Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hobby, Therapy or Living?

I am curious, we all love playing in the mud and the benefits that we get from doing so. For me it calms me like nothing else, while I am centering the clay it centers me. It helps me think things through. I hope to one day support myself from my pots and such. I have many friends who do and the main topic of discussion right now with them as with most industries is the economy.
So I am curious; for those of you who make all or part of your income from your pottery, how are you being affected by the current economical climate and what are you doing to promote you and your work to get people to buy?
Please leave a comment and share your thoughts and experiences. And lets all hope for a better climate for artists and thier work in the coming year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Workshops In Natchez Mississippi

A workshop for all skill levels Jan. 10 & 11, 2009
Cathy Broski & Danny Meisinger
A two-day workshop with two amazing clay artists!
Making work from sectionals is a technique that experts as well as beginners can use to increase the size of their work and avoid injury. Students will learn how to bring inspiration into process, join sections of clay successfully, consider shrinkage issues for large work, and utilize found objects and hand made tools for each unique need. Presented by Cathy Broski and Danny Meisinger, who have been working in clay for over 25 years. The energy behind these long time friends working together for the first time will be both dynamic and inspiring. For all skill levels.
Natchez Clay is located on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in beautiful Natchez, MS. For more info, go to or call 601.660.2375.

This sounds really good, wish I had some spare cash!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Out And About

Had a chance to go out to the Pomona Arts District, home of the American Museum of Ceramic Art last night for the reception of the current show, "On The River Through The Valley Of Fire ~ The Collaborative Ceramics of Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman". I have been a fan of Tom and Elaine Colemans work, but WOW is all I have to say about this show and Frank Boydens work. If you have a chance go see the show!
Around the corner from AMOCA is the Armstrong Gallery with thier current show "The Pomona Tea Party". Amazing stuff here too, my favorite are the more traditional Japanese Tea Bowls, something I have been exploring lately. The second saturday of each month is Art Walk night in the Pomona Art Colony. Its a great way to spend an evening, great art and food!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

