Feb 22 2011

In the studio today

Well the conference is over, the weather is fine, and I’m finally back in the studio. Yay!

Bas Relief on porcelain

Continuing to work on carving some bas relief designs on porcelain pieces I had thrown before the weekend. Its a bit of a leap of faith.. you commit all that time carving a design and hope for the best that they come out fine in the firing and all the glazes do what they’re supposed to be doing. ..on to the bisque firing they go!

Dogwood relief

Well on Saturday, despite the greatest of intentions, I didn’t end up taking very many pictures at all, but here are just a few more shots from the conference for you, this time of the three presenters: Chris Gustin, Misty Gamble, and Christa Assad.

Chris GustinMisty GambleChrista Assad

(fyi Next year’s conference will be in Birmingham and run by Scott Bennett)

It takes a few days to fully digest what one has seen at any workshop or conference. Sometimes you come away just brimming with excitement, inspiration and ideas, and are just rearing to go! Other times, well,.. it just takes a bit longer.

I have a question for you now.. If you were to attend a clay conference, what would you expect/like/want to see? What would you like to take away from the experience? Any dislikes…? Please comment


Feb 18 2011

Throw me something, Mister!

On stage at the Alabama Clay Conference

Just got back from the first day at the Alabama Clay Conference that’s being held in downtown Mobile this year (yes, I know, I slipped out of town before the Mardi Gras Parades began.. sad huh?). This year’s presenters are Chris Gustin, Misty Gamble, and Christa Assad. I’m not quite decided if I like all three presenters on stage at once, but thankful there were big screens on stage (and that I had enough coffee this morning to keep up with it).

Conference continues tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are just a few of the pictures I shot today at Space 301 and at the Eastern Shore Art Center (in Fairhope) last night.

Show at the Eastern Shore Art CenterEstella FransbergenClay exhibit at the Eastern Shore Art CenterSpace301 clay exhibitAlisa HolenChrista AssadMisty GambleSpace 301


Feb 12 2011

The Art of Slip Trailing

I’ve long admired the skill it takes to slip trail a design on a pot and make it look right. Not only do you have to execute an artful design and be sure of your line, it takes some coordination, being aware at all times of the exact amount of pressure you have on the bottle to control the flow of slip and have it come out in a controlled and continuous flowing line. Air bubbles in the slip bottle can be disastrous, and a clogged tip can break your flow too.

Here are just a couple of video links I came across by people who have got it down. The first is Scottish potter, Hannah McAndrew. Her work is quite lovely and in the long slipware pottery tradition of Great Britain.

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And here is Minnesota’s own Paul and Denise Morris of Morris Pottery, who do wonderful slip trailed designs on wood fired pots. Denise, slip trailing here in the video, sure makes it look effortless.

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Enjoy!


Feb 8 2011

The Devaluing Starving Artist Statement

“Your artist statement is the backbone of your marketing. “
~ Alyson Stanfield, author of I’d rather be in the studio! An Artist’s No-excuse Guide to Self-Promotion” and the ArtBiz blog

I was on facebook this morning and followed a link to someone’s website and this was the first thing I saw plastered across their home page:

Hello. My name is {omitted} and I am an artist. What is an artist? It is someone who instead of wearing a suit and going to an office everyday goes to a studio and produces art. Being an artist is kind of a divine calling – something one cannot ignore because the need to create is greater than the need for a 401K, proper health insurance, and reliable income. I know that I am doing what God created me to do and even though it is full of struggles, it is an incredible journey of faith and I am grateful He made me an artist.

(..rolling eyes)

Would this make you want to look at this person’s art or even the rest of their website? Would a collector? ..or would he/she have some concern that this person might not be around tomorrow (ie a poor investment)?

People like this who perpetuate the romance of ‘the starving artist’ are doing themselves (and all artists) a disservice: Artist: charity case, strain on society, dispensable, hobbyist, dreamer, etc., etc.. Hello..? However “Blessed” this person may feel, why would any working artist want to portray and devalue themselves like that?

