I am so happy to be the featured artist at Oso Negro in Nelson BC for the month of November. They have a wonderful “mug wall” featuring a different potter every month (potters sign up for a space up to two years in advance for it!). Oso is my favourite cafe in my hometown. My parents invested in an industrial espresso maker many years ago and so began my love of oso coffee. Later as an adult two glorious years I attended Kootenay School of the Arts for ceramics a mere ally walk away from the cafe and so our “coffee breaks” were justified and splendid at that. Check it!
Those sprout sandwiches make my mouth water!
I am so excited about Steve-O-Reno’s cafe initiative “Mug-O-Month”! It is an endeavor the fabulous Melissa Armburster, Stevo’s manager, and I cooked up a few months ago to offer local Nova Scotian potters the chance to feature work in the cafe and patrons the chance to have their gourmet brew in a beautiful hand crafted mug free of charge!
Steve-O-Reno’s is thrilled to have Chelsea Legge, AKA Slightly Irregular to the Mug-O-Month Mug Wall for the month of June, check out her mugs (seen above) while you can! Find her 4oz espresso cups, 10oz/12oz coffee mugs, tea cups, and saucers at Steve-O-Reno’s in Downtown Halifax (1536 Brunswick St.).Follow this artist on twitter https://twitter.com/SlightlyIrreg & instagram.com/slightlyirreg! — with Slightly Irregular at Steve-O-Reno’s Cappuccino.
Be sure to check out last month’s featured artist Miss Erin Robison, illustrator/ceramicist here: http://erinrobison.weebly.com/ see her mugs and demitasse espresso above.
Remember that our goal with #MugOMonth is to get local pottery into people’s hands; we’re happy to serve your drink in one of these mugs!
If you are interested in a being a featured potter please feel free to contact me at any time. We’re booked up until January so inquire asap!
Mugs are quite the challenging form. Never before this year have I cared to make a short mug and at last I have resolved the form. But oh the deco!? I have had three critiques with three separate ceramic specialists this week and of course they all think differently when it comes to surface on my mugs. One says keep it loose and brandish the paintbrush with no inhibitions for it will be seen in line. One says nay to block coloring as the least interesting or sophisticated surface. And on says perhaps another implement for mark making be employed. With thirty undecorated mugs I had at it last night and got to complicating surface as I so love to complicate form. It is getting complicated folks and at the same time much simpler!
Those pink decals sure do pop don’t they? It is my general distaste that decals are situated on the outer most layer of a pot and are in so seemly disconnected often breaking up the continuity of form, unless there are many layers to surface and a decal serves to create depth, are then the icing on the cake so to speak. Here my sweet tooth is satisfied.
A busy bottom and a quiet top. Makes for a certain delight when unstacking a bunch.
I have used a Demke mug of the same form and must confess that that handle is very comfortable and comforting, dainty but not fragile (note the mug is just 3x3inch). Upon looks alone on a single mug I think it is a bit awkward- when seen on a stack of mugs nestled compactly for storage the handle is just right in regards to both proportion and presence strengthened by repetition. I don’t think I myself as a maker could come to a better resolution having learned to love this form. From use I can be persuaded of almost anything at odds with my eye.
I have chosen this mug to critique in the most greedy manner. I like this mug. I want this mug. There are mugs of Jenn’s creation which surfaces sit poorly with me- disjointed pattern akimbo that tweaks some nerve receptor the wrong way. These new sharp geo pots are a step away from the pastel tones punctuated by orange dots and foraged flower decals that fist I found so alluring. But artists must progress and this dear fellows is going somewhere. I perhaps ought to have chosen such a edgy piece for a more intriguing crit. Perhaps it is not to late. We could do a little compare and contrast. The grey mug above is part of this new surface path for Jenn but maintains the good hearted feel of her softer past pots. Why does it do this? In color and composition I would put forth. Grey, pink, sepia, silver and yellow- new age domestic colors I could say. I being a new age domestic sort am tickled pink. And here I will say something that just dawned on me after days of gazing at this pot (I find it takes me years of gazing and use to actually get to know a vessel) that I am hesitant to share as it may curb your own conclusions… could my attraction to this pot be in part attributed to the fact that those bright indie triangles jutting up from the visual break of line are so akin to mountains in some techno color dream of a grey winter’s morn and I being a mountain girl unknowingly moved towards a visual trigger that set me at ease? In all honestly the resemblance just hit me and I think it always funny that my unconscious points me places with such a compass unbenounced to my literal mind. Now I think there a danger with always surrounding ourselves with things that put us at ease or like-minded people or similar artists. If we all stand around shaking our heads up and down muttering yes yes yes and patting each other on the back in delight shall we ever learn or grow? You may very well answer “yes” and boy can I tell you like-minded peers on a similar path are important and reaffirming in the trudging task of being a potter. To be pummeled with diversity and counter-ideas constantly can be exhausting and detrimental (take it from me!). Perhaps this is a reason I find some delight at looking Jenn’s new pots. Some new ones I love and find akin to something in me and some new pots of hers that unsettle me a trifle. Like this one:
So there is no denying that this mug is actually pretty awesome, if you gave it to me as a birthday present I would be pleased. But it would take time for me to appreciate such stark white and blue (ironic coming from a gal who just produced a line of white and blue wares…it is not the white and blue but stark I’d like to emphasize) and floating disjointed houses and angled line base motif so at odds with the log lines of the main house. That main house takes up all the possible height while remaining whole- which does make one understand the imposing nature of a five story log home. When juxtaposed with the small wee home floating in space to the right a point is certainly being made. What that point is I’m not sure but I am begining to think that this is a successful little piece- if I am supposed to feel ill at ease with the towering neighbor of the industrial world imposing on the small rural dweller. Then we have those lines where the pot stacks just not doing it…it. They are pretty but seemingly arbitrary. What is wrong with arbitrary anyways (probably nothing)? Once again this pot is irking me on a personal level that we all have simmering inside of us. The idea of home or lack there of. For someone just wanting a chunk of land to hang her hat and build a kiln I have been faced as of late with the daunting task of an action plan to bring about such a place to call home. These homes floating in space lack ground and I would so like my ideas and aspirations of home to be grounded in reality these little structure question my plans as illusions- disillusioned?