From Earth To Stone By The Kiss Of Fire ~ Shazieh Gorji

Shazieh Gorji is a Pakistan Native I discovered on FaceBook. The more I learn about this young woman the more I am inspired by her. She lives an adventurous life traveling the world in search of the Anagama. Shazieh maintains two blogs that offer hours of fascinating reading, one is on her ceramic work and the other devoted to her travels. Grab a cup of coffee some time and do some reading. But first read her answers to the So Cal Potters questions!
Why clay?
I took a clay workshop for freshman at college (Bennington) and was mystified and slightly terrified by its malleable nature- I just did not know what to do with it! By sophomore year I needed to not only ground myself, clay being the catalyst, but also try something that intimidated me. A friend once told me “it is only courageous if you do something you are scared off”. My friend and peer Hilary Marshall also played a role in my relationship with clay. She led me to the wheel, would wedge for me patiently and as I would keep asking “is it centered yet” she would always say “ trust me, when it’s centered you will know. You’ll feel it!” At first I was rather insecure about being a late bloomer per say, considering most of the students had some experience with the material during their high school years and felt perhaps this is not a good idea. But a gnawing feeling would walk me to the studio late at night and I just did not want to give up. Bennington’s philosophy encouraged discovery and experiential learning. I believed and still do in “the never too late” theory and clay truly had me hooked and gripped despite my weak know-how with techniques at that time.
Since then it has been a joyful journey with this mysterious material; a challenge to keep working not letting my hands and mind neglect the earth. Clay was the answer to my never ending questions. Its seductive nature transforming from earth to stone by the kiss of fire is always enchanting, never tiring, and each form, each 3D visual tells a story. The fact that it survives for centuries -is all withstanding and is able to write history through its broken shards is thrilling unto itself. It always delights, and never fails to mystify time and time again. The experience is truly emotive and grounding- a personal intimate anecdote.
If not clay, what?
Perhaps a tour guide, leading groups into adventure packed expeditions. Or a pastry chef, delighting the taste buds with sweet delicate treats.
What inspires you?
Nature and diverse landscapes, cities and their delightfully chaotic happenings, anomalies, experiences, change, people, interactions, travels…pura vida…just life and how it unfolds really. Inspiration comes in many forms and shapes. Sometimes after I have been in the mad race of city living it comes through serenity and nature; when I have been in the country side for long enough to be inspired I once again I again need the city to tantalize my mind buds. Contrasts- change. At times when I have just been creating and experimenting with forms one idea leads to another and a world of possibilities present themselves; the story unfolds as the clay is in motion.
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice?
Follow your heart!! Have plenty of patience and never get attached, as the process is rather lengthy till we see a finished piece; and once we offer the work to the fire it is in the hands of the Kiln Gods to decide the fate of the work. We may have experience in many techniques but the fire tells all, saves all and consumes all- there is nothing else to it- surrender and devote yourself completely to the process. To avoid disappointment and to continue creating joyfully- just don’t get too attached.
What do you think of the handmade movement and the artist as activist, or artivism?
Loaded question! All three are connected in some way or the other. In terms of the handmade movement I find it to be a paradox: on one hand it is important to -encourage artists making one-of-a- kind artworks; on the other hand there are so many products bearing the label “handmade’ and yes they are very handmade: hand made in sweat shops! What I am trying to express is the fine line between a studio artists work which is essentially handmade, and the trap of consumer advertising as “handmade” to lure customers making them feel as though they have made a worth while purchase.
Artist as activist or artivism is more conceptually oriented. Performance art and art activism out of the gallery (and more sophisticated settings) and onto the street was/is a movement which aims to make a socio-political statement using art as a tool of expression; a poignant one. Reclaiming public spaces and creating artworks that benefit all whom observe it, see it, and interact with it, is a genre of its own. I feel positively and strongly about it.
CITyartny and The Lyceum School (where I previously worked in Karachi Pakistan) collaborated over CITYarts “Pieces for Peace” mosaic with youth from around the world. We created a 180 foot mosaic with more than 100 students on a wall across a park and adjacent to a slum. The reason we chose the location was due its diverse amalgam of people from all spheres of society. Getting the students out onto the streets to make art, most of who do not interact on the streets due to Karachi’s infrastructure and due to the construct of society and its limiting notions of class differentiation and intense classism, we literally broke all barriers by working and encouraging all who passed by regardless of caste class creed to join in. Most of the public on the streets are men, and most of our team of mosaic-ers were young high school aged girls. We took the streets of that particular area by surprise; the sight was not the norm but we were not harassed. The colourful mosaic and the energy that was visible made all stop to admire it, ask questions, and break that barrier for those few moments. One young girl’s mother, when she came to pick up her daughter, asked me to tell the men standing around to leave. I gently explained to her that the street was free for all and is not “my property”, hence it was not in my place to ask them to leave; if she chose she could do so, or simply not let her daughter come to our sessions- that was her decision. Her daughter did return, albeit, her brother accompanied her! I feel such experiences and projects are a part of artivism. They inspire and break certain boundaries which leave their mark on the audience, participants and those directly and indirectly involved. It is an expression of an ideology which is rooted in trying to bring about societal change through art. Personally I am not a believer of “imposing” change, though I do believe in creative expression which leaves room for interpretation, and feel strongly about public art. The more we look the more we see, and any art, in whatsoever its form will inevitably do just that- penetrate the hearts of the people, warming, softening, and bring joy, thoughts, inspiration, a reaction- positive or negative, a reaction!
What is it about wood firing that has captivated you?
Wood firing is enchanting starting from the process itself. The element of chance involved, the amalgam of quiet, warm, juicy, dripping textures, the embracing of the accidental sometimes being fortuitous all contribute to entrance. The markings caused by the flame, the hot and cool spots in the kiln being determined by the marks on the pieces- these markings document the flow of fire on the works forever, and since no kiln will fire exactly the same way more than once, it preserves the memory and experience on the works.
Like most firers using wood, I find wood firing to be an extremely intimate relationship- it is this intimacy and warmth, the camaraderie between the firers and the memory etched into one for life that initially captivated me. I have only fired with wood a dozen times per say but can close my eyes and recall each team, each firing and the works which emerged form it vividly. The labour that one puts into each firing is phenomenal- and that is what we offer the kiln each time; that intense devotion and belief in fire transformation.
“Occasionally one gets a sense of a cosmic blessing emanating from woodfired work- the feeling that everything and everyone was in the right place at the right time, and the only way to prove this improbable conjecture is the existence of the work itself. Encounters between matter and spirit, the linking of human with non-human forces- the interface between consciousness and chance.” Jack Troy My works and the kiln are synonymous; the kiln is the temple and the works an offering of peace.
Can you tell me about your process, when you go into the studio do you have a set idea or do you just go with the flow, let the universe guide you?
It’s usually a combination of the two. Lately I have been working more conceptually and have a form in mind which I try to execute, however, I am flexible. If the clay is looking to bend a certain way I am not going to force myself onto its path or course. My hands are a mere catalyst; the clay knows I have a form in mind but it, just as me, has a direction. We work hand in hand.
Who are your favorite artists??
I could not name just one. There are plenty of artists I admire for various reasons both from the clay community and many who are not working in ceramics at all. Jeff Koon, Andy Goldsworthy, most recently Louis Beourgoes. Within ceramics I particularly enjoy Marilyn Levine, Peter Volkous, Jack Troy- I really could go on and on. Each artist has a quality with their works that speaks to me; be it their process, techniques, aesthetic choices, the feeling their work evokes, the concepts, the manner of installation- it differs all the time, however, each component inspires and teaches something anew- I enjoy looking for these characteristics and unique peculiarities within their works.
I love Shino Glazes, When I see a piece I really like it is most often a Shino. What is it about them that attracts you?
Their surface texture mainly. The simplicity and complexity in the make up of the glaze. They are rather basic in component, however, their transformation never fails to bring amazement. They are pure wonderment, and the beauty lies in not just looking at it but seeing it- every time something is just slightly different; the more you look the more you perceive. Shinos are just that- the more you look the more you see- glimpses unnoticed previously suddenly emerge.
Whats your favorite quote?
“The challenge is to do the thing you have to do because you are in love with it and can’t do anything else. Not because you want to become famous or rich, but because you will be unhappy if you can’t do it. It is not something you can turn on and off.” by Warren MacKenzie

