Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snow Day!

In front of the Arvada Ceramic Arts Guild (I joined in October):The snow made for a slow opening weekend of our holiday show, but I still had fun with it this morning. Making a snowman is a great workout! We're considering having a closing party near the end of the show to make up for the lull. If you're in the area, let me know if you'd like to be on our mailing list. We're also on Facebook - search Arvada Ceramic Arts Guild.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Interview: potter Lucy Fagella

Finally we have another ceramic artist's interview. I've been busy with working, moving, and traveling, and I haven't made time to find artists to interview. So I was excited to get Lucy's email last week. I've followed her blog for a while anyway and she's a wonderfully skilled potter. Take a look for yourself. I still plan to continue the artists interviews as long as I hear from them, but if I'm m.i.a. from my blog, I'm in the studio - it's that time of the year!


Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Lucy Fagella, 45, Greenfield, Ma. luciapottery.com, lucyfagellapottery.wordpress

Where do you work in clay?
Greenfield, Massachusetts, renovated barn.

Do you have another job?
I teach adults pottery from my studio. I consider this part of my being a potter. Teaching keeps a great flow going to my work. The questions asked by students are a constant reminder of how the non potter, or beginner potter views pottery. That is important from the business side of selling work to the public. It reminds me not to get too caught up in just what I want to make as an artist, but to incorporate the potential customers wants and or needs for their daily rituals of using handmade objects.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Most are by choice, some of the objects I make, or the amount of classes I teach are sometimes made from necessity... paying the bills!

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
Mornings/afternoons from 8am-2/3pm is studio time five days a week no matter what. Then it's exercise of some sort, bike, ski, walk, or watch a soccer/basketball/baseball game of my two sons. Classes are three nights a week. Some Saturday's I may fire a kiln, do a Farmers Market once a month. Sundays are off... need one day completely away from the studio.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I am very concerned about the way a make a living and how it effects the environment... every time I fire the kiln! I really don't think being a potter is an environmentally friendly occupation. But there are offsets... like buying handmade, local, and the fact that I don't get in a car everyday and drive for miles to get to work.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
I stop, do one of the many other tasks that need doing, like web stuff or blog stuff, or pay bills. Or like right now answer your interview, (as my back is killing me and need a break from throwing and trimming!) If all else fails, I get on my bike and ride!

Do you create art in other mediums?
Not any more, my hands are too tired from being a potter. My first love was drawing, and printmaking.

Where do you sell your work?
I sell at some shops. From my website. Many Urn companies carry my line of cremation urns, so many of my sales come from that. I have been wanting to open up an Etsy shop... hopefully very soon.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
Shops... I just brought samples of my work. The Urn companies came to me, and asked to represent me.

If you could change one property of clay, what would it be? (from potter John Bauman in the second Monday survey)
Make it so it would not have to be fired... wave a magic wand and poof, food safe, durable pottery, with no fossil fuels used in the process!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Change in weather, new love for tea bowls

Being the first cold day of the season, I had a lightbulb moment with my morning cuppa tea. Instead of the usual mug, I instinctively chose the non-handled tea bowl to warm my hands. I used to shun handles because I was terrible at making them - most beginners are - and at the time I preferred non-handled cups anyway... maybe that's just an excuse since I didn't like making handles & I hadn't found many mugs that I liked. In the past year I fell in love with mugs, but I have a newfound appreciation for tea bowls - it's all in the season. On cold days like today mugs might be used more for cold beverages, but a warm cup feels comforting cupped in the hands, more intimate. I can picture me sitting on the couch after a long day at work, wrapped in a blanket, watching the cats run around while imagining different pots form in my head, drinking a toasty cuppa tea. Though I enjoy the long days and outer warmth of summer, I welcome the change in seasons, with the inner warmth of tea, and wearing long-sleeved shirts.

I can't remember the last time I made a tea bowl... if ever. I make many cups, though none I would describe as a "tea bowl." In fact I don't know what it means for a tea bowl to be a tea bowl, except that I have seen enough labeled so that I understand the general form of one. Please, educate me on the history of the tea bowl if you can. Meanwhile, here are some beautiful yunomis (tea bowls that are generally more tall than wide) from one of my favorite artists, Kristen Kieffer:


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Interview...?

Tuesdays are for ceramic artists interviews... but I haven't heard from any artists this week! So if you'd like to be featured here this week or next, take a look at this post for all the questions and my email address: ceramic artists interview. I'm always open to new questions.

p.s. Are you on Twitter? I post updates from my blog & other interesting ceramics links I find: ceramicerin on Twitter

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Green teacher

Today was my first day of teaching at the local pottery center, & I think it went pretty well. Not stellar, but not bad. For one thing I'm a novice teacher - I've taught kids at a summer camp handbuilding with clay. That's about the extent of it, and now I have two entirely different classes: adult clay building - a mix of hand building & throwing - & kids throwing.

The adult class consists of old-timers who have taken that same class together for months, perhaps years, and they all had an idea of what they wanted to do, they all had projects they were already working on. They're quite sociable and it seems they take the class simply for fun, to enjoy the company of their classmates, and to have someone to answer this classic question when they see something interesting in a picture: "How did they do that?" I can usually answer those questions, but for the remainder of the class, I'm not entirely sure what I should be teaching with everyone going in different directions. So I started out demonstrating how to make pots footed, similar to these works by Willi Eggerman & Tara Wilson, then socialized & answered sporadic questions the remainder of class, wondering how else to make myself useful as most of the students seemed to be fine with their current projects. Next week I plan to teach more on throwing, but of the two classes, it's the true beginners that I'm more concerned about...

Kids are a whole nother animal. I have a difficult time as it is enunciating precisely what I'm doing as I throw a pot, but to get an 11-year-old to simply center clay is a challenge. Any advice in this area is more than welcome. Do I need to watch every video I can of beginning pottery and teach all my friends & family to throw in order to become a good teacher? I'm sure that wouldn't hurt... so what videos would you recommend I check out from the local library?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Interview: Paul Nielsen

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
My name is Paul Nielsen. I'm 32, I think, and currently live in Grand Island, Nebraska. My wife and I just moved back to Nebraska from Northwest Arkansas. I blog at TheAestheticElevator.com, and my in-progress artist website is pcNielsen.com

Where do you work in clay?
We're currently living in a loft over my father's antique store. My studio, which I've only been in a month since moving (and most of that time was spent unpacking and organizing), is in the basement of the building. I have a lot more space than my previous garage studio, but not having any windows might get to me after a while. I actually hope to do some sculpting en plein air, especially when storm season rolls around next year. Prairie thunderstorms are a significant theme in my work.

