Friday, September 21, 2012

carvers: i feel your pain

You guys know of a few ceramic artists like... Adam Field, Kathy King, Matt Metz, David Regan and Sue Tirrell? (click the links to see their work)  All of these really awesome this; they carve, or slice or sgraffito if you will, most of the pots they make...and I just want to let them know.. man to woman, or man to man-  Wow.  I feel your pain.

Most of the last three days has been dedicated to this part of my pots.  It's been good.  At times I found myself lost in a world of landscapes, atmospheres, and crazy black and white design.  I'd even start to day dream about where the place is that I'm drawing.  Do people live here?  Are these ancient cave dwellings or mythical clouds pouring down rain, or am I drawing a vast and empty plane that's on fire?  Is that mug on the top far right.. is that an aligator with rounded teeth??  Are these bugs?  Did I play too much Super Mario Bros. when I was a kid?

I really enjoyed it design would lead to another.  I'd carve one and think..huh..  well, I like that, but I don't like that..and then expound on it with the next guy.  I still have many pots to go.. I've finished all the cups, bowls and mugs.. now onto the more complicated things.  I have a board of bud vases that are so delicate it makes them really challenging to carve...   and of course, these covered jars that I'm letting sit awhile..  I'm excited about the forms and really want to nail a good carving.

Monday, September 17, 2012

sgraffito sesh... on it's way!

I've scheduled my next firing in a couple of weeks..  so it looks like I'm done making for a little bit.  I gotta carve all this stuff in the next week.  I think I can do that..yah?  but then I always think the steps I go through never take that long.  what's up with that?... mad mad mad sgraffito session coming my way....   

I made these tall floor vases to use up a lot of the kiln...   I made a few of these back in Redlodge..and both have since sold, I think.. So why not?  I mean really..why not let it fly?  I love their ears.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

T. Rockwell at the de Young

Ahh... today was super sweet.  I don't really know how to start...  Lets begin with a quote from Tony Rockwell,

"it's good to know certain people".

This certain person.. named, Tony, was enrolled in my pottery class for the last 8 weeks.  Tony is just... amazing.  Not only did he pick up throwing like a person can ride a bicycle after years and years of not riding, while looking like they never stopped.... he's the kind of person that can work on a sculpture for YEARS... in fact the particular piece he's been working on now has recently turned two years old.  Here it is..uncovered...  ohhhh... wild right?  so incredible.

Tony works for the conservation department at the de Young, focusing on American painting/or paintings in general.  His job is to restore damaged paintings that are either a part of their collection, or that other museums/people/whatever send to them.  Here's Tony and the project he's been working on.

A shot of the workshop...  Some high tech things are going down..  they have a micron spectrometer that can analyze the type of materials used in the it becomes easier/more homogenous when restored.  Very cool.. 

Another piece a co-worker of his is working on...

So a a few weeks back, he invites me out to the museum for a behind the scenes tour.... and to tell you the truth I'd heard about this from past residents or people that work here.. "hey if Tony invites you to the de Young.. You should go man, it's incredible".  So I waited..and I waited..  finally he asked I could tell him Yes YES!  The de Young is one of my favorite museums of all time..  it's an incredible building and the permanent collections are just amazing.

 Tony happily showed me around, after buying me lunch at the cafe along with a nice glass of wine... so tasty!....  He showed me the conservation departments from textiles, to objects and paintings.  Everybody working was very serious..and working very hard...  so I didn't have the chance to mingle or get to know anybody else..but that's fine.  I didn't want to bother anybody.  As the tour sort of came to an end, Tony says.. "hey bobby, so is there anything else you want to see that you think I could show you?"  I say..."yah.  I want to see the belly.. take me to vaults!"  Ahhaha... oh man, so we went down down the elevator through a few security check points and bubam!.... I was in the bowels of the de Young.. walking through huge, white sliding doors into the dark abyss of art work...   Henry Moore, DeStabler, Kaneko, David Smith (i hardly recognize any painters..but 3d objects are my choice)..  all wrapped and secured like the precious work that they are... an incredible number of paintings, ancient objects and even a contemporary teapot collection where I recognized many clay people that I know.  I have some pics of it..but when I asked about sharing them online, Tony asked me not to..  ah well.. museum copyrights.  I understand.  After that he turned me loose and went back to work... I had a free pass for the museum.. so I happily spent a couple hours wondering around enjoying what they had to offer.