As with any business, the most successful people I know, working artists included, put forward an image of themselves that is successful. I don’t think this should be any different for artists. Since most of us are self-representing, how we present ourselves can set the tone of and directly influence the perception of our work, possibly even before its seen.


Feb 6 2011

Moved the showroom today!

Today with the help of our neighbour and a John Deere tractor, we’ve moved our showroom :) Pulling the building

When we first got this little outbuilding a few years ago, the most accessible place to get a truck in to put the building, was up toward the front of the property. Its been really convenient up there for some things. It was an easy place to pull up the truck to load up for shows, and for customers so they didn’t have far to go up our driveway (which has been known to be somewhat treacherous at times). When we were not doing shows, I would sweep it out each spring and set up the show display in case a customer wanted to drop by. Prior to getting the building I would have to set up the display spur of the moment on the deck, for when I knew the customer would be arriving and then have to take everything down after they left. It was a bit of a crazy scramble. Having the building made all this a lot easier.

HelpersThe plan has always been to finish it, add lighting, a permanent display just for the showroom, and do some landscaping around it, all to give it a more enticing appearance. Its been about 4 years now and, for one reason or another, we haven’t made a great deal of progress, short of rudimentarily putting in a few windows. Running power the two or three hundred feet from the pole was going to cost a bit and it was just a bit too far to even run an extension cord to work on it. Sooo this spring we tossed around the idea of moving the building.

Now the building sits a lot closer to the studio, in the spot where I had my garden last year. It looks much happier there (if a building could look happy). There will be enough room around it to put a small porch and do some gardening. But before that, we need to level it, stake it into the ground (in prep for hurricane season), and then start fixing up the inside, of course. beforeAfterBuddy and Shino


Feb 5 2011

Bovine beauties

Another little aside from pots again.
Bovine Beauty He looks as though he could talk.

Caught a few shots of this beauty and his herd companions a couple of days ago on our way home from town. (I *think* he’s a Texas Longhorn. If you know different, please post a comment and tell me what these are). Like the pelicans I posted pics of previously, these guys were perfect models, seemingly unphased by my presence.

Sometime in October or November, my camera died (that’s why I had no sales listings posted online most of the fall). Then, just before Christmas, my dead camera was finally replaced (!). Its amazing that a mere 6 years can make such a difference in technology. You can get so much more camera now and for a fraction of the price of what they were a few years ago (super holiday sale deals sweeten the price well). Hoping this cam takes just as nice shots of pots.

Bull

Coco


Feb 1 2011

Presenters and Conferences on the coast

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What a nice way to start the day.. watching a pottery demo. This is North Carolina potter and glaze guy John Britt. He was one of the main presenters along with, PJC instructor, Bill Clover, at the Gulf Coast Clay Conference I took part in last February.

John Britt's Shino test tilesDo you get tired just looking at this? I took a glaze course with Ron Roy back in the mid 1990s, but seeing John’s impressive array of shino glaze tests spread out on the table at the clay conference like this, bowled me over and was a reminder (!) that we need to get back to testing regularly.

Shino first or be cursed!Here are Larry Manning (of Magic Kiln Pottery, and the conference coordinator) and Chris Greenman (Asst prof at Alabama State) hamming it up for the camera. Chris’ button bears the warning “Shino First or be Cursed!”

Regarding the 2011 Gulf Coast Clay Conference ..I learned this morning that this year’s conference will be taking part over in Mississippi this year on May 26-28th. I’ll post more on it later as I get it.

Speaking of clay conferences, the Alabama Clay Conference will be taking place in Mobile this year, February 17-20th, smack dab in the middle of Mardi Gras. The featured presenters are Christa Assad, Misty Gamble, and Chris Gustin. Other things associated with the conference are gallery exhibitions downtown (I’ve heard good things about the one at Space 301), and on Sunday, a demonstration at University of South Alabama’s new glass studio.