Do you have another job?
I do indeed. Despite graduating with a studio art degree in 2001, it's only been in the past three years or so that I've begun pursuing sculpture as a career. Since graduating I've worked in a coffee shop, remodeled houses and worked as a marketer/designer for a religious nonprofit. I still do the last two things on that list. It's difficult for me to imagine anyone being able to dive right into a career in the plastic arts without a day-job subsidized period of transition, so to speak.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
I'm not all that sure how to answer this question. In all likelihood there is a combination of both choice and necessity in my decisions that relate to all aspects of life. Do I wish I had more disposable income? Sure. Would I like a large studio with windows and a soda kiln? Of course. Am I thankful for what I have at the moment? Absolutely.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
While I'm probably more administratively gifted than the stereotypical artist, I am not very good at keeping a schedule. It's best for me to have a regular time in the studio, preferably on a daily basis. I use a calendar to plan both long-term and short-term. This helps me finish projects; I'm the kind of person who normally has ten different things going on at the same time, and bringing a work to completion can get put off at times.

The other things in life just sort of float around — in a semi-organized fashion — the minimum two or three hours a day I hope to spend on artwork. And it might be worth noting that my schedule varies depending on the time of year. I'm less motivated in darker winter months (it didn't help that my garage studio of the past three years wasn't heated either).

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
First off, creating objects — working with my hands — is something I'm just plain wired to do. If I'm not able to be doing it for some reason or another, I go stir crazy. I focus on clay because I love its character as a medium. I love the process from dirt to fire. I love the way clay responds to my hands when I manipulate it. I love the finishes.

Most of my work is sculptural. I'm more drawn to handbuilding than throwing, however I did build myself a kickwheel last year and hope to use it regularly in the future. I always have hopes of spending time on functional objects, however being an artist with a day job — and thus a limited amount of studio time — I usually end up just working on my sculpture.

How concerned are you about environmental issues?
I try and live a sustainable lifestyle: Recycle whenever possible, dream of someday living off of the grid (probably with solar power, maybe wind), salvage and reuse and don't be wasteful in the first place etc etc. This is largely informed by my faith in an attempt to be a good steward of God's creation. I prefer the word sustainable which implies, in my mind, a broader and more complete view of humanity, culture and environment than politically charged (and thus less productive) terminology like "green" or "environmentally friendly." I'm very cynical when it comes to politics in general.

Does this affect your work?
This comes through in my artwork mainly via my use of found objects or salvaged materials. More and more I've become alarmed at how wasteful American culture is, in a myriad of ways. Reusing objects and materials is a subtle way for my sculpture to communicate my dislike for our consumerist culture.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
Most likely hit the trails on my bicycle. Or blog, or call friends to play Settlers of Catan (or some other German board game).

Do you create art in other mediums?
I focus on clay but refer to myself as a mixed media sculptor. I use a lot of wood and incorporate a variety of other natural materials and found objects; fabric and gemstones make somewhat regular appearances. I'm not, however, fond of synthetic stuff. You probably won't find plastic in any of my works.

Where do you sell your work?
At the moment you can purchase my sculpture in the Local Flair gallery in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, or by sending me a message via pcNielsen.com. I tried Etsy.com for a while, but with no success.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I was approached by the person who started Local Flair. We knew each other before she founded the gallery. Sad, but true, who you know often factors into your success as an artist.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
Do you have a soda kiln I can borrow?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Interview: Carole Epp

Welcome back to the weekly ceramic artists interview! I didn't hear from anyone for the past couple weeks and I was too busy to keep you posted anyway. The interviews will now be posted on Tuesdays. If you'd like to be up next week, here's the post with questions and my email. Thank you Carole for stepping up this week... I've been chatting a little bit with her on Twitter, but I just recently took a better look at her work. It's beautiful! It looks well crafted and creative, and I hope to see it in person someday. What do you think?

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Carole Epp, 31, Saskatoon Sk, Canada
Caroleepp.com
Musingaboutmud.blogspot.com
Caroleepp.etsy.com
Caroleeppceramics.etsy.com



Where do you work in clay?
We converted our garage unto a studio. Had to insulate and heat it to get me through the minus 30 winters, but it does the trick. A dream studio really considering the living room and basement studios I’ve had in the past. The garage has been a bit taken over by my husband’s project motorbikes, but that means I have company late at night when I work.

Do you have another job?
My other job is my 18 month old. I was for a while trying to balance studio work, child raising and working here and there at the local craft council and teaching evening courses, but it was too much. My priorities are my family and my own practice, selfish as that sounds (or maybe just feels to me as I love to be more involved with the community) I miss teaching, my students were fantastic and I get a lot out of teaching. Oh and I’ve also taken up sewing in the last 2 years, it’s not a job per say, but I get obsessed pretty easily so it does take up a sizable chunk of my time.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Right now we’re in a position where we have (as a family) decided that it makes sense for me to be focusing on my artist practice rather than a “real” job (although the latter would actually come with a paycheck…). The further I get from my college safety net the more vulnerable I feel and the more challenging it is to push your work, and make the connections you need to get ahead. I feel that taking any sort of break from exhibiting or making work would mean a difficult road to get back to where ever it is that I am now with my career. I feel the set back might be too overwhelming. Plus focusing on my studio practice means I’m at home to raise my kid, which is important to me. I’d rather that than him be in daycare raised by others. It means that my studio time is quite limited to naps and late nights, but you learn to value those moments way more and to be hyper productive when those moments present themselves. It’s always been important for both my husband and I that we follow our dreams and not live a life that will cause regret later on. If I gave up art for a better paying job, I’d live with regret. I’m lucky I have a very supportive husband and family, not everyone is so lucky.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
I work on my son’s schedule, he’s the boss. When he naps I work, sometimes he gives me 20 minutes, some times 3 hours. I try to get up a bit before him in the morning to have a cup of tea in peace and get some on line (twitter, blog, etsy) or computer (proposals, emails, writing, photoshopping pictures, etc) work done. Errands get done with the boy in tow during the day, work again during nap time, family time with my husband after work until my boy goes to bed and then more work. Sometimes I try to steal more time in the studio on the weekends. But honestly what I’ve just said is my ideal and it likely sounds like I get into the studio more that I really do. Being a stay at home mom means taking care of the home as well, and sometimes (often) things like clean laundry are more important that my studio work. Sad but true. If I was in the studio everyday when he napped or was in bed I’d live in a mess.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I make both. Why? Sometimes I think because I’m insane, sometimes I think because there is so much interesting processes in ceramics that inspire me and give visual voice to my ideas that I can’t be limited to a single output. But to the larger question, why do I make art – I make art to feel less alone, I make art because it is a form of communication with others, of understanding and of shared experience. It can bring joy, it compels thinking and productive change and because I’m at heart an idealist that believes we can change the world and my art is a simple action against the rise of indifference I see around me. It is my voice when I’m speechless, it allows my intuitive soul to speak, it allows me an outlet from my frustration, my anger, my love and ideals.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
Highly concerned. It does affect my work in terms of subject matter as well as part of the reason I make the work I do as I often address environmental concerns such as over-consumption, disposability and new research and technologies such as those that affect our food and water supplies. I’m also trying to learn as much as I can to make my practice; firing, materials, recycling methods more effective. I’m no saint, I have lots of room to improve, but each day I’m aware and trying to work on it.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
Right now any day in the studio is a good day, a blessing really as those studio days are few and far between. I daydream about the days to come when my little guy is in preschool…

