Monday, November 22, 2010

Gotta Dot

It's 5 degrees outside and snowing. It's Monday morning which means I should have a new post about the wood Kiln...but I don't. It was just as cold yesterday and everybody called off the game. Instead of freezing my ass off, scraping bricks or building the back wall of our kiln, I spent most of the day doing one of the most important steps dealing with Free Ceramics: Dotting with underglaze. It could have been 5 years ago that I first helped with this step and it all took place inside my sister's living room with only 7 different colors, a stack of South Park dvds and a bunch of weed. Now the color pallet has grown to this long board that hangs on the wall with test tiles that can be taken we can see the color combos and what they'll look like together. As life goes on.. we're up to 42 colors, the South Park has changed to Hulu and the weed has smoked itself away. It's a long process... because each dot, requires three separate coats of each color. A large bowl, or platter may have up to 15 different colors. And for some reason, the mugs can take as long as a large bowl. For the next two weeks I'll be at this table, almost every day doing this until the weekend after Thanksgiving. It's just how it is. Ya gotta do it... The good news is that I was officially done with wet work two days ago. There is one more bisque to fire, once the teapots are dry, and four more glaze kilns to have finished before our sale which is happening December 3, 4, and 5th.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fifty Gravy Boats

You may not be fully aware of the doings and happenings of some ceramic folks out there... but you probably know that there are some interesting and silly guys that are pushing the boundaries of this field.

Right now there is a project in works, Fifty Gravy Boats, in a place called Pleasant Hill, California. The brain behind this.. should I call it a "takeover"? Quite possibly... The Brains behind this takeover is none other then a man, the man, Karl McDade. Mcdade, Mcdude, or MacDaddy, which are only a few of his aliases, had a vision. His vision was of the eternal, epic, and almost biblical struggle between the Teapot and the Gravy Boat. For centuries these two forms, seemingly from opposite sides of the world have battled to be the top dog. For many years the Teapot has been winning...yet, as with all things, the pendulum has begun to swing back into the underdog-Boat's favor. The tides seem to be turning...and as you can tell from this show, the first ripple effects are showing themselves. Soon, like the first movements of an avalanche, this ripple of 50 Gravy Boats will soon turn into a force that no other form that we know of can withstand. The time of the Gravy Boat is nigh!

There is no denying the Gravy Boat has returned...and you will have no choice but to finally see it for what it is- the most complex... the most challenging...and the most delicious form we potters know of.

Brace yourself.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

it's all Good

Made it up to the kiln the last couple of days and did some serious brick cleaning while Andrew and Scott managed to keep the construction going. We were feeling pressured to get more done because of the impending word of snow..and snow it did. We gotta be up to 5 inches down here in the Valley by now..and I can only imagine how much has dumped at the kiln site. Once again I feel proud to be involved with this thing..and what I really get into is the fact that almost all of the materials are recycled from two old kilns from the Archie Bray. In fact..these bricks are from the last kilns that ole David Shanner, rest his soul, made himself back in the late 70s while he was the resident director at the Bray. That's some good mojo for sure!! Another side note too is that Scott's awesome father offered his services to fix my wood splitter.. the thing just wouldn't run without being fully choked. My brain isn't quite all about metal.. but I heard that Scott's dad used to be a highschool shop teacher, old school style..and boy what a great old guy. This is a vase I made back in school with some flowers we got at the local store here. We're going to take up to him today as a thank you. I'm guessing he's not into searching the internet so I wont ruin the surprise by sharing it here. It's insane just how alive this vase became when it had some flowers in it. I thought I'd move past this sort of thing..but shit, doesn't it look awesome?? haha.. I have to make some more now.

Monday, November 15, 2010

birth of

I had this grand scheme that I'd make a cool video about a new form I was making...and once again, it turned into something different. While editing the videos down I noticed some cool shots, or places to crop the video, during my trimming process. From there it turned into an exploration into the textures, colors, forms and compositions within my little studio that were happening around me and this pot I was making. I think the finished pot is the larger vase with a face in my previous, Ho Ho Holter post. When I really started to think about what was going on with this video..I realized that there has to be so much going on that just passes me by, especially when I'm so concerned with what's in front of my face. I could look up at the sky and say, "hey what a perfect blue sky!", but right under my foot..I could be stepping on a a flower, or walking over some awesome little rocks. It's so easy to get caught up with what you think is important or worth your time. How can people learn to be more sensitive to their surroundings? How can we really begin to see things? I first posted this video on my friend, Tony Clennell's blog as a guest post... my little plan to try and hook some new readers- I only got two. ha! You two are the best!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ho-Ho Holter

