Hungry Bowls Event!

Hungry Bowl events take place all across Canada. Our NSCAD event is sold out and bowls are coming hot out of kilns. Look for this event near you! My lovely studio mate Erin did up this poster! It makes one want to step back in time to the days of family meals and wholesome soups. Eating soup and getting art as a reminder of your kindness is a great way to donate! What an event! Seek it out!

Critique: Stacking Bowls

20120804-222924.jpgThis photo of bowls I tracked back through various re-postings to but nowhere along the way was an artist stated. It is so important to give credit where credit is due, always. So if you know this maker let me know! For as you will see I have a great deal of reverence for these stackers. It seems everyone is compiling and curateing lists and boards and collections online these days. I soon will be hoping on board and using such online organizers such as pintrest, that currently use too much data for my monthly internet allotment. Before such venues existed I made specific notes of pots and sites by hand. It is getting easier and easier to make nice sets. Nazara, the founder of the site I traced this photo back to (Oye Nazara- site your posts!) Says,” I enjoy making ephemeral collections”. I prefer real ones but lack the space, time or money to spread my prying tendrils very far into physical ownership. I have a collection of jugs well under way… One a year! Just as methodically random Nazara has become subject of this blog by coincidence so is the was we collect blog feeds and photos and words on the net- almost arbitrary. Click, click, click. Load. I feel the same way about esthetic choices. With such boundless potential a direction can be taken anywhere, with endless stimulation inspiration can be fond anywhere. It is best to let the destination not runneth trip. An artist so hell-bent on producing a preconceived thing will suffer- for designers do not make but us potters, designers everyone make in the capacity of artists. I am at times greater part designer and as maker then one who pummels and pushes clay into the theory my mind has molded- mainly with exhibition work and with my studio work I meander and explore an develop. It is most important that we develop. When looking at work- say these blows and plates- I always wonder as to the makers path. The decisions and story and process of a work intrigue me as much as more than the result. But all we have is the result before us.

This ensemble evokes thoughts of sand dunes and sea grass challenged by strong winds and grey skies. I can almost hear the sound of the crashing surf and see the sandstone cliffs rising in the distance at the other end of the inlet. I can almost feerhyme sunscreen in my sure and the cold whip at my cheeks. Or not.

Color is something many people can’t get past. (Do you have it in blue…?) I am from time to time a person who hones in on color- it can be a memory trigger as strong as smell. These pots make me smell the sea with out and blatant over done seaside references (thank goodness!). They could easily also be the desert night on the verge of dawn. Cereal bowl?

These “stackers” as I’ve deemed them, stack splendidly. Nestle. I do not fear for chipped rim nor foot. Let’s put them in the cupboard! But how would my fork sound on that surface? Would that matt exterior suffer the silver marks of fork or spoon, as matt surfaces so often do?

Is that slight speckle to akin to spackle? Just think of all those beige office buildings and cheap appartments.

I also fear for that inner curve of the more shallow bowl. The continuity of the inner curve of a bowl is key to a harmonious form. Beginners beware- pay the utmost heed to the inside of your bowl as it is what informs and ultimately shapes the silhouette. Firstly perfect the inside then the outside always checking the inside where the exterior side clay supports walls/base for this is the spot what will hinder your inside continuity. This bowl’s interior may be choppy but not distinct enough. This is what I find over and over. If two edges are opposed or an ungracious line is at work, make it distinct. Unsure changes in motion do nothing for the eye, hand or lip. This is also a key thing to understand- all appearances are due to a change in speed or motion or pressure (pinched as these pots might be, slump molded
as these pots might be).

The smaller bowls due their depth and steep rising sides do not suggest discontinuity inside.

In keeps and perhaps prompting my ocean shore musings is this image by Michelle Morin…. I got in the email today. Hello color scheme.

Porn: Modern Pottery Set

The Modern Pottery Studio posted these plates and bowls a while back and boy have they been re-posted. Go over there to dig deep. While you’re here think about them critically. Stay tuned for my thoughts on them mañana.


I actually figured out how to post with not screen shots but this way is far more authentic no?

Late nights and early mornings.

Every four to six months I pack up my life and bits of my studio to relocate. It is just how I live. I am a poor nomad, poor as in pitiful– as in please pity the fool (aka me).  I own a lot of things. For the last five years, three times a year I fain a traveller. I don’t pack light. I move with the kilns, wheel, pots, accordion, typewriter, record player, subsequent records and dog, not to mention the tent and books and cast iron frying pans that are my baggage. A settler on the move with no land to claim. The notion of land ownership is a myth to my generation and position. Here I give a sigh for the wood kiln of my dreams that will never have a place. The white whale.

