Monday, July 22, 2013

robert chapman turner

 large thrown stoneware vase, probably mid-century, maybe robert chapman turner's work

Killing  time recently in the city while waiting to meet some friends for dinner I wandered into the Antiques Garage, part of the hell's kitchen flea market system. Nearly out of the market without spending a dime, feeling virtuous, I glimpsed this stoneware vase in a stall and couldn't resist its beauty and grace.  I began fondling it and asked for its price. It's thrown by someone with amazing skills. The vendor knew little, if anything about it, though. He said it was mid-century and woodfired, and though there's a signature incised in its bottom, neither of us could make it out for anything but a scribble in the light there. I'm pretty certain it's soda or salt fired by the telltale orange peel texture at its top, which you can't see in this photo. Or, I guess it could be both wood and salt/soda fired. I know potters sometimes will throw handfuls of soda or salt into the kiln during firing to add to the surface effects. Any-old-who, this pot spoke to me and I wanted it. It felt so good in my hands and I had a spot in mind immediately in our living room where it would look perfect. I was not prepared to pay the price the vendor asked, but took his card, snapped a photo of it and told him I'd think about it.

Not able to get the vase out of my mind, I contacted him the next day with a substantially lower price offer,  which he accepted immediately, with no haggling, thank goodness.

Upon inspection when I got it home, the signature on the bottom clearly read "Turner." And I knew there'd been an important potter named Turner, so I immediately began researching on google. This pot doesn't look anything like what Robert Chapman Turner made most recently, thrown and altered pieces, before his death in 2005, but I DID find photos of some of his earlier pots that could easily be thrown and glazed by the same person and I found one photo of his signature online that looks remarkably like the signature on the bottom of this pot. I'm definitely curious about the pot's maker and history, but more because I'm a curious person who enjoys solving puzzles and mysteries, not because it gives the pot any more value to me. I'm going to contact the vendor about where HE bought this piece because I think it may offer some clues about it's provenance and maker.

If you're reading this and have any insight into whether it could be a piece by Robert Chapman Turner, drop me an email.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

beauty harvester

 malvaceae plant family, hibiscus-related

 An old friend recently described to me how her eleven-year-old-daughter is always drawn to beautiful things. I related easily to this, always looking for and wanting to create and arrange beauty in my world. Deep beauty comforts and heals. Who wouldn't be drawn to it?

Walking through New York City's amazing High Line park one recent evening we beauty harvesters were taken by this floral sunset.

Monday, July 15, 2013

summertime, and the livin' is easy

seen in our yard on a recent morning, a neighborhood kitty we call tres leches

Besides moments like the one for this recent kitty shoot, these lazy, slow days of our infernal new york summer are also providing relaxed time to work on my newest project, Yonkers Peace Pottery Studio.

Wherever you are, I hope you are cool and safe.

Monday, July 1, 2013


"A bit of advice
Given to a young Native American
At the time of his initiation:
As you go the way of life,
You will see a great chasm. Jump.
It is not as wide as you think."

-Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

larger kiln, larger pieces

large ceramic stoneware handmade triple gourd floor vase glazed in blue with dimpled glossy surface
 I just got this piece home from the studio and am very pleased with the results. I wish only that I had a larger kiln, so I can make larger pieces.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

decision fear

tadpoles in shallow water, taken at innisfree garden, milbrook, ny

“People often avoid making decisions out of fear of making a mistake.  Actually, the failure to make decisions is one of life’s biggest mistakes.”

- Rabbi Noah Weinberg, 48 Ways To Wisdom

Saturday, June 15, 2013

an act of faith

birdhouse duplex. i've made small holes for bamboo sticks to criss-cross inside, so a bird can make a nest on top, while their family or friends make a nest on the bottom. i've also cut in a lid jack-o-lantern style and perforated it at the corners and in corresponding spots on the body opening, so i can wire it shut, but open it to clean out at the end of the season, depending on what species inhabit it. i've been told that some birds like to have nests removed, and some like them to stay put for returning the next season. i'll have to research the birds that live here.

“Making art is an act of faith, willing something into existence that will mean something to the outside world.”

-Gregory Crewdson in documentary "Brief Encounters"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

morning prayer

 coffee mug was a project I did with my kids clay class

In warm weather I wake before sunrise, when the birds' chatter is louder than the commuting racket on the Saw Mill Parkway. I sit outside on our patio in a comfy chair retrieved not long ago from a neighbor's garbage, journal while drinking 2 cups of coffee, meditate, then garden, all before starting my day.

Friday, June 7, 2013

small creatures

ceramic beads for fish dangle necklace pendant. not glazed and 2nd fired yet.

"She had studied the universe all her life, but had overlooked its clearest message: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."

Contact - Carl Sagan.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

late spring on our yonkers homestead


dining table still life

bearded iris

Bookend beauty. Nature's beauty inspiring beauty in our home.

Monday, May 20, 2013

scars upon the self disappear

soft, wet clay,  one of a kind stoneware plant pot

“Markings in dry clay disappear
Only when the clay is soft again.
Scars upon the self disappear
Only when one becomes soft within.”
                                   –Deng Ming-Dao

Thursday, May 2, 2013

late spring handbuilding pottery classes, new york city, northern manhattan, inwood, washington heights, riverdale, bronx

handmade ceramic birdbath

Nothing compares to the feeling I've had watching several birds alight onto this birdbath I placed in our backyard yesterday. This is the birdbath before it was fired and glazed, still greenware.

*And a little late in posting here, but we've begun our late Spring pottery classes at Cornerstone Pottery Studio.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

natural beauty. magnificent spring magnolia in full bloom distracts me on neighborhood walk yesterday early evening.

 magnolia tree in full magnificent bloom. it's beauty and aroma were distracting.

I hope to post something more meaty soon, but for now the magnolia tree flower image will have to suffice. I'm always looking for beauty and inspiration.
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