Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ceramics Retrospective in the Bubble...

The recently opened exhibition, The Chautauqua Ceramics Retrospective, is a great looking clay show. The exhibition opened this past Tuesday at the new gallery here in the Cha, and it looks like it might be a sell out...not surprising though because the work is superb and really shines in the space...also, who doesn't like the tactile quality of ceramics whether for utilitarian purposes or not. The show was put together by visiting faculty and long term Chautauquan Jeff Greenham. Jeff is the man who is responsible for the strength of the ceramics department. He has been putting his sweat into the program for many years now. It is from his lengthy tenure here, that Jeff was able to put this 20 year retrospective together. I took a bunch of images but only a few came out that are here are some highlights and lucky shots from the show...below is Ron Meyers, Kris Lyons, Val Cushing and another Cushing. I also got to meet Ron Meyers and his wife when they dropped off a couple pieces for the show. Very nice and he seems a lot like his work.

The next few images are Jeff Greenham & Julia Galloway in the foreground, then Alec Karros with his dirt clay and last, Matt West. Click on the images to enlarge. The show is representative of the people who have been visiting faculty in the past 20 years. Some of the other people in the exhibition included Frank and Polly Martin, Ed Eberle, and Scott Cornish. The show was initially shown in a smaller version in a crappy space for NCECA in the 'Burgh. It really deserved the type of space that it has now...I just wish more people might see it other than the small dedicated group within the bubble here...ahh, but that is the way it is here.

Jeff Greeham leaves this week and a new guy will come in on Monday...and I am sorry but I do not know the new guy's name...he is a replacement for Scott Cornish who could not make it. The above picture is the other current visiting clay faculty, Alec Karros, vigorously wedging his top soil infused clay with Greenham over his shoulder talking to a student...

As for me, I am a little worn out...but I am still able to produce a little bit of work. I have been firing an insane number of times and if I am not firing a kiln, I am working on a kiln. So as I finish pieces up, I will post images of some of my new mugs and things next time...until then, beware of the Giant Chautauquan Lake Squid!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Smoke and Fire

Greetings from the "Cha", gentle reader! My postings have been sparce this summer as my kilnmaster duties have consumed so much of my time. Stay tuned as I will be making a larger post soon. Until then, I would like to share with you an article that was written recently in the local newspaper, "The Chautauqua Daily", about one of our recent raku firings. You will need to scroll through to page 11 for the photo spread.


Sunday, July 6, 2008


Hello again gentle readers. I had to post again soon once I received this last batch of images from Nancy back at the studio in Smicksburg! If you have been following along with me for the last month or so, you might know that Nancy and I have been building a new wood kiln. It is a train style based on a Robert Sanderson design. Long story short, I ran out of time and had to come to my summer job here in the Cha.... I did not get to finish the kiln...but she and the guy who is filling my space in the studio for the summer Mike Mintzer(spelling?) knocked it out and actually fired it off on the
first. Here are a couple of images of it finished...

Nancy said the firing had a few glitches, but that could be expected for the first firing. There might be some things we need to do before the next firing...when I return in August...but all in all she says the results were pretty good and thinks that this will be a good kiln. Nancy was also super enough to send me a few pictures of some my pieces that came out...

Hey Nance, if your reading this...Thank You. I really wanted to finish the kiln and was a little down about not being able to be there to fire it, but being able to see some of the results and to have a friend that will take the time to email me stuff, sure means a lot. My body may be working overtime here in Chautauqua but my heart is still in a little town nestled in an Amish community called Smicksburg. I miss the slower pace and working with the big side doors to the studio open...breeze blowing through the space...I look forward to being back for the Fall and I often picture the big mature Oaks and their yellow leaves drifting everywhere. I leave you gentle reader, with a great picture Nancy sent me of the train kiln blowing its stack...enjoy, and think Autumn thoughts with me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hello form Chautauqua, NY...

Greetings gentle reader...I am now posting from Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY right on the shore of Lake seems to me they(whoever named this area) was at a loss for other clever titles...maybe something shorter would have been a good idea...I am going to go out on a limb here and refer to this place as the Cha., who knows maybe that will catch on with other lazy typers like myself. Anywho, the above piece is a recent installation in the new sculpture garden here within the bubble. The Chautauqua Institution has been in existence for well over one hundred years and is a summer haven for those looking to immerse themselves in the arts as well as some serious lake time. It is truly a beautiful community that blossoms in the summer months. Oh yeah...the big hand was made by Joe Molino...ceramics professor at Carnegie Mellon.

The above image is the side entrance to the ceramics studio located in the fine arts quad. The orange and brown panels are rolling doors to the kiln personal kingdom, since I am KILNMASTER! you here the echo too? Everyday I spend the majority of daylight and a good portion of the evening hours here. I have a great crew to work with and everybody pitches in to help keep the studio up and running...stocked with clay and glazes...and answering millions of questions from the Chatauquans taking morning and afternoon classes with the visiting artists/instructors. Speaking of, for the first 3 weeks we are graced with a wonderful couple who both teach at universities in Tenn. Frank and Polly Martin. They have been patient and easy going and a pleasure to work with. Polly's interest is in making beautiful functional pottery to be used in the home and Frank creates assembled objects based in pottery finished with vividly colored glazes. They also gave a lecture together...great work and interesting talks... Both are so worth the google...

But let me acknowledge somebody who has been indispensable here in the studio...without whom I could not keep things rolling along. She is the studio tech and my right hand here...Ladies and Gentlemen...Ms. Ashley Dodge!

Ashley is a recent graduate of WVU...she earned her BFA in ceramics. She is a very nice person with a great attitude...knowledgeable and best of all...somebody I can count on. She has been busting her butt for the studio as well as trying to find her own time in her studio to make new work. Below are featured a few of her cups and stem ware...her pieces are cone 6 porcelain with flowing sumptuous favorite part of her stem ware is that they all jingle! You can shake them like a bell after you finish your libations...such a cool idea...I hope to come home with a few of her pieces at the end of the season.

Ashley has great things in her for me...I have been working hard and also trying to get some me time in my studio too...I have been working on some big super wonky mugs...over sized and made from a porcelainious stoneware...working on some super funky decal images to finish them off with...and thinking that they will be in my first cone 6 soda fire here. This is them, with a couple other pieces drying in my studio window...all possibilities for the soda firing.
So ends my first post from the Cha...stay tuned for more from within the bubble.