Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More new pieces, and my aloe vera plant :)

Love this teapot, unfortunately it has cracks around the spout and handles because it dried too fast when it was leather hard.  I tried to patch the spots, but they pulled up a little with the soda-firing.  Luckily it is still very solid, but cosmetically the cracks are annoying.

This guy has been waiting to be fired for a while now, but it is finally done!  The green turned out pretty amazing.  He is very heavy though, the bottoms pretty thick :P

A couple more of the mugs.  The one on the left has the flashing slip on it, and I used masking tape as a resist to create the white lines.  I plan on experimenting more with this in the future.

Believe it or not, every single one of those plants was growing in the blue pot on the far left.  The biggest one growing in that pot is the original plants, but she makes babies like crazy!  I spent about an hour and a half this afternoon pulling all the babies out and re-potting them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New finished pots

Got some finished pieces out of the kiln!  This firing turned out really well.  I don't know if you remember this casserole, since I threw it almost half a year ago.  Either the lid or the rim warped a little, so the lid doesn't sit down very snug, but it does fit. 

This teapot is also from forever ago, and it turned out great, though I need to buy a smaller wicker handle for it. 

Here are some of the mugs, there are a couple more finished ones I don't have pictures of yet, and a few more that have not been fired. Also, my kitty Mogget sleeping in the background :)

And some lovely pots thrown by my brother, Ethan (the lidded jar and the little vase) and his girlfriend Ciara's first pot ever, an amazing cylinder!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Got some teabowls and small cups/shot glasses carved!  There are some others that I will be painting once they are bisqued.   Hopefully I will have some fired pots to show you in the next couple days :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

NCECA- You know you want to...

The NCECA show I wanted to highlight in more detail than the others was held at the AIA Tampa Bay, called: You Know You Want to.... 
The official description of the show was "The works of four artists: Jason Briggs, Raymond Gonzalez, Stephanie Lanter, and Kelley Eggert, explore similar formal and conceptual relationships.  The works of each artist explore ideas of need, desire, and sensuality.  Four separate bodies of work inform each other formally in color, surface and form.  They play and interplay.  The viewer is enticed to touch, hold, caress, and squeeze the works.  Tactility plays a vital role in the works presented by all of the artists.  The artists are not bound to traditional notions of material as they work with media outside of the ceramic boundary.  The utilization of material in such a manner reinforces conceptual notions rather than adhering to code of historical practice" (from the AIA website).


I was invited to the opening of the show (not that it was invitation only) by the curator and participating artist, Raymond Gonzalez, as he was the volunteer coordinator at NCECA.  The main reason I chose to highlight this show was that all four of the artists were there, and it always makes a show more interesting to actually be able to speak with the artists.
I find myself both repelled and fascinated by the sculptures of Jason Briggs, which I am sure is how he intends the viewer to react.  All the different textures just beg you to pick up his pieces and feel the surfaces, to explore the folds and loops of clay; but at the same time some of the bits are a little bit off-putting when you see them as almost organ-like shapes.  The furry parts are especially interesting; they are tempting to touch, but also seem to be more like pubic hair than anything else.  Very interesting stuff!  I spoke to Jason about how he creates these; because of the complexity of the detail, I was curious if he mostly added pieces of clay onto the main body to get the different apparently overlapping parts, or if he just did a lot of carving under lips to make it appear that there were additions.  He said that he does both, but most of it is just really careful, detailed carving.  He said he pushes the clay around on the surface a lot, to build up ridges, and then carves under them to create the appearance of a layered surface.  

And then there is Raymond Gonzalez.  Of all the artists in the show, Ray's are the most playful; though all of the pieces are about touch and the tactility of the art, these guys really do look like some sort of toy, they are objects meant to be handled.  I think Ray employs the tension between the piece as an art object and an object meant to be handled even more than the other artists.  The other pieces in the show beg to be touched because of their varied surface qualities, but they look like pieces of art.  Though I appreciate the aesthetic choices made in their creation, Ray's pieces look more like objects meant to be handled regularly than artworks.  My favorite piece at the show was similar to the one pictured, but instead of the rhinestones, it had blinking lights in all the dots.  The best part about it was they were set to blink fairly infrequently, so you had to really watch it to prove that it was actually blinking.  All-in-all, very fun pieces.

Unfortunately I could not find any images of the actual pieces Stephanie Lanter had in the show, but this piece is similar.  The sculptures she had in the show were all reminiscent of phones, some more obviously than others, with lingerie-like crocheted additions. When I was speaking with her she said that it originally never occurred to her that the crocheted bits really did have the feel of lingerie on her pieces, but she decided to take the idea further with one of the pieces that was in the show, and put actual fishnet stockings on the sculpture.  The clay with these textile pieces and the actual phone cords is an interesting mix of materials.  The clay surfaces almost seem like bones, with a lot of carved texture on them that, as always, makes you want to pick them up!  It was fun talking with Stephanie, we both agreed that knitting/crocheting is a great way to relax at the end of the day :) 


First of all, I have to apologise for this really out of focus picture.  Like with Stephanie, I could not find pictures of any of Kelley Eggert's pieces from the show, and I only took this one terrible picture on my phone!  But I had to show it anyways, because this was my favorite piece, though she has some really amazing work online.  I love the play between organic and mechanical in her art, not only in the shapes and forms, but in the materials themselves.  Though clay can be formed into objects that don't look very organic, the material itself is very organic, so combining the clay with metal parts ties together the different aspects of the form.

