Friday, June 19, 2009

A Night out with Archie

Last night I attended the 13th Annual Brickyard Bash Benefit Auction and 2009 Resident Exhibition. I saw the most wonderful work - cups, mugs and teabowls for the cup auction, the fine work of artists all over the country for the silent auction, and the mind-blowing holy smokes pieces that are in the live auction.

The resident work this year is spectacular as well. Some of the best work I've seen at this particular exhibit in a long time. The summer residents as well as the "regular" residents all show in this exhibit and most of the summer folks have to ship existing work for this show because they've only been here two weeks or so.

The Archie Bray Foundation website is becoming a beautiful dynamic thing, so keep checking in because pictures will be added from the reception, and some of the work will be available for online auction.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Exploration of Form

From the last post you may remember that I've been doing a lot of reading lately, catching up from a stretch of hard labor. While catching up on my reading, I was inspired to give myself the challenge of focusing on a singular form.

The form that I chose to explore is the jug form. I learned to throw this form as a cylinder first, keeping the lip and neck tightly compressed and collared then bulging out the belly and shoulder. What has been fun about this exploration is the time and ability to play with this a little. Use a finger or a tool of some kind to make the belly, working on the shape while keeping close eye on the neck. Some success, some not so much, but unless the piece completely collapsed, I kept it.

Initially I started with very measured weights of clay, 1 lb., 2lb., 3lb., etc. Then I realized this is about exploring the form and all the different things I can do with/to it, not reproducing exact replicas. Then the weight of the clay began to not matter.

The reason I am focusing on a particular form is because I felt I needed to practice patience and focus. My goal is to complete 100 jugs. The side benefit that I didn't consider beforehand is that this is another opportunity to practice pulling handles. I have had little to no success with being consistent with my pulled handles. I find them very frustrating. However, I have to say that I am so far pleased. I seem to have finally overcome the mental block I had against them.

The pictures included with this post are some of the jugs that I have gotten thrown and bisqued. In the middle of this process I got an order for more tiles and bowls, so I have interrupted my exploration, but other than time, I don't think it will have disrupted the process. Of course, time will tell.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ringing Bells and Carroming Thoughts

I have been reading a lot of journals lately, and wanted to share with you a quote that I read in the May/June 09 issue of Clay Times:

"I really don't think there's any artist worth mentioning who hasn't been inspired by the natural world." -Peter Callas

For some reason this has been ringing in my head.

Thoughts of natural textures I use in my own work go carroming through my brain - How am I improving on this? Does it invoke nature as I intend it to? Can I make this have more depth, be richer?

I also decided to challenge myself to explore a single form. I am not restricting the size, in fact I am going to make as many different sizes as my skill will allow. Nor am I restricting the finish. I intend to explore deep textures as well as some abstract designs. The only restriction, really, is the form itself. A jug. A larger belly, narrow neck and mouth, and a single finger handle. So far I am 25 pounds of wet clay into this adventure, I will share the process with you in the next few posts.

Reading is a good thing, hopefully it inspires thoughtful contemplation of self and one's surroundings. Today, reading has caused ringing bells and carroming thoughts.
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