Returned home Sunday morning from a busy NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts)
It was my first time attending, and I must admit, I was pretty
overwhelmed at first. There were so many talks, lectures, discussions,
exhibits (over 90 in the Philadelphia area!) people, new tools, fancy
equipment, schools, residencies... It was hard to do and see it all. But
I had an excellent trip, and left feeling inspired (though a bit
I'm still process and digesting most of the things I
saw and info I learned. But I did want to post a few pictures from my
trip. Why is it that I never seem to end up taking as many pictures as I
think I will? But here they are. I think I just stopped carrying my
camera after our first day...
Earth Matters, The NCECA invitational at Moore College of Art and Design.
National Student Juried Exhibition at the University of the Arts' Rosenwald Wolf Gallery
La Mesa - Santa Fe Clay
Work by Gwendolyn Yoppolo
at La Mesa
My traveling buddies - Nigel and Cheyenne Rudolph
. I didn't get any pictures from Off the Wheel
(the show Cheyenne curated and was a part of), but it was a great exhibit and they have pics posted at Rudolph Clay Studios
I added two pieces of pottery to our collection too. A plate by Emily Schroeder
. (I bought a cup of hers at Arrowmont Utilitarian Clay Conference
in 2004 and it continues to be one of my favorite.) And a plate by Meredith Host
from Flotsam +Jetsam
. Here's a gallery shot of Flotsam+Jetsam
. The work on the right is Rain Harris
. Meredith's work on the left and on the back wall.
We also went by The Clay Studio
saw some beautiful work and talked to current residents.
it. My quick photo tour is complete. It's off to the studio for me.
Hope you're enjoying Spring. I came home to beautiful Florida weather
and a yard full of azaleas.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I am honored to have been invited to participate in an exhibit entitled "Clay and Blogs: Telling a Story"
to be hosted by the Arts Council of Moore County
and held at the Campbell House Gallery
, in Southern Pines, NC from October 1 - November 1, 2010. Meredith Heywood
of Why Not Pottery
is curating the exhibit, which includes over 30 artist-bloggers from around the world!
My good friend, and potter Joy Tanner described the show in a Jan 25th post to her blog Journeys in and Around the Studio. I'm re-posted this with her permission:
blog for multiple reasons and even with the numerous pottery blogs out
there you can find a variety pack of topics within the medium, or even a
variety of reasons why people choose to blog. I think blogging is a
great tool for people to see behind the scenes of
the potter in the studio and their quiet musings; the ups, the downs,
the successes, the failures, the determination to keep going, as well as
a particular technique or what they are currently working on at that
For me, blogging
is a great chance to clarify my thoughts about choices behind my work,
and to show my inspirations behind the pots. Seeing those quiet musings
in real words is different than just thinking it. Sharing it also helps
others learn the voice of the potter behind the pots. I've always felt
you can tell a lot about a potter from their pots. Just like people
matching their dogs, potters often match their pots! That's why it's so
neat for potters to raise their voices and share the inner workings of
their studios. Blogging also brings about a sense of community between
other potters and artists alike, who can learn, be inspired, or simply
relate to the ramblings of the self employed artist."
I completely agree with Joy
While she talks specifically about pottery, I think her comments apply
to other blogs as well - sculpture, painting, jewelry, woodworking, etc.
Blogging has been a great way for me to share what I am working on and
build a community of support.
Thank you Meredith
for curating should be an exciting event! I'm looking forward to exhibiting some new work. (Which by the way is undergoing a lot
of radical changes. I'll post images as soon as I'm ready for the world to see what's been going on behind the scenes.)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Yesterday I started a post-baccalaureate program
in Ceramics at the University of Florida
It's a one year/two semester program for students interested in
developing technical skills, aesthetic sensibilities, and personal
My decision to go back to school was based on several factors.
- My work has shifted from being predominantly glass to predominantly
clay and I'd like to further develop my technical understanding of
materials, process, and techniques.
- Community - After
working alone in the studio for the past couple years, I wanted to work
among other artists sharing ideas and engaging in critiques.
Development - I felt like it was time to get out of my comfort zone and
push myself. I want to be asked those "hard questions" about my work.
Why do I make the work that I do?
- Opportunity - juried shows, lectures, visiting artists, art openings, network with other artists and professionals, etc.