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Little Shameless Self Promotion!

Having an "Art For The Holidays!" Sale at my house on Saturday December 13th from 12 to 4. If you are in the area stop in and say hello.
On another note, you know the saying when it rains it pours? I havent recieved any interviews back for some time and have been busy with holidays and family. I am waiting on several and will post as soon as they come in.
Will be attending "On the River through the Valley of Fire" opening next week. The show is a colaboration between Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman at AMOCA. I will post images of the opening next week.
Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's That Time Of Year...

Ceramic Studios all over are having thier Holiday Sales! David Farnsworth from Silica Studios in Palm Springs emailed me this announcment for the sale at thier studio. If you are in the Southern California area make a day trip of it and go check it out. Looks like they have some very talented people working there.
Remember to buy handmade this Holiday Season!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Three Roads To Mashiko

Got an email from Chris Gaston, otherwise known as xenovision Chris was one of the first artists interviewed here. Chris sent along information about an upcoming show that he is involved in in Mashiko, Japan. Another artist interviewed here by the name of Douglas Black is in the show with Andrew Gemrich the third friend in Three Roads To Mashiko at the Gallery Midori in Mashiko. The show opens in December, if in Japan be sure to check it out!
Almost forgot to mention, be sure to check out xenovisions blog! He is always up to some fantastically crazy creative stuff.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A True Craftsman ~ Otto Heino

