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#76076 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 24 February 2015 - 01:35 PM

Assignment:

 

Go online and into the (gasp) library (you know those things called books  ;)  ) and start looking at images.  Then start a "clip book" (digital or physical) of the pieces that you say, "I wish I made that" about.  Amass at least 100 images.

 

Then from that selection of images narrow it down to about 20 images that you REALLY feel strongly about.  Put the rest away.

 

Then (yup....writing) write out the commonalities of traits that you see in the remaining 20 objects.  Use the language of the principles of art and design for this as well as and words that stress feelings.  Write at length.  If initially you can't see connections... look deeper..... they WILL be there.

 

Then spend some time analyzing that set of commonalities you drafted.

 

Next....................... take one of your physical pieces from the photo you posted above... and set it on the table in front of you and next to the papers with the listings you just came up with.  Ask yourself "What could I do to change THIS piece to reflect some of the common characteristics that I listed"?  Write those thoughts down.  Then get a sketch pad and using the piece in front of you as a "model", draw the "new" piece as you now envision it.  Look at that fuirst sketch and revise it to improce on it.  Do that a few times.

 

Then once you have a couple of sketches..... go MAKE that piece you drew in the last sketch.

 

THEN.... (nope not done yet)............... look at the new piece and assess what you feel is working on it, and what could be improved.

 

Make the same exact piece again.... but making ONLY the changes you just articulated.  Everything that you did NOT say should be changed should look like a Xerox copy of the prior piece.

 

Repeat this process on THIS object a number of times.

 

DO this diligently on the first object...and then a few others the same way................ and you'll no longer be asking about how to do this.

 

best,

 

...............................john
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#77494 Authenticity, My Own Personal Struggle With What It Means

Posted by Tyler Miller on 17 March 2015 - 01:55 AM

This is something I wrote to articulate a struggle I've been having with my own work and to help me resolve my feelings about it.  I thought I'd share because it may help others crystallize their own artistic project.  I will disclaim that the contents may not sit well with you the reader, but it is not meant to be directed outward, this comes from my own perception of myself and no one else.  Please bear that in mind. This is 100% an internal and personal criticism directed at myself, no one else.

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that my impulses as a potter have come into conflict.  On the one hand, i want to explore and understand EVERY form.  i want to know why Wedgewood is beautiful, why chawan can be perfection and how to get there, how to make the most perfect imitation of a longquan celadon, or get the highest gloss possible on an attic red-figure copy.

 

But on the other, I can’t help but feel like I’m betraying myself and my own potential for a naturalistic artistic vision if I carry those desires too far.

 

Horace and Hamada ring in my ears.  I can’t help but think about what Hamada said about the pretentiousness of Japanese potters adding granite to their clay to make it like the prized clays of Shigaraki that naturally had it present, or the excessive effort put into applying hake me brush strokes in a beautiful manner when the Korean potters who came up with the technique were just hoping to cover the red clay of the body.

 

Indeed, there are many Hamada copyists who miss entirely Hamada’s artistic vision.  Hamada was a brilliant potter who could work in any style and formulate any glaze to fit his purpose, but he chose to be a Mashiko potter and work within the limitations of that folk tradition.  The boldness and revolutionary nature wasn’t his forms, it wasn’t his subject matter, it was that he let those decisions make themselves as he set down roots.  Leach (and Cardew) tried to do something similar, but he found that he couldn’t authentically work in the English country potter tradition as he’d hoped.  Cardew’s attempts especially failed at making slipware commercially viable the way he’d hoped.  After all, it wasn’t too long after Cardew was struggling to make it work that the last old time English country potteries closed.  I suspect potters like Isaac Button would've thought Cardew “daft” for being too precious with “nought but clay.”

 

Leach’s true success was his marketing.  The studio potter was his invention and I’m not quite sure I properly know what being a studio potter is all about.  Maybe you do.  But the concept eludes me.

 

What bothers me, however, is how many Hamada and Leach copyists exist out there.  How many little brown jugs and pitchers exist, how many tea bowls are thrown, only to be an awkward way to drink Earl Grey or a latté, or how many anagamas are built in North America and Europe.  It may all be a part of the natural progression of studio potters—the artist’s indulgence in the process seems to be part of the process, and that’s fine.  But to what extent are we really just adding granite to our finely levigated clay?  To what extent are we just lingering too long over how we’re going to apply our slip with a rough brush, when maybe we should be thinking about how best to do justice to our art as a continuation of ourselves?

