Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tooting my horn...

I just received this in an email from the exhibition I am in in Florida. The Tallahassee International is the show and this is the ad that appears in American Craft cool. Click on the link to check it out.

...gotta love the exposure

Will post again soon with more new pieces....until then...

Monday, August 25, 2008

And then there was Adam...

Here it is...yet another residual Chautauqua posting...OK, I'm a big fan of collaboration...and I was excited when Adam Paulek wanted to do a little 'thang'. I met Adam when he came to Chautauqua to teach for the last couple weeks. We sort of shared a studio space but we definitely shared the tunes. Adam comes from Tennessee and was actually the grad student of Frank Martin a number of years back. More recently he started a community based ceramic studio called Mighty Mud and now is solely into his own thing "Adam Paulek Pottery" While he was there he was into making all these bird houses that he wants to show all as one big thing...they all are a little wacky... so I guess I was a natural choice for him to give me one to finish off. Finish off I did, I tuned the surface of his slip dripped porcelain bird house into Mr. T's delft garden nightmare..."visions of sugarplums" click to enlarge...I will be sending this fella on back to Adam soon.

Adam and I had another cool collaboration...souvenir tumblers for the work study kids and others associated with the studio...he threw the forms and put his heavy slip on them and then gave them to me bisqued. I glazed them with a pale tangerine interior, clear exterior, and dipped the lips in my chisholm based chartreuse glaze. I made the decals from scanned images of 15th century wood cut prints of German family crests. I removed all the interior of the crests and replaced them with the text...and little images of Giant Chautauquan Lake Squid on the back.

Adam will be getting one of these babies in his care package from me and when the bird house arrives, little birdies will have visions of sugarplums dancing their little bird brains. I really want to see all those wild bird houses hanging in one space. It was great meeting Mr. Paulek and I hope to see him back maybe next year in the bubble if not before. Oh and you can check out his etsy store . Yeah go etsy! Go Adam! Go Giant Chautauquan Lake Squid! Go collaborations! Go green! Go crazy! Go away, but don't forget to c'mon back soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sacred grounds...

Yes, that's what it felt like...sacred ground. On a recent trip to Alfred, to be specific, the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, I was awed by the collection of amazing and important pieces. I took my work study students plus a couple more who were interested on the two hour trip out of our Chautauquan bubble. We had a contact in the acquisitions department who met us and gave us all the big tour. Her name is Susan and she generously gave her time to show us the private collection, gallery, acquisitions room, and a couple storage rooms for the larger works.

In the gallery was a show by visiting assistant professor and Turner Teaching Fellow, Chris Miller. We all met Chris in the bubble of the Cha. while he was teaching at the children's school. He is a young and interesting guy with a fresh approach to ceramics...I hope to see him as visiting faculty in the ceramics studio next summer.

Then Susan led us into her office area which is filled with new acquisitions and special pieces... shelves filled with amazing things. Names that you know from ceramic history lined the shelves...

Above starting from left to right... an early Voulkos teapot seated next to a Ken Ferguson...the next image, on the top shelf, the three in the middle, Hamada, Leach, Robert Turner...WOW...and all those great tea bowls! Unfortunately we couldn't touch was like going to ceramist hell...all this in front of you and you can not touch a thing! This work was made to be molested by hands...just not anymore I guess. Then in the last image, a Frank Martin teapot sits in good company! Frank and Polly Martin came and taught at the Chautauqua Ceramics studio for the first 3 weeks and that is also how we got the hook-up for this cool tour. Frank was asked to donate a piece to their collection and 3 of the students that came with us are he and Polly's students from Tenn. How cool was that to see his piece sitting there in this ceramic Valhalla!

Also in the acquisitions room was an entire set of an Eva Zeisel production line called "Fantasy". This came as a donation to Alfred from a private owner.

In the basement they store all the large scale works that belong to the well as the special shelves that hold works by Charles Binns, the founder of Alfred College of Ceramics and the father of modern studio pottery. There are also little niches for all the old Alfred potter/professors that came after Binns and followed in his footsteps and philosophies. In the last image above you can see another large Voulkos piece.

We were then left to wander the studios and very grand kiln room...the kiln room has 42 good size to big mostly front loading kilns...the entire room is a big circle and all the kilns are piped out to one big stack...very impressive. The last image is Yuan and Sara checking out all the meticulous glaze tests by Val Cushing posted in the lower halls.

Last but not least we made our way over to the performing arts center to view Wayne Higby's huge wall installation, "Earth Cloud" was massive but beautiful in its subtle porcelain tones. All and all the Alfred trip was a real highlight for me and hopefully to the students that came along. It was curious to see all my ceramic influences gathered together in one place tucked away safely in the middle of nowhere NY...I am happy to share these pieces and this experience with you gentle reader...tune in soon for more summer fun postings.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


The season has come to a close and I am finally home. It has been a long summer working as the kilnmaster/studio manager up there in the Chautauqua Institute. The job was grueling sometimes and I was always at work 24/7 there but I met some great people and managed to squeak out a small bit of interesting work. I'm sending a shout out to my right hand man Ms. Ashley Dodge and her significant other Kevin...two very cool people that made my life there much easier to deal with. Another shout out to Tim, Caroline, Devon, and Paul with whom I shared the upstairs of the lodge as well as the rooftop on occasion. I was also fortunate enough to have a good group of dedicated students from several different universities that worked for me as work's to them too...Sam, Sara, Dwain, Sami and our adopted ceramic student Yuan. I wish them all luck in their endeavors. It was a breakneck but productive summer and I hope that everybody got something out of it besides just being tired in the end...I know I did. But now, I'm home. Being at home means a lot to me and I look forward to doing nothing but sitting on the couch and catching up on some DVDS for the next couple of days. I will start my fall job back with IUP soon and I hope to get settled back in the studio in Smicksburg by the weekend. So in the meantime, I want to post some images of my cone 6 work from the Cha. I sold the majority of what I am showing here, but I am pleased to be able to share them as an image with all of you gentle readers out there. I will post a couple more Chautauqua related things next time and talk about my collaboration with visiting faculty Adam Paulek (a shout out to you sir, as well) enjoy the mugs and cups as I welcome myself on the images for a larger view.