A bit of show and tell…

So I think I may have mentioned a long long time ago about a project I was working on for a group show that was to be a collaborative process with the other participants in the exhibition. Well we’ve been working for months and meeting here and there to talk about work and now I figured was as good a time as any to give you a sneek peek into the work I’ve been making for the show.

There was a lot weighing on my mind when I was making this work, trying to source inspiration from the processes and aesthetics of the other artists while remaining true to my own path, trying to experiment and loosen up in the studio, try new things, fail at them, start again from scratch. And all this with approximately zero time to do it in. I’m the first to admit I struggled, like really struggled with this one. I like to think I can blame it on the fact that I had little physical time in the studio (too busy running after the little one who is now running!) and little mental time as well. But the reality was also that I had been stuck on my path of production for a fairly long time now, not really changing my ways or my pots, but rather staying within a safe zone of what had been successful and gently pushing the boundaries of that in the making of new forms. So I came to realize that I really had to break out of the mold for this one. I looked to the other artists, one had a way of working that was so intuitive, quick and expressive, leaving marks, pushing clay around and challenging what our perceptions of process might be…why sure that drain on the studio floor was perfect for pattern making! why sure i can make pieces vary from thick to thin and use my elbow to open the bowl form. It was a dance, it was full of energy, and I had to find a way to jump in. Another artist’s work was very methodical, very exact, very clean and some what monumental in presence, each piece commanding a fair amount of attention. Some where large solid geometric pieces, others simple bowl forms relating interior and exterior spaces. I had to be wary of my obvious attraction to clean lines and simplicity that was already pervasive in my work, so here I became drawn to the more solid forms, the weight of these solid pieces and the expectations we often have about ceramics and weight. The third artist for me posed yet another challenge. Her work brought in narrative components, deeply personal aesthetics, and a refined vocabulary about surface and glaze. Her work made me contemplate the relationship between surface and form in new ways, challenging me to not fall back upon old safety nets and to instead think deeply about the materials I was using.

In the end the works I’m showing you here which will be part of the exhibition are to me more a beginning than any attempt at an end. There has been so much to digest, so many different paths to follow and my practice has been shaken up in a pleasing way. These pieces resulted from my attempts to think more indepth about the throwing process. Each form was created on the wheel, but what I would do was center a piece of clay on the wheel and literally walk away from it for days. Stopping the process so early on, with out a form, without opening and raising walls, and even the physical removal from the piece meant that I returned to it without my preconceptions in mind, with a clean slate/mind prepared to look at this chunk of clay in a new way. I basically skipped out on the throwing part of the process. I wedged, I centered and I trimmed my work, sometimes removing over half to 3/4 of the clay that had been centered. I found the forms as a sculptor carving stone would, pulling them out, using tools to form them rather than the push and pull of my hands in clay. But that wasn’t enough, I had a need to then remove the link to the horizontal wheel. I needed the works to dance, move off of the table top. I turned them onto their sides, I cut them.

The show is to be an exhibition discussing subverted utility. It’s a lot to bite off and chew and then spit out in one piece. These forms are vases, vases for a single stemmed flower or branch. But they aim to be objects in and of themselves, sitting alone or in relation to each other. They are solid and weighty. They visually reference architecture and industrial parts, and the child in me attempts to screw them together somehow like nuts and bolts. They are still new to me, they are very slowly being digested. But they are only a beginning of something far more…i don’t even know the word, but i’m certain it will take up it’s fair share of my mental space and physical world. My mind already envisioning plaster molds and slipcast components… I like new beginnings, they are baby steps on a new path of investigation in the studio and in your practice. Sometimes they visually don’t look that different from your previous work, but inside you know that they are worlds apart in thought and approach. I guess we’ll see where it goes…your thoughts and critiques are always welcome.


Twittering away…

Well after long being harassed by my husband as to why I didn’t twitter I’ve finally given up the fight and joined. I’m also working on a paper for a conference this summer (more details to follow) all about new technologies and the implications for a studio artist, so I guess it just wouldn’t be right to talk about twitter without actually trying it myself…You can click on the link partway down on the right hand side margin to join the cult and follow my twitter. Anyone else out there twitter? Drop me a line either way, i’m curious what people think about the whole phenomenon.

If you want to know how I feel about it…check out this video. Nothing personal, I’m sure I’ll get over it as I get addicted to it.

The Dragon Kiln Crosses Cultures with Jack Troy: An Anagama Experience

Starting April 16, 2009
Astoria, Oregon
Cost $250.00 US
Workshop Includes:
2 day in studio clay workshop with Jack Troy
Loading Anagama
Firing Anagama
20 pieces per person in Anagama
Traditional Shino Glazes
Bunk House and Camping at Kiln Site
Lecture by Jack Troy with music by a Traditional Koto Player
Dynamic Environment
Unloading and Critical Review with Jack Troy and Richard Rowland
For registration and additional information on workshop schedule please visit
or phone Richard Rowland at

New blog to check out.

Interested in connecting with other ceramic students? Sharing insight into your work and the school you attend? Well then you should check out a new blog that’s just getting up and running:
Idioart Ceramic Art and Pottery Blog. Michael Arnold is the artist behind the blog and I reckon it’s a great idea to link a community of students and artists in dialogue. Man I was just thinking how the world has changed since I was an undergrad…I remember having to get my first email address, and being so uninterested in this “new fancy” technology! Yet now undergrads have their own websites, online shops, blogs…wow.

The Steve Show at NCECA

So there’s no hiding it, I’m deeply jealous of all of you that are going to NCECA this year. I had these wonderful plans on attending, I figured it was about time again as the last one I was at was Portland. But alas other plans and a different trip coming up this summer have taken precedence and so hopefully next year will be the year. I’m the kind of person at NCECA that loves to spend most of my time touring the exhibitions; I’ve never been one, for some reason, not sure why, to take in the demos. I do love the talks though, always need more theory and provocative insight in my life and studio practice…

But anyway my point is that if you are one of the lucky ones going, may I suggest you take the time to check out the “Steve Show” aka Referents & Research – Functional Ceramics by Steve Godfrey, Stephen Grimmer, Steven Roberts and S.C. Rolf.

I’m a huge fan of Steve Grimmers work, and as for the other Steves… well they’re fantastic as well (i just don’t know them personally!)

Here’s a blurb from the Duley-Jones Gallery website about the show:

“The exhibition explores the ways functional ceramics can be informed by the study of design, architecture, painting, and historical pots. The Steves are deeply committed to the value of craft and to making functional pots with a strong basis in research. While all four employ historical referents in their work, they do not simply appropriate or copy directly from history, but rather use their studies as a tool to strengthen conceptual and intellectual approaches to making functional objects.”

Don’t miss the artists’ reception on Thursday April 9 from 7 to 9pm.

And keep your eyes peeled for a profile on Steve Grimmer coming up next month as part of the “one artist a day for the month of April“, I can hardly wait for April…keep those images coming folks!!!