 

It’s too easy to don masks and pretend we’re one thing or another.  Playing at pretend is almost a right in the western world.  We’ve allowed ourselves the luxury of saying “well, I’m pagan, but I really like buddhist meditation, and I wear a rosary to honour my great aunt, who was a nun—I can still feel her spirit with me.”  To me, as I get older, this kind of pastiche of cultural appropriation seems to miss the point entirely.  We can dissemble ourselves into oblivion, when the point of it all is to seek and express truth.  Can a westerner truly grasp wabi-sabi?  Maybe academically, but I think we only have limited choices before us when it comes to approaching another culture, we can step into it through a contextualized “window” of study,  we can compartmentalize its attributes into our own, preexisting culture, or we can let it wash over us and envelope us and change us, but even then, we’re never quite authentically a part of it.  Disagree?  Examine how you feel about immigrants who come to where you live, do they ever really become a part of your culture in your eyes?  Is the person with an accent ever really American/Canadian/Mexican/British/French/Swiss/or Japanese?  I want them to feel like they are, but they know as well as I do that’s not an identity they get. Their children and their children’s children get that, but never them.

 

So too, I feel it is with culture.  We will always have a cultural “accent” when we work within an artistic context other than our own.  I’m getting pretty good at throwing Hellenic forms and I make a decent chawan, but they’re not real, my Canadian accent is too thick for me to speak proper Greek (οὐκ ὀρθως ἑλληνίζω).  And while it’s a good and acculturating experience for me to try and expose myself to different cultures and ideas, at some point it becomes an exercise in hiding from oneself.  At some point that in-between space between cultures becomes an insulation.  Something like:  I cannot identify with my own culture, so I adopt another to act as a mask among my own people, a means of explaining myself through other peoples and hiding myself the same way.  Maybe the artist has a right to do this, but I’ve never been comfortable with that kind of conceptual art.  It seems too much like the Animé fan girls who obsess over Japanese culture and pine over its superiority in order to compensate for their own struggle to fit in.  Or a friend of mine who constantly travels, with no roots anywhere.  When things get “too real” in any one place, he moves on, and finds a new set of friends and a new culture.

 

But all this begs the question?  What do I do as an artist to be authentic to myself and my work?  I think Horace’s Ars Poetica has a venerable answer.  A painter cannot legitimately paint a horse’s neck with a human head and all manner of feathers and features down below.  At least, not without proper context.  A writer sounds ridiculous writing a day’s events in purple prose.  There’s a proper register and justice to be done to everything.  A proper way to work with clay.  Indeed, i think that’s what the Japanese are talking about when they talk about the “flavour” of the clay.  It’s like a wine’s terroir.  A certain kind of climate does the best justice to a certain kind of grape.  And so too, I think a certain land produces a certain kind of clay, a certain culture a certain set of vessels, and a certain person a certain kind of approach.  There’s little place for obfuscation in this, I think.  No real reason to try to appropriate another culture, at least, for any length of time.  The culture you grew out of is culture enough.  And really, the best artists I know, seem to shoot at something above it anyway, they look too deeply inward.  Their imitators, however, seem all too superficial by comparison.




#70289 Overcoming Insecurity

Posted by LeeU on 20 November 2014 - 10:45 AM

OK, Ms. Guinea "furry critter" potter............this is from MY experience, so try not to personalize or view as targeted criticism...that is not where I am coming from  :wub:

 

When I was a student at the School of the Arts (Crafts Department, VCU) several instructors gave me painful "pull-ups". Pull-ups are blunt, sometimes harsh, reality checks that are used in an old-school drug treatment modality called Therapeutic Community. Screw up, and you'll find yourself scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush or sitting on the Hot Seat to receive scorching feedback, or getting onerous pull-ups from the community.

 

Well, I had an instructor who was forever giving me pull-ups. And I really got my feelings hurt and got very discouraged and was about to quit school. He'd say things like "Art is not therapy...it you need emotional help, get out of my class and go see a social worker."  This type of comment might be delivered after I had to defend my lopsided vessel by disclosing that it was "off' because my hands were shaking when I centered because I was upset about "something". 

 

The day I was going to quit I ran into another art instructor, and I was crying at the time. She asked what was wrong, sat on the steps with me, listened while I moaned about this instructor, and then said "Don't you dare quit. You just do your best and come see me if anyone gives you any ######." I lived to fight another day, and earned my degree.  

 

(What neither of them knew was that I was in the shape I was in because I had been severely beaten by someone who knew how to not leave bruises where they show, that I was in a shelter with my toddler, that the batterer had totally destroyed my portfolio the night before the final critique, and that voc rehab was only very reluctantly paying for my school because I refused to work at McD's where they tried to place me. I insisted...with threat of legal action, since I had/have disabilities...that I could do something about and with my life if I could just go to art school.) 

 

Long story long: I had to get off the pity-pot, stop awfulizing and cease  whining about my sorry state of affairs, stop victimizing self, (participating in the killing of my own spirit by staying stuck), cop a positive attitude, and otherwise get a grip and make tough choices and tough changes to get myself out of the morass.   Making a daily Gratitude List, as much as I hated it, also helped. I had so little gratitude that I had to start by listing my ten fingers and ten toes, I kid you not. Oh, and I did avail myself of some therapy.   :wacko:

 

Eventually I came to see that the comments on my work that Mr. No Sensitivity provided were just as valuable, in terms of improving my skills, as the pep-talks from Ms. Nice-guy. Today, I have to own the fact that, by virtue of being a student, I ASKED FOR feedback on my work, and thus can't complain that I got it! LOL  :rolleyes:    




#77134 What Do You Get Out Of This Forum Interaction?

