Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Social Networking For Artists

My Art Space is a website to aide the artist in getting their work out on the web for all to see. Like other online social networks My Art Space allows the artist to create a profile and upload examples of their work into their own online galleries. This allows all artists, no matter where they are to connect, to be a part of something bigger, to show their work to the world. My Art Space is open to all those interested in the arts, from the beginner to the seasoned pro, gallery owners, collectors and curators.
For the art student My Art Space is offering several different scholarships for both the undergrad as well as the graduate. Brian Sherwin of My Art Space would love to see more ceramics represented on the network, so check it out.

With sponsored competitions, scholarships and special events My Art Space is sure to grow into a force in the art world bringing artists of all mediums together with a common goal.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Beginners Journey ~ Beverly Archer

About a year ago I noticed a woman at the studio who looked vaguely familiar, but I just couldn't place where I knew her from. I was then further intrigued because I noticed that she was all ways making pigs. Big ones, small ones, standing, reclining, dancing and laying on blankets, but all pigs. I started hearing references to "the pig lady" while standing around the kiln room looking at the latest offerings from the kiln gods. Beverly Archer is the lady who was always making pigs. You may remember her from Mama's Family, Major Dad or a host of other television shows. Beverly was new to ceramics and decided to document the process of her learning with pigs. Xiem Clay Center, where both Beverly and I are members was recently voted "Best Pottery Studio For Amateurs" by Los Angeles Magazine. In that spirit Suzette Munnik, the creative director at the studio has decided to do a show highlighting Beverly's journey called A Year Of The Pig which opens Xiem Gallery on October 11, with a Gallery Reception from 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm and runs through November 1. Beverly is also owner of an antique store called American Street located in Pasadena California. American Street specializes in antique folk art.
As a beginner what is it about clay that drew you to it?
I thought I was searching for a new skill set but I found something more. I was in my third week of drawing class at a local adult ed. place but I was finding it rigid and unsatisfying. I read about Xiem and, since I live nearby thought I’d check it out. I’m not of a mystical mindset but I have to say that when I walked into Xiem for the first time I was instantly smitten. It was quiet, light and clean. There was only the whir of a wheel, the sound of running water, some soft conversation. It seemed almost conducive to meditation. Then, when I got my hands on the clay (even though my first efforts were worse than those of a 4th grader at summer camp) I was officially in love. I felt more able to approach the clay than I did paper and pencil. I don’t know why. My depiction skills are not fabulous but clay seems more approachable, more cooperative and more intuitive than two dimensional work. I can be pretty self critical and I surprised myself by accepting whatever the clay presented knowing somehow that it was going to get better. Or at least more interesting. I have to add that the encouragement one finds at Xiem from teachers, from Kevin, Junzo and Suzette and from other members makes every baby step something to celebrate.
I like that you have focused your learning the ways of clay with one subject matter and the documentation that allows, why pigs?
It was pretty arbitrary. I own a couple of 19th c. pig banks and I started by trying to copy them. I was learning to do pinch balloons and thought it was a good form to use. It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized all my 19th c. banks were slip cast! But by then I had seen a bit of improvement. It was pig #14 that spurred me to experiment with a year’s work. I was so startled and pleased by the look of that one I called it “Well, I’ll be Damned”. I decided to focus on one form which might give me a measurable means of seeing progress. Since I’d already done two weeks worth of pigs, I figured I only had 50 more weeks to go.
The idea of doing a pig a day seemed very symmetrical and tidy to me. I soon discovered how unrealistic that number was. But, that led me to experiment with greatly simplifying the form and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really, really liked some of them. So my unrealistic goal actually led to something I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.
Who are your favorite artists and why?
Oh, boy. I confess I didn’t pay much attention in Art Appreciation 101 which is pretty much my entire art background. The objects that draw my attention are almost always made by untrained hands. In my antique business I try to focus on folk art of all kinds but I’m a terrible dealer because when I find something I really like I can’t sell it.
Right now I have a collection of carved birds done by a man named Willy Stamp. He carved all of his birds in pairs because “that’s the way it’s supposed so be”. According to his son he had an ongoing argument with people from the Audubon Society because of the colors he used for his birds. They insisted he was taking too many liberties but he was just as adamant that his choices were the best and reflected the essence of the birds. That kind of passion is what elevates an object to folk art.
What turns folk art into Folk Art is, of course, debatable. Many 19th century itinerant painters were unschooled but not unskilled. It’s a gray area now especially with the dealer invention of Outsider Art entering the arena. I think I like what the American Museum of Folk Art uses. They call it vernacular art. This has become very personal to me because it’s my interest in folk art that enabled me to immerse myself in clay. I am not labeling myself a folk artist by any means but it’s that history of untrained people working from the heart that gives me the courage to create objects I find appealing. Especially after I read that fired ceramics last longer than pretty much anything else on the planet. If I let myself dwell on that I might have to stop!
In your antique business you deal with items that when made were artist creations that have gone on to take on new life years later. Today we have the “handmade movement” which tags along with the environmental movement. What are your thoughts on the handmade movement?
It’s fantastic and hearkens back to the 19th and early 20th centuries when hand made was the norm. Not everyone made their own plates, of course, or their own washtub or bridle. But they probably knew the person who did. We are nostalgic for that connection, I think. And, it ties in closely with the environmental movement. In the past they didn’t call it anything other than “thrift”. If you broke a glass goblet you didn’t toss it you made a new base of tin or wood and kept using it. You didn’t throw out old clothes, you made a quilt. And if you cracked a pottery jug or china plate you did your best to repair it with lead staples or tin straps. It was all about self sufficiency. Maybe that’s what we miss.
What inspires you?
Other people’s work. It’s one of the things I love about Xiem. Every time I go in I see something impressive and inspiring. The kiln room is always full of objects both interesting and instructive. It’s about seeing how other people interpret the clay and the world. How many ways can you decorate a plate? An infinite number, apparently. And the only way that is not satisfying is that which is mass produced or made by rote.
I got to go to Japan recently (thanks to Xiem) and one of the places that impressed me most was the pottery town of Onta. The work is all done in small, family owned shops and kilns. They adhere to many of the traditional ways including making the clay from a water powered pounder and drying it on top of special ovens. But almost everyone makes the same pieces with the same glazes and the same designs. You see literally thousands of pieces that look pretty much alike. Then you’ll see a piece that stands out from the rest. It’s as if you’re looking at a film of a huge crowd when suddenly the camera zooms in on one person. When you can identify the individual in the work it is always inspirational.
What is your favorite quote?
“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Yogi Berra (Maybe. He also said “I didn’t really say everything I said”)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Call To Artists

