i made a thing

 

i created this zine to accompany a short intro to electric kiln talk i did this week at arbutus folk school in olympia, wa.

PDF here —–>electric-kiln-basics-zine

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fun with florida plants.

one fun thing about my program is that we are required to take a class outside our area.  it usually ends up being something unique that informs our work.  since i consistently use nature as a source material and have a deep love if the plants, animals and ecosystems here in my home state if florida i was amped to take a botany course called northern florida flora. 

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my week in drawing, tracing, coloring.

residency time.

yesterday i arrived in shigaraki japan where i will do a one month residency at the shigaraki ceramic cultural park.

after taking the shinkensen from tokyo to kyoto, i transferred to a local train and then to two buses.  the bus ride was long and curvy, so i wanted to vomit a little but was eventually distracted by the amazing view out the window.

my view had been particularly beautiful for a good deal of my journey but soon after boarding the second bus i was literally awestruck.  i am sure that these pictures, taken from my phone, through a rainy window, while the bus barreled upwards and around curves don’t do the scenery justice but my chin was on the floor.  this might be the most breathtaking place i’ve ever been.

mountains! trees!

clouds

 

once i arrived at shigaraki, i was shown my room, introduced to the staff and several residents and taken to the grocery store to get provisions.

i unpacked my stuff, wondered around a little and in the evening there was a little welcome party.  one of the women here is from the gunma prefecture and had several types of pork from her family’s farm.

meat! from kumie’s famliy.

amazing spread.

this morning i woke up early and met with the staff to discuss my clay needs.

serious business.

then we went off to the clay store, where i purchased some black clay, which you can see (ish) in the test tiles above.

everything everyone has said is completely true.  it was totally overwhelming choosing clay.  i haven’t been to the tool store yet but i’m planning to be blown away.

i’m really into the fact that there are entire stores dedicated to clay.

anyway, finally back to the studio and getting to work:)

 

 

huge crowd outside, waiting for the doors to open.

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in january i had the good fortune to see tavis smiley and cornel west speak in pugh hall at UF.  i showed up about an hour early, not knowing what the venue was like or what kind of crowd there would be.  thank goodness i got there when i did because the place was packed.  i was extremely lucky to get a seat, as some folks were diverted to an auditorium where they were streaming the talk live.  not only did the stream not show up well but the auditorium, i heard, was packed as well.

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tavis smiley introduced cornel west.  it was clear in his presentation that he greatly admired dr. west and he seemed to set the stage for him to speak.  this was my first time to hear cornel west speak and they made a great duo, smiley with his clear cut details, and sassy asides and dr. west with his theatrical way of speaking.

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they were there to talk about poverty.  as in, 50% of americans are in or near poverty.  really depressing stuff but when i got up to leave, i didn’t feel depressed.  they said what they had to say in a way that lifted the audience up.

looking down at my notebook, all i see are scraps of phrases, statistics and quotations.  it doesn’t make much of a picture.  but what i remember is a particular feeling of elation every time west spoke of a movement that needs to be multi-racial, multi-cultural, and inclusive all all genders, ethnicities, sexual identities, faiths (including athiests:)).  it goes without saying but i LOVE that he didn’t let it.  i loved that when someone brought up racism happening in the occupy movement, it didn’t phase him, simple, white supremacy and male supremacy come up in progressive movements, we just have to help each other out, push each other to be better.

after the talk i went up to shake their hands, it was a huge crowd, and i think if i hadn’t been alone i may have easily been talked out of it.  but i felt so touched and i wanted to shake cornel west’s hand and tell him that the book race matters had significantly impacted my life.  it’s so easy to get bummed out, to think that their is no way that equality will ever prevail, that things are always getting worse, but one of the points that resonated with me from race matters is that the one thing you can always do, the one thing that will change the world, is to create love and foster connections.

as it turned out, by the time i got to the stage, he and smiley were being encouraged by their assistants that it was time to leave.  west reached down a hugged a few of us left waiting, tavis smiley shook my hand, i said “thank you” and headed out.

studio shots

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school is in full effect and it was a great first week back.  i’m really amped about all my classes.  they are all studio courses (ceramics seminar, sculpture seminar and performance and installation a.k.a. intervention).

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i had a great meeting with my professor to talk about my research plan for the semester.  as mentioned earlier i’m planning to tackle philosophy of aesthetics and beauty.  i also plan to explore the idea of wonder and how it relates to art and science.  i’m getting really excited to read about what all of these great thinkers believe and eventually be able to articulate my own position.

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for my intervention course i’m going to be working collaboratively on several projects, one of which we hope to be able to share with people at nceca…..will keep you posted.

as for sculpture seminar, which is focusing on relational aesthetics, i’m not sure quite what i’ll be tackling.  i’m interested in challenging myself to work outside of the ceramic medium and….. i signed up for a february 1st crit so…….i’m going to get cracking!

inspiration

 

i’m reading a lot right now about beauty and wonder.  i’m interested in understanding more about beauty’s role in art and nature and the separation of beauty and aesthetics.

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i probably should have listened more in undergrad when they were talking about greenberg and modernism right?  some of the sources i’m looking at talk about beauty being removed from aesthetics way before modernism by philosophers drawing a stark like between anything that elicits desire and anything aesthetic.

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i’m more inclined to side with plato’s take on the whole thing (which i am currently interpreting as) beauty makes you feel all awesome and that makes you want to understand and that leads to knowledge.  or something.

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i think work should be able to hold up criticism or evaluation that can take longer than an instant to be fully realized.

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but is that hook so bad?  (schopenhaur thinks so)  maybe beauty can be the neon sign that brings somebody in closer, a means to an end.  but where does beauty end and wonder begin?

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“the wonder of the aesthetic state of wonder is the play of te mind over the details of the object itself.  aesthetics is part of the mobility of attention, interest and delight.  its lingering over the widest range of details so as to prolong its pleasurable contact…”  phillip a. fisher

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thanks to mia familia for all this green inspiration.