Posted by oldlady on 11 March 2015 - 09:29 AM

i will never write a book, i have nobody to leave my studio and equipment, i will not have made an impression on the clay world when i am gone.  maybe something i have said will matter to someone here.  those little "likes" are nice to see.




#76010 *gasp* Handle Sacrilege!

Posted by Benzine on 23 February 2015 - 08:12 PM

you can almost describe pulling as linear throwing.

 

That's essentially how I explain it to my students.

 

Also, another reason I enjoy pulled handles, is because I get to demonstrate it straight-faced, to a group of teenagers, while watching them try to not laugh...




#67454 Well Said

Posted by Min on 08 October 2014 - 11:39 AM

I came across the little anonymous blurb below on Bailey's facebook page...

 

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#64331 New Hampshire Institute Of Art Anagama Build - Images

Posted by JBaymore on 11 August 2014 - 10:28 PM

Some people asked me to keep some updates here on out progress.  So...... here are a couple of shots of the first two days of the build:

 

Day One

 

Attached File  GettingStarted-8-11.jpg   302.88KB   3 downloads

 

 

Attached File  RoasterArea-8-11.jpg   362.4KB   1 downloads

 

Day Two

 

Attached File  SecondDay-8-11.jpg   368.16KB   3 downloads

 

 

Attached File  SecondDay-2-8-11.jpg   334.55KB   2 downloads

 

 

 

More to come in this thread.  Check back every day or so if you are interested.

 

best,

 

.................john




#79112 Dressing Up The Display

Posted by GEP on 11 April 2015 - 06:00 PM

I cut and sewed my tablecloths to fit my tables exactly, with the hems hovering right above the ground. I fold the sides around to make boxed sides, then pin them in place with upholstery pins. They are cheap, and fast to set up and take down. I'm not a great seamstress, but I can sew a straight line.

 

 

Attached Files




#74635 Community Challenge #1

Posted by GEP on 01 February 2015 - 11:25 AM

FINAL ENTRY - GEP

 

I'll go first! This is a design I make on a regular basis, therefore my entry is ready to go.

 

"Serving Bowl with Clouds" 11 inches across.

 

Attached File  clouds-bowl600px.jpg   241.72KB   30 downloads




#71965 What Was Your Greatest Leap Forward This Year?

Posted by GEP on 16 December 2014 - 10:33 AM

My biggest leap forward this year was the result of leaving my teaching job at the end of 2013. I do miss the classroom environment and seeing my students/friends every week. But having all of my time devoted to studio work resulted in giant leaps forward in productivity, design of new pieces, more shows, and a whopping 40% increase in sales (not exaggerating ... I'm still trying to wrap my head around this number). I also never felt strung-out exhausted this fall, which had been the norm in previous years. Somewhere along the way this year, my work crossed over another threshold. After several years of applying, I was juried into the 2015 Smithsonian Craft Show, so next year is already looking bright.




#71770 Production Potter Productivity

Posted by neilestrick on 12 December 2014 - 03:13 PM

As a kiln repair tech, and former clay & glaze tech for one of the clay/glaze manufacturers in the midwest, I have learned that I spend more time asking questions than answering questions. When a customer calls with a technical problem, I have to ask a ton of questions in order to get to the root of the problem, and even then people often leave out important information. I once had a customer call to complain that his terra cotta body, which he had mixed himself, had little white specs in it. He was sure that the Redart we had sold him was contaminated, and he was NOT happy. I asked him for his recipe, which he gave me, and there was nothing odd about it- just Redart and ball clay if I remember right. We talked about his water supply, his mixing methods, his pug mill, etc, etc, etc. Finally, after all that, I asked him if he was putting barium carbonate in the clay body (to prevent scumming). Well, yes, of course, he said. Everyone does, right? I asked him if he was blunging it in water before adding it to the clay body. No, he said. That was the source of the white specs- the barium wasn't dispersing very well when added dry.

 

My point is, we often leave out important facts when describing our situation because we assume they are general knowledge, and we often assume certain facts to be general knowledge when answering questions. In a forum situation like this it's very difficult to get all the facts out there, and it's very difficult to answer questions without making assumptions. There are shortcomings on both sides of the conversation because this is a slow, tedious way to have a conversation. But it doesn't mean anyone is intentionally trying to be difficult, on either side.




#69459 For Christmas.

