon so I've impressed myself! Here is my yummy looking banana bread that I couldn't help but eat a piece of:

Tomorrow I will handle the slip problem that has mostly been solved by the niceness of John (one of my studio mates) who gave me a bit of his slip yesterday. Now I just have to figure out how much colorant to put in to get the color I would like. Really, for me, with colorant, less is more. I think my work would still look great if the colors were a bit on the muted side but too dark could really ruin them in my eyes. So tomorrow I will venture over to one of the ceramic supply places in town and get a bit of mason stain. I will start with a very small amount (like one tbsp) this batch and move on from there. The nice thing about that stuff is that while it does darken a bit, for the most part, the wet powder color is pretty close to the color of the finished piece which is a pretty rare thing in the world of ceramics! Now I know in a perfect world, I would make a few test tiles and test a few different mixes and decide what color I like best but that's not really available to me right now so I will have to do with the slower, less precise trial by error method.

Then my next trick will be figuring out where I packed the rest of my slip trailing bottles.....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Moving woes....

I'm getting little bit discouraged now trying to find somewhere to make my work now that I've moved to Florida. I did find a few centers but their hours are not as many as I would like but then again I suppose something is better than nothing. Monday I am signing up at one of the studios for better or worse. I may even end up at two different ones if I think it will give me more studio hours. Right now, I have to admit, I'm missing school quite a lot. Hopefully, it will be better once I can settle in and have a routine. I'm just anxious to get my fingers in clay again! It's been almost two months and I'm definitely starting to go through withdrawal. Not for the first time (or last) do I wish we could buy a house so I could have a studio of my own!
Here's what you get when you google "happy pictures" (I didn't want to end this post on a sour note!) and I have to say this little guy is very fitting today. He's happily playing around in his little mud hole! Soon (hopefully), I will be doing my own version of playing in the mud.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Thanks to the wonderful world of Etsty, I have found a few new ceramic artists that I love and would like to share with you. For more info about each artist and to see their Etsy store, click on their name.

Molly Hatch
"Molly was born on a small organic dairy farm in central Vermont. Raised to appreciate doing things from scratch and making with her hands, Molly strives for her work to express elegance and simplicity and her love of nature." (words written by Molly about Molly)

Jenni Brant
"Jenni Brant developed an appreciation for the simplicity of life and the beauty of natural materials that comes through in her elegant and carefully crafted pottery. Jenni is a maker of functional ceramic objects focusing on serving vessels and dinnerware made for celebratory occasions, often making the most mundane of activities a cause for merriment and remembrance." (a few words about her work written by Jenni)

*Something that I love about Jenni's work is the clean simple forms which are both fluid and refined at the same time. All the decoration reinforces this theme from the organic dimples and dots to the swirling patterns.

Naomi Cleary
"Dishes hold the potential for human connection through their tactile nature. Most of us have associations and memories connected to dishes. We look at dishes and can easily imagine using them. They live in our physical space, in our kitchen cabinets, are used every day. They have a relationship to our bodies. We pick them up and even touch them to our mouths. Dishes speak of history and lineage, passed down from mother to daughter, connected to family dinners, celebrations and sharing. They are a reminder of the warmth and comfort found in domestic spaces." (Naomi writing about her work)
*Let me say that I just love when things are on the bottom of dishes! Not only is it a nod to good design training (learning to think about the object in the round, as a full 3-D thing and not as something that has "sides" and "top" and "bottom") but also it's such a sweet surprise for the user!

Kirsten Bassion

"These are porcelain pieces that are wheel thrown and stamped with hand-carved stamps. The work is then decorated with a layer of underglaze and fired. All my glazes are made from scratch and painted on before the last firing." (Kirsten writing about her own work)*I really appreciate the way she uses repetitive patterns to define the separate areas of each piece as well as how the different colors bleed in one area and are clear in another depending on the glazes used.

Kristin Pavelka
"I think about many things when creating my candy-like coated functional earthenware pots. Forms are inspired from Midwestern architecture and the body, classical pots and contemporary containers ranging from 1950s kitsch to modern day fast food containers. Martha Stewart has been a great influence regarding my color palette, as well as candy and mid-20th century design. Patterns are inspired from my everyday surroundings." (Kristen writing about her own work)

*Love how she decorates the underside of the handle on this baking dish. Like I said before, it's so wonderful to discover little surprises like that as your using the dish!