Friday, March 27, 2009

Thinking about Colors and Patterns, Part 3

Work that inspires me:

Miranda Howe has made work that draws me like a monster magnet since I first came across her work when she first became a resident at the Archie Bray Foundation in 2004.

She has a gorgeous deep blue glaze she uses on the interior of some of her cups that is just amazing.

I urge, urge, urge you to look at her website: and when her work is shown near you, I heartily recommend checking it out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thinking about Colors and Patterns, Part 2

Work that inspires me:

I met Jennifer Allen when she taught a decal workshop in Helena, MT at the Archie Bray Foundation in 2007. The focus of the workshop was the making and application of decals - screen printed, laser printed, and commercial to various surfaces.

At some point one of the participants asked her to do a throwing demo because her forms are so intriguing. After being a studio assistant for Kris Bliss for four years, Jen has developed an efficient and beautiful process. She throws more quickly than anyone I have ever seen, and watching her demonstrate her technique was truly a pleasure.

Jen's process is, to me, a graceful example of combining form with color and pattern. By using slips, glaze and underglaze she makes gorgeous functional pieces of Art.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thinking about Colors and Patterns, Part 1

Work that inspires me:

Recently featured on the cover of the March/April 2009 "Pottery Making Illustrated" Amy Sanders' work is beautiful, functional and full of pattern and color.

From the 14th Annual Strictly Functional National. Click here to see more work from that show.

From the Ceramic Arts Daily website.

From the American Craft Council: Baltimore Show 2007.

I am attracted to Amy's color palette, very earthy tones and muted colors. Her patterns are lively and elegant and the way she assembles the pieces is inspirational and innovative.

Don't forget to check out her Blog!

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Monday, March 9, 2009

The struggle for inspiration

It occurred to me about a month ago that my pottery continues to be attractive to other potters, but not necessarily to the general public. I reached out to a few respected people for critiques.

Now I was looking for actual critiques. Not the kind of "oh you are wonderful, don't change a thing..." critiques. People who love you give you those kind of critiques, because they don't know any better. I was looking for the kind of critique that would tell me what I was doing wrong. Because something is definitely wrong. My work sells, but barely. People who love my work are people who can and do make their own. They don't need to buy it, they can make it. It's a great ego boost to have a fellow potter say something to the effect of "Wow, look at that form!" or "I love the way you applied that glaze!" or "This pot is so light!" but it doesn't put bank in the wallet.

So what did I hear? Color. My color palette does not translate well in the online market. I need to add discernible patterns and color to my pots. Less browns, coppers, bronzes and golds. More white, green, and (gasp!) blue. I need to find a pattern and apply it to my pots.

This has led me to be acutely aware of repeating patterns in our society. Patterns show up frequently in home decoration, tile, wallpaper, fabrics. I have been looking at the work of my friends and colleagues and have been analyzing what they are doing in their own work. What colors do they use and how do they use them? What patterns do they employ? Do they draw them or do they stamp them, or is there some other technique? Why do they choose to use sprig molds to add clay or shellac and wax resist?

I want their work to influence me, what they are doing right to show me the way. It's a fine line between influence and imitation. I am working to maintain my vision of my work and allow these ideas to become mine. I have found patterns that touch me, attract me, and I am allowing those patterns to begin to work their way into my consciousness. The next step is allowing them to be a part of my work.
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