Posted by bciskepottery on 06 November 2014 - 09:35 PM

Attached File  candles.jpg   117.68KB   82 downloads


#3228 Amaco Ancient Jasper Question

Posted by Steve Lampron on 22 October 2010 - 03:17 PM

ANCIENT JASPER: Hello all and stay with me as I am and old guy and not blog capable. I am the VP of Technical Services here at AMACO and the engineer that developed this glaze. I am very sad to hear that some of you are having difficulty with this glaze. It is actually a very easy glaze to work with and will yield excellant results. Let me give you a few tips on this type of glaze in general an then some specifics about ANCIENT JASPER.
Many midrange and high fire glazes used by ceramic artists are what I call FLOAT glazes. These are the pretty glazes that tend to seperate out different colors in areas where the glazes are thicker. ANCIENT JASPER is this type of glaze and what it floating out is iron oxide. Iron is one of the more interesting colorants simply because it can be in so many different oxidation states. This simply means that it can make a ton of different colors. With any float glaze, enough thickness of glaze must be applied in order for the excess iron to float to the surface. If the glaze is thinly applied, the glaze will tend to be drier and a very unpleasant color.
This glaze was not developed where any massive amount of glaze needs to be applied. If it had needed this I would have told everyone on the label. We actually never had any issues getting red at all. I always try new glazes on all of our clay bodies to make sure there isn't some issue I need to know of. We also fire them at cone 5 and cone 6 to check stability. We found no issues with this glaze on either account. By now you probably saying, great but it didn't work for me. I will list some good parameters below for you to follow and I am 100% sure you will find this glaze simple to use and that it will yield great results.
1. Temperature: The red color is actually the first color to float and the use of more heat will tend to make it turn to the purples, yellows, browns and black. This means you will tend to see slightly (and I do mean slightly) more red at cone 5 than cone 6. No soak is needed for this glaze and actually soaking it will cause more red to fade into the other colors.
2. Thickness: The glaze must be applied with enough thickness to float the iron.
3. Kiln cycle: I fire all the glazes we develop in an electric kiln at fast, medium and slow speeds. Red color will be developed at all speeds but the faster the firing ~6 hours (tons of red) the better the results. I always quality check each batch at cone 5 in 8 hours. 10-12 hour cycles will cause more red to fade to the other colors. This is most critical within 200 defrees of peak. If your elements are weak and it takes the kiln a long time to achieve the last 200 degrees, you will find less red.
4. Cool down: No special cool down is needed nor will it help develop any red color. Letting the kiln simply shut off and cool naturally is all that is needed.
4. Clay Body: I have tested this on porcelain, typical stoneware bodies, bodies with grog, bodies without grog, brown colored bodies, etc. I develop red on all of them. I have found that when using our #1 Porcelain slip that the color transition away from the red tones is very pronounced (although it makes a rainbow of the other colors). This is because for a cone 5 porcelain slip alot of soft flux is needed to tighten the body. The flux in the body mixes with the glaze and actually makes the glaze softer (simulating more heat).
5. Texture: This glaze loves texture and will make some incredible colors. The texture makes the glaze get thinner and thicker in areas. The thicker the glaze the easier it is for it to stay red. The thinner the glaze gets the hotter that area of glaze gets and it shifts to the other colors.

These simple tips should help everybody that wants to make ANCIENT JASPER work. I suggest running a few tests of glaze thickness in your next kiln load and follow the firing rules above. Three nice coats on any typical stoneware body, fired to cone 5 or 6 in 6-8 hours with no soak and no special cooling curve will yield pieces just like the ones we showed in the ads. These were just pots we made in the lab. Honestly I have never actually made a pot that didn't make colors just like those pieces.
I will attempt to post a few more photos here today and next week we will post a board I made with all of our clay bodies fired at slow, medium and fast so you can see the slight differences.
Let me know if this helps.
The photo files are too big to upload. I will have someone help me make them smaller for next week.
Steve.........


#77060 Porcelain Throwing Method

Posted by JBaymore on 10 March 2015 - 11:11 AM

"True" porcelain is a composition of just a kaolin and a single ground rock  - called p'tunse.  It is a high silica content feldspathic based rock.  Often also called "Porcelain Stone"   磁器石 )  Neil's basic "recipe" above would approximate a true porcelain (no ball clay) ....in basic chemical composition. Not particle size or distribution.

 

Might be a "Lost in Translation" moment. ;)  

 

In Japan clay bodies are almost always wet blunged with a great excess of water from far less pure materials, through repeated smaller mesh screenings as it is moved to different blunging batches, and then is filter pressed to remove the last excess water.  This process produces really good quality clay out of materials that we would think of as "inferior" or "primitive" by our industrially refined standards. 

 

In America we tend to mix clay direct to the plastic state from industrially beneficiated (dried and airfloated, etc) clays with just enough water to make it workable.  This is NOT the way to make really good clay.  It is the way to make cheap (production-wise) clay. 

 

If we took the same kaolin and ground rock the Japanese (and Chinese) use for porcelain, and mixed up a body the way US suppliers typically do.... it'd likely be totally un-useable for forming.