The Cabrillo Gallery located at Cabrillo College in Aptos California is accepting submissions for a show that will run from November 14 - December 12, 2008. To read the submission info go here; The un break ables or the website. If you are interested you better hurry, all submissions must be postmarked by October 1!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Taking Care To Not Disturb The Bottom ~ Annie Chrietzberg

FaceBook is a very intersting thing. It sucks you in and doesnt want to let you go. So much to look at and read and discover. I am trying to force myseld to limit my excursions, but I tell myself it is to network and build traffic for this blog. And the fact is I have met some incredible and interesting artists, that have for some crazy reason agreed to being "interviewed" here ala Actors Studio. One of those people is Annie Chrietzberg, check out her website Earth To Annie . Annies use of textures enhance her delicate forms and creates objects that prod the imagination awake and make me smile. Annie has been a feature contributor at Potter Making Illustrated and will hopefully be contributing articles and stories here as well, very soon.
Why clay?
The lunches were better in the ceramics studio. My first love was metalsmithing, but I didn't understand the concept of leading a balanced life. I was taking my groceries to the metals studio, sleeping there, skipping other classes. I was way too intense and completely burned my desire to be a metalsmith. When I finally found my way to Texas Woman's University and found my way into the ceramics studio there, it was just the right atmosphere for me. We did eat in the studio, but I also made a nice home for myself and I had other interests and friends outside the studio and art department. I still worked hard, but I had a more balanced life.
If not clay, what?
Writing. Sometimes living in and out of buckets feels degrading.
What get’s you in the mood, what inspires you?
My work is inspired by stories I tell to myself and others about my adventures. I spent two and a half years living on the Narrowboat Nancy Blackett on the inland waterways of England. This is why I keep making ducks and boats and dux in boats and dux on leaves and enough with the ducks already! The funny and bratty behavior of animals drives my ongoing "From the Pets on the Furniture Series..." And I have a butterfly fixation. I actually felt disturbed once when talking about my work with someone when he said to me, "I think of butterflies as being flat." That phrase really collided with my perception of the world, and there is something about seeing butterflies as 'flat' that I just can't keep in my noggin.
The things that I love the most consistently about my career are writing and teaching. I don't have a steady teaching gig right now, but I'm still high from the workshop I taught last weekend in Fort Collins at the North Colorado Potters Guild and I'm looking forward to meeting the handful of people that will be coming to my October Studio Workshop. Except that Gepetto always upstages me when I teach out of my home.
Who is your favorite artist/artists and why?
Lana Wilson. Because she puts everything out there: her techniques, glaze formulas, thoughts & ideas and doesn't give a flip if someone else takes something and runs with it. That's the way I want to be, I hate it when I start feeling resentful about what someone else is doing. Adam Holloway because I see the effort and commitment he puts into his meticulous & laborious painting technique, and his dedication to his work never flags. Charlie Cummings because he is one talented monkey and always, always kind.
What’s your favorite cuss word?
Duck butt dart! Because an Artist Formerly Known as Awesome challenged my right to use that phrase! Everybody yell Duck! Butt! D'Art!
What is your favorite pleasure?
