Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More shameless self promotion...

So, after my last post about ZENCLAY... I thought, duh, why did I not show what pieces were going to be there for their exhibition. This is the sole reason for this little piece of propaganda. Here they are...The Male Fantasy Rattle and The Egg Cup. The rattle is one of three that I made for my thesis show at the end of ' is actually a rattle with a nice low tone...the dish or 'docking station' has a nice big gold lustre elk's club decal in the center and is polka dotted with gold lustre Moose Lodge decals. The rattle can sit in the upright or erect position as will not slide due to the rubberized bottom, holds it securly in the 'up' position. However, I tend to feel a little more comfortable showing it in the 'cigarette and ashtry position'. The Egg Cup is much more about the visual rather than the also is two pieces that 'nest' together...most everything I was making at this time had to do with the symbiotic relationship of a cup and saucer.
The other toot of my own horn is news of me showing this little jewel at The North American Ceramic Cup Show at Sienna Heights University in Michigan. The show runs from March 10th-end of the month. I do like this mug. I was using an iron rich course sculpture body clay to throw with...I made a small number of pieces and switched back to the lighter clay body. The clay body itself really reduces well in the wood fire..going brick red to dark brown sometimes..nice looking rugged body, maybe not for everybody but...I still like this funky psuedo-Japanese meets pop culture mug. I am happy it was juried into the show. And thats my fanfare for today.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Zen and the art of traveling with a five year old...

ZENCLAY...almost heaven, mountain momma....something something ...Morgantown, West Virginia. I loaded up the mini SUV and headed, the wife,and our five year old daughter. We packed a suitcase, computer, camera, cooler full of waters and snacks, and plenty of DVDS for the road! We were off!...and in a little over two hours we were there. I juried into a show there called "The Four States Ceramic Exhibition," and we came to deliver the two pieces that got in the show. The show runs from the beginning of March through the middle of April.

Sometimes I send my work away barely knowing what the exhibition space will look like or what the people will be like who are handling the work and setting up the exhibit, but today was not one of those days. I was very pleased that I had taken the time to drive the relatively short distance in order to deliver my work in person. ZENCLAY is a three-story building that is going on its ninth year of being ZENCLAY. The bottom floor is a nice sized studio space with an attached gallery that is small, but clean and bright. The middle floor is a hopping little cafe/coffee and tea bar populated by WVU students, and the top floor is another open, clean gallery space with chairs and tables for overflow of the cafe. The owner/instructor/teacher/resident potter is a very pleasant Susan Ting.

Her story was pretty amazing. She has actually owned the place for about twenty years. Believe it or not, it was a chinese food restaurant and a laundromat on the bottom floor. WHOA! She has truly realized a dream in establishing this studio/teaching facility/gallery and cafe. Also, her own intricately carved porcelain vessels were featured in the front gallery.

So after having increased my good karma by at least two from our visit with ZENCLAY, we three found a nice hotel with an indoor pool and daughter loves the hottub!...plush beds and free HBO, maybe even a complimentary breakfast between 6 and 10:00 AM. Then, it's off... pack the SUV! Make sure we don't leave anything behind, and hit the road. Long, perilous...not really. In a little over two hours we will be back in the greater metropolitan area of Indiana, roads take me home.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cloud Trucker

So you are sitting around again on a perfectly good Saturday Night...well here is something fun you and yours(the computer) can do together. This is a live feed from a party in Pittsburgh, Pa. where my friends are playing ...Cloud Trucker! The show is Saturday, Feb.9..starts around 10:00 pm ...They are a great, fun, kinda goofy band...think Ween or in their own words; freestyle, ghettotech, pop. Its sure to be a fun little gig to tune into...not only fun to see/hear them, but remember it is a party, so anything could happen! Tuning into a webcast is a great excuse to go absolutly nowhere and always be there too.

You can also see/hear more of Cloud Trucker:

Hope you check it out, I will be watching in my jammies too!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Little Mahoning Creek Pottery

Little Mahoning Creek Pottery is nestled in the heart of a tiny little town with a small artist community, called Smicksburg, PA. Smicksburg also happens to be smack in the middle of a large Amish community. Nancy Smeltzer is the person who started up L.M.C.P. I first met Nancy in the fall of 2004 and immediately caught on to her good vibe.This image is to provide you, gentle reader, with a better visual understanding of place and the sometimes difficult (during the winter) trek it can be...on the road to Smicksburg.
Here is Nancy thinking about making some pots inside the studio and again outside the house with me distracting her from actually making pots ...
This is the studio in the dead of winter...note the snow and dreary sky. Nancy has been generous enough to offer me a space within the studio...I moved my wheel and all into the studio this past fall. I have been firing the wood kiln with Nancy for around two years or more now.

Nancy is a mad wood collector! One thing I learned real's all about the wood, baby! These are some of Nancy's stacks of wood as well as the stacks of the kilns...wood fire kiln and salt fire kiln under there.

Here is where all the magic takes place (and sweat, and back problems, and drinking!) This is a bourry box wood kiln. The stoke hole is covered by that little metal door on the lower right, and the ware chamber is that big open space and the chimney is just on the other side. What a sweet firing kiln! Nancy and I have it down to about 24-26 hours!

Here is some of the beautiful wood fired vessels that Nancy has recently finished...

The birds are a common motif of decoration for the quirky Ms. Smeltzer as are cats and the occasional horse.

Nancy is a serious bird watcher!

Nancy Smeltzer's work is wonderfully loose, well designed, and very well fired! Most of her work is decorated with her unique style of drawing directly into the clay surface and then adding glazes and slips to finish the pieces. It has been my good fortune to know Nancy Smeltzer and to consider her a friend, and to also be able to call Little Mahoning Creek Pottery my home base studio.

If you would like to see more images running in a slideshow go to