Monday, December 19, 2011

Last piece of semester

This piece combines aspects of my abstract and figurative work. Title is still to come.  I made the deflated swan and spiky form and realized it needed something to pull it together much like the doily in the other swan piece, hence the puddle with mirror.  The yellow string goes from the pull tag on the swan to wrap around the spiky form's neck.  There are three separate ceramic components and I may continue to adjust their position.
hand-built ceramic with mirror and string, 17"w x 9.5"d x 8"h

Monday, December 5, 2011


The semester is coming to a close.  I've had my last meeting with Robert Ortbal and am writing the semester summary.  It feels as if my work has blasted off and is now returning back to earth.  I've enjoyed the freedom but am trying to rein it in with this last piece.  While it waits to be fired (as it dries), I will get back to reading and visiting the museum exhibitions that have opened in Sacramento and the Bay Area before the holidays kick in and my kids return home.
   This piece, still untitled, portrays a deflated swan beside an organic spiked orb.  A thin rope will run from the next of the swan and loop around the orb.  The orb will probably be glazed a rustic golden combination of colors where as the swan will have a matt finish over the underglaze to appear plastic.  With this piece, I am combining the use of amorphus organic forms with the trompe l'oeil icon of contemporary culture to see where they meet.

hand built ceramic greenware: 17"w x 11"d x 8"h

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

two more

Here are the last two stragglers from the previous series.  Both wall works.

ceramic with wire. 12" dia. x 8"

ceramic with astro-turf. 8" dia. x 4.5" (blue is darker)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November update

Mentor Robert Ortbal encouraged me to limit my pallet so here are the results of my last firing.  A few more pieces are on their way up in the kiln.  These works come from a such a different place than my narrative pieces and although I like the results, I am less emotionally attached.  They are more cerebral and this detachment has me questioning the purpose of my artmaking.  The things that usually drive my work (color, produce, familiar objects) have been put aside and left me in a melancholy slump. Like taking my medicine, I know this is good for me can only hope what I've learned will feed into other work.  Last week I sat in on a lecture by Martin Bresnick at the Festival of New American Music at CSUS. He is a fantastic composer and former music history instructor of mine 30 years ago at Yale.  Listening to him talk about his work and hearing his lush composition for saxaphone made me miss the music making in my life and how music touches the senses in such an immediate and temporal way. That is ultimately what I want from both the process and creation of my artwork.
ceramic with wire,  wall mount. 11.5" dia. x 8"

ceramic with wire, wall mount. 9.5" x 9" x 9"

ceramic, wire, and astro-turf, wall mount. 14" dia. x 8.5"

ceramic, wall mount. 9" dia. x 3"

ceramic, 5" x 4" x 3"

ceramic, 8" x 7" x 5.5"
ceramic, 8" x 7" x 5.5"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Grass is Greener...

Astro-turf will poke through the holes. To be glazed white or pink with black rims. Wall mount.

Wall mount.

Wall mount.

same as above, front view

Wall mount.
The focus of my recent studio work has been with the additive process of combining multiples of hand formed pieces.  After these are fired, I'll be using monochromatic glazes: black and white with perhaps a dash of red, and possibly black and pink.  The extended pieces will probably be on wire not wood as shown.  I am continuing to explore mound forms because they seem more organic. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22

Ceramics Annual of America, San Francisco, Oct. 6-9
I met with my mentor on Wednesday.  Once again, I had piece fall off the wall because the work came out of the kiln the night before and glue hadn't set.  At least I was able to put it together and now feel that I can move on.  Robert suggests I continue with the smaller additive pieces to complete the semester's work since the larger cup pieces consume a lot of time.  He also recommends I limit color use to focus on form. 

Catch a Wave, cup runneth over. 26"l x 18"w x 8"d. Wall mount. Hand built white earthenware, underglaze, mason stain, glaze, gold luster.
Catch a Wave, detail

Head. 11"h x 7.5" x 8"

Head, side view

Head, detail with flames

Pound of Flesh, ceramic on 12" fleece covered disc

Scrap pile with gold luster

Yellow cells (center) repaired

this flame piece protrudes from the wall, hard to photograph at 4"l

as above, 7"l

mound, 8" x 8" x 6"

Bumpass Hell, 14" dia. x 11"h

Bumpass Hell detail

8" x 6" 5.5"

Monday, October 3, 2011

October update

This unfired piece, not titled yet, will hang from the wall with the larger rubber duck riding a separate wave out from the wall.  You can see the under glaze on the cup and ducks but the waves will be glazed after the first firing.  I've moved from Wedgwood to Willow ware and like the previous swan piece, there are detached elements which suggest a larger viewing area than the cup itself.  Fall is in the air and rain is expected for the next few days which will slow down drying time.  I hope to make some other more abstract forms before the Ceramics Annual of America opens on Thursday night.  I'll be displaying about a dozen pieces through Sunday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

lost a piece!

At 4 a.m. I heard a crash and this morning found that one of my (favorite) pieces had fallen off the new wall.  It is the round piece farthest to the left in yesterday's post.  Either the glue for the mount didn't hold or set properly.  It is not repairable.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

studio update

Heading into the last week of September.  I've started up fall classes at the Davis Art Center and expect to begin teaching at Esparto Elementary School next month.  With Robert Ortball's suggestion, I had a wall built so I can display my works that need to be hung.  It was quite the project; a wooden frame on wheels (which I found from an old desk while just cleaning up the studio) with wall boards and particle board between.  After painting the wall, I grouped the last batch of ceramic forms to create an installation.  A kiln is cooling with several more works including a pound or so of "pinches", a circular mound with protruding bubbles, and another cell structure.  Then I hand built another large cup, threw the saucer from a slab, and proceeded to run it over tonight.  I will mimic a willow ware pattern but am not sure what will spill out of it yet - maybe some rubber ducks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

3rd Mentor Meeting

It was just two weeks since my last meeting with Robert Orbal.  He suggested I go into a frenzy and scheduled another review for yesterday.  That is not a lot of time considering the work needs to dry, be twice fired in a kiln that takes 3 days from start to finish, and a second glaze firing in two smaller kilns for the majority of work!  What a frenetic pace it was!  I unloaded the final kilns in the morning and headed out to CSUS where Robert teaches and there were some gallery walls for me to hang the pieces. 

Robert didn't feel that this work is more than just an exercise although I do see a number of them as finished, even if small.  The only piece that stood out for him was the red "blood cell" one. Truthfully I don't feel as passionate or attached to these pieces as when I am constructing one of my narrative works because they originate from a strong experience or emotion.  What I have gained is the experience of creating works based on form and color, not plotted out in advance, and mixing in other media.  I experimented with firing in metal wire, rods, and screws and a few pieces have astro-turf glued on.  I have played with using foam insulation as well.  Mentioning that my work has a Baroque connection, Robert said it seemed more Rococo.  I do see a connection to the flowing drapery, figures, and esthetic of painters such as Carracci, Rubens, and Caravaggio.  The goal will be to find a way to draw from both ways of working to reach new ground. Unfortunately, I left feeling downbeat.

We have another meeting planned for mid-October. A few pieces are being sent through the kiln again.  My studio is so cluttered; how I wish for a bigger space.  Today I went down to the local hardware store and arranged for a moveable wall to be made so I can step back from my work and view  it properly, even if it means opening the garage door and moving out on to the driveway.  At least I should have a few more months of sunshine in CA.  After my new wall is in place, I plan on spending some more time grouping these works as installations before plotting my next path. 

Most pieces wall mount and vary in size from 8 to 15" with some smaller segments thrown in.  (Sorry, color is not great.)