Living with another pattern-crazy artist Adam Holloway. Our food-life is great. I love to cook for him, or with him. We go out to eat for adventure & pleasure, and that can be so fun when everything about a dining experience is done right. Adam and I survived Peach Madness 2008. There's a peach tree in the front of this little house we rent, and things got totally out of hand with people in the neighborhood and the peaches one day. Here's a picture of Adam on the roof when the situation reached the point where we just had to get all of the fruit off of the tree. If I could only make work that drove people as crazy as those peaches did... We planted a few pumpkin seeds that became burly Kraken. We watched waves of green leaves as they flooded the garden and crashed against flowers, pulling them down with their tentacles and then overshadowing them with their giant leaves. The mint gave the gangsters a run for their money, though, and both plants have effected each other, going into some strange survival mode. The mint leaves have become broader and more feminine, and the pumpkins that are growing in the mint are strangely elongated. There's some pretty sexy stuff going on in the backyard. We discovered that pumpkin blossoms are delicious in quiche as well as enchiladas, and we have plans for pumpkin soup spiced with the coriander we gathered when the cilantro went to seed...
Mmmmm, being a chef I can appreciate that. I grew some pumpkins once, I was living in the mountains and unfortunately they died a horrible, hail storm induced death.
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice?
I think everyone wanting to make a living as a ceramist needs to understand that artists' incomes are based on other people's disposable incomes. An artist has to be prepared to patch his living together from a variety of sources. Seek publication.
What do you think of the handmade movement and the artist as activist, or artivism?
I just make silly pots, I'm in no way an artivist; I can't even keep the pets off the furniture. As far as the hand-made movement goes, we are simply this point-in-time of a long, ongoing tradition. I don't feel the need to make a lot of noise about it, nor do I think that the world owes me a living because I make things.
Your work has such a whimsical feel to it, 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?
In the studio I sing along with music, which, I imagine would really suck for others, so my studio is in the front room of our house. I vant to vork alone. Then I just set about the process of amusing myself and meeting deadlines.
Thank you Annie, by the way these cups rock!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Being Born With The Clay Gene

Mary Camin hails from Fresno, California. I was attracted to her work for its whimsical quality. Her dinnerware is beautiful and her pots seem to be a cross between plants from an alien landscape and a Dr. Suess book! I love them!
Why clay?
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of playing in the mud. Although no one in my family pursued an artistic path, I feel I was born with what I refer to as the clay gene, you have it or you don't. I love the idea of endless possibilities, fragility and permanence.
What gets you in the mood?
Being outdoors, deadlines, If it wasn't for deadlines I'd probably be outdoors.
Do you listen to music when you work?
Yes. All kinds except rap and country
What motivates and inspires you?
Keeping my life in balance allows me to be inspired. I work in my
home studio and can easily go back and forth from clay work to other personal tasks so I can keep my day balanced and productive. Seeing and being around productive people inspire me. Reading blogs of other creative people, as well as visiting galleries on line and glancing through magazines often spark an idea ... and then there is always, and most often the garden.
What’s your favorite cuss word?
I don't usually cuss, training I guess. My parents didn't cuss and it
wasn't until college that I heard the F word used and then it seemed more about proving something, the thing to do, so I didn't do it.
Who are your favorite artists and why?
There are so many I admire for different reasons and at different times. I love primitive and folk pottery. The marks and prescense of the maker from a time in history, executed with purpose and simple tools intriques me. Matisse, Miro, and O'keefe are constants for form, movement and color. Contemporary clay makers I am drawn to include, Victoria Christen — The looseness and spontaniety of her decoration, Silvie Granatelli — for her quiet forms and glazes, Jenny Mendes, for her figurative work, story and charm, Lynn Smiser Bowers - sense of fun and functional repertoire, and most currently I've been looking at the work of Cynthia Bringle in the Penland Book.
What is your feeling on the artist as activist, Artivism? and the
“handmade” movement?