Do you create art in other mediums?
I sew and do a lot of photography, but I wouldn’t say they’re an art to me. It’s a creative outlet but they’re more just arenas in which I dabble or play without expectation or pressure to create anything more than intuitive or visually pleasing surfaces and imagery. It’s strange but they are so completely separate from my clay practice. It’s a good thing, just interesting to contemplate why that is.

Where do you sell your work?
Commercial galleries mainly, plus this year I’ve opened online shops for my work. But as with most things they require more work that I initially realized and to adequately wear the hat of fantastic marketer and promoter for my online shops is something I just don’t have the time for, so they’re not a very profitable venue. I write grants to try to get my sculptural work made, when this is successful it covers the cost of production as well as subsistence so selling the work after that is icing on the cake.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I write a lot of proposals to galleries. I send lots of emails too. Even at times an email regarding something else to a gallery with a simple link to my website at the bottom has opened doors for me. I spend a fair amount of time looking at the sort of work different galleries show so that if I spend the time to write and send them a proposal it fits their mandate and their aesthetic.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
Millions of questions…but right now I’m most stressed about trying to make a living and help support my family so I’m always just looking for advice on how to better run the business side of things. I guess I’m also curious if I’m the only insane one that misses college critiques sessions? I’d love some good honest feedback on my work, but never seem to find it. We’re all so supportive of each other in this community (which I’m not knocking, it’s a good thing) but sometimes the truth is a good thing as well to help us grow, as artists and as a craft medium in contemporary visual and material culture.

NEW question: If you could change one property of clay, what would it be? (optional question; from potter John Bauman in the second Monday survey)
Is this like “if you could have one super power what would it be?” hmmm… I’d like a clay body that could read my mind and have the ability to alter it’s form on it’s own so that when I lie in bed sleeplessly at night envisioning all the pieces I want to make but lack the time to make, the clay would be out there in the studio magically turning itself into the sculptures of my mind…wait on second thought, I’d miss the haptic interaction too much, I love to get elbow deep in the muck, I love the challenges the material presents. I love the questions even more so than I love the answers. I don’t know that I’d change anything.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Interview: Janet

For the 9th ceramic artist interview here we have potter Janet from Canada. I'm hoping to interview a friend for my 10th, but I haven't heard from any yet, so go on & email me your responses if you'd like to be featured in a week or two. Click here for the individual questions.

Janet Holson-Mazzer, 46, Midland, Ontario Canada, jansonpottery.com

Where do you work in clay?
I work in my basement and the garage of my home.

Do you have another job?
I have a 3 ½ year child and my pottery business.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
These days I seem to have a lot of commissions. I think that depending on the size or complexity of the piece, sometimes it might take me a while to figure out how to proceed. I have found that when I have wholesale orders, it zaps the creativity out of project. I feel like I am working on an assembly line. Most things that I make are things I like or see that I would like to try making. Sometimes when I finish a commission that I put off for a while, I am surprised in what I learned through that process and in the end I am grateful for the experience.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
There never seems to be enough hours in the day to make everything work. I have a new website that I am still working on updating and have added a blog and would like to get there more as well.

I try to run household errands on days where my husband is working. My Mother-in-law comes over so that I can get work done. When my husband is around, I can usually get a great deal done. When things are busy with our home life and I don’t have time for clay, I continuously have ideas and projects running through my head.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I have loved clay since I was a child. When I was in high school, I took a lot of ceramics courses and if someone had asked me at that time what I wanted to do with my life, I would have said without hesitation that I wanted to be a potter. At that time, I moved into a field that I thought I would make a better living at. Some years later, I returned to my first love and continued to work at another job. It is only the last 5 years that I have been able to work without another job. When I am away from clay for whatever reason, I want to be close to it. When I am working, nothing else exists. I found this even more so when I made sculptures.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I am very concerned about environmental issues. I am careful with my own health when it comes to mixing glazes and do not flush anything down the drain including clay. I have buckets that I rinse everything out in. Because I work from home, I am always concerned about dust and safe material storage. I am a chronic recycler and I reclaim all of my clay instead of throwing it out. I feel better knowing that I am taking care of my surroundings.

I have a garden, I run all of my errands on certain days and try to have as many car free days as possible.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
If I having a bad day with some aspect of my day, I move on to sketching or something else that is completely different yet a necessary part of what I do.

Do you create art in other mediums?
Not at the moment. I have done a couple of metal clay courses in the last year and was initially smitten with it, but I find that I always end up back with clay. This autumn, I may take a jewellery or a photoshop course.

Where do you sell your work?
I do some small shows around the area where I live. I sell on Etsy and have an established clientele where I live now. I end up getting a lot of commissions through all of these.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I have lived in Midland, Ontario for about 5 years and prior to that, I have lived in Toronto. I did a lot of consignment for a number of years. I approached galleries and have also had them approach me. My work was almost always there on consignment. I had read “Stayin’ Alive” by Robin Hopper and a number of years ago and he said that when galleries/shops take your work on consignment they as not as motivated to sell your work because if it doesn’t work, they can just give it back. I have never really pursued the wholesale aspect of things because I have a young child and don’t always know how much time I will have to work. So these days, I work mentally on what my own gallery/workspace/teaching space will look like. I have also had some people who have found me through my website, Etsy or word of mouth.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
I would like to know if other artists whether it be ceramic or other, have a ritual that they perform before they begin their work.

