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Everything posted by LeeU

  1. Quite a while ago I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Jenny Holzer ( an internationally known neo-conceptual artist). She stressed that "Art is valuable because it offers freedom." She said art is political (in history over time), but the subject matter does not have to be political for the piece to be political." (An aside--coincidently, the current topic Selling Internationally in the Business/Marketing forum includes an aspect of this issue.) Holzer talked about the value of art--art worthy of valuing--in that art, at its creative essence, provides people a way to confront questions of ideology, of the past, the present, and the future. My favorite art history instructor (American painter, Richard Carlyon) said "Art is the early warning sign of the culture." The context included a discussion about the escalating obstacles generated by the "art world" that impacted public access to art, perceptions of art as shaped by critics and educational institutions/curricula, and the way some art forms (ceramics comes to mind) are devalued in commerce and held in lower esteem vs. other art forms that are elevated to elite status and garner often insane amounts of money. My point is that I can't even begin to articulate (for myself) what art is or is not, when there are so many layers and dimensions of complexity that inform what we think (or are taught to think) art is and is not, that it seems like a futile question. Sort of like a skittish cat--you know it's a cat, but you can't quite get close enough to touch it. I need decent art history resources to help me learn how to identify, understand, and value art...but also need to discern what is culturally political (like the infatuation with Picasso's ceramics, who I think was a naked emperor-hope that doesn't offend anyone.)
  2. Commerce is political, shaped by whether fair, or not, and the degree to which transactions are intertwined with gov't(s), private parties, cultural influences, and-in many societies-religion. The process of distribution, viewing, selling, preserving, or destroying art is often political, regardless of the content or nature of the piece. We on this Forum tend to avoid addressing politics in reference to our work, in order to keep discussions civil and focussed on the pleasure, processes, practices, and problems of clay and glazes. But, there is a political aspect to the selling of art, when gov'ts impose excessive (not reasonable/fair) export duties, taxes, fees, export penalties etc. , which, in this case, have literally impeded someone's ability to conduct business in a fair manner relative to the value of his work. Yeah---BLEH---and double bleh!
  3. My house is unashamedly peppered throughout with my own work. Some is non-functional, like my "excavation" series of shelf pieces and my Hidden Mask series of wall pieces. My practical day-to-day ware includes tea light holders, rakued tiles that I use as large coasters, cone incense burners (my favorites are a heavy piece glazed in a beautiful silvery Palladium and one in a clear gloss-glazed super white porcelain), unique spoon rests, catchy catch-alls, free-form card/letter holders, tiny herb/spice spoons, small vessels and vases, and 2 favorite mugs.
  4. LeeU

    Newbie needing advice

    I've not had much experience with air drying clay, other than bad ones. It eventually chipped or cracked apart-maybe I gave it bad ju-ju somehow. I suspect either approach for attachment would do the job. That material is not waterproof and you probably will want to use an effective sealant on your piece. There are decent books/videos on using the substance for sculptural work (for adults, not kid projects) "google".
  5. LeeU

