2020 State Fair of Texas – Results are In!

Earlier this year, it appeared that the State Fair of Texas would be a “no go” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  But, thanks to the ingenuity of the organizers, the State Fair has been modified to allow modified participation.   Modified means:  Drive Thru State Fair, Special On-Line Competitions, Video Tours and limited participation in Creative Arts Competitions.   So … I put on my mask and took five pieces down to the Fair last month.  This morning the results were announced … TADA!!

Here are my entries … two Blue, two Red, one White!

During Spring Break and Summer Hiatus …

I was fairly busy:  finishing up projects from earlier in the Spring semester, working on new projects and experimenting a lot.

One goal was to use up partial bags of cone 6 clay that had been laying about the studio for far too long.  Another goal was to experiment with using slips and trying new forms.  Finally set aside a day to take pictures and …. here they are.

This first bowl/platter is made on a form that I found in someone’s bulk trash pile.  It turned out fairly well and I like the glaze except for all the tiny glass bubbles in it.  Guess that’s because I used dark clay and it gave off the gasses during the firing process.  The glaze is Red Gold by Coyote Clay.

 

 

Worked with slip and underglaze and a bit of sgraffito.  Obviously, I need to refine the process so the words aren’t smeared.

This pot has a rough texture created by a crater slip.  The part with the gears has a white slip to emphasize the texture.  Overall, I like the effect and will have to try this again.

This artifact/pitcher is a project from Spring semester.  It uses a crackle slip and was soda fired.

More from Spring semester. This project was to demonstrate what glazes look like when overlapped and partially blocked out.

A bowl with slip on the outside and glaze on the inside. Again, I like the way the glaze highlights the texture.

A vase with a face.   And another (below).

The head is supposed to show left-brain/right-brain.  I like the concept but not the execution.  Will have to try this one again.

A couple of experimental forms.  They were almost too tall for the kiln.

 

A tiny dancer and a pitcher and a totem …

And another vase and and mug and bowl.

And remember the cat?  Well, I added some decals.  Here are close-ups …

And that’s how I spent my Spring Break and Summer Hiatus.

Glaze Test

One of the last things I did before Spring Break was mix up a batch of Pete’s Strontium Matte glaze and put it on a small cup.  Finally, it’s been fired.  And here are the results.

 

Visiting Dallas Arboretum

For the month of August,  the Dallas Arboretum offered a special:  $2 admission and $5 parking.  Early August days were cooler than normal and we decided to go over Sunday morning.

The Seward Johnson sculpture exhibit was held over  and, during our visit, we were able to see about half of the sculptures.  We’ll have to go back again in a week or so to see the rest.

Anyway, here (in no particular order) are photos of the gardens and sculptures.

Looking Back and Forward

For a while now, I’ve been storing photographs on an external hard drive.  Thought it has beaucoup memory but it looks like it’s getting full.  So, I decided to go through and delete duplicates and those that aren’t in focus, etc.

Well, that meant that I was looking at photos of pottery that I’ve created over the past eight years.  You know what??  Some of them were pretty good and it might be nice to redo some of them using different clay and glazes.  And some of them gave me ideas for new pieces.

Stay tuned and let’s see what develops.

Making a Cat Sculpture

I’ve been fascinated with hand-built clay sculptures for a long time.  Tried to create a few with some success but more disappointments.  I think it’s because I’ve always built over a form, not trusting myself to build it from scratch.  I’d even tried a sculpture class or two but didn’t really understand the process; so, it was back to my partial success with forms.

When Creative Arts Center of Dallas offered an animal sculpture workshop, I signed up … a couple of times.  But, each time, it was cancelled until last month.  Frankly, I was surprised that the workshop was a GO! because class size was limited and we were required to wear masks.

Well, this was the best workshop ever! Susan Giller helped me understand the process of building a solid figure, refining it, hollowing it out and finishing it.  Here are some “work in progress” photos.

 

Catching Up!

In mid-March, Brookhaven College (where I take a ceramics class) closed for Spring Break! And then, due to COVID-19, it didn’t reopen. Fortunately, I was able to continue working and building pieces in my home studio. Some of the results were great; other, not so much.

Anyway, here’s a sample of what I worked on (some of these are from earlier when I did have access to Brookhaven’s resources).

Snack Plates with Messages

I’d been thinking for a while about COVID-19 and pandemics in general and wondered if the word “pandemic” came from a Greek root that also gave the name to Pandora. According to the myth, Pandora was given a wonderful box. But she wasn’t supposed to open it. Curiosity got the better of her and she opened it, releasing all the plagues/ills of the world. At the bottom of the box was a small piece that said “HOPE.”

Pandora = pandemic but at the bottom of it all is HOPE … which is why I created this small set. Of course, one of the words had to be HOPE and it was created first. The others are qualities that we need in this time of pandemic … PEACE, JOY, MERCY.

The Saga of the Bunnies

About a month ago, Ginger (my large puppy) was scrambling around in the ferns up close to the house.  Well, it turns out there were a couple of baby bunnies nesting in them and she flushed them out.  Since it was dusk, I brought her in and figured the situation would resolve itself overnight.

Nope.  The next morning one bunny was “hiding out” in plain sight on the driveway.  It didn’t move as I approached it; so, I thought it was dead, scooped it up and put it in the trash can.

The other bunny was hiding in a clump of mondo grass and didn’t even move when I went to pick it up.  I brought it in and put it in shoebox until I could figure out what to do with it.   I started thinking about the first bunny … the one in the trash … and thought that maybe it was alive and just very scared.   Yup!  I pulled that bunny from the trash, wiped it off a bit and put it in the shoebox too.

After I posted a picture of the bunnies on Facebook, a friend recommended a wildlife rescue group and I called the phone number listed.  The volunteer who returned my call recommended a couple of people who could foster the bunnies; one was more than happy to take them it.  Hooray!!

So the bunnies in the shoebox got loaded into the car for the trip across town.  I left the shoebox on her front porch and, a while later, she sent me this picture of them settling in.  They were chowing down on alfalfa and drinking goat’s milk.   She lives near White Rock Lake and said that eventually she would probably release them near the lake.

Sure enough, when I contacted her a couple weeks later, she said that they had been released and sent me pictures of them, thus ending the saga.

 

Honored to be part of ART214 in Dallas

My piece “Chemo Brain” has been juried into ART214 in Dallas.

It will be on display at the South Dallas Cultural Center (3400 S Fitzhugh Ave, Dallas, TX 75210) from April 4 through May 30th.

This year, the ART214 committee received more than 1000 submissions from artists across North Texas. The chosen artists’ work will be displayed at various venues across Dallas. Check out specific information for each venue and the artists chosen.

UPDATE, March 22:  Due to the coronavirus quarantine in Dallas, all ART214 events have been cancelled.  This piece will stay in my closet gallery for now and, perhaps, be displayed later this year or in another juried show.