In response to Jim’s question, I like to listen to a huge variety of music. I really like Zero 7, Bliss, Buddha Bar compilations, John Mayer, Molly Johnson, and even though I don’t understand it, I love French Canadian music.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cornbread recipe

It's a cold, rainy day in Colorado, so I'm baking to warm up the kitchen. Here's my favorite corn bread recipe:

Ingredients
1 cup Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix*
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup honey or agave nectar
1 cup almond milk
2 eggs
¼ cup butter or shortening

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine Baking Mix, cornmeal, & baking powder.
In a 2nd bowl mix honey, milk, eggs, butter.
Add wet ingredients to dry, beat for 1 min.
Pour into a greased 8-in square baking pan. Bake for 20 min.

*Can be made with all-purpose white flour – increase baking powder to 4 tablespoons, and know that it won't be as awesome.
--

Do you have any delicious recipes you care to share?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Interview: potter Cindy Gilliland

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Cindy Gilliland (Dirt-Kicker Pottery)
47
Washoe Valley, NV
dirt-kickerpottery.blogspot.com

Where do you work in clay?
My Studio, Located 50 feet from my house.

Do you have another job?
No. Prior to working with Clay, I worked in Escrow for 20 plus years.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Choice. Pottery is a choice for me. I could make a more lucrative income working in escrow, but at this point in my life, I chose to make pots.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
I do whatever needs to be done. If I need to take care of grandkids or run some errands, well... the pottery has to wait. I'm usually in the studio 4 or 5 days a week.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
It is a creative outlet. I makes me happy.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I'm very concerned about our environment. My work does not currently reflect my concerns.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
I turn on Hawaiian Music, open a bad of Laguna Hawaiian Red clay, make me a Mai Tai and pretend I'm making pots in Hawaii :)

Do you create art in other mediums?
I paint with acrylics.

Where do you sell your work?
Open studio, Etsy, website (to be completed shortly) and word of mouth.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I don't like lugging my work to shows or fairs. I prefer building a contacts list and selling directly from the Studio.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
When your love for making pottery turned into a job, did it hamper your creativity?

NEW question: If you could change one property of clay, what would it be? (optional question; from potter
John Bauman in the second Monday survey)
I like clay just the way it is.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Interview: Jim Gottuso

For my 100th blog post I give you the weekly interview, today from potter Jim Gottuso in Kentucky. Cheers!

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Jim Gottuso, 51, Louisville, KY, jimgottuso.wordpress.com

Where do you work in clay?
In the back room of my house

Do you have another job?
I have a 4 1/2 year old but no other paying job

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
If you mean decisions about what I make then both. If I have a commission then it's by necessity (the necessity being the need for income); if I'm just making stuff, it's what I choose to make. That being said certain things sell better than others so I always make a bit of both.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
Wow... there's not enough time to write it. I have 4 year old and I watch her solo every sat. and sun. (so i don't even attempt to get anything done on the weekends). Weekday mornings I do blogging, email, (any computer tasks, including photoshop, submissions, etc.) for about 1 to 1/2 hours. Then I try to run household errands before noon and go to the studio after lunch (if no errands, get there earlier). Work till about 7 usually but often later. Have dinner with the family and put the little one to bed. Check in on the computer before bed.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I've always loved clay since first being exposed in undergraduate school. I put it off, starting and running two businesses with my best friend. Although I certainly wanted to do those things (the businesses), a part of me couldn't see how to make ceramics work economically... sometimes I regret not going through the hard times with clay earlier only because I would be so much further along in my progression and experience as a clay person if I had.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I'm pretty concerned and vacillate on how to deal with my concern. We are very conserving of energy and water as a rule, no AC last summer in KY; don't leave appliances on or lights on when they're not being used. We're vegan (that's probably the biggest thing). I've never owned a new automobile. I do all my shopping within 2 miles from my house so we don't drive much. I fire electric and am very careful about having large densely packed kiln loads and I fire to ^6.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
Go get my daughter and give her a hug and chat for a bit, go find music that I really want to hear, put that on and get back to it.

Do you create art in other mediums?
Not currently; I have over the years done a good amount of sculpture, drawing, woodworking and graphic and web design.

Where do you sell your work?
mostly in galleries currently... about 3 in town and some out of town galleries as well. shows and i'm trying to sell online (hint, hint), i also do an annual craft fair in town.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
One recently called me out of the blue, others i either called or visited or sent materials to online.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
No questions in general, although i always want to know what music each individual i come to know listens to and specifically what music they listen to when they're working. always trying to fill in the blanks i guess.

If I could change one characteristic of clay it would be it's bothersome obedience to gravity... antigravitation clay would be dreamy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Interview: Laurie Erdman

Another week, another interview. Click here to see the questions on their own if you want to be in next week.

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Laurie Erdman, 42
Arlington, Virginia
www.claytastic.net

Where do you work in clay?
Primarily at the Art League ceramics studio in Alexandria, but just set up a home studio to work between sessions

Do you have another job?
Yes. I’m a business development professional for an education company. While fulfilling, it keeps me away from the wheel far more than I would like.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity?
Both decisions are made by necessity. Pottery started as a creative outlet from a stressful job. It has become a passion and I am now just starting to market my work. I still have to have the day job help pay the household expenses.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
During Art League sessions, I am the studio every Sunday, and increasingly on Saturdays and any other time I can, as I am building up inventory for holiday shows and sales (currently have 4 scheduled). Every morning I spend my tea time at the computer managing my Etsy store, tweeting and blogging. Then it is off to the day job. In the evening, I take pictures of my work and manage my online presence. Of course, with the home studio, I can now start working on pots in the evening.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I have always been drawn to the tactile nature of clay, whether playing in a mud puddle as a child, or picking up a finished piece in a gallery. It was natural that my creative outlet would flourish once I decided to try ceramics. I was hooked the first time I touched it.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
Very. However, working in a community studio doesn’t give me control over those issues. However, last year our studio moved from cone 8 electric to cone 6 to reduce energy usage. When I get my own kiln, I would be very interested in learning how to single fire (just did it in a soda kiln and was very happy with the results). I do recycle my clay as much as possible.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
Walk away. And often I go eat because there is something about working in clay that makes me forget to eat. Not good to throw with low blood sugar; the results are bad.