We had a great first class yesterday! Our instructor, Linda Arbuckle
is an amazing artist and is just full of information! I left class
feeling energized and inspired. Our first project is due on Tuesday. We
will each be giving a power-point presentation defining our concept of
interest and showing sources/inspiration images that support that idea.
Research! I love it! And have already checked out a rather large stack
of library books.
to school also means a shift in my studio routine. While I will
continue to blog, fill gallery orders, and complete commissioned work, I
want to allow myself the time needed (and required) to get the most out
of this program. This year is going to be more about process than
I'm looking forward to sharing this next chapter of learning, personal growth and artistic development with you.
"What sculpture is for a block of marble, education is to the soul" - Joseph Addison
Thanks for reading!
Thursday, August 06, 2009
I've spent most of the week happily glazing away in the studio. Many more Mini Sculptures
and Tile Plaques
in the works! And while I've talked to many potters and ceramic artist
who find glazing/decorating tedious, this is my favorite part!
the clay has been bisque fired, I organize the work by size and style
and then get to work labeling. (Those of you that know me are laughing
at the words 'organizing' and 'labeling' - I know, I know, I cant help
using a pencil, I go through each piece, decided which glazes will be
used where, and then write a code or abbreviation for the glaze in that
spot. I have about 70 glazes mixed, but really only use about 35-45 of
these on a regular basis. So there are a lot of codes, most of which
would look like gibberish to anyone else!
I go through each glaze one at a time, applying it with a small #6
brush. It becomes a "glaze-by-number" and I'm able to sit back and enjoy
my favorite podcasts (This American Life
, or Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me
, etc.) or listen to audio books. (Recently I listened to and loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Thanks for the recommendation Betsy!)
found that listening to podcasts or books during the day passes the
time extremely quickly, I learn a lot of information, it keeps my mind
focused on positive things rather than worrying (see previous post
) AND I'm able to get tons of glazing done! A Win-Win situation all around.
you have any routines, habits, or techniques that make "tedious" tasks
pass with more ease and enjoyment? Or, any podcast or book
Well, those ceramic tiles and Mini Sculptures
are in the kiln now, so I should probably go check on them. Thanks for
reading a bit about my process.
Here are a few more new and in-progress ceramic sculptures for my upcoming exhibition "Urban Bloom" at the Appleton Museum of Art
The Opening Reception is Saturday June 6th from 3 - 5pm. I will also be
giving an Artist Talk and Hands-on-Demonstration just before the
reception from 1:30 -2:30Scent of Childhood
, Earthenware clay, 43" x 36" x 1"
, earthenware clay, 33 x 20 x 1"
, earthenware clay, 26 x 22 x 2"
, earthenware clay, 24 x 16 x 1 1/2"
, earthenware clay, 43" x 58" x 1"
piece was too large for my current photo set up, so I took this quick
shot instead. The plan is to get installation shots at the Appleton next
In-Progress, Untitled. Scale drawing taped to the design wall.
for reading and checking in on what's been happening in the studio!
After my much-needed and overdue mental and physical break last week,
things have been going great!
Here are a few Work-in-Progress pics...
Drawing images/ideas to scale.
the scale drawings, tracing paper patterns are made and used to cut out
the clay slabs for construction. I make these large sculptures much the
same way that I make the Minis
Scale drawing for ceramic sculpture. Some of these are finished and images are posted here
Untitled- In Progress, Highwater's
Lymen Red Earthenware Clay, 32" x 21" x 1"
Untitled - In Progress, Highwater's
Lymen Red Earthenware Clay, 32" x 22" x 1"
Thanks for stopping in. Back to the studio for me!
A few years ago I started incorporating clay slip trailing into my work
and have been having lots of fun with it. Here's the recipe for you to
Pete Pinell's White Slip
10 Nepheline Syenite
+10 Frit 3124
can also add a few drops of sodium silicate - a deflocculant that helps
reduce viscosity and makes the slip easier to apply with a slip
There are a variety of slip trailing bottles out there
in many shapes and sizes. You'll want to experiment with a few until you
find the style that you enjoy most. Some things to think about 1) the
size of the tip opening can have an effect on line thickness it creates
2) how hard is the plastic? You're could be squeezing for awhile, so you
want a bottle that's softer and easier to work with. 3) how much slip
do you want it to hold?
has a great post here
on how to construct your very own slip trailer.
drawing a practice line first to check thickness and to make sure the
bottle isn't clogged. A sewing needle can be used to unclog the tip if
and draw away! It's a lot like decorating a cake. I like to wait until
the clay is leather hard because the clay forms are easier to hold and
work with at this stage.