The term artivism is a new one to me, but I am aware the handmade movement is back. I have always collected handmade things. It is primarily about the connection to the maker for me. I think artists and craftspeople need to actively educate and engage with their customers. Often people don't understand processes and the commitment one makes to a craft. Like anything, with education comes understanding and respect.
What is your favorite pleasure?
Quiet moments outdoors.
I could'nt agree more, being out in nature is where I get the most pleasure and inspiration. What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice?
Enjoy it. It can be a challenging medium requiring patience and a
willingness to accept the characteristics of clay.

To find out more about Mary and to see her schedule of shows check out her website Cateye Ceramics or her blog Clay Plant . Thank you Mary!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eco-Ceramic Studio With Mary Anne Davis

As promised the following is Mary Anne Davis's environemental manifesto of sorts for potters and ceramic artists. Below are all the things that she does currently, daily in her studio and life as a potter. We all need to be more aware of our impact on the environment and I applaud Mary Anne for her efforts!
“Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.”
The Earth Charter, 2000

Fine eco-porcelain created by davistudio follows eco standards achievable by any and all small studio owners. As an eco-potter, environmental stewardship is inherent in every piece produced in my studio. Everyone who uses and eats off of my porcelain will benefit by the enhanced health and well-being present in the wares. A more sustainable life standard on the earth is acheived as more people understand the imperative.
Here’s how:
Reducing Energy Use
• davistudio is walking distance from my home, no commuter CO2 contribution.
• Efficient small kilns fire batch quantities of ware that are ordered by specific clients or in small numbers for samples.
• For firings, davistudio uses as much wind and solar energy as is currently available through the New York State Electric and Gas grid (New Wind Energy program). davistudio has a goal to be 100% solar, wind and renewable energy efficient by 2008.
Using Durable, Non-Toxic Material
• Porcelain is made from a mix of organic grolleg, kaolin, and flint.
• All davistudio glazes are certified food safe and lead free, meeting the labeling standards of proposition 65, the highest standards for ceramic glaze labeling.
• Porcelain is a durable material that will last many lifetimes. As such, it is non-disposable making it an heirloom quality fine art object. Purchasing carefully chosen house wares of this nature encourages clients to buy better not more. In the event of breakage, the object can be disposed of, without toxic leaking or breakdown. It is like a rock. Reuse as a mosaic material is preferable, though!
• All porcelain is dishwasher safe and microwavable.
Maintaining a Clean Working and Waste Recycling Environment
• Studio is kept in clean condition, use of HEPA filter on vacuum and regular wet mopping as standard protocol, eliminates danger of air born silica dust.
• All waste materials are recycled – i.e. unused clay and all mistakes are reused as reclaim(standard practice in any ceramic studio).
• Any particles resulting from rinsing of brushes and buckets are caught in a special filter that isolates any materials for reuse or safe disposal.
Efficiency in Packing and Shipping
• Just in time inventory reduces unnecessary production, limits inventory and therefore maintains low waste. No production overruns.
• Packing materials are all biodegradable or reused.
• Shipping is done in small batches, to specific clients in carefully ordered amounts.
Mary Anne Davis
Owner, Davis Studio
So what do you do in your daily routine at home and in the studio to achieve sustainability? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Prickly On The Outside, Vulnerable On The Inside ~ Shane Keena

I recently saw an image of Shane Keena's work on FaceBook. In my own work i am always exploring texture and have been somewhat obsessed of late with cellular organisms so when I saw these images I was drawn to find out more. Then I remembered seeing them at the Armstrong Gallery on my last visit to Pomona's American Museum of Ceramic Art. They are spectacular, so I set out to learn more about this artist. You can read Shane's artist statement here on ArtSlant, I really dont know what I could say, he describes his work and self succinctly. I am very pleased with his answers to my "interview" questions, so here they are!