Do you create art in other mediums?
I have painted and I love photography, but I do neither on a regular basis. Although I have been thinking about adding photo work for potters as a service.

Where do you sell your work?
Right now I sell mostly online and to friends. I have an Etsy shop and have sold a piece on eBay. I am planning on doing most of sales at the end of the year. I will do a local craft show at my church in December, a local collectors show in November, a charity show sponsored by my employer and finally a home show.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I am a member of the sponsoring organizations for the crafts shows, so its just people I know.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other artists?
For those that have their own studio, how do you manage all the equipment and materials and how many different glazes do you use? As I contemplate my own studio, the investment is overwhelming.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Interview: Kanika Marshall

This weeks ceramic artist interview comes from Kanika in California. Would you like to be next? See the interview questions here.

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Kanika Marshall
Half a century
Elk Grove, CA
www.kanika.us

Where do you work in clay?
In my studio, an annex in my home

Do you have another job?
Yes

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Solely by choice. The extra money from my art is nice, but not critical. When my kids were young and I became divorced, I needed money from my art in order to pay for after-school day care. Now, the positive acclaim is sometimes more important than money, but not as important as the joy in making the art.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
Day job 8-5, clay is any other time, often up until midnight many nights

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I love the tensile quality of clay. You can make nearly anything from clay. Clay works well with my other addiction: fabric. Clay is awesome with glass, metal, wood, beads, shells, and leather. Clay can be glazed to any color. Clay is a chameleon, like me.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I am concerned, so I wear a respirator, installed linoleum over my carpet so I won't vacuum up the clay dust anymore, open the windows to ventilate my workspace and purchased a trap for my drain so the clay/glaze reside doesn't go down the drain (altho' I have not yet installed it!). I use lead-free glazes. I keep the garage doors open while I am doing a glaze firing. But there is still a lot more that could be done to make my clay experience safer.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
I never have bad days, except maybe with the potter's wheel! I mainly do slab/tile, coil, and free-form three-dimensional clay work. Non-wheel work is always pleasurable and fruitful. I never run out of things to create, just the time to make them.

Do you create art in other mediums?
Lots of mixed media (fabric, glass, metal, wood, beads, shells, and leather), but clay is the primary medium.

Where do you sell your work?
My studio, website, galleries, art shows, and local stores.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I apply to art shows, keep my website updated, use e-newsletters and Facebook to help market my work, use Vistaprint to print postcards and business cards to hand out everywhere, keep in touch with my customers, and have several portfolios for upscale and lower-grade galleries. I visit galleries several times before approaching the gallery owner with my portfolio.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
Does anyone have a small slab roller for sale in the northern California area (preferably near Sacramento)?

NEW question: If you could change one property of clay, what would it be? (optional question; from potter John Bauman in the second Monday interview)
I work real fast, so sometimes there are explosions (happy little accidents). I would love to remove the possibility of explosions!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mini-vacation

4th of July weekend = a vacation at home. It's been a beautiful weekend, complete with indulgences. If you're thinking of visiting Colorado, this is why it's awesome (especially for those who like to eat...):

1. Cherry Creek Arts Festival (Friday afternoon): ART, not craft... there were so many different varieties of painting, sculpting, drawing, printmaking, and clay making to see. Of course I couldn't afford to buy anything, but it was inspiring and beautiful nonetheless. To retreat from the heat of the afternoon we wandered around Room and Board to check out more beautiful things we can't afford - fancy furniture.

2. The Huckleberry (Saturday morning): an amazing restaurant in Louisville with a beautiful ambiance, wonderful service, and the most delicious food and tea I've tasted. They have the BEST vegetarian gravy. If only they could team up with Lucile's Creole Cafe to get their biscuit recipe, you would have the most amazing biscuits and gravy in the world. mmmm...

3. Lucile's Creole Cafe (Sunday morning): an amazing cajun restaurant in Longmont (or Boulder & Ft Collins) with delightfully filling portions of delicious cajun-style food. Their homemade ketchup is the best I've ever had, good on the already flavorful and tasty Hanks Eggs - peppers, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and eggs all scrambled up with spices and topped with avocado... and ketchup. Friggin tasty. Always come home with a plate of leftovers when I get Hanks Eggs, which is almost more delicious than the first time because I'm not growing uncomfortably stuffed after eating half a giant bisquit and a begneit (sort of like a donut, but more delicious).

4. Sweet Action (Sunday evening): this is what Twitter is good for - indy ice cream shops announcing their daily flavors and making us drool. So we make a 1/2 hour drive to get ice cream. Between the two of us we had 5 different flavors; in order of my favorites:
1. Baklava, honey ice cream with real pieces of baklava; 2. Boysenberry cheesecake, with real pieces of cheesecake; 3. After Dinner Mint, mint ice cream with those little pink, green, & yellow mint chips with the teeny white sprinkles on the bottom; 4. Apple Streudel; apple cinnamon ice cream? or something tasty like that; 5. Maple Walnut - took home a pint of this and was disappointed by the lack of flavor. I had some delicious maple ice cream in New Hampshire last summer at an amazing bakery & ice creamery called Umpleby's... I'm sure they have the upper hand being in New Hampshire, but nonetheless, this maple ice cream was lacking some maple flavor. I'm tempted to add my own syrup to it. Maybe I'll continue the indulgences tomorrow morning & make some pancakes topped with ice cream & real maple syrup. That's a good way to start the week, right?

To add to the weekend vacation we checked out the community swimming pool, played a silly game called Luck of the Draw, lounged around doing nothing (i.e. watching a car race), watched a lot of stuff blow up (woo! hooray for America!), and listened to my dad tell stories of him & his friends being retards when they were younger (while repeating lines from The Hangover). Good times. How was your holiday?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Interview: April Grunspan

Between extra shifts at work, spending more time in the studio and the regular busy-ness of everyday life, I haven't had time for my own ceramic blogging. At least we have this weekly artist interview here, today from April in Texas.

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
April Grunspan, 55 years young, San Antonio, TX: agru.etsy.com

Where do you work in clay?
I work out of a local teaching/working studio called Sunin Clay. It's only a few miles from my house.

