i spent the holiday weekend at my parent’s house. in addition to delicious food i also got to make some work. on their lanai, after all this time, sits my first work bench. way back when i was 18 and moved out for the first time my place had a nice screened in porch, perfect to do art on. i mentioned needing a work bench and my roommate’s boyfriend (who was doing construction and had access to lots of scrap wood) built it right up.
today i unpacked the work i’d taken with me to “eclectic and then some”. since most of the smallies had just come out of the kiln they hadn’t made it to the shelf before heading over to gulfport. these are some quick snaps, but you get the idea of my shelf space at the clay co. i am really loving the pieces all together like this.
john cage says “Rule 8: Do not try to create and analyze at the same time. They are different
processes.” gettting a look at everything together, the low fire wall pieces i made about a year ago and the small ones which i made a couple of weeks ago really get’s my brain going. the collection in the second picture feels like a display case of a natural history museum. shells? fossils? an aquarium? this is the kind of situation i would like to put people in. and then they realize they can take a little piece of the display home with them.
welcome to my collection of specimens…
as i’ve been working on these wall pieces the studio has been full of frenetic energy. lots of people firing different kilns and in different ways. also, i’ve been working with different types of clay. most/all of the compost show was highwater p10 porcelain. i love p10 because i am able to build with it so effortlessly. especially when coiling. but with the wall pieces above i have used highwater p10 and helios, matt long’s porcelain and a flashing porcelain one of the former residents mixed up before he left. i’ve got maybe 50 pounds of that left, and unfortunately he didn’t use a recipe but all this variety in workability and fire color has me amped up to research more porcelain recipes and develop one i like.
i have been seeing ceramic surface everywhere i look. carbon trapping brains in the mackerel clouds when they get all skippy and black and white across the sky or fire color in j.q.’s roommate’s dog’s fur or the other night when i was watching grey’s anatomy and saw my the wood fired surface in patrick dempsey’s facial hair.
saturday while the clay co a.i.r.s were working it at craft art, b.d. and i headed over to gulfport for “eclectic and then some”. a much smaller sale with only 20 artists in the fellowship hall of a church. the sale was small but with a good following. i did pretty well with a little help from my friends. i was trying to stay focused and not get temped to buy or trade too much with other artists. i’ve got to say that left to my own devices i would trade away everything i make. there were so many talented artists there. one of the organizers makes one of a kind dolls and there was a felter that had some amazing scarves and wrist bands. in the end i did trade with an amazing metals artist. sweet.
though i’ve helped out with sales in the past, group efforts with all the other artists in the clay co, this was my first sale with a bulk of my own work. exciting.
i took a couple of pics before forgetting about my camera all together.
i’ve been having so much fun with the wall pieces so i decided to start making some small ones. i thought it would allow me to work through ideas more quickly, have some fun as well as have a product i could sell at a more affordable price. the first couple were fired in the salt/soda and the wood train. they have definitely become a vehicle for testing new ideas and doing some experimentation with firing.
here’s some pics right before they went into the bisque fire…
you can see the scale shift. regular size wall piece on the left, smallies on the right.
super busy day. y and i mixed up 1000 lbs of clay for don reitz’s visit. red, m, y, j and i loaded up the wood train kiln today and tonight, after grilling up some dinner, we started the fire. red and i are on first shift: 8 pm -4 am keeping the camp fire burning. red is a new a.i.r. and moved in to my and j’s house after sarah tancred moved up to gainesville to do post bac at uf.
so we are posting live from the fire.
starting it was unceremonious. y twisted newspaper and placed it with wood into the bottom of the fire box and red took a torch to it. in mashiko, japan we poured sake and rice into tea bowls and placed them on ledges specially built into the kiln for that purpose and passed around a lit candle until everyone involved with the firing had touched it and then took it to the kindling. but i guess in mashiko we didn’t have a barbecue……anyway
nicole: red, how’s it going? whatcha doing over there?
