June 30, 2010

Packing and Pugging

stacey surveying the roadside damage

What do you say when you walk through your yard and you realize there has been a car accident, come and gone? Stacey was the first to see four hemlocks that were "felled" by the apparent accident. We found out that there had been a car that had run off the road damaging the row of hemlocks near our pond while we were away for a couple of hours that Saturday evening. The State Patrol claimed that the trees were within the State DOT right of way and so no insurance claim could or would be made. Wow! No note. no nothing. Just a big mess to be cleaned up.

Around here if a large tree falls into the road after a storm you bet there will be some chain saws buzzing away no doubt from the DOT "call list" of boys with saws, trucks, and wood stoves. But in this case four eight inch (in diam) hemlocks didn't warrant the DOT to have this sight cleaned up. Broken glass, plastic BMW parts, a rear view mirror all left behind.

They could have at least left a note.

OK, now that that rant is off my chest I can move on to the news of the day!

Toni Campanella is back from Cleveland for some summertime fun at Penland and here to work at the pottery. First off, we packed a bunch of pottery that was waiting to get out into the world. Some pots went to Dow Studio in Deer Isle, Maine! So look out Down Easters for some southeastern pottery! Better late than never...Another is on its way to the Ohio University wood fire conference, in Athens Ohio. Check out the blog that Bryce is keeping to highlight the events there.
We also pugged some of the clay that was ready and left some that was just too damn soft. I tended to the plates I threw the other day and tried to fashion a new wire tool after my Mudtools wire broke. I've been trying to pay special attention to the handling (cutting off, flipping) of the plates and hoping to get less warping this time around. I had cut the plates off after they were thrown, but they had to be cut again. It was asking a lot for the wire to go through the drier plates. I'll try to blog about the repair of that Mudtool wire tool, because it is possible. But if you want to buy me a new one that would save me from myself!


June 29, 2010

Ramping Up the Creativity Curve

More plates from today and some sketches in ink from a couple of days ago. It's a slow start but that how is usually is at a beginning of a cycle. I'll have help in the coming weeks and hopefully July will be a big month!

I'll be working on the 2D work for the October solo show at American Folk Art in Asheville, NC in the coming weeks as well. I have a lot of ideas but doesn't anybody? The difficult part is, always, producing good work. My plan is to make time every day and space in my studio to explore some of these ideas and work through the "creativity" curve to get to the other side of those ideas. Just as the pottery comes out of the kiln in a far more interesting way than I had "imagined", my drawings will, hopefully, take a similar journey.
More to come.

Reclaiming My Place

Wow, has it been that long since I was standing at the wheel making pots? Yes I think it has been! After I finally cleared all of the remnants of various projects away from the wedging table and wheel area I actually remembered what I do best. Well, at least what I really get paid to do. As I stood at the wheel listening to Jay-Z telling me why he's the new king of New York, I realized the best reason to stand up while throwing is so you can get into a groove and get DOWN.


June 28, 2010

Veggies From Grandaddy Lane

I'm not talking about a street, but rather my father-in-law who grew these beautiful vegetables. Our garden here in the mountains is just starting to "take off" but in east Tennessee, George's was in full swing.

Pots always look better when they are in service. It's important as a maker to remember that. Off I go to make some pots. Have a wonderful Monday!

June 26, 2010

Waxing Moon Patterns

I was taking a walk and noticed how beautiful the moon was, rising through the trees. As I was capturing some of the imagery my pottery mind fantasized about the plates that could come from this series of pictures and how I could paint them.

June 25, 2010

Tom Turner at the Rennaissance in Asheville This Weekend

happy guy Turner!

Steve and Lisa Hecker and myself helped Tom get set up for his workshop in Asheville. I wish I could be there for the weekend, looks like a good group rolling in from all over to see Tom make his pots and share all that he knows about glazes!

Hopefully Steve will have some good shots from the workshop and I'll try to share them if that happens.