Do you have another job?
Wife, mother, and owner of three (soon to be two when the kids move out this summer) dogs and three Cockatiels.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Happily, by choice.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
I just know Monday and Fridays are times for appointments, shopping, etc. Tuesday-Thursday is studio/work time. The weekends are for my husband. Of course, there are exceptions to the rules. But I find making the commitment to working in the studio makes sure pieces get made, even if the inspiration isn't always there.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
There's a definite satisfaction in taking something that doesn't come easily, and seeing yourself improve from day to day. I also love the different focuses in clay: the clay itself, the science of clay and glaze, the variety of effects one can get using slip, underglaze, glaze, etc., and the incredible variety of techniques one can learn. There seems to be no end to what one can learn to do or ways to do it.

I also really enjoy working on Judaica (Jewish items). I find it a challenge to think of something related to the holidays or special occasions and, then, think of ways to twist it around with a different approach. Such items don't sell as quickly as my mugs. But when something special DOES sell it gives me a great sense of satisfaction because someone appreciated my vision.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I think it's important to understand that working in pottery requires both chemicals and power -- be it electric, gas, or wood. However, our creations are not ephemeral. There are pieces of pottery that go back thousands of years. So, it seems to be a slightly better investment of these resources than something like styrofoam or plastic.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
I "play". I try a new technique, be it one the wheel, handbuilding, or using decoration. Recently, on a "bad" day, I started playing with sodium silicate on slabs of clay. The slabs, being easy to make, were an easy surface for me to work on. Another time I played with slip painted/stamped/stenciled on newspaper and then transferred onto, again, slabs of clay. During these sessions I don't work for a product, just for learning. Often inspiration follows.

Do you create art in other mediums?
Does food count? I love to cook; especially when there's someone else cleaning up. Thanks husband of mine!

Where do you sell your work?
Mostly through etsy. However, I've had sales from people seeing my work on Facebook or in my house. I'm also making custom mugs for a local, privately owned coffee shop. I love selling my work. But I really don't want to stretch myself so thin that the quality of my pieces suffers.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
The coffee shop came about organically. I was chatting with the owner (things like that happen in local, privately owned places) and she found out I was a potter. Things just went from there.

Do you have any questions you're dying to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
I'm always curious how the potters who sell lots and lots of pieces manage everything. I'm not the most physically organized person in the world, so I really have to work at the non-pottery end of my business. Right now I average about one sale a week. When I have several in one week I get a bit frazzled with the packaging/shipping of several pieces at once.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Interview: potter John Bauman

This is the second Monday of the new weekly ceramic artists survey. If you're a potter or ceramic artist & you'd like to fill out the survey, see this post for the questions individually.

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website)?
John Bauman, 52 , Warsaw, Indiana, baumanstoneware.com

Where do you work in clay?
In my studio – three pole buildings on an acre in the industrial park in Warsaw, Indiana

Do you have another job?
Nope. Not yet, anyway. 30 years of self-employment. 30 years of every single household dollar being earned with my hands in clay.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Odd question. Being a potter was my choice. It continues to be. But I’m a realist, and I’m just responsible enough to realize how much the choice of being a potter has cost me in the ability to make choices. In other words, my potter’s income means that I don’t get too much of what I want. I mostly get only what I need.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
I try to get as much time with my hands in clay as possible. But marketing is a necessary evil so I’m wearing that hat much of the time as well. I have several other passions (guitar and running with my dogs) that take my time too. And then there’s filling out internet surveys.

Why do you make pots?
I guess I could answer that in two ways:

Practically, I make pots because I started to make my living in pottery when I was very young and simply continued. So the simplest answer to "why do you make pots?" is: So I can eat, have a roof over my head, gas up my car, and feed the dogs. (Ask the dogs. They'll tell you that hands down, the last answer is the best).

But I could also answer your question more philosophically (or maybe more romantically, as I've never, in 34 years of making pots, lost my passion for the work) with a bit I wrote out a few years ago [*see end of survey for extended answer]...

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
Concerned from both angles. I’m concerned enough to be careful with my own business – how I might affect the environment. And I am concerned that environmental concerns may soon be making pottery -- as a livelihood or hobby – not possible.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
Type the word “whine” into your internet free thesaurus and you’ll get the complete list.

Do you create art in other mediums?
Music. Don’t laugh. You haven’t even heard me yet. Okay, go ahead. Laugh.

Where do you sell your work?
Art fairs, etsy, one gallery

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
Type “beg/grovel” into your internet free thesaurus and you will the the complete list.

Actually, I just jury for the art fairs like anyone else. Etsy – I was a reluctant joiner and experientially convinced. The gallery asked for my pottery for about ten years. I finally gave in.

Do you have any questions you're dying to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
Are potters actually a more highly and completely evolved species, or does it just seem that way?

If you could change one property of clay, what would it be? (for me it would be George Costanza’s embarrassing predicament: shrinkage. I would love it if clay didn’t shrink)


*Why do you make pots? -The philosophical answer-

It’s that wire that no one sees but draws us to the magician’s hand.
It’s the true north that mysteriously keeps our needle pointing one way.

One day we saw something-out-of-nothing spin into existence beneath a practiced hand. What we once thought solid as concrete suddenly appeared as flexible as fabric.
Or maybe in our youth, on a late evening walk past the college art department, we chanced upon a firing -- a glowing kiln. It caught our attention as fire has since…since forever. We were imprinted.

We notice everything pottery. In the background scenery of a movie set, in a commercial on TV, we'll notice the pots.
If we walk into a strange place and there happens to be a hand-thrown piece in the room, little else occupies our mind – at least until we’ve had the chance to pick that piece up, feel its heft, and look beneath it. It calls our attention like an overheard conversation that sounds more interesting than the one in which we’re currently engaged...
"Oh, excuse me. Did you say something?”

Now even the wares we use everyday take on new meaning. We’ve glimpsed behind the curtain and what was once a mystery – the “I-wonder-how-they-did-that?” – becomes de-mystified one discovery at a time. And, in turn, it is answered with a satisfying life of pursuing new “how-to-do” mysteries to put back into the world.

So, perhaps it’s the process that hooks us at first. But almost simultaneously we’re drawn to these objects that we’re making. On the one hand we observe the component parts of glaze, form, function. And often times, especially at the beginning of our lives in clay, we see the parts in spite of the whole…
...but then, as we grow with the clay and the process, we start to direct our attention to the objective end in form and function. We begin to see the whole becoming greater than the sum of those parts.
Add the fire that takes so much of the end result out of our hands – out of our control -- and we can be utterly surprised by that new whole that somehow managed to exceed our imagination. Upon opening the kiln, it’s like meeting and being charmed by a stranger.