A much better picture of a really amazing piece that was not in the show.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

fun with textures

Yes I am still throwing stuff every once in a while :)  I have been dealing with a finger that is swollen and painful (Dr says the joint is infected) for almost a month now, and I didn't really want to even try throwing with it!  But the antibiotics seem to be working, and the finger has been feeling better, so I tried some small stuff today.  And teabowls are my favorites.   I tried out a texture tool that I got at NCECA to make the stripes on some of the bowls. 

I like the way they look right now, though I had to restrain myself from trying to clean up the lines :)  I'm going to make myself leave them alone until they are pretty dry.  The unlined ones I am planning on carving, but only the tops, and for both sets I want to glaze the textured parts and leave the bottoms white.

 Lastly, we haven't had any animals lately, and DeeDee wanted some face time :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I am finally back in town!  Most of last week I was in Tampa for the NCECA conference (the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts).   This year was the first time I had attended, and I had a wonderful time, although the weather was rainy up untill the last day.  There were a million things to see and do, so this post will just highlight some of my favorite pieces and events.

My favorite part by far was the demonstrations. As a relatively new ceramic artist, and especially as someone who does little altering of forms and virtually no handbuilding, it was really interesting and informative to see these artists demonstrate their techniques.  The four artist that demo'ed were Deborah Schwartzkopf, Brian Kakas, Juan Granados, and Esther Shimazu.  Though Juan and Esther were also very interesting, for the above reasons I was particularly interested in Deborah and Brian's demos.

Deborah Schwartzkopf makes some really beautifully altered functional work, and as a functional potter I was particularly interested in her techniques.  As somone who doesn't alter a lot, it is sometimes hard for me to imagine how potters get to their finished products, and it was wonderful to watch Deborah's process.  Watching her demo made me want to get into the studio!

Brian Kakas, on the other hand, is a purely sculptural ceramic artist, who make truely amazing abstracted pieces.  Similarly to Deborah, it was particularly interesting to watch him work because I had absolutely no idea how he arrived at his finished product!  His method is very architectual in my mind; he uses a lot of cross-supports and such, and it was facinating to watch him work.

Of course there were also all sorts of wondeful shows and exhibits inside and outside of the convention center. There was a collection of semi-performance art pieces that were a part of the NCECA Projects Space, called Migration. 

My favorite of these pieces was Of a Reciprocal Nature by Dawn Holder.  She actually sculpted the land out of wet clay, and spread clay around the bases of the wooden pylons, then stuck ceramic grass and mussels into the clay.  It was really interesting to watch it going up in stages, and it was a really beautiful scene when completed (sorry about my terrible quality iphone pictures!).  

Best of all, on the last day of the exhibit she invited passerbys to take some of the grass and mussels (I grabbed a couple, they are really beautiful little pieces, she managed to get the color just perfect).

The main NCECA Gallery was equally exciting, and was full of interesting functional and sculptural work.  I was tempted to buy everything, especially this handsome set by Julia Galloway.  I love the forms themselves, and with the addition of the sort of wrought iron design... just lovely.  The design compliments the form, and there is enough white space to balance it out and keep it from getting too busy.  This is an artist I vow to buy something from at some point!  Preferably this set :)

The K-12 show was really impressive; it is absolutely amazing what some of these kids are making!  There are 12 year olds that can make sculptures better than I have tried to make :)  Seeing this exhibit made me which I had gotten into clay earlier in my life.  My favorite piece was by Adrian Sanchez, these wonderful horned lizards.  I love horny toads and these are so well done!

In addition to the shows within the convention centers, there were several shows that were around Tampa and St. Petersburg that were concurrent with NCECA.  The first I stopped by was at the Clearwater SPC Crossroads Art Gallery, in Clearwater.  This show was intitled Islamic Influences, and had some amazing work in it.  This show was all functional work, and all of the pieces were beautifully done; some were painted, some were altered, and some, like this piece by Steve Roberts, had some really wonderful textures.  As you know, I am all about carving and I love textures, and finding glazes that really interact well on a highly textured surface, and the celedon glaze on this teabowl is amazing. 

The other gallery I stopped by was the Florida Craftsman Gallery in St. Petersburg, which actually had two shows running.  The first was Hot and Humid, which featured a great mix of sculptural pieces and vessels, both functional and otherwise.  My favorite artist from this show was a potter named Judith Berk King, who handbuilds these platters and then paints on their surface.  I love the detail of the skull and the aged quality of the ceramic surface, juxtaposed with the whimsicle aspect of the ice cream cones.   I dont know if the broken bit was originally intentional, but I think it adds to the piece.  I love that you can see the texture of the clay; it really looks and feels like sandstone.

Munemitsu Taguchi was one of the artists that were part of the second show, called Fluid: The New Wave of Celadon Artists.  All of the pieces were great, but this pottery just caught me! It is so clean and simple, and the celedon glaze is just flawless.  The exposed porcelain on the bases is so smooth it is reflective, these things are just wonderful to hold and feel.  I would have bought one of the small cups but they were already sold!  And these pieces also follow along with my NCECA interest in altered forms.
So those are my main highlights of NCECA, for now.  Later this week I will talk about one of the shows I saw that I did not mention here, and I will probably do a Featured Artist post on an NCECA artist at some point.  Until next time!