Following is the first of what I hope to be a long series of interviews with potters, ceramic artists. I decided to make up a list of questions. Some more serious, others not kind of like "Actors Studio". Fitting that my first interview is with Sierra Pecheur, Mother, Ceramic Artist, Actor.
Why clay? I started as a painter and drawer. In New York City I became an actor as an adjunct to being an artist I was fortunate to work with two master story tellers, John Vaccaro director of The Playhouse of the Ridiculous in New York and Robert Altman in Los Angeles. From them I learned there is no wrong way to tell a story. Commit absolutely, go where it leads; the unworkable will be forced out. Since then storytelling has been crucial to my work. (IMDb, Sierra Pecheur) I moved to California in 1973 and stopped painting. In 1985 when I began again I chose clay because I had no preconceived ART ideas to inhibit me. It suits me well, for me it is drawing in the round. In 2002 I beganDIG: An Imagined Archeo-logism, a story that never has to end. Where do you like to work? I build my work at The Clayhouse in Santa Monica, CA. And finish the pieces in my studio at home. What gets you in the mood? Since I started DIG I am almost always in the mood. I don’t have to think up a creative activity it is already in progress. Do you listen to music when you work? I usually start in silence. Then it depends, classical Mozart, Beethoven, music that soars. I love violins & songs with lyric melodic lines or really strong base lines so rock, blues & rap. What motivates your work? Myth, how myths show up today, what are the myths of today. Heart break, politics, evolution, irony, whimsy, all is grist for the mill. Do you like to work alone or in public? I build and fire my work in a communal studio. I prefer to start alone. My hands in and on clay is my form of meditation. I can get pretty snarky if interrupted, that’s why it is best for me to start alone. Then as others arrive and the sound builds I can tune it out or join in as I choose. I thrive on the exchange of ideas and laughter over silly stuff. Who is your favorite artist and why? Arthur Rackham early 20th century English illustrator his gnarly and gnarled fairy tale images. Dante Gabriel Rosetti & John Millais pre-Raphaelite painters for their lush stark beauty. Hieronymus Bosch & Pieter Bruegel the elder, hell on earth. What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? If, as a child, you loved playing in the dirt and you still have a hankering, go for it. Or if you discover you love the feel of clay keep playing until it becomes a part of you. What’s your favorite cuss word? HORSE SHIT What is your favorite pleasure? Finding peoples hidden, daring, moving, critterdom.
I have confirmed that our viewing of the Marer Collection at Scrips College will be on Saturday March 8 at 10:00 am. Please email me or leave a comment here with your email if you would like to attend. After seeing the collection we can all go see the Scrips Ceramic Annual. There will be a limit of 25 people, so let me know soon!
All you have to do is Google "Eco Pottery Studio" Or "Green Pottery Studio" and you will get many sites to visit, but here are a few things that I came up with;
Always fully load your kiln, maximize space and therefore your energy use, lowering your carbon footprint.
Only use glazes that are certified food safe and lead free, non toxic is good!
Keep your studio clean! Use a HEPA filter on your vacuum and wet mop often; this will eliminate airborne silica dust.
Always recycle your clay! I know a lot of potters don’t like to, but it saves money and the environment. Keep a barrel of cast-offs and trimmings to be reclaimed later.
Instead of using a sink for washing, use buckets or tubs, one for clay and one for glaze, after a month or so let the particles settle, siphon off the water then recycle the clay and see what the glaze turns out to be. You can always use the same water to water your garden, just don’t use it for vegetables. Or Install filters or catch basins on the sinks in your studio to catch any clay or glaze particles that can then be recycled or disposed of properly.
These along with the standard things like turn off lights when not in use will help you to be more environmentally friendly in your studio.
If you must use plastic shopping bags save them to be used as packing materials.
For other great tips on making your studio green visit squidoo
We all need to do whatever we can to support the environment.
Ceramic Artist Sierra Pecheur has a show coming up at the Xiem Clay Center in Pasadena CA, from February 16th thru April 12th, 2008.