Proof? -- the kiln opening dance. You know the one. You’ve done it. With mitted hands you hold the still hot pot by rim and base, and slowly rotate it in that graceful 360 degree pirouette – attempting to take in the whole of it. Then you set it down and turn, as if to leave – only to echo the pirouette yourself. You spin on your heel, return to the pot and pick it back up for that second look…
…Fred, meet Ginger.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Interview: Ceramic Erin

When I posted the first ceramics survey on Monday, Carole Epp noted that I hadn't found time for it myself. Well I've already got the next two Mondays scheduled for other potters, so here's a special Friday edition surveying myself... See the image in the middle for a preview of my latest work.

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Erin, 23, Colorado, ceramicerin.com

Where do you work in clay?
The local potters guild and my basement studio, otherwise known as the laundry room.

Do you have another job?
Working part-time at a children's consignment shop.

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Definitely NOT choice. Who would honestly choose to work in a basement with no windows? It's what I have available to me right now. The potters guild I work at has more restrictions, less freedom than I would like - they don't do cone 6 oxidation firing, which is what I'm interested in - but it's the only studio I know of nearby. As for the non-clay job, I love who I work with and I love that it's close to home, but if I could afford to work solely in ceramics right now I would not have a part-time job.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
Not well... but I'm working on it. I'm taking a class from art marketing guru Alyson Stanfield and she has some excellent tips for managing time. I always plan out certain days / times to be in the studio, then get distracted with things I need to do around the house. Yesterday I planned to spend at least 2 hours glazing at the guild, then got caught up in clearing out junk that's crowding my space - taking out the recycling, taking stuff to Goodwill, etc. - and I hardly had 1 hour to glaze with everything else on my errand list. I'm working on a schedule though, and I'm optimistic that once I get the house cleaned up & free of junk I can focus my time & energy where I need to - in the studio.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I love creating beautiful forms. I don't feel I "need" to make pots or sculptures, but it's something I'm good at, and I enjoy it. Lately I've been struggling making pots and I've asked myself this question many times, but I do love seeing a beautiful pot I've made fresh out of the kiln. That's a good feeling.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?*
Quite concerned... I see that we're affecting the earth in harmful ways with our everyday habits, and I want to do my part to offset that. I'm young and I don't want to live in an ugly, deteriorating world for the rest of my life.

In college our primary kiln was high-fire gas reduction and I knew of nothing else... we also had wood, salt, and raku kilns, but I wasn't interested in those. It wasn't until after I graduated that I read about cone 6 firing, then I started noticing it everywhere. So many people think cone 10 reduction firing is superior and I think that's bullshit. I'm certainly no master potter, but I've seen stunning work come from mid-range firings. It takes less time and energy to fire at cone 6 and you can get similar results... what's not to like about it?

Two years ago, partly for environmental reasons, I traded my car for a bicycle at New Belgium Brewery's Tour de Fat, and I've been drawing bikes on my pots ever since...


What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
Wonder why I'm trying to make a career of this, and find something else to do. Usually the house needs cleaning, dishes need done, the studio could use some sprucing up. So on a bad day in the studio I try to find some other productive thing to do. Sometimes I just realize the problem is simply that I didn't wedge the clay well enough, so I take more time to wedge, take some deep breaths, stretch, relax, and go at it again.

Do you create art in other mediums?
I took nearly every art class in college, but now I'm clearing out my art supplies because I don't have time for everything!** Two things I wish I had more time for are drawing & printmaking. Once in a while I make art trading cards (ATCs), usually with my favorite compact watercolor set. Just a little fun :)

Where do you sell your work?
At a co-op gallery, Etsy, bi-annual Guild sales, and I'm just beginning to sell at a housewares consignment shop nearby... not sure if that one is worth it.

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
The gallery is one I was familiar with, near the university, and I knew some past classmates who had their pots there. I asked what the steps were to get into the gallery and they gave me an application form. The consignment shop is two doors down from where I work... they asked me if I wanted to sell my pots there.

Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
Would you let me visit for a week & work with you in your studio?


*To read more about my environmental choices, see the Tiny Choices survey I took last Friday.

**If you need quality chalk pastels, cheap oil pastels, acrylic paint, charcoal, or intaglio printmaking supplies let me know. These are the art supplies I'm selling to make space for what matters in my studio :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Interview: Judi Tavill

The first ceramics survey comes from Judi! If you'd like to take the survey, check out this post for more info. A different ceramic artist / potter will be featured every Monday.

Vital statistics (name, age, location, website)?
Judi Tavill, 40, Rumson,NJ, jtceramics.com

Where do you work in clay?
In a studio in my home

Do you have another job?
Mom (2 boys, 12 1/2 and 9)

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity?
My decisions are made by choice for the most part.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?
Not very well...When I'm working I tend to think of all of the other "stuff" I need to do and when I'm not working, I tend to think about needing to get work done.... Trying to be more PRESENT... having trouble.

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?
I love to work with clay....I am drawn to it... I NEED to "express" myself through visual and I am totally addicted.

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?
I'm concerned. I could be more concerned... I am trying to recycle more and more and be very careful with my use of energy.

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?
Cry? Scream? Take a break...go for a walk...Yell at my kids?

Do you create art in other mediums?
I used to design clothes for a living and sewed and then I painted...mainly using oil paint sticks... and drawing but ever since clay...I sketch a bit... I knit....I don't really make art with my knitting however... although I have made some bracelets out of knitting sterling silver ....more like art...

Where do you sell your work?
I mainly sell my work on Etsy, out of my studio and at some smaller shows...have some wholesale and consignment stuff on the back burner...

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?
I try to have a positive attitude and believe presentation is key.

Do you have any questions you're dying to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?
Hmmm.... How they balance their time....and completely focus on what they are doing WHEN they are doing it....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ceramic artists interview

Since I've been setting up my own home studio I've had a lot of questions about what to do and how to go about things, and only a handful of them I've asked here on my blog. What I would like to do is survey the ceramic artists / studio potters reading, similar to the way Tiny Choices features a survey with questions based around personal living / environmental choices every Friday. So here it is... send me an email (ceramicerin at gmail . com) with your answers and I'll post one artist's survey each Monday:

Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?

Where do you work in clay?

Do you have another job?