On a recent trip to Ojai for the Ojai Studio Artists Tour I had the chance to meet one of the most celebrated potters of our time, Otto Heino. "The Pottery" as it is known is located just outside of town and up the hill, overlooking a beautifull garden. It is such a beautiful setting I'm not sure I could get much work done! The Pottery is open Tuesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., if you have a chance stop by and say hello. Be sure to ask Otto about his yellow glaze! Since Otto fires to cone 12 or 13 the fact that he achieves such a beautiful yellow glaze is remarkable. That glaze has been the crux of his marketing, creating the mystique around this ancient asian glaze that he was able to recreate. And the recipe is not written down, Otto has it commited to memory!
If you are in the area do stop by. Otto is allways there ready to answer questions, the fact that he is still producing, still throwing everyday makes him an inspiration to us all. I am honored to have his answers to a couple questions to post here. And I want to send a special thank you to his niece Helen Heino. Since Otto doesnt do email, my correspondence was with her. Thank you Helen! By the way, all images here as well as what you will find on Otto's Pottery website were taken by Helen Heino, good work!
Why clay?
Clay is the only live material an artist works with and the artist must also have a good eye for shape. Having been born on a farm... I have worked with clay all of my life.
What inspires you?
Designs from nature inspire me.
Who is your favorite artist?
Peter Volkous is one of my favorite artists.
What is your favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is:
"Live, Laugh and Learn... and I cannot be negative!" Thats a good philosophy for us all to live by, Thank you Otto! And Thank you Helen!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Help Get Out The Vote, Support Art At The Obamaware Sale

Now this is something I am really glad to see. Artists banding together, combining art and activism or "Artivism" and becoming politically active. Ceramic Artist Ayumi Horie has brought together a group of potters and has set up shop on Ebay to sell thier work and raise money for the Obama/Biden Campaign. Some of the artists who are participating are; Dan Anderson, Andy Brayman, John Byrd, Victoria Christen, Steven Colby, Michael Corney, Josh DeWeese, Diana Fayt, Donna Flanery, Julia Galloway, Ayumi Horie, Janice Jakielski, Garth Johnson, Kathy King, Michael Kline, Beth Lo, Kirk Mangus, Alleghany Meadows, Jeffry Mitchell, Peter Morgan, Jill Oberman, Jess Parker, Ron Philbeck, Elizabeth Robinson, Justin Rothshank, Shoko Teruyama, Jason Walker, Sarah Archer Essay.
Through out history artists have come together, stood up and raised thier voices to call out for action. The time is now for us all to do our part. Go to a calling party, talk to people about voting, anything, just do SOMETHING for HOPE and PROGRESS!

Be sure to check out the Obamaware website and if you can, buy a piece!

Obamaware will now be up for auction on Ebay starting: Sunday night, October 19th, at 8 pm EST and will be up for 3days.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Force Is Strong In This One ~ Jeff Martin

I came accross Jeff Martins blog one afternoon and was impressed with his work and intrigued by him. His blog is his diary where he shares his daily life and work, his loves and interests. Be sre to follow the link and read his blog. To check out his website with all of his work go to Jeff Martin Ceramics. And if you would like to purchase any of his ceramics or cards and illustrations be sure to visit Jeff Martin Designs, his Etsy page.
Why clay?.... been working with clay for about four years. Never really taken a day off since i started. Just feels right in so many ways. Like I have been working with it all my life, or past lives!
If not for clay what would you be doing?
..... probably some high-end criminal activity, or waiting tables..
What gets you in the mood?
...I am always in the mood, i just forget every now and then, when the mundane stress bullshit from living in too much fear creeps in, I love my work and my main issue is finding balance...I often have to drag myself out of the studio and do such things as sleep, and interact with the rest of the world. So far, the ideas have just been building and i feel like i am just a baby in this medium..the force is strong in this one...
Do you listen to music when you work?,,, npr this tastes are all over the often is a mood-catalyst for me, when i am feeling a bit flat, or a mood enhancer when i am feeling right on. love music.
Thanks for the tip, just got some groovesalad! What motivates, inspires and brings you pleasure?
...inspiration comes from all kinds of sources...i try and let the flow me there is no separation for the inspired..i find the same energy available in many different areas..for example riding my bike is just as connected to my art as raising my daughter, learning how to listen, or working on throwing a new form..
Who are your favorite artists and why?
....diggin' all kinds of folks, really too many too narrow down..they range from gustav klimt to henry lewis..from fine art to outsider art...and of course the claysters...duckworth, soldner, ohr, bringle,..on and of my favorite pastimes is reading through back issues of studio potter, cm, and claytimes..
What?s your favorite cuss word?
... dang-it-all
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice?
.... love it or leave, really i would say enjoy yourself and let they clay talk to you..the medium is so diverse in how it allows one to voice their spirit..
What is your feeling on the artist as activist, Artivism? and the handmade movement?
eh....handmade is alright i guess, but dang-it-all, walmart has everything i need!, artivism? no idea...i'll go with gandhi on this one and"be the change you wish to see"...yeah, that's the ticket..
When I first saw your work it I thought of art class in junior high where we took a special board (cant remember the name) painted it with india ink then scratched out designs. I guess that was a type of scraffito and I remember that I loved doing that! Tell me about your work and your process.
maybe scratch board?? yes, i practice the sgraffito method of deco most regularly, in which i throw/handbuild a piece, allow it to set up just past the leather-hard stage. i then coat the piece with 2-3 layers of commercial underglaze, and carve. i do the design work free-hand, and add underglaze colors after the design is done. i then bisque and glaze fire, ising don-davis clear over the piece.most of my work is fired electric to cone six..but i hope to broaden my firing processes in the work is very unique.
What's your favorite quote?
..... "fall down seven get up eight"..or.."a small pot is soon hot"....or "do not walk barefoot if ye sow brambles".
Thanks Jeff!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Shards Of Broken Vessels ~ Miri Fleisher