DIG: An Imagined Archeo-logism is an installation of ceramic sculptures which examines and questions archetypal constructs of myth and meaning. Comprised of close to 400 ceramic pieces that include over 350 skulls and bones, Dig represents an archaeological site, but in this case, the excavated clay sculptures are decidedly not congruent with the stories that popular myth promotes. As part of the installation, workshops are presented that offer members of the community the opportunity to create their own small clay relics and artifacts to add to the exhibition. DIG addresses the stories behind two cultural myths: Medusa--which in Sanskrit means “sovereign female wisdom,” yet somehow in Greek myth evolved into a malicious snake-haired monster; Icarus & Daedalus--whose relationship explores the question of cause, effect and accountability. A two-foot version of the Willendorf Venus, the earth’s guardian of the past 20,000 years, begins the Medusa evolution. With her chest cavity wide open and broken heart exposed, she still stands--a Medusa surrounded by guardians, creatures both mythic and real.The through line of DIG is STORY. Bones tell stories. Myths are stories fabricated by victors to put their spin on events. To further expand the reach of this tale, DIG: An Imagined Archeo-logism, I ask the question “what if…?” I imagine what the truth of the stories might have been and then sculpt them into reality.
Check back soon for a question and answer with Sierra!
For many people being an artist isn’t a choice, it’s something that goes to the core of your being. As bohemian individuals we strive to live a creative life outside the box that is why when you come up against the wall of the elite galleries it can be discouraging. If you don’t fit in the “mold” of what the galleries of the world want, or expect you to be, you are out, consigned to selling your stuff on the streets. Luckily sites like Etsy came along and strived to make it easier for the common artist. But now there is MyArtPlot. MAP seeks to create a global art community on the web to bring people together from all corners of the earth with the common goal of getting their work seen and fighting elitism. I see sites like this as a good thing. There is a movement underfoot ladies and gentlemen. You might call it a backlash against the mass-produced. The handmade and the craftivism movements can only help us as artists in our pursuit of self sustainability. I applaud MyArtPlot and wish them great success! Follow the link and set up your free account, and take part in a social movement. SIGN UP!
Last year I attended a workshop at Stonehaus Ceramics in Pensacola Florida. Peter King is Stonehaus Ceramics, I just learned that he is offering another workshop at his studio in Pensacola. This is a week long workshop and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about large scale architectural installations. Check out his website for more info, the workshop is scheduled for March 24th thru the 29th.
Following is a press release for the conference. I have been to this twice and it is allways a great weekend. I highly recomend it!
The annual Ceramics Festival, hosted by the John Natsoulas Gallery, enters into its 19th year and continues to bring the leading national and international ceramic artists to the Sacramento Valley for a weekend of creative instruction and collaboration. This year, Kevin Nierman, an internationally known ceramic artist, teacher, and founder of the Kids ‘N’ Clay Pottery Studio in Berkeley, will present free “hands-on” workshops for kids, allowing children of all ages to experiment and interact with clay. Sponsored by the Davis Downtown Business Association, and set up at the E Street Plaza, this event will offer the opportunity for everyone to watch Kevin work with the children. Workshops are scheduled for Saturday, April 26th, from 12 noon to 3:00 pm. In conjunction with the weekend conference and festival, the John Natsoulas Gallery will hold its annual gallery-wide 30 Ceramics Sculptors exhibition. This show was first conceived in 1986, a collaboration between Robert Arneson and John Natsoulas, and continues the ceramic traditions made famous by instructors and students of the University of California, Davis Art Department and the University of California at Berkeley. The 30 Ceramics Sculptors exhibition will be open from April 23rd through May 24th. Special weekend showings that open Friday, April 25th and run through Sunday, April 27th include free exhibitions of ceramic work by art students from 30 colleges and universities, as well as exhibitions of ceramic work by well-known local artists at ten other Davis locations. Free shuttle service will be provided to all exhibitions. In addition to the Ceramics Festival, there will be a weekend ceramics conference with presentations by professionals and enthusiasts in the field. For schedule information or to register for this part of the conference, please go the gallery website at www.natsoulas.com. Sponsored in part by a grant by the Downtown Davis Business Association.FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact the John Natsoulas Gallery at (530) 756-3938. 521 First Street, Davis, CA 95616 530/756-3938~Fax: 756-3961 email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.natsoulas.com/
I took this last year at Scripps, a beatiful piece by Jun Kaneko. I havent confirmed the time for our viewing, but it is going to be on March 8. Shooting for meeting up at 10, checking out the collection then going on to see the Scripps Annual.
Let me know if you want to attend, email me at chris @ chrismccormick.com or leave a comment below.
Last year Suzette Munnik from the Xiem Clay Center arranged a visit to see the Fred Marer Collection at Scripps College. It was an incredible experience being able to examine firsthand ceramic works that you normally only get to see behind glass in museums. I have been in contact with Kirk Delman, the Collections Manager at Scripps and arranged a visit to the collection. You can learn more about the collection here, Fred Marer Collection