Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Drink This!

Life is moving on a pretty rapid clip as my semester as teaching assistant at Chico State is coming to a close.  I am so excited that I have been accepted to two great shows coming up very soon.  Here is the poster for the first show, Drink This! The Workhouse International Ceramic Cup Show, juried by Linda Arbuckle.  Linda is a wonderful ceramic artist who shares so much information with the ceramics community.  I am truly honored to have been accepted into this show.  Thanks Linda and Workhouse

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pottery Sale Saturday

Yep, it's that time of year!  Come on over to Chico for my annual holiday sale. Plus, I'm raising money for my move to grad school next fall.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Hiatus Interruptus

Ummm, yeah.  I took a really long break from blogging.  Every time I seem to forget (sometimes purposefully) that I have a blog I resolve that I will be better about blogging.  Well, I'm not sure if I have the resolve to be resolved.  So there!

This is what I am currently up to.  At this precise moment exactly, except for typing.  This is my tiny computer table studio, where I can bury myself up to my eyeballs in paper stencils and watch movies at the same time I troop on with my stencil and slip application.  These are porcelain with a flashing slip and will go into the soda firing, probably the last of the year.

So the truth about my absence is that I went through a huge slump!  I mean the kind where for weeks you feel lucky to actually get yourself out of the house much less blogging.  Thank goodness I had studio responsibilities or I might not have gotten on so well.  I feel like I have pretty much pulled myself out of that hole.  Mostly.  I have actually gotten quite a bit of clay experimentation done so I will try to make a collage of images to catch everyone up.  That is, if, if, if....  You know, the resolve thing.

I do have good news.  I got into two shows and I am waiting to here from a third!  Who hoo!  Now to just keep up the momentum and keep entering.  Also, next year is going to be amazing!  I am in the planning stages for my summer activities. And, then poof!  Just like that, fall will be here and I will be off to grad school.  Should be busy, but that's really what keeps me sane.  Bye for now, and hopefully not for so long this time. (Was that too many exclamation points?  I must need a nap)

Monday, October 01, 2012

Paper Clay Adventures

Right now I feel like I am participating in a mini, self-imposed, paper clay residency.  I got really fascinated by this when Rebecca Hutchinson taught at CSU Summer Arts in July.  Rebecca encouraged me to try this technique of stenciling, painting, and silk screening on a slab of plaster and then pouring a layer of paper clay slip on top.  I was so wrapped up in my installation project that I never got around to trying this out.  So now I am making up and giving it a whirl.

I want to expose a screen next but first I thought I would start off with a hand cut stencil.  I actually forgot about drawing directly on the plaster so I probably would have started with that.  Here I am using a thick porcelain slip made from my throwing leftovers to which I have added toilet paper.  I took a small amount of it and tinted it with turquoise stain.  

I had to let go of my ocd, perfectionistic tendencies with this whole process.  The stencil is not precise and the slip kind of likes to spread under the stencil a bit.

The crazy part is when you pick up the bucket of paper clay slip and pour a thick layer over the whole slab, obscuring the image in the process.  By the way, don't stop pouring and run to get your camera as the leading edge of the slip will start to dry out and will leave a line of demarcation after you pour the rest of the slip.  This line will have a tendency to want to crack later when you are manipulating the slab.  Good to know, just pour it all at once and spread it quickly and thick.

After a few hours, depending on weather (it was a hundred degrees when I did this), a half inch thick pour of slip will have turned into a quarter inch thick sheet that can be peeled pack from the plaster.  I was so excited to see that it actually worked and didn't tear.

I had some extra so I used a commercial stencil on this smaller plaster slab.

This close up shows the paper fibers pretty well.

So, I learned that it is good to plan what you are going to do with your sheet of clay before you make it so you aren't running around scratching your head while your sheet starts to dry.  I am not so sure that utilitarian pieces are the best use of this process but I didn't have a sculptural project in mind.  I also learned that paper clay cuts a whole lot easier with scissors than with a blade or wire.  