Miri Fleisher is an artist and teacher living in Israel. I came across her work recently on FaceBook and was so moved that I wrote to her and asked if she would participate in SoCalPotters. I was elated when she said yes! Her ceramic work is bold and thought provoking. Miri also works in handmade paper. The images of these pieces are striking. Obviously delicate to the touch but of such bold imagery that everyone can relate to on some level, I am honored to share her words with you.
Why clay?
Well porcelain is my favorite material although in my subjects I do use also other materials such as; handmade papers, photographs, digital painting and whatever comes along. For me porcelain is a representative of clay, and clay is my preferred material out of ideology and pure love.
Why porcelain?
Porcelain seems to have very human like characteristics; its sensitivity and unexpected behavior, it has "memory" of every touch it gets, vulnerable as glass, strong as a rock ...well you can add more and more and never finish but the last one would be its nobility. This characteristic I wish would influence me …
Nobility is a character we could all employ more of. If not clay, what?
I use more materials to emphasize my subjects but porcelain will be always (until now :) ) my favorite, my center, as my mother...
What get’s you in the mood, what inspires you?
Poetry and literature (sometimes I start a subject from a poetic sentence and it stays as the name, Nature around me and in my garden, science fiction, holidays and free time from teaching...
Who is your favorite artist/artists and why?
My favorite artists would be all the known female artists, authors and philosophers I have ever learned about, read or met at museums.
I would not start naming them. All my spiritual mothers…
What’s your favorite cuss word?
It will be in Hebrew "laazazel" but I don't use it, because I usually blame myself...
What is your favorite pleasure?
Family and creating
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice?
I would say: Ceramics is a wonderful material to express yourself, besides trying to earn money and please the public.
It has always been so, because the direct way of working with clay. Sometimes its commercial function influences its quality. It should not be so. Ceramic works must first of all be "good" and if they even succeed in being functional it will be "very good". If not, the criteria must always be as in "fine" art. Usually it is about proportions, balance, clear expression and all the terminology of the History of Art
Can you tell me about your process, when you go into the studio do you have a set idea or do you just go with the flow, let the universe guide you?
I usually work 3-4 hours a day, not including my teaching. I don't create a lot of products, and try to create each work as unique as I can. Sometimes I throw away what I don't like in order to be pleased with all of my work, but I do wait before throwing a piece that I don’t like. Sometimes that work will become important to the continuation.
I always work from ideas and try to stick to them. It does not mean that the works will be the same as the first (origina)l idea. On the contrary, I use some more materials and "attack" the idea with all the ways of working - figurative, abstract and pottery-like (pottery is for me a way of expression of culture as well as human body) All this research in porcelain and other materials create installations . In the last 10 years I started exhibiting in the form of installations. I have 35 years in ceramics, most of the time as a teacher and at times have taken part in group exhibitions. The last 10 years there have changes in my personal life and my ambition to show my art, burst forth...
As you can see in the following names my installations are autobiographical. But as the say in the theory of feminism - the personal is communal.
2001-This is my blood, this is my body
2002-My mother was an angel
2003-Angels blood
2003-Train Lane 15, Haifa (the address of my childhood)
2005-Deady (father and child)
2008-To embryo and back Thank You Miri!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Balancing The Craziness ~ Tara Robertson