Why clay? The obvious answers of how the material feels between your fingers and its working possibilities are a bit cliche, but I guess that’s how a cliche becomes a cliche huh. For me, once I got my hands in it in junior college, I just knew. The most articulate reason for working with clay I’ve ever come across that epitomized “ why clay” for me was in an article about the work of Ken Price by Kathleen Whitney in Sculpture Magazine. She wrote, “Clay is the underground material of Postmodernism with its incredible plasticity and its form-shifting qualities that allow it to mimic other materials and genres. Clay is a chameleon substance; it has no fixed visible nature and it can occupy any spatial volume. Devoid of inherent form, it also requires next to nothing to stick to itself and has no need of glue, nails, or screws. It can be molded in a press like aluminum or poured into a form like bronze.”
What gets you in the mood? I don’t know if there is any particular catalyst for what gets me in the mood…sometimes I’m chomping at the bit to get in the studio and other times it takes an exhibition deadline to get me in there. When I get back from traveling I’m usually pretty ramped up about getting in and putting mileage on my hands. I guess it just depends…
Do you listen to music when you work? When I do it’s usually jazz, but I mostly listen to talk radio while I’m in the studio.
What motivates and inspires you? Nature, never wanting to become complacent with my work, my incredible wife and baby on the way!
Who are your favorite artists and why? Wow, this is a tough one because there are so many for different reasons. I’d have to say Ken Price and Ron Nagle for the way they seamlessly marry color and form while infusing their work with such loaded content. Adrian Saxe is another, and was the artist whose work was the catalyst for me in choosing to pursue clay as a career. The way Adrian formally puts seemingly disparate objects together in a cohesive and witty way through the juxtaposition of the historical and pop-culture is, well…he’s the king of the crop there. I think Richard Notkin is brilliant and passionate and his fervor resonates in his work. I have to say, besides Nagle, I’ve had a chance to meet and talk at length with all of the above and they are all such amazing and brilliant artists and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have shared a conversation with each of them. Lee Bontecou and Andy Goldsworthy are other artists whose work I greatly admire.
What’s your favorite cuss word? I don’t think I have ever been asked that one…but I’d have to say the “F” bomb is the one I use the most… I’m a major news junkie so to hear me cursing at the TV with something like “those mother-effing republicans!” comment is the rule rather then the exception. LOL…I might have just pissed off some of my fellow artists but hopefully not.
What is your favorite pleasure? That’s a three part answer really. Obviously my true pleasure and passion is working with clay. But for times when I need to get out of the studio and I’ve got a lot of energy I love to play hockey. I just spent the past six years in upstate NY so I had a chance to play lots of ice hockey and now that I’m back in SoCal I’m out playing inline hockey three times a week. My other passion is scuba diving. I’ve been diving for about 20 years now and have been fortunate enough to travel and dive with my wife throughout the Caribbean and recently Fiji. Next up is a 10 day live-aboard trip in the Bahamas diving with tiger sharks…without a cage!!! I guess to conclude this answer, it’s like what I stress to my students…get out there and see the world, experience other cultures and soak in as much information as you can. Eventually elements of those travels will trickle down into your work. It may not be obvious, but those experiences will resonate in what you make.
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? My advice is to be a sponge…soak up and ingest as much information as you can. Go to workshops and lectures, ask questions, learn outside your comfort zone and take chances…you’ll learn more from making bad work then from making safe and easy work. The southern California clay scene is loaded with amazing educators and artists and its gallery and museum accessibility is top notch so there is no excuse for not absorbing as much as you can and then some!
What is your feeling on the artist as activist, Artivism? and the “handmade” movement? Hmmm…well there is a lot in this question. In regards to the “handmade” issue, I think there is a resurgence in the appreciation of objects crafted by hand because we exist in a culture of mass production and the loss of the makers hand in objects. I think websites like Etsy’s are great for artists trying to reach a wide audience but it’s a double edge sword too because there is no quality control so for all of the good work there is a lot of bad work being peddled as well. Of course this is subjective and my opinion only. It’s really tricky though because how do you convince someone who is blasé about this subject? Why should they pay a hundred bucks for say a Tom Coleman yunomi (my example because I jut did this!) when they can get a whole tea set at Wal-Mart for ten bucks? This is a tough battle that I certainly don’t have an answer for. I guess it’s really up to us as makers to maintain a high standard of what we put out there in the world and educate our viewers and hope they can appreciate it. I will say that there is no greater honor then when someone who does not know you is willing to drop hard earned money on something you create whether it is twenty dollars or two thousand.
Hey i got a Tom Coleman for $80! I collect mugs and yunomi's and enjoy picking which I will use on a given morning, makes that morning cup even better than the Walmart special. Your work has almost a cellular organism feel which fascinates me and I love the tactile quality, can you tell me about what drives you to create these creatures? This body of work really emerged out of my time in graduate school and the ideas are really the same, I just continue to refine the work. I would say that the objects I make are hybrids, an amalgamation of influences ranging from ocean life to botanical, investigating ideas of defense mechanisms, territoriality, and vulnerability with the emphasis that these objects are really an extension and a metaphor for who I am as a person…a bit prickly on the outside but vulnerable on the inside. The work is really all about bravado.
What’s your favorite quote? That’s a tie between “I suffer from Republican induced Tourettes Syndrome.”~ Richard Notkin and “Where nature ends, art begins” ~ Richard Hirsch

