Thursday, November 1, 2018

Local Artist Show 2018

Here we go.  Getting ready for this show which starts tomorrow (Friday) 5-9pm and continues Saturday 9:30am to 4:00pm. (Not 2 weeks from tomorrow, which I somehow got stuck in my head until just recently.)  So, there's been a lot of sawing and sanding and putting togethering this week.  You would almost think I had a wood shop instead of pottery.  As I am still in the midst of preparations (boxes, tags, display, packing...) this is going to be a very brief look at some of the things I will bring to the Local Artist Show 2018.
 The rocks in these "cairns" are wheel thrown, some altered after throwing for more variation.

Some knob hangers for necklaces.
Below:  Flower children, or maybe I will call them moon flowers.
And I have a few small planters with succulents. Middle one has a loop in back for hanging. 
I do not have as many ornaments as I would have liked, but there are a couple of bluebirds, and chickadees, and a few oak leaves made.  
Also have the usual- some mugs, honey jars, berry bowls...etc.
Stop by if you are in the area.  There's lots of good stuff made by, um, local artists.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Seeking salvation on the bluebird of happiness

This is my piece for the Poetry in Art 2018 exhibit at Riverside Artists Gallery based on the poem, "An Invitation to My Sister" by Athens, Ohio poet Jean Mikhail. 
Poets submitted poems for the event and artists created works inspired by the writing. 
Poetry in Art will continue through Sept. 29.  The gallery is open 10-5 Tues. through Sat.
To make this piece I formed the bird on the wheel, just like any pot, with the beak being the top of the form.  I left a little extra clay at the bottom so that I could pull (yes!) the tail- a lot like the traditional way of making handles for a mug. The figure was then hand-formed and attached, and a little carving done here an there to define some details.  I hoped to use colored slips for the entire piece but found I did not quite achieve the colors I wanted so parts are painted with acrylic paint- mostly the figure. It was finished with a protective  spray varnish after mounting on the wooden base. This piece sold at the August 25 opening. 

Below is an excerpt from Jean's poem.  The full poem is on display in the gallery. 

A big part of the show is seeing the artists' responses to the poems. This is very personal, of course, and may be tied in with their own experiences.  So it is all the more fascinating to hear what the poets have to say about their own poems.  They had the opportunity to do this during a reading of the poems on the opening evening (Aug. 25) of the exhibit.

Below is another version I made- because working with ceramics you never know what can happen.  Always good to have a back-up plan.  This one is going to the WOAP exhibits, curated by Kari Gunter-Seymour.


Also going to the WOAP exhibits is another piece that was inspired by a poem, this one by Lisa M. Pursely.  Her poem, "Where Catfish Bloom", was submitted to Poetry in Art in 2016.  It was not chosen by an artist for that exhibit, but is one of those poems that stayed with me.  I could name several more.
It does happen that some great poems are not chosen by artists to work with simply because the artist cannot envision what direction the poem will take him/her when it is first submitted. 


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Castle jar, tests, and stuff on the shelf

True to my status as an un-production potter, I sometimes (often) take on individual projects such as this reproduction jar for The Castle Museum in Marietta, Ohio.  The jar is an approximate reproduction of one made by Nathaniel Clark who once operated his pottery on the site of The Castle, and is destined for a raffle fundraiser at a garden party there on Thursday, June 14.

 Below are some very small jars, approx. 5 inches tall, that will be for sale in the carriage house gift shop at The Castle Museum, along with, eventually, 70 others.  Unusual for me, the outside glaze was applied to leather hard (on the dry side) green ware.  On bisque surfaces the air bubbled through, making small craters.  
And, tests.  Round one for the Castle jars.  There was also a round two.  The time frame for testing is easy to underestimate.  I can get quite fascinated with the endless possibilities.  In this case, trying to get a not glossy, but not completely matte surface in an electric kiln to come close to a pot from a wood, or maybe coal fired kiln. And the right color.  The winner was a primarily Red Art/ ball clay mixture with a little wood ash and nepheline syenite.  Also a bit of Mason Stain and ochre.  The inside of the pot is a glaze I had on hand.  Parkersburg Art Center helped me out greatly by firing my round two tests when the power cord on my kiln fried.  Thanks Vance! The kiln technician suggested replacing a couple of other parts which were beyond their life expectancy after we sent him pictures of the problem area.  It was intensely complicated and I seriously would have been crying if Ivin had not been on the job.
On the shelf:  some toad houses that tagged along with the Castle jars in the last firing.

 These little, um, bird objects below have been in the glaze firing, but are not glazed, only decorated with colored slips.  More to happen with these, as far as mounting/display. I have about a dozen ideas, and hope the one I go with will realistically be within my skill set.  Have to remind myself that I am not a cabinet maker.  Stay tuned.
More tests- this time of slips with various colorant combinations.  These for above birdy objects.  I am pretty well maxed out for spots to place test containers and test tiles. Need to edit.
Future flowers.  The pressed lace flowers at River City Farmers Market sold out last Saturday and I have some other ideas I'd like to explore.