Are your studio and occupation decisions made by choice or necessity? Please explain.

How do you budget your time (in the studio and out - family, errands, etc)?

Why do you make pots (or sculptures)?

How concerned are you about environmental issues? Does this affect your work?

What do you do when you're having a bad day in the studio?

Do you create art in other mediums?

Where do you sell your work?

How did you approach those venues about selling your work?

Do you have any questions you want to ask other ceramic artists, or artists in general?

NEW question: If you could change one property of clay, what would it be? (optional question; from potter John Bauman in the second Monday survey)

Please also include a photo of your work and/or yourself in your email.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Michael Keene at Zip 37 in Denver

Have you heard of Michael Keene? He's a contemporary ceramic sculptor who creates human and animal characters with graphic elements using texture, crisp black lines, and bright colors. For those in the Denver area, you can see his work at the Zip 37 Gallery on Navajo Street now through May 24. Here's more info: Denver Galleries.

Look for me on Twitter if you want to hear about other random bits I find that might interest you (I promise not to tweet about my lunch unless it's something so delicious that you should know about and try).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Summer dinner party

Have you ever noticed the treasuries on Etsy? You get a sample of them every time you visit the homepage... they're a collection of 12 different items curated by Etsy members, selections of whatever the member likes. I just created one based around ceramic ware that would enliven your table this spring/summer. It will only be up for a few days, expiring on Thursday - Summer Dinner Party.

Featuring the work of:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to make a wedging table?


As much as I would love to buy this sturdy, simple wedging table from Bailey Ceramic Supply, I don't have $770 to shell out. I don't even have $50, but I would at least be willing to put $50 on my credit card to make something right now. I'm always afraid I'll piss off the neighbors or even my roommates when I'm making a racket slamming clay onto the unsturdy, loud table I have, and the wire wedging process would go so much smoother if I had a wire attached to the table.

I'm thinking of building one from 100% wood, thinking that will be the cheapest and easiest, but honestly I haven't a clue. I would prefer to not have one made with plaster because I would hate to have small bits of plaster come off into the clay over time. Any advice is welcome. What do you use for a wedging table?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Searching for a title

I have an exhibition coming up in August coupled with a documentary photographer. Stephanie Burchett's body of work is titled "Scavengers," and documents Nicaraguan citizens digging through trash dumps to find "valuable" items - recyclables for which they can get money. My work is based around things I want in my life - comfort, stability, beauty, sustenance, and peace. Our work is quite different, but our common link is a grant which we both earned last year. One of the requirements of the grant is a public exhibition, so we decided to exhibit together in one of the few galleries in Greeley. Anyway, we need a title for our show and perhaps one of you could help me. Do you have any ideas? I was thinking "Searching for ..." something. Searching for what though?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

NCECA 2009


It's been awhile since I got back from the NCECA conference... about time I blog about it, right? I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit longer because it's already 2 in the afternoon and I haven't been in the studio yet today. I've been busy uploading photos though, so if you'd like to see what I saw on day 1 in Phoenix, check out my flickr set. Since I was volunteering, I arrived two days before the conference started, and I was able to leisurely wander around the city to check out a few galleries and the Arizona Art Museum while nothing else was happening that Monday.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane

Does anyone else get that song stuck in their head when they're flying somewhere? I always do...

Tomorrow at 5 am I'll be heading to the airport, off to Phoenix for the NCECA conference. I've been looking forward to this all month! Anytime I've been in a low mood I would just think of NCECA and get all giddy. It's been windy, snowing, and cold for the past couple weeks in Colorado, so I'm looking to a "spring break" in warm Arizona. I've never been there. Have you?

Here's my shopping list / things to look into:

1. Shorter wire cut-off tool

2. Throwing stool... thank you Emily for your recommendation!

3. Wedging table... I don't know if this is actually something I would buy, but I'm curious to look into it.

4. Posters to cover the ugly cement walls in my new studio (best part about these is they're free!)

5. A new favorite mug (I hope to find one I like under $30... that could be a stretch)

6. Trimming tools

7. Graduate schools, residencies, opportunites to further my education possibly starting in January...

Are you going to NCECA?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blog colors

I just updated my blog colors... What do you think? Also check out the new ceramics lynx in the right-hand column for some artists I like, and links to my website and Etsy shop.

The new home studio

I bought a wheel several weeks ago and finally got around to using it today. Although the only thing I have to show for it is a large lump of wet clay, it was good to get in the studio again. The home studio! It's beginning to feel like more than just a laundry room with a wheel in it:


What I love about a home studio:

1. I can listen to the music I want on Pandora.com instead the repetitive shit they play on FM radio. (Please excuse the language... I just want to make my feelings for the radio obvious. It blows.)

2. I can fix myself a cuppa tea as frequently as I like. Is 6 servings of green tea in one day excessive?

3. I can have my lunch break whenever I'm ready. (The guild is closed 12 - 1 PM.)

4. I don't have to pay $4 for a bus ride and overhear socially retarded people talking about guns, drugs, sex, or other things that I won't want to overhear.

5. On cold, windy days like today I don't have to leave the house to be productive.

6. When I flop as many pots as I did today I don't feel quite as bad because no one is watching me...

I realized the reason my pots were so terribly off-center in the first half of my day is that I was being lazy in wedging the clay. I was taught to first wire-wedge, then spiral wedge, and I don't have a handy wire firmly attached to a cement wedging table. So I skipped the wire and quickly spiraled my clay on the slick table top I had available. I realized that wouldn't get me far, so I gave in and used my ordinary wire tool. I discovered a nice little shortcut though... after each cut with the wire I set it straight on the table and slammed the clay back onto it to make the slicing easier:


Two things I need to look into for the studio: a wedging table and a throwing stool. Do you have any suggestions?

Creativity and Artsy Things

I'm in the creative mood again... a good mood to be in as an artist! So along comes some creative blogging to go with it.

Catching up on my readings I scrolled through the blog of Linda Johnson (Little Flower Designs) and stopped on her post about the pARTsy! - a blog for "A Celebration of Artsy Products." My latest addition to my Etsy favorites is this: Cocoon Designs. I must say I'm not normally a fan of stuffed things... like extra pillows on the bed, they're just a thing of decoration that takes up space and gets tossed around needlessly. But these are fun. They're kind of odd, quirky, colorful, and I would love to have one sitting on a shelf next to a teapot in my studio. I like this little guy because it reminds me of an owl.
 
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