    skipping bisque firing

    And Old Lady is very kind, regardless of what she says. She took the time to talk w/me on the phone & 1st taught me about single-firing, which I do exclusively now (except for items for community kilns). And trust me, I know for a fact that not "everyone else" here is kind, myself included.
  6. I avoid juried groups and exhibits and try not to succumb to doing local art shows. It's just not for me. I was exposed to the "art scene" in NYC and VA and there is nothing about the whole milieu that I care for, especially the lifestyle that can come with it in some places, if one gets caught up in that. The most valuable learning I got from my formal education (a state school) in ceramics was being taught the necessity and practice of critical thinking, and vetting for myself any assertions before buying into something, (like the mass mis-perception that Picasso is a great and revolutionary artist-sorry, couldn't resist). The first time I heard an excellent art history presentation on what was beyond the surface in a 15th century painting, where the fly on the pretty piece of fruit was actually a socio-economic commentary on the deterioration of the culture at the time, I realized that art is often about more than "what you see is what you get " or what I like or don't like--that formal education about art--making it, understanding it, and appreciating it--is important. When I learned how to center and throw, I also learned about the great potters throughout the centuries, and clay artists working with non-functional objects. This was amazing to me, and without the BFA degree program I doubt I'd ever be enlightened about the depth of possibilities for making things of clay and other materials, or the impact of art on the world. That is not to say that probably a high percentage of the learning could be acquired outside of a formal educational process, with free lectures, Youtube videos, decent local studio classes, local guilds etc. , and maybe easier to handle cost-wise , assuming there is a drive to make self-education a priority. I often say something is not either-or, it is yes-and, and I thin k the viewpoints in this thread fit that perfectly--great discussion! 3 hours after I wrote the above, this popped up on my FB feed: ""The true purpose of arts education is not necessarily to create more professional dancers or artists. It's to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives." -- Kelly Pollock
  7. Y? Just curious-I have no clue.
  8. Bins and sticky notes are my salvation.
  9. Happy happy--my helper is tackling this backlog (code, sort & store), which will soon free up my workbench so I can get back to making things!
  10. I think that painting everyone with the same brush is inherently inaccurate. I submit there are many people who do not justify their good fortune in earning a degree by assuming negative things about others who did not/were not able to go the same route. Just because someone is educated and has a degree, that does not automatically tell anybody anything about their life, their values, their struggles, their pain (or joy), their economic status (good or bad) or their politics/philosophy/world view. I always wanted to study art and the creative process as expressed in this and other cultures, now and in history. The value of formal education in developing my skills in ceramics is worth 1000xs the price, for many reasons, and it is still paying off to this day. As someone who earned a BFA from an esteemed art school, while on welfare and struggling mightily as a single parent with a toddler in tow, and 20 years older than the other students, in deep poverty, at times homeless, with many other crippling hardships, plus the add-on of student loans, I must assert how enriching, valuable, freeing, and supportive of my creative expression and drive, and my very survival, the experience was. What I got was a sterling education from the best faculty of knowledgible, competant, and skilled artists/instructors one could ever want. I have carried and used the benefits of that excellent education throughout all aspects of my life, not just in art interactions, but in ctitical thinking, world-view, career, understanding people and cultures, and many other areas of functioning. My formal training was invaluable and has enhanced my creative expression and appreciation of crafts & art. It took nothing away from my innate creative drive, my ideas, my self-concept/identity, or my preferences for working with my materials. When someone is being derisive and dismissive of that "piece of paper" Old Lady's line comes to mind: "putting you down does not raise me up." Or rather, putting me down does not raise you up.
  11. LeeU

    How was this vase made?

    Well, it's a daggone pretty little thing, we agree on that much!
  12. I just installed one I'm happy with (did my homework) in my 10 gal tank-under $25-good plastic shield, controlled range, digital temp display, about 5" by 3" maybe, auto protect from overheat, 100w --called an H7 by Aqueon-they have other wattages.
  13. I am thrilled that I will have a worker bee coming next week to assist me with bringing my backlogged inventory current. I have forced myself stop making anything more until I get this done and all my remaining smalls are coded  for the web & stored in labeled drawers for easy access. Then I can get on with making some samples for a local shop keeper who is interested in a particular line.  

    1. glazenerd


      Good news indeed.

    2. lgusten


      How wonderful is this!!!!!!!  It will be great to be organized!!!