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Bowls for Empty Bowls 2018, Marietta, Ohio

The 2018 Empty Bowls Luncheon to support area food pantries will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Marietta on April 7 from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  
Buy a bowl and you will get a variety of soups donated by area restaurants, breads and rolls donated by Panera Bread, beverages, and deserts supplied by the sponsoring churches.  Bowls are donated by area potters and woodworkers.  Here's a look at some of the bowls I have put aside for the event:






These jade green bowls are each  carved with a different design.







A bowl in a chawan tea bowl style.











More chawan bowls. I think I have at least four of each glaze.

A bit of oribe green glaze runs down the inside of the tenmoku bowls.






     

     
Outside of tenmoku bowl.







A couple of the larger bowls are for the silent auction part of the event.

A not-so-blue heron.  I'm O.K. with it, but often wish that glazes were like crayons or paint, so I could see, without testing, what happens with this or that combination of materials.  Most of the time it is best to test.  But so time consuming!


Also going on in Marietta same day is the First Settlement Festival .  Check the schedule- first performance starts at 1:00.  Have some soup then walk over and catch some live music.












Friday, December 22, 2017

barn owl ornaments

Barn owls ornaments finished with slips and engobes, no glaze.  Real twigs are used as perches, attached with the wire which runs through the owl and also serves as a loop to attach the hanger.

 Each owl comes with a stenciled box filled with shredded maps for nesting material.  A length of twine ties up the box, making it a gift-ready package.

Below pictures were taken on a beautiful winter solstice afternoon in Marietta, Ohio. 




And, the owl ornaments remind me of this local news:  A snowy owl had been recently hanging out in the area, which is unusual this far south.  It had been injured so was captured for treatment and release. This picture is taken from the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge facebook page.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Toad houses...with toads


                                                                                   
I made two toad houses for a customer who wanted to give them as gifts. I was instructed to make each one a little different from the other, and with toads on top of both. I made large toads perching on the sides of the roof rather than try to make tiny ones to fit on the very top.  Getting the details of the feet and legs seemed like it might be too difficult in miniature.  By the way, the toads bodies are hollow and after attaching to the roofs I made a hole through the roof and the toad bellies so as to avoid any unfortunate toad explosions.
                                                            
The houses were made on the wheel as closed forms.  When leather hard, I placed them back on the wheel and threw the little finials, one an acorn, and the other a beehive (sort of) on top.  
The color application came after bisque firing.  I have some engobes and slips that can be used on both greenware and bisque, but find I prefer to use them on bisque since, being dry and porous, it holds the material better.  Also, I often apply the color then wipe off to leave a light stain in some areas and darker stain in areas with etched designs- a technique which works best with bisque fired pieces.  Next, the toad houses were glazed, then a 50/50 by weight combination of frit 3134 and mason stains was brushed over the glaze to get the toad color.  A little disappointment here- what worked great on a test tile (chartreuse spots over tan) did not work as well on the toads, as the chartreuse can barely be seen.  Actually, at least around here, toads are not green, but the customer asked if I could add touch of green.  I am very glad that this particular customer understands that working with glazes is not the same as choosing crayons out of a box!
One of those grab and go mornings with the items, still warm from the kiln: Quick pictures of the finished toad houses with an oak tree for a backdrop at River City Farmer's Market in Marietta, Ohio just before meeting up with the customer.





Monday, October 2, 2017

Where Catfish Bloom

In the last post I showed the greenware version of this piece. It progressed to bisque fired and now to glaze fired. This project was inspired by the poem by Lisa M. Pursley, "Where Catfish Bloom", which I am sharing with Lisa's permission.


Where Catfish Bloom
Yesterday she was daisies,
dahlias and a spray of baby’s breath
until she was trapped
by the frailties of a civil engagement;
an iron woman achieving honesty,
sanity and swept floors.
She shares a confident understanding
of individual smallness.
All her lovely habits fortified,
trampled like the spirit
of a goddess in the rain.
Now she sits, cut
and stuffed, in a clearly gripping vase.

Lisa's poem was one of many submitted to Riverside Artists Gallery's 2016 Poetry in Art and was one among some great poems that were not chosen by any of the participating artists.
It was in my short list of poems I was considering for myself, but at the time I could not seem to solidify my thoughts on how I would approach the project.
I am no longer with the gallery but at that time I had been coordinator of the 2016 Poetry in Art exhibit and had a file of poems that were submitted by poets for consideration by the artists. When cleaning out files this spring "Where Catfish Bloom" was one of several from that exhibit I kept. 
It was very difficult to delete any on them!  
Above:  As you can see the piece stands on a flat surface, but is also wired for wall hanging.
Below:  Some decision making about whether to leave it alone or keep going.  This is the bisque fired head. I thought about leaving the head just like this.  The color of the bisque fired clay is very much like flesh tone and I had burnished the clay a bit so it has a smoother appearance than usual.  The glaze I used on the box is rather rustic so I decided to go ahead and fire the head to cone 6 (my usual glaze firing) in order to get the tan color this clay obtains when fired to maturity.


Below:  I decided to add a little iron oxide to the hair and darken the irises with a combination wash of cobalt ox. and copper carb.  Later, I brushed a little clear glaze on the irises (not shown).  The bisque fired head is among some pots awaiting a cone 6 glaze firing.



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