 

The reason this labor and machinery intensive process  'works' in Japan is that the valuation for ceramic work is generally higher there.  And they are willing to have material cost a higher percentage of the sale price (indicating respect for good starting materials). Many ceramic centers mix up their own clays from mostly local materials (hence the visual distinction between pottery "villages" work).  Clay prices from suppliers in Japan in many/most places would shock you.  In America... many, many potters will go to another supplier if the price of a pound of clay is even one cent more.  No incentive in most cases for our suppliers to make better clay.

 

If that clay you got to feel was brought from Japan, Chris, it likely was produced by the blunging and the wet filter press method.  That is likely a portion of the buttery quality you mention.  And the repeated screening and settling process will take out the large particles so that is another part.

 

PS:  For porcelain (in Japanese "Jiki"   磁器  -gee key-), often in the blunging there is a huge magnet suspended in the tank with the mixing slurry... to take out the hematite (iron) nodlues.

 

best,

 

...................john




#76923 How Many Sell Ceramics For A Living?

Posted by Pugaboo on 06 March 2015 - 11:41 PM

I have been a full time artist for many years, photography, painting, etc recently started doing pottery. In the past I made enough to live on from art, if I had to, but my husband earned good money so I didn't need to. Used the money for equipment, traveling, and such instead. Now my husband is ill and can no longer work his disease is progressive it's never going to get better and will eventually end in his death. Sad but a true reality for me. This is the writing on MY wall.

I have instituted a 10 year plan, I just hope I have the time to get there. I have a chart taped to the wall in my studio with each year marked and a goal for that year, next to that is a blank line where I will add the actual number as I get there. I only got started about halfway through the year last year and made a little over $5k (peanuts I know but it was a test to see if what I do now will sell) I plan to double that this year, then do so many dollars more each year after that but do not expect doubling each year (I am realistic). In 10 years I need to be making between $25-35k a year to support myself. I know this is possible since I have done it before but it's not just fun and games anymore it will mean survival or not.

I work 6-8 hours a day every day IN the studio and usually put in a 2-4 more hours on the computer doing listings, etsy, website, ebay, etc. Or researching shows, local galleries etc. I'm not afraid of hard work I'm afraid of failure. Yesterday I tested out to see how many Spoonrests I can get from a 25lb bag of clay and how long it to me to make them. I got $518 worth of product from a $14 bag of clay. It took me 3 hours to do it. I pay myself $10 an hour so with the clay I subtract $44 from the $518. Subract off glazes and kiln firings etc and I'll get my profit from it. I am constantly looking at something thinking okay this is nice and people are buying it by the droves how can I do it faster, better, to improve my sales and the profit margin. I save 25% of every sale, I put another 25% into an account for equipment, that's half of everything I sell. I can do that for now since still have the money we saved from when he was working to live on. I realize my plan is small, not going to be a millionaire I don't care about that I just want to earn enough to feed, clothe and house myself.

For now, since he can't go to shows with me and I can't leave him alone at night or for a weekend I am only doing local shows that I can get home to each night. I did 4 festivals last year, plan to do 8-10 this year, and 12 the year after. I am also looking at finding more shops and galleries to carry my work, if I can get enough of these selling without me being there that's is a big plus. I always carry a small packet with me everywhere I go it contains 4 images of my work, a short introductory letter about myself, my work and a business card. When I find someplace I think would be a good selling venue for me I stop and speak with the owner, manager, sales clerk and leave this packet for them to peruse or pass on to the person that decides what to sell. I also keep a small box of finished pieces in the back seat just in case they ask to see real product, it's better to be prepared then have to schedule a time to go back the window of opportunity might be closed by then. I have my first inquiry concerning a wholesale order and I am trying to get it closed but I have never done wholesale before like this... They want x number of the same pieces x number of different images on the pieces. I am more familiar with the galleries and shops that want one of a kinds. So I am working on this type of a sale right now trying to figure out how it all works. If I can get it right and a solid deal it means one more avenue of income and that the next time someone asks for an order like this I'll know what the heck I am doing.

I will also be teaching 4 classes this year at the local art center, a new thing for me, but if it works another avenue of income.

I have a website, 2 etsy shops, do ebay sales, private commissions, take on graphic art projects like logos and flyers and such, etc. I will do whatever I have to in order to succeed... I WILL NOT FAIL

Do I know what I am doing? Heck no but is that going to keep me from giving it 150% effort? Not on your life. I would rather work 18 hours a day for myself than work a job for someone else where I really am only in it for the paycheck. If I end up doing that then I will consider that I have failed and have I mentioned I don't deal well with failure?

Terry


#76627 New Work -A Bit Different For Me

Posted by Mark C. on 02 March 2015 - 09:40 PM

I unloaded a few gas fired glaze kilns today-all porcelain . 

I have a friend who was very specific on his plate colors-that is he wanted it all-as its a gift I granted his wish.

I made 7 plates for him and they all came out perfect-Its what I call landscape as its many glazes.

This busy looking combos is becoming more popular is certain areas I have notices so I'm making more mugs and smalls in this combo-its just a lot of glaze work.

