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  1. My two cents on fine art: All human activities require Mind to function at some level or the other, including in producing and appreciating artworks. Debates abound about the purpose of art, if there is actually a purpose, if there is, then what is that purpose, and if utilitarian objects can even be considered art at all (because the very nature of those objects are to serve some sort of purpose toward an eventual goal) etc. Regardless of the outcome of such debates, art, as opposed to science, recognizes this fact: Mind can only go so far. The farthest Mind can take a human being's sense of appreciation (in an academic sense, the sense of aesthetics) so far. The farthest that Mind can take a human being's appreciation is to the point of Wonderment and no further - in some cases, described as the aha moment. Somehow, in life, as sentient beings, we all recognize that there is a field just beyond this Point of Wonderment, where our personal egos settle quietly, mind empty of self-arguments, nothing else is left but pure enjoyment describable only as wonderment at best. This wonderment manifests in various ways depending on the medium, message and the purpose of a piece of work (if there is one) and the level of indulgence from the observer. We all know that the mysterious quality of balanced-ridable-mobility is neither present in the bicycles on their own as objects, nor in the riders on their own as users of bicycles. This fully-experienceable balanced-ridable-mobility somehow comes into being through an intimate interaction between the bicycle and its rider to the point of being one and no longer two separate things. This ridable-mobility is a continuous and live experience inseparable from the interaction itself. It exists only as long as that interaction continues. We all experience it. The magic is there. We just don’t call it magic, not after we grow up! Similarly, the sense of fine art is not a quality of the object and/or a quality of the observer separately. A sense of fine aesthetics is an outcome of the active relationship, a balanced indulgence between the object and the observer at the moment of that experiential contact. If an object possesses the quality which impartially provides the ground for that Aha experience, and the observer possesses the quality to recognize that possibility in that object, then I can say a Moment of Fine Art has great possibility of coming into being. Fine art is a living experience, not a quality of any objects or any personages. It is rather a quality of the moment – a certain kind of moment.
  2. 1. For starters, pinch pots of medium size (about the size of the biggest ball you can make with both your hands, fingers stretched.) 2. When you turn the pot in your hands, pay conscious attention to the rotation of the object: the rotational speed, rhythm, pressure that your fingers apply, and consistency of clay. 3. While the object is rotating, pay attention to the outer profile of the object - keep a conscious eye on that outer profile. Some people, intermittently, stop working, hold the object in front and study. That’s good. But, it is essential to recognize that the on-going changes in the outer profile as a continuous process, and not an at-stages process. The more consciously you do this, your eyes and mind will learn to look for the finer nuances in the segments of arcs and forms in your works as they evolve. 4. Pay sincere attention to the symmetry of the object (assuming you are making an axially symmetrical object) as the symmetry develops. Keep paying attention to this symmetry developing as it develops, until you recognize that the resulting symmetry in the object and the symmetry/steadiness of your hand/finger movements (in terms of speed, rhythm and pressure) are intimately and inseparably the same. 5. Have fun.
  3. In the book Zen Flesh Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings, complied by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki, there is a section called Centering. This section is a translation from an original work called Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, which some say is at least 5000 years old! In line with the 112 methods of centering mentioned in this work, including centering clay, somehow, all centering activities - physical or mental - aim to take us to the center about which we build the perceptions of who we are. I observe.
  4. Cool piece. I am curious to see the other sides too!
  5. I am seeking info and pointers just as FlowerGirl3365. I knowing nothing about kilns yet. But, I do have a brand new kiln sittng in my garage Right now, I am the process of researching as much as I can before I get that installed. I have been pricing materials and labor for the electrical work that needs to be done first. So, while trying to make this happen sooner than later, I am super anxious to sweat my a** off coming summer in the little shed in the backyard! Thanks for the info so far. I will follow this thread.
  6. My first clay figures were when I was 8. Not fired or anything, but dried and hand polished. A few months ago, I started putting some worthwhile time into working with clay again. This time, glazed and fired and all that jazz.
  7. For year 2014: 1. Refine the design, selections and the process for the line of products that I started working on three months ago. 2. Work towards taking part in at least one show/expo type event to introduce and sell the line. 3. From this line of items, earn at least twice as much income as the new Kiln and the installation cost me now. 4. A functioning online store
  8. At cone 6, the metal I found out to be still stable and not melt is Molybdenum. I was looking for metal to make some stilts with that wont melt at cone 6. Found that Molybbenum is the one to use which has a melting point of 4753 degrees F. I am not an expert in these things. Just sharing the info I found during my research. I have not tried the Molybdenum rods yet. I am going to in spring! http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/390564553263?lpid=82
  9. It is a pretty small shed. So, I am guessing I will just vent the shed as a whole. I was planning on cement boards (or some sort of heat resisting layers...) for the wood floor. Any particular brand, thickness works better than others?
  10. Excellent. I am about install a kiln (ConeArt BX2322 ) in my storage shed in the backyard. It is a rather small shed. I have been thinking about some sort of venting system. I am, however, neither handy like you, nor do I have the equipment to make this. So, any suggestions on store-bought or other possibilities for a vent system you all could suggest?
  11. Myself for example, I am here to read, listen, watch & absorb. Now that the interwebz has matured somewhat, compared to 20 years ago, every online community develops its own culture - again in time. Cultures - micro, macro or mega, online or in the physical world - cannot be engineered/molded with guidelines and recommendations or even requests. Human interactions and growth of cultures are rather organic. When people begin to know each other more, get comfortable, I am sure each person will share infomation about them as much as they feel comfortable. I am in Kansas, in the good ol' US of A.
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