Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happiness is...

Happy New Year gentle reader! At the end of this 2008, I would like to take a moment and reflect on things that made me Happy. Yes...OK, this is sort of a top ten list that everybody and their brother does about this time of year, but mine are in no particular order and some are just kind of anyways,that's my story and I'm sticking with goes...

#10 Having two pieces accepted into the Tallahassee International Exhibition...great show with works from all mediums from people from all over! Nice catalog and great communication from them to me...unfortunately due to improper packing, one of my pieces was broken on the return shipment...still, I am happy about the show.
#9 Happiness was seeing my little 1st grader going to her new school in the public school big leagues and having a great first half of the year thanks to a dedicated teacher and bunches of nice people.
#8 Happiness was having a little gallery show with strange new pieces and selling well ...much to my surprise, people buy other things besides mugs!
#7 I usually gain a lot of enjoyment and happiness from music...I am a music freak...I love so many genres of music but tend to really listen in the present here are 3 Records (that's right kiddies, RECORDS), that I really was into repeatedly throughout the year...
Bon Iver...a mellow, winter time, staying indoors while it snows outdoors kind of record. Recorded by one guy all alone in a cabin somewhere further north of me.
Lanhorne Slim...I am still digging this record...great in the studio to work with...this is his latest...I have a couple of the early records and I do like them, but I really like this one a lot! Great back up band that completes Slim's folky, bluegrass -rooted, indie rock nasel-y vocals. I admit to having had several private, spontaneous boogie moments with this one.
Stephan Malkmus and the Jicks...There is a bit of nostalgia here...I was a big Pavement(Malkmus's old band) fan from the 90's and I like Malkmus's wry lyrics and dry delivery. Here he doesn't disappoint and even manages to kick it up a notch with his rocking little band. It was a kick butt summer CD that took up residence in my car and would not leave!
#6 Happiness is talking about music!
#5 My summer gig as Kiln MASTER!...that was really the you hear an echo when you say this title out loud too? Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY., lets say... it was interesting. The best thing about it was I met some really good people and that is why I stick it in this list of happinesses. Here are some shout outs...Ashley Dodge, Tim Keough, Caroline and Devan a.k.a. the "gallery girls", Paul, Kevin...Happy New Year to my seasonal "working with peeps"...visiting faculty were interesting and good people, some were more interesting than good people, but there were those that fell into both categories namely, Frank and Polly Martin, Adam Paulek Jeff Greenham, and Alec Karros.
#4 Happiness was getting into producing a lot of cups and mugs with successful surface compositions and interesting new forms in a range of temps and firings.
#3 Our big Disney trip with my parents was a huge blast! My daughter was blown away and we crammed in as much as possible in almost 4 days worth of house of mouse overload. We all had a great time and I reveled in the heavy nostalgia factor personally... for me it was a destination that was almost sacred as a kid growing up in Florida, and I loved returning to this mecca as a 42 year old seeing it with my 6 year old.
#2 Currently I am very pleased with myself in terms of mentally working out some new directions to explore in the studio this winter. I had a nice couple of "aha" moments that have helped to fully form these projects. More to come about this...One new piece is almost finished now and will be shown in a group exhibition in Pittsburgh with a number of colleagues from the IUP art department among others. The show titled, "Yes. Thank you." was curated by Tom Estlack and is in a cool space with a small catalog that will accompany the show to boot!
#1 and finally... Happiness is a warm puppy! Welcome Kaiser Maximus von Houser!


and I hope to see all of you and more in 09'!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Collection / Offering...

I offer up this post to you gentle reader...I recently received a disk full of images from my friends at I-Park...Agnes Miyuki has been diligently documenting my piece that I made as a site specific work while I was in residence there. It is titled Collection/Offering and consists of 41 shallow bowl forms ranging from 2 inches to 14 inches across. The collector bowl forms were laid to rest in the ground up to their lips, flush with the earth around them, on a small shaded hillside that accentuates a large green moss bed. They make a large sweeping curve around the moss with the largest of the forms at the bottom and slowly shrinking in size as the arc climbs the hill and seems to disappear in the woods.

I was fortunate enough to participate in this wonderful residency program there in the deep woods of East Haddam, Connecticut in September of 07'. The piece was a time marker of sorts for me as I was spending my 41st birthday big day also falls on the first day of Autumn, the 22nd, so it seemed especially relevant for me to create this piece that would begin to collect the falling leaves...among other things.

The work is meant to be left in the be unobtrusive to the existing landscape...only to add sky blue polka dots to the hillside. Being there at I-Park, surrounded by 450 acres of woodsy beauty to walk around on, me and the other 5 residents were always picking up natural materials and bringing them back into our studios. I came up with the concept of Collection/Offering while there and quickly began to throw all my forms. The idea is that the natural surroundings helped to inspire us in different ways a sense, offering up its beauty for us to make sense of in a variety of ways.
The forms collected leaves and debris which were then sort of showcased against the clean, bright blue, ceramic interiors. As the months went on and the seasons changed the piece times it disappeared completely covered in the snow...the moss died back then grew back... it grew around and over the collector forms, obscuring some completely with help from the fallen leaves and branches. Nature is in the process of taking back the space I encroached upon... returning the mossy hillside to the way it was and my footprint of this work becomes an artifact to be uncovered much, much later.

With a combination of my original images, Agnes' documentation through the seasons, and a digital sound recording of me force cooling all the pieces, I have the makings of a nice size installation piece. The sound element was recorded by fellow resident Sonja Hinrichsen is a potter's nightmare piece...20 minutes of random Gamelon like pinging in clear digital technology.

It was hard to choose just a handful of images for this post...I am showing restraint in only posting these. It is still a work in progress with a lot of details to be worked out, that includes finding a place to show as well. Many thanks go out to Agnes at I-Park for her help with the seasonal documentation ...its not often I can leave a large site specific/time based piece in place and have it documented through out the months for over a year! That reminds me...I have got to get some summer residency applications out...until next time gentle reader...stay warm.