Mark

 

Attached Files




#71519 What Was Your Greatest Leap Forward This Year?

Posted by Diesel Clay on 09 December 2014 - 01:43 PM

I went from lurking in the forums at this time last year, to being a full fledged member, and feeling like part of this community.
I went from not having worked in clay for about two years AT ALL to having an etsy store, a website, my first ongoing commercial client, a couple of successful markets under my belt, and $5000 worth of work about to go to Market Collective in Calgary this weekend. (They are leaders in the local Handmade movement, and competition to get in is kinda fierce.) I have been more prolific this year than I have at any point since I graduated from college.

And I haven't really put it that way to myself even, until you asked that question. Wow. Definitely some growth.

Edit:
Thank you to everyone here for helping me to remember that I'm actually pretty good at this. And of how much more I want to learn.


#69163 Festival Survival

Posted by Pugaboo on 02 November 2014 - 06:12 PM

I had an interesting day yesterday to say the least. I had a festival in North Georgia. I also had snow, wind, and cold. YAY

Setup was set to start at 7:30 am. I am usually one of the first to arrive since I like to take my time and not risk hurting my back. I decided to show up at 8:30 instead. You have no idea what a huge decision this was for me... I am always early for everything, I still can't believe I managed it. 😜

Secretly I am hoping the show promoter will tell me it's been cancelled when I pull up. I arrive and am told cheerfully that the show would go on that we were tougher than a little bit of weather. Hmmm Weather Advisory anyone? Pulling into the site the first view to greet me is a lone tent upside down in the middle of the field. It looked like a squashed spider with crooked spindly legs sticking out in every direction. The legs had a nice chunky profile though where the PVC weights were still attached and visible between the flapping shreds of the tent top. Has no one around here heard of the weather channel except me? 20-25mph sustained winds with 40mph gusts, rain, sleet, snow and Max temperature of 40-45. Woo hoo lazy sunbathing weather, oh wait I can't get a tan for the life of me so I guess I'll just do the festival instead.

I decide to set up my display but not to put up my tent, easy ups are not known for liking wind. I just didn't feel like practicing my tent flying skills. Lazy thing aren't I? I had brought extra weights. I usually have 4 25lb wrap around sand bag style weights that I use but I had raided the gym on my way through the garage and grabbed 2 25lb and 2 30lb kettle bell weights to add to this. I also grabbed my spiral anchors and an extra pack of ratchet straps. I was really worried about bending the frame trying to keep everything on the ground.

While setting up my displays I had to clamp the fabric covers down since they were flapping around like crazy. I zip tied all the wooden crates together and then to my tables. Whatever would I do without zip ties, wish I knew who invented them so I could send them a thank you note. I had to put pieces of wood under the table legs as the ground was wet and soft and they started sinking before I even had pots on them. Oh and why do they never sink equally? It's always to one side or the other, something really weird about that let me tell you. I zip tied my plate racks and sculptures to the crates and taped the plates to the racks. While I was doing this other artists would stop and ask, "aren't you worried about the rain?" My answer, "Nope pots don't care if they get wet and I have a rain coat and umbrella for me." They would answer, "oh" and wander off. Lol I guess my answer wasn't the one they wanted to hear.

From the looks of it about 1/3 to 1/2 of the artists didn't even show up. My husband said oh you mean the smart ones stayed home. Ummm... I set up what does that say about me? He just gave me a look. I guess he doesn't want cooked food this week huh. Mr. supportive stayed home with the dogs which is just as well having to listen to even one more person whine about the cold might have done me in.

The day progressed, the sun came out which was a blessing and made me even happier I didn't put up my canopy as it warmed up my space quite nicely. The wind was relentless and so was the cold. There was a handful of people braving the elements. I sold some items but nothing big. They didn't want to carry anything and expose their hands to the cold. If it was small enough to fit in their pocket they were interested but just barely. Spoon rests sold, colorful fall leaves did not. Personally I think Polar Bears have no need of leaves but find spoon rests useful for their big bear spoons. The show had the capability of be a great one if the weather had just cooperated. Thank goodness for spoon rests... Seriously spoon rests saved my rump.

By the end of the day I had the pleasure of watching another tent flip over, covered my show fees, supply fees, got paid for creation time, and made a little bit of profit as long as I don't pay myself for the time spent selling. I'm such a good volunteer I really must ask me to help out again! The booth behind me sold nothing, the booth next to me sold nothing, the booth on the other side never showed up. The booth diagonally behind me was a potter and he sold some. I'm thinking around $200 but it could have been more or less. The woman selling hats and scarves 2 booths down made a killing. Gee I wonder why? Any ideas??? Maybe I should have knitted little caps and scarves for my Pug sculptures and mugs then I might have sold some.