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Connecting The Dots...With Mary Anne Davis

Marianne Davis is another one of my "finds" while searching the blogosphere. Hers was one of the first blogs that I linked here. She is an inspirational human being doing her part, giving back, leaving her mark and doing her best to lower her footprint. One of her projects that is a favorite of mine is called the Seed Vase Project , she describes it as "A global scatter sculpture which creates links between owners. Participation means you are a patron of the arts and are connected to everyone else who owns a numbered Seed vase". Mary Ann also has a successfull line of dinner ware that she produces from her studio in upstate New York.
Why clay?
Clay can do almost anything. It is completely open to suggestion. It had an appeal for me from the time I was 5 years old sun drying mud pies and trying to sell them.
What gets you in the mood?
Do you listen to music when you work? I usually listen to books on tape. I particularly like thrillers. Got any authors you recommend?
What motivates and inspires you? My 13 year old son, aboriginal art, sustainable farming, color, hunger. Oh, and climate change and poverty.
Who are your favorite artists and why? Giorgio Morandi, because his work is exquisite and he lived a very low key life, Marcel Duchamp because he changed everything, Joseph Beuys because he helped me understand that all society is a sculpture and we are all co-creating it. Many, many others, but that would require much time. :)
What's your favorite cuss word?
What is your favorite pleasure?
See above
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? Be sure this is what you really want to do. It is a long, slow journey and requires the commitment of a lifetime. That said, it is without parallel
What is your feeling on the artist as activist, Artivism? And the "handmade" movement? It's the best. Art changes all - always has and always will. The artist is trained or learns to look at things upside down, inside out, differently than the status quo. Seismic shifts are possible with the mind of an artist on hand. The handmade movement is essential for the future of humanity. Gandhi led India to independence from the British with the handmade movement (Swadeshi) in India. Here it means taking back our economy, our dignity and restoring soul to the community and the earth from the behemoth industrial dinosaurs.
How did your line of dinnerware come about?
I was making some lame plates and bowls after a 6 year clay hiatus (I focused on painting and sculpture) when a couple of friends of mine from Philadelphia came to visit, Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton of Fury Design and they helped me pull together the first silhouettes. It was like magic after that.
What cone do you fire to? 5
What's your favorite quote?
"Work hard. Keep at it. Live simply and quietly. Remain humble. Stay positive. Be nice. Be polite." Hugh MacLeod
Some would argue that because of the things we in our work that it isn't eco-friendly, can a potter be green? I can talk at length about this.
Ok, maybe its better that I do a separate post at a later time on your views on "Eco-Pottery".
From what I have read Mary Ann works to make a difference in her surroundings, in our surroundings and I will be sharing some of what she does soon so check back. Thank you Mary Ann, keep up the good work!

