Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow Day

My mom arrived from Miami yesterday. Today the forecast called for a snownado...whatever that is. Supposed to get wicked winds and scary deep snow tonight. Less than a decade ago, this wouldn't have even rated a "BIG" snowstorm rating. I think with all the media over-exposure, we are simply expecting more and more drama from our weather. Can't we just have normalcy? I sometimes wonder if we have lost the ability to understand when hyperbole has lost its meaning.

While the snow outside fell steadily, we stayed inside and kept warm. Nice way to pass the day. By the time we had reached mid-afternoon everyone was ready for a nap which gave me a chance to set up lights. Got a few dozen images off before everyone awoke. Then it was laughing and cavorting of the first degree.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Staring Down Sunday Night

Nancy has been working on repurposing/reconstructing/recycling sweaters by felting them and turning them into other garments. This week it was berets. The knitted scarf and hat was last hockey season's efforts... which were accompanied by legwarmers too!

Aurora was kind enough to hold still a while to let me play around a little with flash last night and tonight. I need more time with my flashes to really gain more confidence. Time time time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Accumulating Ice

Days saturated with clear light
give way to the crushing chill, one drop at a time.
Looking through frozen fangs,
everything outside pales compared to the warmth inside the maw.
As the ice builds, one drop at a time,
I worry more.

How long can the gutters shoulder this growing burden?

Someone mentioned ice dams.
I am from Florida where ice is served in glasses.
Here, I know it grows; as fast as the grass in summer.
They dont have an ice-lawnmower though.
I asked at the hardware store.

So the ice continues to accumulate.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Looking at things more closely

Earlier today, fellow potter and blogger, Jim Gottuso commented on yesterday's blog posting. It really struck a chord in me. First off, I can safely say I agree with most of Jim's assertions. My divorce was probably one of the best things that happened in my life. Mostly because it meant that a year and a half later, I would meet Nancy and she would ask me to be her husband (single-handedly one of the BEST things ever in my life!). But that cannot take away from the pain and disillusionment that I went through during the divorce. At this point, both Nancy and I stand and stare at that point in our lives when we met... for her it was also a climax time with everything crashing down around her.... and when we look back, there is no longing to go back. There is grief though. Healthy grief. Knowing that something died and that you have to keep going forward.

Jim's other comment dealt with how a professor can have such a strong (potentially negative) impact on a student.... hit the nail on the head. When I applied to grad school my hope was to see my work transition to wood and salt firing. I chose this particular program because of the strength of the professor in these areas, as well as his expertise as a tool maker. I never asked about his pedagogy or his ideology. It simply never even entered into my mind. In retrospect, I assumed he would be just like my previous professors... wonderful, open-minded, creative, helpful, kind, opinionated but wise....the list goes on.

It seems so obvious now, but the professors I had known earlier were simply awesome. No two ways about it. Frank Ozereko still stands out in my mind as one of the best professors I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Every superlative could be applied to him and it would still miss the measure of the man. Prior to taking my first independent study with him, my opinion was that he would have nothing to teach me since his clay work was predominantly sculptural and low-temp at that. I figured being a stoneware and porcelain thrower we would have nothing to talk about. Funny how first assumptions can really cloud your vision. During our first critique I anticipated being talked down to by a sculptor.... and instead I found his insight to be right on the money. After class, I walked back to the bus feeling transparent. I knew that he had seen things in my pots only I knew about. Suddenly we had LOTS to talk about.

Jim's final note that the prof that he had difficulties with now raises sheep made me laugh. My first workstudy job when I was an undergrad was tending sheep on our school farm. Imagine a boy from Miami writing home about taking care of 60 head of sheep at 7am and 3pm every day. I don't think that was what my dad had in mind when he sent me off to school.

Jim's suggestion that writing my thesis in verse would have been harder than simply writing it in standard art-speak essay style is kind of ironic. Poetry was my first way of striking out at adversity. I wrote prolifically until graduate school. Never saw anything significant published, but had a few poems read at book fairs and the like. So, in honor of Jim's suggestion, I am going to slowly add more images of this body of work to the blog (as time allows) and as I dig further into the vault of images, if I can drum up some of the ideas that spurred the original poems, I'll try to get them down into the blog. Here's hoping I can tap that well-spring.

