Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thinking Back

When I arrived in the town of Logan, back in 1995, I had no idea what grad school would be like. Sure, I had my preconceived notions, but no real clue. Something about the sharp slightly dusty smell that fall carries with it, reminds me of that time in UT. (probably because it is never really that arid here!)

These were pots made by fellow students when I was at Utah State during grad school. I wish I could tell yo more about these pots. USU's program was pretty large and the volume of students who moved through every year was massive. I feel negligent for having not kept in touch with many of my fellow alumns. I guess that is my take-away from this week. Quasi-nostalgia for a difficult time in my life, when the pots were the greatest reward. I don't think I would recognize the face of my next-door neighbor of four years (from UT) if I saw them on the street... but I would never forget these cool pots!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grapefruit will break your heart

This was my first successful cylinder, ca. 1989. Made at Barry University in Miami Shores back when my aunt was teaching ceramics there. I had been trying to throw for about a month. Not much was coming off the wheel in one piece. Up until this point, I had been glazing my "pots" with Duncan underglazes and low fire glazes. I was completely bored with the palette of colors and textures that came out of these tiny cups. I wanted stuff with life, texture... what I really wanted was a higher temperature (gas reduction!)... but that was still a ways off.

Seeing my frustration, my aunt suggested I make my own glazes. She handed me Chappell's Potter's Complete Book of Clay and Glazes and said: go to it. I had no idea what these materials were, or how they worked. No clue about toxicity. Not an inkling about protecting my health.

I started reading and found a glaze called Grapefruit Green. I have always been a fool for greens and blues. I thought that Grapefruit Green sounded so cool. I imagined an unripe grapefruit, much like what my parent's had in their backyard in Miami. Having hit thousands of them with the lawnmower, I was pretty sure what to expect.

The glaze turned out so incredibly different from what I expected. I think if it had turned out green, it probably would have been tossed like so many of the pots from this era. Instead, it has traveled with me as I have moved across the country so many times. Not a terribly functional size. You can't really drink coffee or tea from it. It holds pennies well. That's about it. The sides and bottom are incredibly thick. As a pot, there is precious little that redeems it. That color however was my first glimpse into a world that would become my life for over 20 years.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jason Walker (way waaaay back when)

Nancy and I talk about Jason Walker's work all the time because we see his new work pop up all over. It is featured in magazines (this month's American Craft), websites, pinterest pins... you name it... and he is everywhere. Very VERY cool.

I met Jason when he was finishing up his undergrad work at Utah State in Logan UT. This teabowl was made during that time. His new work is so far removed from this as to seem made by different artists. And yet, when I look at where his work was going before he started working for a sign painter in town... he couldn't have made this teabowl without the fluidity of muscle memory that comes from lots of time behind the brush. His brushwork changed almost overnight. He went from simple overglaze enamels to underglaze work like this in a few short weeks. Amazing!

His new work is no less phenomenal. In fact, it is staggering. I find the imagery so compelling that I plan to write a longer post about it when I finally get to see some in person. I love the work so much that I don't want to comment on it until I can see it, touch it (and get yelled at for touching the work!). Here is a link to his current body of work:
From Ferrin Gallery

I am frustrated that I can't find other images of his older work. Guess this teabowl will have to do.

I love the penguin in the bottom of this teabowl. Like a little sweet bon mot to brighten your day.