Now you may think I am taking it to far. But, how wondrously great is it that a wee little drinking vessel could have such an effect? If indeed you did gift this little sucker to me when sipping Joe or steeped leaves I may be reminded of my aspirations and go about the day with purpose as to not let this five story log industrial monster impose upon my to be little forested haven. Could it trick me in to action? Anyways, I still don’t like the feeling. But the fact that a vessel can spark feeling and after some deliberation can prompt to subsequent thoughts, feelings and hypotheses is pretty rad.
Shall someone bring up the slightly wavering rims on Demke’s mugs? Yes. What of them? Some with robot scruples may dislike such undulating qualities. I think they pronounce human interaction and I admittedly like a little texture for thine lip.
Tell me a story folks. What of these pots? What of your personal notions? What of my personal notions?
I am going to take a page out of this man’s book today with mad production. It is time for another serious mug-a-thon! 1-5 pm today! How many will I make!? Guesses?
I have been loving the studio lately. I just did a huge clean up and am listening to jazz while waiting for my kiln to fire. I cringe at the thought of anything taking me away from it. Alas I find out tonight If I have to go to Oliver tomorrow and am hastily deciding weather to work for forestry again up North far far from my studio for four months.
I am about to wander back into the studio and put dots on various mugs I have just made… I stepped out of the norm and had fun with theses ones, check them out above and mind you they have a ways to go…
To Do List: An outline of the week to come in the studio!
This week in the studio I got together an order of mugs to send off to Vancouver. Thus I got my things together and photographed my work. I have been trying to set up a space to photograph work for such a long time. I commandeered an office space with lots of natural light, the best kind of light. I haven’t quite mastered the fluorescents yet so as long as there is day light….
I keep telling myself that as long as we have coffee houses, there’s a market for little pieces of art to drink it out of.
Proportion is a funny thing. When a form is proportionately in harmony is vibrates a sort of calm serene quality, a piece sings when it is just so. Balance. Balance is something we strive for in life (something a stomach flu has confounded) and is something I strive for in my work. Balance does not mean symmetrical. Balance can be found in a handle askew or a rim dented. There is no formula (though many may say differently, the Greeks for example). I have been trying to find the right proportions.
I find that in the onslaught of rash production, as for the Christmas season, I can become a bit blinded by numbers. My friend Geri comments that potters are always counting, 20 mugs, 10 bowls, 12 plates… 8 handles and a partridge in a pear tree. Where as numbers can be blinding they also are what it takes to find the sweet ratio.
Upon finishing the Hume Craft Fair I remember saying “I can’t wait for next Christmas”. I was so excited to make this body of work that I had in mind for so long. But now I can’t wait for it to get better.
Let me just say: awesome. A great space, a great variety of gifts, a great bunch of folk. I had to restrain myself from buying it all. I got so caught up in all the fine craft I forgot to take any photos. If you weren’t there, shame on you. Also Shame on me. I missed the Craft fair for peace at the Legion this past weekend. There is honestly so much talent in this little town.
Something extra charming happened at the Bijou show. Some fellow shoppers were sipping out of my mugs (one’s with goats on them)! It is so nice to know the people that are buying your work are actually using it how you intended!!!
So tell me. Did you go to any of the craft sales and fairs this season as of yet? What did you think?
P.S. Here is a picture that should have been in Friday’s studio post. My doted dots. I am firing these tomorrow! Anyone want some mountain goat pottery?