Towards the end of the show I am sitting there wrapped up in five layers of clothes fantasizing about Oldlady's closet full of wool sweaters. Weird but true, I actually got to debating with my self as to just how many layers of wool sweaters it would take to turn one into the Michelin man and have to be rolled away. Thank you oldlady for mentioning your lovely closet stuffed full of warm and toasty wool sweaters, I being a past Florida girl probably own 2, but at least it gave me something to take my mind off the loss of feeling in my extremities.

Anyhowwww sitting there wondering why I hadn't thought to bring a blanket a guy walks up and goes... "How can you be so calm? It's irritating!"

"Ummm excuse me do I know you?"

He points off in the other direction and I guess he can see me from his booth or something. I ask, "What is there to be stressed about? I can't control the weather, once I decided to do the show the only thing to worry about was tent or no tent, that decided there's nothing left to do but hope for the best." I told him the stress goes away when there are no options to choose from. He grumbled something and stalked away. Oh well another unhappy noncustomer. I really must work on my people skills.

The day continues, the clouds build, the temperatures plummet, the handful of wanderers stagger frigidly off to their cars and hey what do you know it's 5pm and I didn't blow away. YIPEE, success I am soooo good at this. lol The show promotor comes by and hands out checks for the $25 deposit we sent with our applications. Those of us still standing at the end of the day earned our deposits back. Woo hoo! I'm rich whatever shall I do with all the money!

The only thing good about tear down was that for the first time in 8 hours I wasn't shivering. Oh and the fact that it was really quick since I had no tent to take down... Really must think on this use of no tent policy of mine for the future just imagine all the stuff I could leave at home. On the other hands the medical bills to care for my skin cancer might eat into that joy some so I guess maybe it's best to just stick with a tent and take a bit longer to tear down.

Show survived, pots packed, car heater running full blast, I looked at my husband, grinned and said, "Gosh the life of an artist is so glamorous, so easy, no responsibilities, do what I want, not a worry in sight, it just doesn't get better than this."

He just rolled his eyes and said, "I think you froze more than your toes."

😄😁😃

Terry


#54842 Video "a Love Story In Clay"

Posted by Isculpt on 17 March 2014 - 03:28 AM

My husband Bill and I are very private, low-profile people, but when Piedmont Crafts Guild, the oldest crafts guild in NC, asked us to participate in a series of short videos about guild members, we couldn't say 'no' to a guild that has done so much for so many.  Consequently, we spent a day last summer with a mini film crew at our rural South Carolina home near the Catawba Indian Nation, whose thousands of years of pottery tradition my husband carries on.  In contrast, as some of you know from the outpouring of help that I've received from this forum, I am a self-taught sculptor.  What I really like about the video is how it shows that, like everyone who chooses to work in clay, our love for the medium enriches and defines our life.  (What I don't love, having just seen the film, is that it now occurs to me that taking a few minutes to apply cosmetics (on me, not Bill) might have been a good investment of my time before the crew arrived to make a high def video!  :huh:)  Oh well.... 

 

http://shawneestreet...d-jayne-harris/

 

Added note:

 

Thanks, all of you for your kind words and warm response to the video.  I have to say that the decision to focus the video on our relationship along with our work was the choice of the makers, and it struck us as slightly ironic.  After the intensity and intimacy of a shared life in craft, we were adjusting to a new reality that took Bill away from home and studio for all but a few hours a day.  After 25 years of working side by side, our new reality is that his days as Chief of the Catawba Indian Nation are filled with administrative duties for a tribe of 3,000, lobbying Congress on Native issues, and handling intense political pressure as he works to regain some of the sovereign rights lost to his tribe. Meanwhile I keep the homefires burning and look forward to the day when his crucial work on behalf of his tribe is done and I regain my studio partner.

 

The video shows us working on several pieces that are pictured in their completed states below.

Attached File  B Harris small image.jpg   52.81KB   5 downloadsAttached File  Bill Harris Pottery_054 small image.jpg   28.49KB   2 downloadsAttached File  BLUEBIRDS SWIRLED AROUND HER clay sculpture by Jayne Harris.jpg   181.59KB   3 downloadsAttached File  JAYNE HARRIS SCULPTURE 46 SMALL IMAGE.jpg   46.85KB   2 downloads