  14. My 2-cents worth is to leverage the course material throughout to help them to understand that working in clay is likely to be most successful and satisfying if they take the time to learn the foundational elements (beyond wedging/centering/throwing) such as a working familiarity with a glossary/terminology, some core science/chemistry, a condensed overview of different firing methods, the value of good craftsmanship in the marketplace, and encouragement for developing a personal vision along with the skill-building.
  15. LeeU

    Simple question

    Thanks to Old Lady's suggestion, probably a year or so ago, I located printer blankets from a nearby print shop, and cut them to fit my Bailey table top-they are great, plus I have a few Slab Mats as well, which I use especially for porcelain. I never use canvas anymore, except for some pieces that I use a rolling pin on where I actually like the bit of subtle texture.
  16. I mostly join when the elements are about "cheese hard", or a bit shy of leather hard. However, if I want a particulary geometric, or structured appearance, I do wait for leather hard as that lends itself to a bit more precision.
  17. In my experience/opinion, too many settings forego a timely orientation to the setting and it's parameters. Any type of orientation should be clear, simple, reasonably comprehensive, and available in a written format, like a small handbook, as well as verbal. The oversight entity should provide an introduction to the studio layout, storage, dedicated areas for specific purposes, sink practices, how the kilns are fired, the protocols for participating in community wood fired kilns, essentials of indoor and outdoor safety, etc etc etc. No one should be put off by this, including attesting by signature that one has been advised of the studio's (or Guild) protocols-no exceptions-not people brand new to the field nor seasoned experts. Not only is it uncomfortable to have to flounder around trying to find one's way, and figuring out how things are done, it is like navigating a field of landmines that can set off anything from making a royal mess to being downright dangerous.
  18. Inspiration, sharing gratitude, uplifting stories--it is so cool to get that good stuff here, on a site for making things out of clay, of all places!
  19. LeeU

    Clay contamination

    Whatta ya mean "allegedly" good cheese!! Nothin' better than a good 'ole stinky cheese! "In traditional French cheese-making the cheese-maker leaves a local loaf of sourdough bread, teeming with starter cultures, in underground caves rich with penicillium roqueforti. He lets the bread get moldy then grinds up the moldy loaf and mixes the breadcrumbs with the milk curd. The cheeses are then aged in the caves where the bread went moldy; this encourages the development of blue veins." Yum! So, as with a great Roquefort, moldy clay is just awesome (well, maybe not the Cool Ice or Frost procelains!
  20. When I first was learning to load my electric kiln (vs. the wonderfully huge gas kiln at college) I realized it wasn't as easy to plan the space as I thought. All it took was one time of getting the thing almost loaded and then finding I had to disassemble it and redo it becasue there were some time sensitive pieces to be fired, which of course were the last ones and wouldn't fit. So I made myself mock shelves out of foam core. I was able to quickly plan out the load on the work table, accounting for height, and after a couple of times doing that, I pretty much get it done w/o the assist. The missing corner on the foam core is courtesy of the rat that moved in while I was on vacation. He ate my good woodfire gloves, the trim on my best boots, chewed a hole in the wall to/from the outside , and would not leave until I took drastic measures. For stuffers, I use the smallest of the smalls (incense cone holders/spoons) to fill the little spaces. No baked rodent, tempting as it was.
  21. I just learned that the anagama firing I thought I would be in this fall is full. I could only afford 24" of shelf space in the kiln so I don't have a lot of pieces, but I do have enough clay to make more pieces, so I can fill my L&L and fire at my studio-so I'm going to do that. The bodies are Troy cone 10 porcelain and Sheffield ^10 "Z". My pieces are highly textured, rough, and generally hefty--no pretty bowls, lovely mugs, or smooth plates! I want some colorful glazes that will do well in an electric high fire. I already have a brown shino, a tennmoku, a white, and a clear. I have no particular need to have a reduction "look"-and am avoiding more browns. I use commercial wet /pints. Can be from any supplier in the U.S. I am hoping a few folks will share some of their experience with specific products suggestions that I could try. I'll probably get at least 3 different glazes. Attached is a sample of a bisqued piece, if that helps. Thanks in advance.
  22. Yes--the body has iron. It is gorgeous in a woodfire. It will be a while before I can fill the kiln for the electric 10, but I'll post pics when I do.
  23. Anyone have experience with what the best guage of kanthal/nichrome wire is, to use to make rods or hangers (not premade)?
  24. There are several sites like this one-- https://www.themarksproject.org/ An online search would turn up more.

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