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.

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.

Fe Fi Fo Fum

This is the latest BIG pot. Fun to create, it turned out pretty much as I wanted. It’s not a pretty pot but, hopefully, gives some people memories of childhood.

Remember all those so-called fairy tales? Yes, they had a princess and a knight. But they also had darker characters: ogres, giants and more that would scare the bejeezus out of young children. You can look at this pot in the daylight and realize that those monsters can’t hurt you.

Little Air Plants

When Significant Other and I went to Hawaii in December, we stopped by an orchid nursery. While lovely, I’m not all that crazy about orchids but I’m fascinated with air plants. So, I took out a $20 bill and bought some to bring home.

The first week, I anchored them to pieces of driftwood with copper wire. They looked fine and were even getting bigger when I discovered that copper wire is a no-no. But, little pots are fine.

I made these little pinch pots a few years ago as an experiment with crater glazes. They’re cute but not really practical … until now. They’re the perfect “home” for the air plants.

Better Late than Never

This year (2019) my hands were busy in clay rather than on my computer keyboard. But, finally, I’ve taken photos and attempted to document my pottery journey.

The pieces vary from raku and alternative firings to works in terra cotta and some random experiments.

Take a look and feel free to leave comments.  Just click on the little “conversation bubble” at the top right of this post.

2018 Texas State Fair – Part 1

Significant other and I made our yearly trek to the State Fair on Saturday, September 29th.  It was the second day of the fair and, although the skies were a bit overcast, it was a great time to visit.

We arrived early and decided to park in the handicap lot (Gate 11).  It was actually easier than parking in the valet lot at Gate 5.  Coming in this way, we passed the Chevrolet test track and the Mattress Firm tent.  We passed the back side of the Cotton Bowl where trainers and other support personnel were arriving for the game between Prairie View A&M and Grambling which was scheduled for later that afternoon.

We also saw the backside of some Midway rides.  Side note: we steer clear of the Midway because (a) we’re not interested in the games, (b) Midway is usually the most crowded spot in the Fair, (c) there are few rides we’d get on.  One that we might try is this circle on a pole.  It looks fairly harmless.  But, we were not deterred.  We pressed on and …

Our first stop was the “birthing barn” where we saw twin lambs that had been born two hours earlier.  Several other very pregnant sheep were in another pen; some very pregnant cows were across the room; and some very pregnant pigs were being kept comfortable and warm.  Newly hatched chicks were in a glass-enclosed cage while other eggs were being kept in an incubator.

We kept walking (rather, I kept walking; significant other has a wonderful red scooter) and eventually arrived at the Creative Arts Building.  With the quilts, pottery, knit and crocheted items, jarred produce, walls of photographs, it’s a feast for the eyes and, almost, overload for the senses.

We stopped at the information booth to get a list of where my pieces were displayed (with over 70 display cases, we’d be searching forever if we didn’t get a cheat sheet).  So here are photos of my pieces at the Fair.

A couple other items that caught my eye:


The butter sculpture

This fantastic dress made of pull tabs from drink cans

Picture Day

The past month, I’ve been taking a summer ceramics class at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch. The class was Monday-Thursday for 4.5 hours each day. Needless to say, I created a lot of pottery using various techniques. New pottery = lots of pictures = new post. So here goes …

Technique 1 – Texture Using Napa Cabbage Leaves
Somehow in my pottery learnings, I neglected to use this common texture technique. So, I bought a small head of Napa cabbage and use the leaves to create several pieces. Some pieces were soda fired; others were reduction fired. In general, I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out.

Technique 2 – Sgraffito
I actually posted results of this technique earlier but here are the photos again:

Technique 3 – Mocha Diffusion
Interesting technique using slip and then dropping a mixture of mason stain/water on the slip.  These are semi-test pieces to see what the effect would be with different firing environments.  Basically, the pictures make them look better and I have some other pieces to fire.  Like using this technique and will probably do it again.

Technique 4 – Using Extruder to Create Pieces

I have an extruder that’s not used a lot.  But, every so often, I’ll run some clay through it and then see what happens.  This time, I used it to create a series of triangular shaped vases.  There are 10 vases altogether but they can be grouped in various ways, making them very versatile.