I love this "rolled" foot.  I enjoyed experimenting with this because it forced me to let go.  I also like that their where certain things the porcelain slab would and wouldn't do.  Because of this,  the evidence of the process is necessarily revealed such as the cracking of the surface of the clay as it was formed.  Hmm, I'm kind of liking this.  It will be interesting to see where it leads me.  

If you want to know more about working with paper clay, an excellant resource is Rosette Gault's book on the subject.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunshine Cobb Visits CSU Chico

I have been a teaching assistant this semester at CSU Chico and one of the added benefits is getting to know about the visiting artists!  On Monday and Tuesday we were honored to have the talents of Sunshine Cobb as she gave a ton of amazing demos.  I first learned of Sunshine about a year ago and have been a big fan since.  In May she was featured on the cover of Ceramics Monthly so we felt pretty special having her visit.  She squeezed us in between having just returned from presenting at Utilitarian Clay VI at Arrowmont  in Tennessee and just before leaving for her residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana.  Phew!  Great job, Sunshine.  Thank you so much!  It was wonderful meeting you.

Lidded Boxes in progress.

Showing us how she uses a cheese cutter to trim the tops of her boxes.

My sweet score is this delightful garlic storage vessel which now sits on the shelf in my kitchen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Paperclay Vessel

All the beautiful flowers blooming and the early morning coolness on my front porch enticed me to stay home and experiment with some paperclay ideas.  In July I was able to work with ceramic installation artist, and professor at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Rebecca Hutchinson.  She was our last visiting artist in Clay as a Medium for Sculpture at CSU Summer Arts in Monterey, CA.  She taught us an amazing array of techniques for "breaking the rules" when working with clay. She taught us about the different kind of cellulose fibers to use and what kind of stuff to dip into paper clay slip.  She also showed us how to make durable, non-fired pieces and how to incorporate silkscreen and stencil use with colored slips for surface decoration.  It was a ton to cover in just three days.  If you ever get and opportunity to go to one of her workshops I would highly recommend it!

I thought I would start out simple with these little clay medallions I made by dropping dollops of paperclay onto a plaster slab to stiffen up.  Need more plaster slabs!  And minions to make these little cookies while I construct the forms.

The construction process was oh so delightful! I started the base out on an upturned bowl covered with paper.  I left it out in the sun to stiffen up and then took it off the mold, turned it over and started adding my cookie "shingles."  This stuff is amazing.  I love that you can add wet pieces to bone dry work.  It is also really easy to rehydrate areas with a spritz of water as the paper keeps the clay from weakening.

Day two.  You can see where the bottom section has dried and I continued shingling on the fairly dry rim.

I really wanted to continue and make the form even larger if it wasn't for a few crucial factors.  One, I ran out of slip!  Two, I needed to make the base thicker and better able to take the weight of the piece and not be topsy.  Since I started out with all these cookies of pretty uniform thickness there just isn't enough weight at the bottom.  I think the next one will have a thicker pinch or coil base to start working on. The last issue is transportation.  Oh yeah, when one does not have a kiln...  You get the idea.

I love how the interior looks like scales.  I might flip the cookies around on the next piece so the flat, scale-like surface is on the outside.  Now to figure out how I want to finish and fire this piece.  I am thinking of the soda kiln but not sure if it will fit.  I might need to make some smaller ones for that little kiln for sure.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Recent Soda Firing

Opening up last week's kiln load. Or was it longer ago than that?  I'm not sure where the time keeps slipping away from me!  Anywho, check out those cones on the bottom.  Cone 12 maybe?  All I know is my tumblers were on the bottom and I had a lot of bloating.  Maybe B-mix at this temp is not so good.  Or maybe we just need to figure out how to get the kiln firing a wee bit more even.  I know!  I'll just put my stuff on the top next time.  What a concept.  I know, sometimes I'm a tad slow.