A sample of slip stippling.
A group of unfired, slip decorated Minis.
A few glaze fired sample of how glazes will "break" and pool over the slip giving the surface added depth and dimension.
More glaze fired samples.
anyone's interested, I'd be happy to share the above 2 recipes. Just
let me know. Hope you're able to do something creative today!
Enjoy! I'm off to the studio!
PS - More on the materials and process I use can be found here
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Today, I thought I would briefly share the basic handbuilding techniques I use to make my Mini Sculptures
. There are many
different hand building methods and techniques for working with clay, but here are a few of my favorites...
Clay Tools Needed: rubber rib, scoring tool (or a needle tool), a rubber stylus, wooden rib, slip trailing bottle.
of my work is slab built from lowfire clay. Using a slab roller, I roll
the clay out to 1/4" thickness. (Before I had a slab roller I used a
rolling pin and 1/4" wooden dowels to keep the thickness even.)
occurred to me one day making biscuits, that the same process could be
applied to my Minis. I now have biscuit cutters in a variety of sizes
and the process is much, much quicker It also keeps the sizes more
consistant. (Don't worry. These aren't the same cutters I use on the
weekends for fresh parsley, rosemary and buttermilk biscuits.) Oh, I
like the clay to be a little wetter than leather hard when I start work
work with it.
Each mini is made up of 2 circular slabs. The base is 1/2 smaller than
the top. A rubber rib is used to smooth the surface of the clay. I also
like working ontop of fabric interfacing instead of canvus because the
weave is finer and leaves the clay surface smooth.
The top is then pinched into a small bowl-like shape
The edges of the top and bottom are scored (aka scratched)...
...and a slip of the same clay body is brushed on help attach the two pieces.
The top is placed ontop of the bottom, carefully working the seams together.
Using a wooden rib, I then go around the piece and smooth and attach the two pieces, conceiling the seam.
Fingers also are helpful...
Once the piece if formed, I use my rubber stylus to draw/carve decorative lines or veins.
Again, fingers are great for smoothing those lines.
I leave the piece alone until it is leather hard and then incorporate
slip trailing/stippling. More on that tomorrow - including the lowfire
slip recipe I like to use.
If you have any questions, or other tips for clay slab construction, I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading!
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Finished up some plaques with my newer tile style
yesterday. Thought I would post a few quick pics of the process.
Sketching ideas - thinking about design, layout and composition, line, texture, mood
Tiles drying and waiting to be bisque fired.
The backs of the bisque fired tiles with glass inserts.
clay tiles were rolled out about 3/8" thick so that I could carve a
place to inset the glass for slumping. Here the glass has been fused,
slumped, ground down to sit flush with the back of the tiles, and then
attached with 100% silicone adhesive. (sorry, I forgot to take pictures
of all of those in between steps.)
Side few of tiles showing added dimension with the slumped glass.
Finished group of Tile Plaques
The glass I used for these pieces was created the same way as my line of fused glass pendants
. I hope to eventually write a post detailing that process and technique. Until then, you can see pictures here
Thanks for finding a moment in your busy day to check in on what's been going on here.
After a frustrating studio week last week, I think my thoughts have
settled down a bit. Whew! I'm feeling much more like myself now.
are a few images of the pieces I made while allowing myself to just
"play" and enjoy the process. We'll see where they take me. I don't
know about you, but for me it can be difficult at times to just create
without being overly critical of my creations. Left and right brain
forms of this wall piece are more involved than my usual work and I
incorporated some of the slip stippling that I have been doing on my Minis
. I still want to push this idea further, and work on activating the negative space between the 2 forms a little more.
I'm also playing around with the idea of grouping my Minis into different configurations. Here's my first attempt at this.
fired a bisque kiln off last night, and it's cooling now. It's mostly
loaded with this new, experimental work, but there are a couple orders
and a few pieces for the solo show I have at the Ocala Civic Theater in a
few weeks. In the mean time, I'm switching back to glass work to finish
up a few tile pieces. Pictures soon.
Off to the studio!