The sculpture pictured above is part of a series called "Offspring" and demonstrates the nurturing qualities of Tara Robertson. Literally dependant on each other, the two pieces of these sculptures require the other for balance, to be whole. For me, and what I have learned of Ms. Robertson they represent her in the delicate balance of rearing her daughter while cultivating her creative side through exploration of form in clay. It is that fine line that drives this stay at home mom, wife, teacher and artist, squeezing every second out of the day to get her fingers back in the mud.

Why clay?
Because I'm still just a kid at heart that loves to play in the mud. I have always been into art and tried my hand at acrylics, watercolors, oils, pastels, pencils, and even carving plaster. None of those things "squished" the way clay does. I just love the feeling of squishy mud in my fingers, under my fingernails, and (usually) all over my clothes. There's also something about the process that just brings out the creativity in me. I love all the physical labor, the wedging, pinching, scraping, cleaning, measuring, and such that comes along with working in clay. So much of what I make is a long series of repetitive motions and yet each piece has a life of its own.
If not clay, what?
This question is much harder than it should be. I'm sitting here reviewing my week. A typical day is: Wake up, jog, get daughter ready for preschool, clay, pick-up daughter, eat, put kid down for nap, clay, play with daughter, teach a clay class, make and eat dinner, put daughter to bed, watch a show or two, go to sleep. That's about it. I think someday my life will consist of more than clay and kid (and of course, the occasional House episode), but for now I'm just bouncing between the two. By the time I'm worn out from my kid, a clay break sounds heavenly, and by the time I've come to a point where I need to stop picking at a pot, playing silly games with a 3-year-old just hits the spot.
What gets you in the mood, what inspires you?
When my daughter was very little and I was struggling to get back into clay and handle all my domestic responsibilites on top of no sleep, another stay-at-home potter/parent offered me a wonderful piece of advice. "When your child goes down for a nap, drop everything and run to the studio." This has become my way of getting work done. All I need to be "in the mood" or inspired is for my daughter to be sleeping. She's asleep? Watch out clay--here I come! Because I know that if I wait and fold some laundry or browse the internet or anything, I'll miss my minutes of precious time alone in the lab getting my hands dirty.
Do you listen to music in the studio?
Always and forever. If not music, books on tape. I especially like to listen to really long classics that I would never take the time to sit and read.
Who is your favorite artist/artists and why?
I love women vocalists/songwriters who don't stick to the pop song formula (cliche lyrics with generic beats). Some of my recent favorites are Yael Naim, Feist, and Ingrid Michaelson
Whats your favorite quote?
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." from Scott Adams (The author of the Dilbert cartoons)
What is your favorite pleasure?
Gourmet hot chocolate. If I'm really going for guilty pleasure, I'll make it with whole milk and pile on the whipped cream. It's like chocolate soup. This has become an especially guilty pleasure in the last year because I've become lactose intolerant. It tastes so good, but then my stomach pays for it later.
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice?
Keep at it. Also, strive first for technical skills. My first college professor was all about aesthetics, so I didn't learn how to throw or pinch with consistent thickness and always had problems achieving the forms I wanted because things would collapse or came out lumpy. My second professor (at a different school) had us reach some strict technical benchmarks during the first semester, and then let us be free to experiment. My work became worlds better with the second professor.
What do you think of the handmade movement and the artist as activist, or artivism?
I'm just trying to do what I love while balancing the craziness of parenting and career. I'll leave politics to people more intelligent and on top of things.
Can you tell me about your process, when you go into the studio do you have a set idea or do you just go with the flow, let the universe guide you?
I start with a pretty specific idea of what I want to make and how I want to make it. Although I know what I want, the process of making seems to open me to variations and spontaneous discoveries. I'll tweak this and change that if it looks better to me. I most enjoy "letting the universe guide" when doing surface decoration. I'll start with an abstract line or two, or a leaf placed in a certain spot, and then just fill in the space around it with whatever looks right to me at the moment.
Thank you Tara!