Thank you Jim for commenting and spurring me along. Much appreciated!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Textures that take me back

Something is so flesh-like about those tiny fragile pink blisters.
Up against the chalky whiteness...

When I first shot this platter in grad school at Utah State, the slides turned out with the gold crystals
looking very soft and pastel. It was only when I shot this here, under sunlight
with a Nikkor Micro/Macro lens that I was finally able to capture the image as I saw it.

Tonight my melancholic state has me looking over my old platters for inspiration. To go from being on the top of my game to the bottom of the bucket in the span of hours really spilled the wind from my sails. When the last platter was hung on the wall, my excitement was at its peak. A day later, I could have taken a hammer to every platter in the show. Somehow I didn't.

It was a wonderful show, don't get me wrong. We had a wonderful audience in attendance. Lots of great questions, comments etc. A week later, when I had my oral exams with my professors, the big question was "what next?" If they had asked me that before the show, I would have had great ambitious answers full of excitement and vigor. That day though, I was cornered. The glass around me was shattered and everything I had thought was coming now seemed laughable.

I seldom talk about my divorce mostly because after the last decade, it seems talked-out. Everytime I crack out images of these platters though, it all comes rushing back. I had such dreams! I was sure these platters would lift me far and away. Ironic considering these puppies are heavy as can be!

Initially I wrote my thesis in verse. My professor felt that this was completely inappropriate. For an MFA? Really? Who the hell else is going to be writing their thesis in verse if not an MFA candidate?? I wish I had kept some of those early drafts. Trying to write about the feelings of materials meeting, melting, moving from one state to the next. I remember one comment of his was that glazes didn't have feelings. I think that hurt me more than the beginnings of my divorce.

I don't know if I have it in me to go another round with this body of work. I would love to think so. I dream sometimes of taking them out for a grand exhibition. I fantasize about us having a monstrous kiln where we could fire new works; HUGE and fabulous! And then I remember taking these platters on the road to shows in Colorado, Utah and Washington State. Suffice to say, I was in great shape that summer after having lifted tons of platters all day every day.

At the end of the day, none sold. That's failure. Pure and simple.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Catching Up

It's been over a week since I have had time to post anything on this blog. I wish I could say I have been busy making pots. Nope. I wish I had been busy making images... but nope, I wasn't. I can't even really figure out where this week went.

I spent a lot of time waiting. I know that much. Waiting for shipments to arrive. Waiting on deliveries. Waiting for doctors. Waiting for the snow to fall. In the end, there was time spent on my derriere that could have been put to better use. At some point in all this waiting, I started rooting through the images on my cell phone. Nothing amazing really... especially considering the hideous quality... but interesting nonetheless.

This was shot right immediately as a huge storm went past (summertime).

Shot tonight, from the parking lot at the hockey rink in Lansing.

Nancy and I, at Taughannock back at the beginning of Summer 2009.

Living it up at Five Guys.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More shots from Seneca Lake

Looking north from the fallow fields above Seneca Lake.
Cold Springs Studio Photography ©2010

Westward, through the lonely line of trees, across the lake...
Cold Springs Studio Photography ©2010

Here's the thing.... if I could get my butt out of bed earlier in the morning, these pictures would be Sunrises Over Cayuga. Instead, I am much more likely to be willing to go out shooting sometime before dinner instead... that means looking westward, and that takes us out to Seneca Lake.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Still Cold

It is still wicked cold as night falls, but I am trying to get myself out there at least every other night. Sure is hard when your hands feel like clubs after 10 minutes of exposure. I need to find something to keep these digits warm. Suggestions? Mittens are not working because I need to be able to use the dials and buttons on the camera. Ideas?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Shooting One More Round For January

Mary Ellen Salmon ©2010 Cold Springs Studio Photography

Mary Ellen Salmon ©2010 Cold Springs Studio Photography

Salmon Gallery ©2010 Cold Springs Studio Photography

Julie Crosby ©2010 Cold Springs Studio Photography

I have spent more time in January making images of pots than I have spent actually MAKING pots. This is a first! It has been a blast too. Something about getting to see other styles of forming has been very informative. I love handling other potters' pots and this new process makes it that much easier! Before I get setup, I try to look at what sort of images they've had made in the past, or what their current website looks like. I compare that to what I think the forms could look like if shot differently. It's always a tough process but it becomes even tougher when you find other photographers who are making really great images.