#14538 A humbling experience

Posted by Pres on 06 March 2012 - 10:00 AM

I left home on Thursday afternoon excited to be going to my first pottery conference. The slate of professionals demonstrating had a mix of veteran potters with younger established potters. I had high hopes of returning home rejuvenated as the winter freezes are almost over here in PA. Eight and a half hrs. later I was getting a room and settling in for the night as it was past 10pm. Next morning with the GPS to guide me I showed up at the Randolph Arts Guild to be directed to the conference at the First Baptist Church. The church had a large meeting hall that I walked into seeing a stage of 3 potters with large flat screen TV's behind. To my left was John Glick, center was Cynthia Bringle, with Jack Troy directly in front-what a hand to draw to! They demonstrated all morning while bandying back and forth with good humor, and Jack read several thought provoking poems about life and clay. Three very different styles of functional pottery, varied techniques for surface treatment, and firing. To watch these individuals together was marvelous. After an excellent lunch, we had Ronan Perterson, Martha Grover, and Jake Johnson on stage. These three were also in very different in technique from the flowing organic porcelain forms of Martha's, to Ronans utilitarian colorful earthenware, and Jake's organic functional stoneware. Each had their own style, their own philosophy about clay, and their own personal voice. Wonderful interplay on stage, as they demonstrated throwing of forms, Martha throwing "bottomless", Jake pinching forms off of the hump, and Ronan with broad measured rims. They spoke back and forth about what was important to them with the forms they were making, and interjected tidbits about family life and life as a potter. The day ended with an excellent meal, and back to the room to bed.

Next morning the venue was reversed ending with the veterans, as they trimmed pots they had made, decorated forms, and talked about their work. We had more poems from Jack, more philosophy about sales and pottery from Cynthia and John. In the morning the youngsters assembled and trimmed. Martha assembled a multi-spouted bud vase with pulled dogbone handles. Ronan cut the bottoms out of pots and distorted them adding new bases, while Jake assembled a teapot and made salt and pepper sets. The day had been exciting, insightful, and very humbling. I began to wonder if what I was doing was even worth pursuing, and so I left the last session conflicted as I headed to dinner. After dinner was to be a trip out to Dwight Holland's house. The way I was feeling, I almost didn't go, but decided to anyway, after all I had traveled Eight hours, maybe never to come this way again.

The trip to Dwight's house was quite something. GPS will travel works well if you have the right address all the time. Alas I didn't have the right address so I went back to the The Exchange where dinner had been to get better directions, and finally made it. Walking up to the house in the dark the first thing I saw was a large elk rack hanging off the wall, hmmm. Inside the door to the right, I was suddenly breathless, there on the walls, on shelves 2-3 deep, on the floor were pots-pots everywhere. I felt almost claustrophobic, the walls wanting to close in on me. So many fine pieces of pottery in one place, and as I turned to look across into the room further, crowded with conversing people, I saw more pots, casseroles here, pitchers, floor vases, jars, everything imaginable. Deep breathes later I started to gather my poise, and looked closer. We had been told by Dwight to pick pots up, feel them, enjoy them; I dared not. So I looked, working my way across the room. At one point looking at a shelf full of casseroles and bowls " Any of these seems familiar" Jack Troy asked. I had seen them before, in pictures, black and white and color, but here they were. I was told Jack yes they were familiar. He asked me about a piece on the end " who did this one" I couldn't answer him, it looked like salt glazing, but I was so uncertain of anything I answered "I don't know". "Warren Mackenzie" was his answer. We discussed things a short time ending with look and learn from Jack. I felt shamed, that I couldn't place pieces I had taught about without my notes! Had I not known anything, was what I had done for so many years just a shadow of what I should have could have done? These thoughts were with me as I went from room to room, looking all through the house, every room had its shelves of pottery every room priceless in the gathering of the history of 20th century ceramics, and the windows other pots gave on ceramics through the ages. Thousands of pots all in one home! I finally lifted some of the pots, felt them, learned form them, looked more closely at them once I got over the overwhelmed feeling I had when I walked into the house. I also learned a few things too. The size, the colors, the textures, the scope of what these pots were in person were not anywhere near what we saw in books and magazines. Nor was the understanding of the pieces the same when seen as in a museum, as it was when touched, felt with closed eyes, and enjoyed by being right there to do so. I also realized, that part of my inability to identify the Warren Mackenzie or others on the table was that I had only seen them in books or magazines, my understanding of these pots had been flawed all along.

Don't wait like I did until you are in your later years to go to a ceramics conference! Get out, take the time to see the wonderful people out there working in person, get a chance to see good pots up close. Live a little!

I also wish that when you post pots in the forum, or in the galleries that you will give some reference as to size. Seeing a Robin Hopper vase that stands 20" tall when your perceptions from books may say 14" gives you an inaccurate understanding of the piece. Not important you say? Let me approach it like this. We all know The Picnic on the Grass by Seurat. We know that it is a large pointillist work. So what. I had thought that I knew it also, until I saw it in Chicago years ago. I walked a room, turned a corner and there it was between two large doorways. It sublimated the walls, the room and everything in it. The control it had of the space due to is size, its color, the glowing vibrancy of the the small dots interacting with each other had a power beyond any understanding from a book. The sheer size was breathtaking. I finally understood the Picnic on the Grass. so post some reference to size in your work pictures, or show them in context to something we know as size. We as artists have always had to photograph our work to show the work and only the work for shows, but does that show the casual viewer everything they need to know; I think not.

After I got home, I walked out to the shop the next day, and looked at some mugs I had made before leaving, handling them, looking them, and breathing quietly. I realized in the end, that maybe I should continue on, I had some orders to do, some thoughts about pots I could pursue. I'll muddle through. . .