Meanwhile I'll be having a couple of cold ones tonight with my other Asheville potter friends Kyle, Emily, Jon, and Eric! Then I'm picking up some porcelain and will get to work on some pottery for a change! I've done about all I can with various honey-do projects and need to restock my emptying shelves. Let's go to work!

June 24, 2010

Simon Levin@AKAR

Rough Square Plate, 12.5 x 9 x 1.5",
slab-built stoneware, wood fired

Simon Levin, who has brought you wikiclay, Facebook's American Mug, Simon Says, and the Google Map of WWW (world-wide wood kilns), is now being lauded by the folks at AKARDesign for what he does best, his beautiful anagama fired pottery. This month's show features Simon along with Sam Chung. There is also new work by Sue Tirell and Jeff Campana! So check it all out today @10 a.m. CST or 11 a.m. EST because tomorrow never knows! (i.e. he/she who hesitates could get lost, or turn off your mind, relax and float down stream to AKAR !)

Simon Says

Simon Levin is a regular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to woodfire.com. If you have questions for Simon he can be reached at simon@sawdustanddirt.com otherwise please leave comments for Simon here!
See Simon's most recent work at AKAR beginning tomorrow, June 25th!

I thought I would take a moment away from answering the questions that flood my inbox, and use that time to draw your attention away from the namby-pamby narcissistic blather that you people call advice requests. There are larger issues that directly affect our ceramic world. More specifically I am referring to a conspiracy that has infested our field to a disturbing level and is so underground and subversive you may not even know it is there. I am talking about the Rabbit Conspiracy. Yes rabbits! Sculptural rabbits, slip trailed rabbits, scraffito rabbits, glazed rabbits. The use of rabbits in clay is spreading like.... well I am sure an analogy will present itself.

Perhaps you think I am crazy, well let me lay the facts before you and let reason, logic, and overwhelming evidence open your eyes. Look at the January 2010 issue of Ceramics Monthly, check out the ears front and center!

lisa clague's "all of us"

Or the cover of 500 Animals.

Many of the great artists of our time have fallen victim to the conspiracy, Ken Ferguson could barely handle the Rabbit influence.His work soon began to succumb as the rabbits took over.

And if Ferguson's proliferation of rabbits is not proof enough, look at these current popular artists' examples.

beth cavener stichter

lesley hildreth

kelly connole

ron meyers

russell wrankle

The rabbits have even affected the ancients. Glazes are said to have a lovely Hare's fur. Or look what this has done to our ceramic history. Clearly you cannot deny these to see among the Mimbre's peoples.

I suspect Bernard Leach was the grand high rabbiteer at some point. Not only did he make work that looked like this,
but lets look a little deeper down the rabbit hole, shall we? His student, perhaps the foremost American potter is named after a den of rabbits. Warren Mackenzie. Too subtle, huh? The whole thing is insidious. Bernard strongly influenced popular ceramic author Robin Hopper. Are you starting to believe me yet? For heaven's sake my own graduate professor was named Bunny McBride. Are you all ears yet? Let's look at who is rising to the top of American pottery today, Ayumi Horie. Why? Perhaps because she is prolific in spreading rabbits around.

Unscramble Ayumi Horie's name and it spells "I IOU MY HARE". Think about it!

June 18, 2010

Penland Ramble

it all started with lunch with lillian and stacey
under the veranda by the pines

which was after a morning at kid's craft camp

kathy steinsberger in the
letterpress shop

exhaust fans in the
printmaking shop

a view through the letterpress shop

john davis who made the movable
book above and below
, based on some painted barns near cameron, nc

also in Emily Martin's books class
were many delightful "tunnel"
books like the one above

i had nothing to do with the above design.
it predates my influence at penland!

pattern everywhere!!

i thought it would be cool to
photograph the fields at Penland from the air.

then I saw this!

damn, scooped again!
see the fall offerings at penland

lillian took many of these pictures. she
really has a knack for it. i took this one of her
at the end of a wonderful afternnoon at the
Penland School.

thanks for letting me indulge in this photo essay.