Sunday, December 25, 2011

and finally a little time for play

trashcan landscape
With the tumult of our move into the new house at the end of October, it's been a long time since I've had time to play. I saw this in downtown Yonkers in a car fix-it garage. The mechanic was worried I was documenting violations and almost stopped me. I had to assure him I was only documenting beauty.

Monday, September 5, 2011

keep making

top to bottom: coffee cups, lidded storage jar, medium sized bowls good for soup & cereal (all greenware, unfired, unglazed)

I keep making despite our home and lives being in disarray as we await (STILL) the closing date on our house. Our apartment has been half-packed for months now. The tension of being in between is getting to us.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

summer break

cape cod, massachussetts - white crest beach

There's nothing like a trip to the ocean for putting it all in perspective when everything feels a little out of balance. 

We decided to take a last minute trip to Cape Cod this past week to restore and balance ourselves after dealing for the last few months with the de-humanizing bureaucracy and red tape of buying our first house. We hope to have a closing date within a week or two and to be moved in by mid-September.

Monday, May 30, 2011

coleman bark's rumi translations firing my pottery

top to bottom: pottery studio door open in distance, some pieces out of recent glaze firing

Another great book find of late. While returning some loans to the library I happened upon Coleman Bark's translation of Rumi poetry called, "The Big Red Book," and am blown away by it. It's nearly psychedelic in the feeling it imparts and the Sufi mystic has much to say about creating. This is a book I'll quickly purchase for my personal library and return to again and again.

so much loveliness this spring in new york city

top to bottom: secret quiet spot in inwood hill park, baby ducks feeding, lupine

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

hot from the kiln! a few finished handmade ceramic pieces, white tumblers, blue coffee cups / mugs

blue glazed, pinched stoneware coffee cups / mugs, white glazed, pinched tumbler set

in the early world, elwyn s. richardson

just a few of the gorgeous image plates from "in the early world," by elwyn s. richardson

I made a remarkable pottery and craft book find this weekend browsing a neighborhood antiques store I frequent. Written in 1969, "In The Early World," by Elwyn S. Richardson is his account of teaching school children in a rural Australian school. I've read only the foreward and introduction so far, opting to flip repeatedly through the warm images of pottery, linoleum prints, and poetry by these amazing, young school children.

A few enticing tidbits I have gleaned:

"In this school too there was proper recognition of the making propensity. Homo faber and homo ludens were together in the child who thought and felt. Studies and activities grew naturally out of what preceded them. New techniques were discovered and skills practised as each achievement set new standards." In such an 'integrated curriculum the integrity of persons is preserved even more than the integrity of topics. Children recognize themselves in and through the things they make. From their paintings, their prints and their pottery they learn answers to the question "Who am I?'"

"And always the school functioned as a community, a community of artist-scientists...not in spite of but because of the individualism of its members--each person counted and was expected to make his own contribution to its life."

sustainable, eco-friendly practices in the pottery studio

 hamsas & free-form pendants & charms formed from clay scraps

Ever slowly but persistently I continue adding pieces to a full dinner set collection I've dreamed of completing for years.

Initial forming of  large plates beginning with slabs yields lots of leftover scraps large and small that, as all potters do, I re-process into workable clay. But I realized I could save energy, the earth's and mine, by innovating and creating items directly from the un-used remnants. The first pieces I made from these scraps will be part of the dinner set collection, very small plates about four inches in diameter. I'm not sure I'd them if I'd not been thinking of ways to maximize scrap usage. And this weekend I took the up-cycling further, making small, decorative hamsas and free-form, organic necklace pendants and jewelry charms.

My up-cycling of clay scraps is a small gesture, but I feel that all small actions snowball into larger effect. If you want to read more on greening your pottery studio and practices, the May, 2011 Ceramics Monthly magazine had a good article on sustainable studios.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

double & triple gourd-shaped ceramic vases, jonathan adler's legumes, toshiko takaezu's tamarinds


examples of classic gourd shaped vases. mine is the wet clay at bottom. the 2 directly above are toshiko takaezu & jonathan adler.

I love the classic gourd-shaped vase and just pinched a triple-gourd while teaching my Tuesday night handbuilding class. It's probably about 12 inches wet, of stoneware clay. This was the first experiment with this botanically-inspired shape. It is practice for a larger series I want to create in porcelain. Though called vases, I think of them more as sculptures.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

books that inspire pottery, ceramics and art making

my most recent art book purchases

Dedicated library borrower that I've become in the past year, I now only purchase books related to art- and soul-related subjects that I will turn to time and again for soothing and sustenance, like these that I received recently.

Click to find out more about these must-have pottery & art-related books:
The Book of Tea
Betty Woodman
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

Thursday, February 10, 2011

photographing pottery & ceramics

 large porcelain produce bowl
The progress is slow but sweet on my website. I did my first photo shoot with this large produce bowl I made for our kitchen counter. I have dabbled on my own in photography since highschool, but it's been a while since I've shot with any camera other than the one on my iPhone, so there's much to remember and much still to learn. Long ago I got pretty good photographing my handmade jewelry, but shooting ceramics is whole different thing. I'm pleased enough with this shot that will served as the first photo on the homepage of my website. View the full result here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

the woodmans, a movie, a family of artists -- betty, george, charlie, francesca

photo by francesca woodman

ceramic sculpture by betty woodman

 paintings by george woodman

 video still from charlie woodman electronic art piece

Of course I've known of Betty Woodman, a celebrated potter and ceramic artist, but I knew nothing of her life or family, so when one of my pottery students told me she'd just seen a documentary film called, "The Woodman's," about Ms. Woodman's family I couldn't wait to get to the theater to see it. We went last night and it was fine, an artwork itself, about art, artists, and creation, family, tragedy, and healing.

inspiration to creation

beginning of a lap blanket for our sofa that I'm knitting
So, the inspiration for this red lap blanket I'm knitting came from the photo I posted in the previously dated entry. The two have nothing in common aesthetically except that they are both called lap blankets and both are knit. Realizing this, that they are not at all similar, got me thinking about inspiration and how I create. It's the same way I cook. I hate following recipes, even for baking. If I need inspiration for a meal I usually browse a few cooking sites or blogs. Mostly I just read recipe titles and look at photos. Then I go in the kitchen and make something inspired by a title or a few of them, or maybe a photo of a dish. I would say my process is similar for making pottery. I look at other people's ceramics and art and then I go into the studio, or kitchen as it were, and pinch my riff on something(s) I've seen elsewhere that moves my heart, head and hands. Of course nature is also rife with ceramic inspiration for me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

gorgeous & easy sofa lap blanket knitting pattern from purl soho

pixie dust lap blanket by purl soho

I've been looking for knitting inspiration and found it in this simple but gorgous pattern for a lap blanket on Purl Soho's website. I will shop for yarn today and begin knitting a similar blanket for our sofa.

making pottery

kiln 1/2 loaded with dinner & dessert plates 

Because I hand-build, prefer the privacy and atmosphere of home to the pottery studio, and because I have a very patient husband, I make most of my pottery at the table in our kitchen, and when pieces are dry enough I walk a stack of them through the park and to the studio for firing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

a fresh start

winter berries in the snow seen on walk

A new year, fresh start, clean page, and new website in the works. I'm working on pottery pieces and mixing glazes, thinking forward to some time not too far off when I will post pieces for sale.
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