A couple of nights ago I went to my first opening, as a participating artist, at the Holter Museum of Art here in Helena. It's the annual Ho Ho Holter Christmas pottery show where they invite something like 100 different ceramic potters from the region to show. I felt grateful to be asked earlier this summer. The woman who runs the gallery and set up there had seen my website and emailed me. That website actually worked! All I needed was about 11-20 pieces. Easy I thought... sure that'd be awesome. As the summer went by, pots for Free Ceramics were flying out of the door and our wood kiln was going up...quickly I realized I was running out of time. For about a week I spent hours and hours trying to make some decent work while still doing my day job. It was super crunch time and with a bit of finagling with some residents I secured the salt kiln at the Bray to fire and be unloaded the day the pots were due. Everything went smoothly...and with a serious lack of sleep I cranked out some pots, fired, and unloaded the pots. The pots went from the kiln to a shelf, where I had some sand paper...then to a box and directly to the Holter just 5 minutes before the deadline. At the opening I actually got to look at what I made. I'm ok with the outcome..but, I don't know.. I never feel as if my work is good can always get better. And plus some of my favorites were selling work too, like my all time fav, Josh DeWeese and the super skilled super-potter-woman, Sarah Jaeger. Knowing that I was showing with them made me more nervous. But to say the least I noticed a few hands with my cups or plates walking around and was glad to hear the positive feed back from fellow ceramic artists or people whom I knew, that didn't know I made pots. It was a fun evening and the martini's had way too much vodka... but I'm not complaining...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kiln Dayz

“Get ‘er done” That seems to be the attitude about the kiln as the end of November gets nearer and nearer. There is so much on my plate these days, even more so then it was while I was at school. I remember thinking my last semester (May, 2010) about what I had really learned and I realized that in school, they teach you many many things and if you pay attention you can learn quite a lot, but what it all comes down to is how well they taught you how to multi-task. Can you juggle a ton of deadlines? Can you keep those who are counting on you happy? Can you do all these things and still make good work??? I think I learned how to do all that… and like a friend told me the other day, “well, you made those decisions, didn’t you?” Yes, yes… No room to complain when it’s you who are in the drivers seat.

Many days from Scott, Andrew and a day given from Crista has the kiln to this point. It’s still getting close… A couple of minor adjustments and tweeks has the kiln to a place where ‘ole Peg Udall’s plans are now just guidelines. But that’s normal, right? It wouldn’t be right if this kiln didn’t reflect those building her. It looks awesome, doesn’t it? I was so happy where it’s at I gave Scott a big hug after he showed me everything he’s done.

and now? I have a lot of bricks to clean. I have a lot of pots to make.

Thanks guys.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SOFA Chitown

A week ago I climbed into a 14 foot Uhaul truck in Helena, Montana. The sun was just starting to go down and the trip just about to start. The truck was packed full of pedestals, boxes, and crates... full of artwork. The mission I accepted was to drive this truck 1600 miles to the heart of the midwest, Chicago, for the annual sculpture event known as SOFA. Amongst the many boxes were some of the most recent works by big hitter ceramic artists such as Richard Notkin, Chris Antemann, Don Rietz, and Josh DeWeese along with all the long term residents of 2010. I never did tally the monetary value of what was in the truck, because really, I didn't want to know... It had to be a lot and for the drive, I was responsible for it. Over the next couple of days I made my way through Billings, Montana and then to Minneapolis for a couple of days during Halloween. I met up with old friends and had a blast of a time for Halloween, seeing the best puppet show ever- some of these puppets were over 20 feet tall.

Now in Chicago, I've been involved with setting up the Bray show and witnessing the preliminary steps that go into this huge event. So many galleries shipping work here, unpacking and setting up. The morning of set up was insane to say the least. So far it's been quite the experience and the event is scheduled to open today, at 5 pm for the VIP collector viewing. I'm far from the VIP status but since I'm part of the setup I get free access to everything that's going on. Tonight I'll be interested in seeing just how it all works... How Galleries are pushing work to buyers and collectors and how artists are presenting themselves. Whose going to drink too much and break something? Will somebody buy the latest Akio Takamori or Tip Toland piece?? Not me of course! But you know there's gotta be plenty of people in there all coked up and crazy... somebody is going to crack.. because the pressure is thick enough to swim in.