Thursday, February 21, 2013

how do i fit in? how do you?

Lately I've been thinking.  (I know....god, thinking.. please be careful, things happen when one thinks.  Ideas?  Oh out!)

Just this morning I watched a dvd about Val Cushing.  It was released through NCECA back in 2005.  Its about his..."life of clay".  his history, the reasons, his practice.  I watched it and was reminded just how lucky I am to have the life I do.  It's great.  I get to make pots and meet lots of amazing people.  The pay is totally horrible....  I have student loans that I wont be able to pay off for a long time...and speaking of a long time - owning a house?  Maybe never.  Health insurance?  yah,  you guessed it.. I don't ski!...  Maybe if I get lucky I can have some of these things one day....  and yet I do feel lucky. think of art.  to live it.  to look at line and form in a way most people can't possibly imagine.  if i'm going to read a book..chances are I'm going to read something about my own field.  Who does that?  Do you think the janitor or dish washer goes home to brush up on his history of janitory skills or the greats that impacted the dish-washing scene?  I would guess not many professions go home and leisurely brush up on their professions history.

so I find myself trying to understand my place in this clay world and my way of working.  as potters and workers of clay we are engaged in a living tradition.  It is soooo important to grasp that concept.  How will we shape the future of our medium?  How do I fit in it?  How do you?

This is my third residency, here at the Clay Studio of Missoula.  I've been to Redlodge for a few months, Sonoma, Ca for half a year...  How different, as a young clay artist's life is compared to the greats, like Val or any other artist that I look up to that did it 40 or 50 years ago.  It's a new game with new cards.  How fun.  American Ceramics is so young.  It's so brand-spankin new that I get worked up about all the possibilities.

 There is so much information out there that I think a lot of what's coming out is total crap.  Yet, like most things... the cream will rise to the top.  You can fool the audience, but never the players.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the Diner style

what does it take to create a whole new style of handle?  it's a strange thing to discard a technique or style that's been worked on for easily.  i'm feeling good about the change.  I suppose the pulled handle and I had our own paths to take.  seeya!

Now...  onto bigger and better things!  the Diner-Style!

Do you know those big, clunky, thick, one-fingered mugs that all breakfast joints and most restaurants have?  Yah.  There's something very appealing to me about these mugs, and I think a lot of potters would agree or feel the same.  Some would say they suck in most ways.  I like them though.  They're strong and practical.  This is the mug.  This is the handle.  No bull.  No frilly gimmicks... a mug designed to be banged around, dropped, chipped, thick (to keep the coffee hot as long as possible) and cheaply made and replaced.  That's awesome.  But!  why not combine parts of the diner mug with parts of a studio artist's cup?  That's what I'm trying to get to...  and here they are.

It's fun to try new things.... and almost immediately have I noticed how I can make them better.  From the prototype handle to the best way to cast them..there are lots of things to improve upon.  And another strange thing.... by press molding a handle...  I feel like I've flipped the two parts of the mug - the body and the handle.  when pulling a handle off the cup....  the handle must fit the cup it's attached to.  and now by already having a shape pre-destined for the unmade cup..the cup must fit the handle!  ahhh!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

press molded

trying something new...

since I started making mugs I've always pulled the handle off the pot..  you know, make a little carrot wedge thing, attach to wherever and then pull.  I tried this method a few days ago with a new batch of mugs I made..... and.... hated it.  I hated the handle.  I've done it a thousand times..but .. god i don't know.  maybe I'm in a new place and want to try a new thing.  Plus... I love the way a one fingered diner handle feels on a mug... soooooooo...

I'm trying something different.  Press-molded handles.

Here it goes.. I have two more on their way.  I hope they work out.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Out of the Blue

Hey folks.

Every first Friday of the month here in Missoula..there's opening..openings.. lots to do.  Today is the first one of 2013.  Here at the Clay Studio of Missoula, the first friday is opening with a show juried by Trey Hill called, "Out of the Blue".  It's a ceramic show concerning "blue" a color or concept, ranging the gambit of contemporary ceramics, mostly from America.. (as far as I could tell).  So here are a few shots of it...

Courtney Murphy (not in the show) eating some blue berries!

some of the guys hanging out..drinking beers.  Perry Haas (the one with the yellow hair) is another of the long term residents.

Clay Studio of Missoula!!