Even for an Ishmael I’ve got a lot of stuff. Query kind sir, where may I find a larger sail boat?

The point is, well what is the point? The point is that I keep making more….stuff.

A fellow potter just the other day said, “I don’t know how you do it.” She meant how I always leave my studio behind. Pity the fool, indeed. My leaving severs any continuity in making but I know now that making is a cyclical thing anyways, with lulls and gaps inbetween bouts of heavy production. My cycles are just geographically  and seasonly governed. My annual separation from a centralized studio keeps me hungry for making, though it is a making fragmented. Always, ALWAYS when I am leaving I make something perfect, something good, something that is a big slap in the face telling me not to go (see below). I MUST go. Later (in September), the quest to get to something good starts anew. Until then, I will be silently contemplating my ideas and sketching madly away the summer- all discoveries muddling up what I thought I knew so that I can re-learn it all again come Fall.

The real point to this post is that I promised myself a week ago that two weeks ago would be my last wet clay day. For those of you unfamiliar with this concept: The ceramic process begins with the molding of wet clay, but then in subsequent weeks (or in my case week!) an item must be decorated, refined, fired, glazed, re-fired, sanded, cleaned and photographed. It is a long arduous process of making and the later steps in it all are less romanticized and publicised than the first steps of molding wet clay. It is these final steps I rush and push and try, especially when I must move on- quite literally. A day must be set to stop any wet clay work. My friend Carly was just saying that the studio tech at her school has taken to smashing any newly made thing he finds- I respect this idea entirely. But I seldom heed this sage advise. I make with increasing vigour every day after my last wet clay day. My impending separation from wet clay a force driving me on and on and jeopardizing the following steps in process. For it is in the next step of slip decoration I truly play and experiment (Lines and dots! Ungulates. Lines and dots!).

A mere 10 days away I will leave my sweet small town, my life all boxed and labelled (Oh my, I hope) and pots all made (Oh my, I hope!). Good thing I am putting the final touches on these still very wet bowls and plan on throwing a few things tomorrow?!!!

Thus, I apologize to you and myself for my lack of quality posting. There is much to share and say but it will have to wait a bit. Still, keep checking the blog because with all the impending crazed busyness I may find myself needing to post. Often, when we do a lot it only makes it easier to do a lot more (and rambling seems more legit).

Here are the beauties I just finished decorating… to be very sketchily and very slowly fired tomorrow night:

P.S. How many days do you give yourself to finish off work? When is your last wet clay day?

Event: Kootenay Gallery Soup for the Cultured Soul.

Don’t miss this lovely event at the Kootenay Gallery in Castlegar! Tickets sell out fast!

Take a look at updates and pottery donated to the event on the Kootenay Gallery Facebook page!

I have donated bowls to the event so you could take one home!



Porn: Bowls from clayglazepots

Here are some bowls to wet your appetite from Flickr. Clayglazepots’s collection of ceramic images is a great resource you ought to check out!

Porn: Pots I just can’t get enough of. This suggestion was given sarcastically (or perhaps in all seriousness!!)  by a friend when I asked what would keep him interested in my blog. Oddly enough he hit the nail on the head. Blogs need eye candy- appropriate organismically lush pots posted under this category!

Remember all images take you to their origin by a click!

Techno-ology: How to videos galore.

It is always nice to see someone else throw. I also get a kick out of how potters try to explain what they are doing. I found myself instructing a friend in yoga the other day. I sounded like a really bad how-to video but she got the gist. The thing is explaining what we do and how we do it is a useful tool not only to others but to ourselves. In the art game we spend decades trying to articulate and condense our ideas into singular sentences. Why not do so in our studios? Sometimes saying  it out loud can bring ourselves much-needed clarity.

I always get a kick out of every potter’s esthetic preferences and choices (it often seems so arbitrary)(For if is it isn’t arbitrary we must delve into the story of the individual to find what led them to make their decisions (and we seldom get that chance) or get into doctrines of what is good or bad, right or wrong). With this film I found myself saying “Stop! Stop!” when the form unfolded mid throw to suit my fancy. Just at this moment:

Maybe there is a new tactic here to make the sketchbook obsolete… just video tape one’s self throwing and re-play the footage like any athlete checking form but rather stop and pause to discover the perfect form mid-throw. (Holy sports analogy! Sorry about that.)