red: singing and dancin to Kanye and my phone is vibrating annnndddd stoking/stiring the fire 🙂
nicole: so you came from iowa city. that’s a big wood fire school isn’t it?
red: true that…we had an anagama and some cat arch wood kilns before the flood hit. Chuck Hindes was a big deal and left as I was entering the program. So it’s interesitng to see other methods of wood-firing.
nicole: you and m and y fired last month, when i was out of town[ :-(] was that your first time to fire a wood train? what were some of the similarities and differences from your past experience?
red: yes, it popped my train kiln cherry…and it was also my first time doing 8 hour shifts with 1 or 2 people. It was intense because I’m used to 20+ people participating in any wood-fire. The fire was very successful with little to no problems. It seemed like it was one of the smoother wood-fires I’ve done.
nicole: for you, what makes a wood-fire successful?
red: a successful wood-fire=a pretty even kiln from front to back and little to no chunky ash left on the pots. so, the surfaces will have a nice color gradient, and the functional pieces will be functional. also, less people=faster and smoother loading/unloading and all around firing. side note-a good firing in florida=I won’t pass out from the heat.
nicole: yeah, that had to be hard for you northerners, especially last month, when it was even hotter than it is now. in japan, they call that chunky ash koge which means “burned”. i see why koge would be undesirable on fuctional ware, but how do you feel about it on sculptural work?
red: yes, the florida heat is kinda killing me-especially when I wood-fire. unchi. koge is awesome on sculpture work. i am trying to put more non-functional pieces in wood-fires anymore. for instance, i have some pumpkins I made that look pretty awesome in the train kiln. you have a couple of pieces in this kiln. have you wood-fired your work a lot?
nicole: i’ve wood fired only a little bit. when i was living in japan. i’m excited to see what comes out of this kiln. i have some of my flora wall peices inside. i did some with highwater p10 and some with a flashing porcelain body. we’ll see. too much ash might cover up my textures, but some koge and some flashing might be pretty sweet. so one more question: you come from a big wood fire school but you did a bunch of research on low fire glazes while there. how was it working in such a woody place, doing low fire, and do you ever think you might have liked somewhere that had more low fire focus, like uf, better?
red: i’m really interested to see how your pieces will turn out and think they’ll be a good contrast with your soda pieces. when i first got to Iowa, i did primarily functional work and wood-fired alot. it wasn’t until my last year and a half of undergrad that i started experimenting more with low-fire sculptural. it was nice to have that contrast in the studio because i got to work on my own alot while still having the wood-fire community. i enjoy the process of wood-firing a lot but like the product of the low-fire colors better. i needed to get more color in my work. i think i went to a school with more of a sculptural, not wood-fire program, i would have been more experimental in my work earlier. but, there were a lot of people doing sculptural-like lee johnson (BFA, who is now at RISD), matt dercole. So i always had artists to influence me and talk to about different firing and building processes. but i like how i now have a broad background in different methods of firing and building. not a lot of facilities have wood-fires.
nicole: well, you really come across as confident in many different areas, maybe that’s from your education as well as your personality. so now, here you are, in florida. for the next year or two. before we finish up here, any major goals for the year? and btw, who are some of your favorite artists or influences?
red: florida=skin cancer state lol. 1st, i’m going to try not to get skin cancer 🙂 my goals are to build up a better portfolio, learn from the awesome artists at the clay company and the area in general, and try to get into grad school. for some reason, most of my favorite artists aren’t clay artists. some big name artist that influence me are lisa orr, salvador dali, and i’ve been getting into jason briggs. who are your favorite artists?
nicole: well, you know i’m really intrigued by jason briggs. i’ve also always admired louise bourgois and eva hesse. i love how their work is respected within the minimalist movement but it has so much heart. i’m really excited about work that’s happening now which is beginning to unite clay and contemporary art. well, yay, that was fun. thanks for writing about what’s going on with you.
red: samsies (^^^)