Here are the four tumblers that came out good.  One still is pretty bloated but I turned it around for the shot.  I actually had eight tumblers but four of them cracked.  Pretty weird cracks too.  I'll have to get some pics of those too show y'all.  Could use some postulating on causes.  I have a theory but we'll see.  
I've got some bowls just like these tumblers going into the kiln next week plus I think I'll put in a couple of porcelain pieces and see how they do.  B-mix on the top, not sure where to place the porcelain but I think it would withstand the bottom.  Hey, I could put a porcelain one on the top, one in the middle and one on the bottom.  I astound even myself sometimes.  Just kidding!  Oh, and as for surface technique, that is paper stencil with a baur flashing slip brushed on.  I also used the little sewing wheel thingy texture maker and then bisqued.  Then a black slip was rubbed into the texture.  I glazed the inside with celadon but it doesn't look as good as I'd like.  Maybe not enough reduction on the bottom.

The recycle clay is liking the soda.  And check out that design and texture!  Wish I could claim those as mine.  I am thinking of stealing, ahem, borrowing, the technique.

Happy mugsy.  My tumbler in the back, otherwise known as a giant test tile.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Good Morning Breakfast

I love it when I actually take time to cook something for breakfast instead of just having a smoothie or pineapple and cottage cheese.  Mmm, saute'd veggies and scrambled eggs with fresh basil from my garden.  I have ruby red chai in this mug I made at Penland in the spring.  There were glazes left in the studio from the fall intensive with Suze Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin. I love how the layered glazes turned out.  Now if I had only gotten the recipe, sigh!  Molly Kite Spadone, a core fellow at Penland, taught me how to make that handle with the nice little ridge on top.  

In my last post I told you about my garden and flowers, so here are some eye candy pics for you.  This is the flower bed right out my front door.  My little bunny sculpture that I made in Susannah Israel's workshop just had to situate herself right in the middle of all the loveliness.

Snow and snap peas, kale, chard, bok choy, cilantro, carrots, lettuce.

Rainbow chard before the neighbor's kittens had a wrestling match in the middle of it!

Darn kitties!  But check out those luscious blue eyes.  Oil spots on the nose from hanging out under the cars.

Volunteer Four O'Clocks!

 Neighbors Rudabeckia

Next blog post I will have some pictures of the soda firing from last Tuesday.  Gotta go pay bills now.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My New Obession - Soda Kiln Firing

I am so excited to finally be taking photos of my new soda fired work!  I really was starting to question what was wrong with me.  I didn't want to take photos, or post them to the web, or to my Etsy store, or to my Facebook page.  Truth is, I've been in kind of a funk for the past few weeks.  Maybe it has been a bit of a let down after having been to so many wonderful workshops over the past few months.  Coming back home and having to face the real world and try to catch up with things has affected me more than I thought it would.  

But I think I am finally starting to feel a bit better.  The new semester started and I am a teaching assistant in ceramics at Chico State University.  Plus, choir started and I get to do some singing which is always cathartic and uplifting for me.  On top of this, I moved into a new place where I finally have sun in my yard.  I moved in just days before going to Monterey for CSU Summer Arts.  I've been home for about three and half weeks and I guess I am nesting.  Furnishing and decorating my new digs and rushing a winter veggie garden in before I run out of time.  Oh, and the flowers.  I HAD, HAD, HAD to plant flowers! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunny in Santa Cruz

I finished my first two week class at CSU Summer Arts and had the day off so I decided to get out of the fog.  I headed up to Palo Alto for ACGA's Clay & Glass Festival.  I saw a lot of wonderful work, but for some reason was shy about taking photos of anyone's work.  However, I had the delight of running into this Patrick Dougherty sculpture outside of the Palo Alto Art Center.

Here is a video of the construction of the sculpture.

After being in Monterey's 60 degree foggy weather for two weeks I was eager for the sun and warmth which I got in Palo Alto.  It was about 78 degrees and I felt like I was in an oven so I hopped back in the car and headed out to Santa Cruz.  Yeah, I know, go figure?  

This is the view from the pier look south towards Monterey. Yep, that's the thick grey blanket I have been living in lately. 

But turn around an this is what you see.

 The sea lions migrate up from Southern California to feast and rest in the marine sanctuary.

Smile pretty for the camera!

 I love architectural elements,

and the different blues of the ocean and sky here.

And when I finally drove back to Monterey, I found out it had been sunny here today.  It figures.