Monday, July 23, 2012

Beach Rocks and Cave Art

     Inspiration comes from many places. A quick update of goings on and then some images of what gets me going...
     Just came back from a family get-together in Michigan City, Indiana. We had a great time but I am very happy to be back and in the studio. While I love traveling and visiting family, doing it in the summer inevitably screws up my garden and my schedule. The next two weeks will be spent trying to get back into my rhythm. 
Message me through Facebook or Etsy for address and directions.
     Starting in August through until the end of September, I will be available for studio visits, Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Basically, that means if you come down my driveway during that time, you should find me running around like a chicken without a head either throwing, carving, glazing, drawing, sketching, cleaning or any other number of things I do as a working artist. The rest of the time is down time, home time, rest time,  private time. I’m testing this out this year and then if all goes well, I’ll take it from April through September. Any exceptions (for emergencies, family priorities, shows and exhibitions) will be noted here, on my Facebook page here, on my Twitter account here, and on my Etsy site here
     Some of what I hope to be working on more intensely is developing some glazes and a glaze palette for my functional work. Recent walks on the beach of Lake Michigan allowed me to collect beach rocks. As a New York/Jones Beach girl, my beaches are made white and sandy, few rocks from those ocean beaches so the walks on the shores of Lake Michigan sent me straight back to being a small kid, eyes down, scanning intently for super-cool things. I found myself drawn less to the rocks with the natural holes drilled into them but more to the smooth, pod-shapes and soft spectrum of colors in a neutral palette. Some people get hats and t-shirts for souvenirs. I bring home rocks. I love my rocks. I love the range of colors and the combinations. I expect this will be the beginning of some exploration of color that speaks to me. These colors and shapes say age, millennium, time, maturity, change to me. I love them!

     Easy to see why I love wood-firing but I also want to bring these colors to some oxidation glazes at cone 6. Some of the stones are smooth color tones, some are speckled and variegated. Along with the petroglyph-inspired carvings I’m exploring, I think these colors will work well. At least I hope so. Testing glazes has been an area I’ve been lazy about. Maybe this is the push I need to educate myself on chemistry and the patience of testing. If Gwendolyn Yoppolo can do it, so can I!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kiln Open Kiln Open

Door open!
      We opened the kiln today. First thoughts were the pots were a bit dry. We did not add salt this time. We're re-assessing the firing schedule. In the mean time, much wet sanding with be done here and there. But there is some nice stuff about :) I know Bill Lennox will be at the Berea Craft Festival at Historic Indian Fort Theatre this coming weekend. Check out Etsy for Buddy's work and my work in the next few weeks.
Tables of pots!
Inspector Buddy.
Bill Mugs
Horse Soap Dish
Table of fun. And a beer.
Buddy's awesome Shino whiskey cup.
Horse mug
Bowl with petroglyphs
Equine flashing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Make your own fireworks

Packed up and ready to go to the kiln. 
Wadding central.
99°F and humid makes a concrete floor a dog's best friend. Angus hanging out in the glaze room.
Wild Bill loading the kiln.
Nearly finished loading. We started early Tuesday morning to grab the coolest temps for the longest time.  It still got hot by the time we finished but hey, what's ninety-nine degrees when you're looking to reach 2381°F? Firing started by 10pm that evening.
Hanging out at the kiln site on The Fourth of July. The guests who came to check things out wilted in the summer heat and didn't stay too long. Much watermelon, wine and beer was consumed. And ribs!
Chugging along on the evening of the Fourth.  A burn ban was in effect for the county (Kentucky has been very hot and dry for the last several weeks), but the kiln is self-contained with a nearby water source so it's exempt. Plus, we're professionals. 
Mr. Piggly-Wiggly and his friend, Bea!
Final stoke of the firing after nearly 36 hours, Thursday morning. Cone 10 dropped all around with cone 11 bending nicely.
Mudding up the door and closing up shop. Opening in a few days. We were all rank by the time things were done but it was a steady firing. We'll see how things turn out.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Heat Wave

     June. What a month. Had to deal with family stuff back in New York which has compressed my work schedule. My parents are in their eighties. They still live in the same apartment that I grew up in. It would be great if they could stay there forever but it’s hard without assistance in a dense place like the New York City metro area. Took Dad’s keys away that week. Had to. He’s 87 and winding down. He’s had four accidents (nothing major but try not to look at the passenger side of the car, please) in the last year. He wasn’t happy but my brother said he’s much more focused now about where the hell his damn car keys are! He called me right after I got back from New York wanting to know what I did with the keys. “Dad, we’ve had this discussion.” “Oh, so I should just lay down and die?!” “Well, Dad, if that’s the way you want to think of it, but I don’t think it’s going to go the way you think it will.”
     Back into clay. Much to catch up on making pots. Much to think about creating new sculptures. In between shuttling my folks around town, running errands while I was back visiting (and stealing Dad’s keys), I spent time walking the path along the Bronx River Parkway from the train station to the old duck pond. The county has paved the dirt foot path and renovated the bridges and crossings on the river. It’s really quite beautiful. Some of the trees behind the apartments are huge, just tremendous. They’ve got to be over 100 years old. It’s like an old growth forest. I used to play along the river as a kid. When I walked the path last week it occurred to me that the place I stood and reflected on my childhood is the reason I live in the country in Kentucky. Those hours in the dirt, in the woods, getting lost and dirty, never left my soul. I lost my way living in NYC but nature came calling me again. So here I am, still playing in dirt.
     Bubbles. bubbles. New York City and environs exists in a bubble. When you punch into it, it becomes obvious. Of course, people in NYC don’t see it that way, They never have. When your bubble has 18+million people in it, you see your bubble as the world because you rarely ever reach the bubble boundary. Easy mistake to make, I suppose. Having said that, New Yorkers need to get out more often. I mean beyond the Catskills, the Adirondacks, Martha’s Vineyard, the Hamptons. Go someplace not mentioned in the Sunday New York Times Magazine section, or the Times Travel section. Scare yourself a little. Come to Kentucky!
     And now it’s July. I’m getting ready for a wood firing. Yes, it’s been over 100 degrees here in SE Central Kentucky so what better time to make cone 10! I think this is my favorite time, the prep and firing of a wood kiln with other potters. When this happens, everything else in my life takes a back seat for a brief moment, particularly all the computer shit I feel obligated to do. The process of cleaning, scraping shelves, re-washing shelves, wadding, glazing, loading and then working your shift, it’s a slow march to something potentially magical. I like that. My carvings this time are focused on the horses, cave-art inspired drawings and symbolic imagery. I’m less inclined to do the biologically-inspired work in a wood kiln. The warm tones of the kiln remind me of the tones of rock walls and petroglyphs and hunting scenes. Hope to have finished work to photograph and upload in a future posting relatively soon.