Kuri-Bako From xenovision

Chatted with Christopher Gaston the other day, you may remember his interview earlier this year. Chris is a very talented artist living in Japan, he shared with me his Kuri-Bako, Kuri for his name Chris and Bako for box. These boxes are made to hold his ceramic creations. Meticulously painted to represent what the box will hold they become a piece of art themselves. I like this because it is taking things to the next level, pushing the bounderies where packaging becomes as important as the artwork and can be used rather than thrown away.
Thanks Kuri San!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fun & Funky in Phoenix

Marianne "MAK" Kasparian lives and works in the Phoenix Arizona area and is the first Raku and jewelry artist featured here on So Cal Potters. She is also a busy mom and restaurant owner. I am allways fascinated by Raku and the incredible metalic colors that can be achieved. I did a little raku a very long time ago but do hope to experiment with it soon.
Why clay? I love the feel of clay in my hands and that the possibilities are endless! Working with my hands is a must. Though many potters detest glazing, I actually enjoy it! I’m really into colors and their combinations and take my time to envision the outcome of what I think the glazes will look like after firing.
If not clay, what? I would have to say that if I weren’t working with clay, I would focus my attention on sterling silver and PMC (precious
metal clays). I have to keep a little clay in there somewhere! I also love copper of course! Metals in general and combining them with gemstones, especially turquoise.
What get’s you in the mood, what inspires you? I’m inspired by anything funky, eclectic and down to earth. I am Armenian and am also inspired by the many cultures of the world. As far as getting in the mood goes….well…I like to be alone and not have to be on a schedule when I create. Sometimes, I work in complete silence and other times I crank the
iTunes. Mostly alternative and anything from the 70’s to 90’s. Though I like a lot of the new stuff too!
Who is your favorite artist/artists and why? This is a tough one! There are so many great artists out there! I don’t really think that I have one favorite. I do love the work of
Toshiko Takaezu. Her work is amazing! It’s down to earth and exudes peace and calm. I also love the work of David Roberts who is a naked raku artist. I recently took his workshop and it was fabulous. He and his wife are wonderful people. I love David’s work because it has such great energy.
What’s your favorite cuss word? Well, I really try not to cuss since I have a little boy. I definitely had to work hard on this one since I am a former bartender and those words used to come out often!!! These days I say fricken a lot!!!
What is your favorite pleasure? Dining out and traveling for sure! My husband and I just bought a restaurant in Scottsdale (a little plug!).
Centro Paninoteca, check it out if you are ever in the area. . I love sushi and Thai food especially. Someday I will get to Italy.

What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? I would say, “Thank God for the Internet, Google and YouTube!!!”. You can learn so much!!! Other than that, I would say, definitely take a little class to get your feet wet. You can find many great classes through your city arts programs, local community colleges and even local ceramic artists.
What do you think of the handmade movement and the artist as activist, or artivism? Super! Sites like Etsy have really helped bring handmade to the forefront.
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 work out of my home studio and mainly with the raku process. My hubby helped me build my raku kiln. I mostly go with the flow and let the universe guide me. But, from a bottom line perspective, I need to see which pendants sell in my shop and produce certain pieces more often. Of course they are all unique as I make each piece one at a time and the raku firing process creates so many varying results. I do wish on occasion that I were more focused and schedule driven, but that’s just not me!
To see more of Mak's work be sure to visit her
website and her blog or check out her Etsy site to purchase some of her creations. Thank you Mak!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Morongo Basin Open Studio Art Tour

Two weekends in October there will be a studio tour out in the desert near Joshua Tree.  Great art, graet scenery and weather, what more could you ask for?  October 11 & 12 and 18 & 19 are the dates, check out the tour website for more info, Open Studio Tour 08.  If you go be sure to go to stop number 35 on the map, Wonder Valley just beneath the mountains of Joshua Tree is where you will find the studio of Perry Hoffman.  Perry will be sharing his studio with his friend, artist Chris Carraher. So go to the desert, great art, great views and star filled nights!

Update ~ Douglas Black

Earlier this year I posted an interview with Douglas Black, Douglas lives and works in Japan, but on a recent trip to the states, in particluar New Mexico, he created the sculpture above entitled "Desert Jewel".  Douglas was so inspired by his creations on his trip he is looking for a residency somewhere here in the states to develop a new body of work.  If you know of anything please pass along the info, leave a comment below or use the email link in the right hand column. See more of Douglas's work at DouglasBlackArt.