One of the requirements as a resident artist at the Clay Studio of Missoula is to donate 2 cups and 2 plates for every month of your residency. (Lucky for me, I'm only here one month, so my numbers were small.) The plates and cups are used at thier annual fundraising dinner Missoula Valley Thyme and Plate, which just happens to be this Sunday, June 25 from 6-10pm. So glad I extended my stay to that I can attend both the Bray Bash this weekend and Thyme and Plate!
It took me the better part of 2 days to make just these 6! This is actually my 2nd round of tumblers - ever! (The first 3 I made are too embarassing to even look at, much less post pictures of for the whole world to see.)
are handbuilt from 1/4" earthenware slabs using a paper pattern that I
made from a standard pint glass. Fortunately, I was able to adapt my
usual handbuilding techniques fairly easily for this step.
There were casualties early on, however. I lost 2 after applying a few layers of terra sigillata and saturating the bone-dry clay. This one split right down the middle - mostly along the carved lines.
I'm was already down to 4 when I had to face my real challenge. With to do with the surface??
In the meantime, here's a little eye candy from the market Saturday morning. The lilies this woman had were absolutely amazing. I'd never seen so many varieties and colors!
Met up with current resident artist Courtney Murphy who gave me a tour of the short-term and long-term resident studios. Courtney and I met briefly in Asheville, NC a few years ago through mutual friend and ceramic artist Cassie Ryalls. The ceramics community is amazing! If the rule of 6-degrees of separation is true normally, within ceramics I think it's more like only 3!
It was also great to meet some of the other artists (Kelly Garrett Rathbone, Steven Roberts, Kensuke Yamada, Kevin Snipes, Gwendolyn, Yoppolo, Del Harrow, and Johnathan Read) and see their work in the Resident Artist Exhibition in the Warehouse Gallery. I was blown away by the quality and variety of the work!
Some of Courtney's work from the Resident Artist Exhibition.It was a quick visit, but I'm looking forward to heading back there next Saturday, July 24 for The Bray Bash - thier annual auction and fundraiser.
From The Bray's Website:
"The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts is a public, nonprofit, educational institution founded in 1951 by brickmaker Archie Bray, who intended it to be 'a place to make available for all who are seriously and sincerely interested in any of the branches of the ceramic arts, a fine place to work.' Its primary mission is to provide an environment that stimulates creative work in ceramics. "
If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it! (And I was only there for a short visit!) In addition to offering ceramic workshops and classes, The Bray offers ten 3-4 month short-term summer artist residencies and ten 1-2 year long-term residencies.
Tomorrow's plan - glaze, load and (hopefully) fire the kiln again. Cant wait to see some of this new work "finished." I have plans to include various glass and steel parts, so they may not be truly completed until I get back home to the studio in FL. But a trip to the hardware store for nuts and bolts is in my near future.
Actually, the opposite is true. I believe the plaques are getting better with each firing. I have a lot fewer “duds” – tiles that just don’t work for one reason or another. Warping seems to be under control. The patterns and line-work are stronger. And most glaze problems have been resolved. For me, these tiles are a way to experiment with pattern, texture, and color. Because of this, even the “duds” are important. By studying them, I’m able to evaluate what works and what doesn’t; learn from my mistakes. I’m happy the success rate it up!
I’ve been making these plaques for 4 years now. People often ask how long I will continue to make new ones. And the answer is the same for all my work. I will continue to make them as long as I feel challenged creatively and I see room for growth and improvement. When I get bored or dread the process, it’s time to move on to something new.
The opening reception is this Friday night, and Oh, how I wish I could be there! If you're in the area and able to attend, please take some pictures for me. I'd love to see the show installed!
Juried by Ceramist and Clay Times columnist Pete Pinnell
May 14 - June 26, 2010
Opening Reception - Friday, June 4, 6:30 - 9pm
Juror Pete Pinnell - Clay demonstration and workshop June 5-6, 9-5pm.
I won't lie, this change was definitely a struggle for me! There were days when I felt I had no idea what I was doing - technically or conceptually.
I had problems with clay shrinkage and incorporating found objects. I questioned if the ideas I was hoping to covey were coming through in the work. I had work blow up in the kiln! So, several attempts ended up in the trash or with the shards destined to become more stepping stones for our garden.
But, I kept pushing and reminding myself that "when you feel like you know what you're doing, you're probably not growing."Now that a little time has passed and I've had a few weeks to process the experience, I am excited about this new direction and the possibilities I see for expanding these ideas. So, here are a few pictures and my artist statement...
My sculpture focuses on a self created species: a visual hybrid that reflects both nature and industry. These mixed-media works synthesize plant forms like pods, leaves, and stems with radial mechanical elements and machine parts. The link between industry and nature is emphasized further through materiality. The constructed sculptures incorporate materials such as steel and concrete with traditional craft media such as clay and glass. The textured, crusty, surface treatments of the stylized terracotta forms further suggest the coexistence of these worlds.
Thanks again for reading and following along with the changes and progress in m
Though I had hoped to do more blogging during my journey, I found I ultimately needed to spend more time focusing on being a student and becoming more immersed in my work.
But I did want to take a moment to reflect on the past two semesters - what I've learned, what I'll miss, what I'm excited about for the future. The past few weeks, people kept asking, "So, was it worth it? Did you get everything out of the program you had hoped? Was it was you expected?" My simple answer is a hands-down "YES"!
Not pictured - Fall Graduate TA Kristin Schimik & Spring Graduate TA Charlie Cummings.
Overall, I wasn't at school, on-campus as much as I would have liked to have been. It was tough juggling the UF-student world, with my married, Ocala world, but I think I did it without compromising too much of either. Commuting back and forth to Gainesville and coordinating what materials, work, and tools to haul on what days was a challenge. One thing's for sure, I definitely will NOT miss that hour-long commute, the subsequent fight for parking, the bus ride to the art building, and then the commute back home!
So, what did I learn? Wow! That's a hard one to put into words, but I'll do my best to sum it up.
I learned that when you push yourself to stretch in new directions, great things can happen. I learned that if you feel like you know what you're doing, the you're probably not growing enough. (It's also ok not to know what you're doing for a while, but important to keep on working.) I learned to think more critically about my work and analyze it from a different perspective. I gained confidence. I was humbled. I learned new techniques. And I started a new direction with my work.
Opening Reception: April 9, 2010, WarpHAUS gallery, Gainesville, FL
Though school is done, the learning never truly stops. I finished up the semester full of ideas for new work. I'm looking forward to getting back into my studio to start these new projects.
Also, I cannot wait to get back to into our garden! It has been sadly neglected, and is in need of immediate attention! I often find it ironic that I spend days in the studio making work about being out in the garden. So, it's time for me to get outside, enjoy Spring, and be inspired!
Thanks for reading along. I hope to be checking in more often from now on.