So it was a killer day in the city..and to tell you the truth.. I really needed to get out and do something.    Thanks so much, Tony.   It's at the top of my museum experiences by far.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

the Julia Terr Annual at the Center

The opening happened this last Friday night.  It was pretty fun.  5pm to 7pm.  Lots of people showed up to check out all the great pots.  I enjoy openings like's fun to talk to people about what I'm doing.  And it's fun to have a few friends in the show.  I get to talk them up.  Below are a few pics of what was being shown.  It really is a handsome show.

A group of bottles made by yours truly.  These came out of that salt firing I did a week ago.  Lookin sharp as a grouping, huh?  $110 each if your interested.  Just let me know!

This piece really took the cake.  If there were any awards this one probably would have won.  It's made by Peter Pincuss.  

Fetish Ghost in the house!!!  It was the first time I got to handle his work... I've only seen them online.  Cool designs.  Good pots.  It's hard to tell but the surface is so soft.  

Here are two pots by Lee Middleman.  People were literally drooling over these.

The Ernest Gentry himself with a fine covered jar.  Ernie's pots are small yet they carry themselves in a large way. 

My man, Perry Haas with a nice drinking set.  Perry is a damn good potter. 

A local potter, Kathy Kearns and former teacher of mine had a big water jar on display.  Historically speaking this form was used to keep the dust down, not to water the plants. 

So that's that.  Nice show huh?  I think in a week or something the show will be online for people to see and buy.  I'll let you know about it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ceramics won.

labor day!  monday.. just chillin at my sister's place in Vallejo.  it's not that far from Sonoma..maybe only a 30 minute drive.  it's nice havin family near by.  i can't remember the last time I just sat around and watched Tv or listened to music with my sister.  it's been a long time.

so to update you all on what's been goin on the last month.. a whole lot.  life just gets crazy sometimes you know?  gotta take the good with the bad..hopefully it's more good.  in my case, well lets just say I'm still here. I'm alright.

I finally fired off a full load of pots.  it's about time huh?... jeezus.  the firing was definitely a wake up call for me.  i need to get my ass into gear and just have fun making pots.  having fun making pots though..i need a certain level of control of what's going on i think.  but for this firing, a whole lot was up in the air.  for one, I'd never fired this particular Salt kiln before...I had to drive back and forth from Sonoma to Pleasant Hill.. I was totally sleep deprived.  I was using unfamiliar glazes and I didn't have all my normal gear with me.  I was rushed.  A lot of what went down was just because I wasn't prepared.

Sometimes it feels like a battle, or a game or something..with points.  Ceramics vs. Bobby.  After I had finished loading my kiln, which took soooo much longer then I really thought, I began to brick up the door.  Oh the door!  You bastard brick of a door!  For the love of everything.. I could not figure out how to get the door to fit.  Around 1:40 am I said F*ck this door!  I threw the towel in..and that night the score became Ceramics 1, Bobby 0.  That was the first time I've ever given up like that you know?  I was so pissed.  Next day I drove back to the kiln to start the burner up around 5 pm and come back the next morning to fire.  Over the night the burner blew out.  The next morning I came to an extremely cold and dark kiln.  Ceramics 2, Bobby 0.  I turn it on again...  issues throughout the day.  I didn't fire that kiln off until 4 am.  Ceramics 3, Bobby 0.  Unloading happened in the dark.  Ever unload a kiln with only a flashlight?  Turns out most of the glazes I used needed a hard cone 11 to melt.  Ceramics 4.  Bobby 0.  Yet.. I did get a few gems.

so the final score was Ceramics kicking my ass completely.  It nearly skunked me.

Now I have a load of underfired pots and few nice ones rolling around in the back of my car.  You ever roll like this?  I keep a number of sleeping bags and blankets in my car so I can do this.. ha.

the next firing is MINE.

Leave a comment about a memorable ceramics battle you had with a kiln.  I know this kind of thing is normal..but man it sucks when it happens.