Sunday, September 26, 2010

That's Ceramics...

"That's ceramics"...loosely translated means...shit happens. This is a phrase I have said to umpteen dozen people throughout the years. "It sure ain't painting"...a whitewash of fresh gesso clearing the mistakes and preparing for another go, it is not. Once things are fired they are pretty much that way...I will refire and refire if needed but somethings just can't be fixed with another firing. And that's how our last salt firing one word...awry. The image above is not the floor of the kiln you are looking at but the mug stuck firmly, defying gravity. Oh well...let me repeat my mantra..."that's ceramics, that's ceramics, that's ceramics".

BUT, I am back at it, bakers dozen of tankards made yesterday with larger pieces drying. After the Steeler game I will be out there again making more for the trimming on Monday. I am working hard for our upcoming wood fire in the bourry box kiln. The Potters Studio Tour will take place October 16, for the link to the website...I am featured as "guest potter" with Nancy...Little Mahoning Creek Pottery...but disregard much of my info on the site as it is over two years old...whatever. I did not send any new info when they needed it this summer. I was sort of out of the loop up there in Chautauqua...besides, that old crank who runs the site failed to update me last year when I did send new info. I will be posting a map here soon...its a really great tour and the work is wonderful. Featured on the tour besides Nancy and I ...Don Hedman, Betty Hedman, Josh Floyd, Birch Frew, and a host of other "guest potters". I have been doing the tour for the last 3 years and it always brings the folks many people from the Burgh coming out to the foothills to enjoy the beautiful Fall colors and slightly rustic studios tucked away on the backroards. I have always felt fortunate to be a part of such a clay rich community...well, its back to work...stretch my back for a while and get cranking. Above are a few images of some new pieces pre-decals...there will be plenty of new images along with plenty of farting do-dos...did you know do-do birds fart florals?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I am currently re-evaluating and re-visiting writings from a few years back...with the thoughts of possibly re-investing more time in to these ideas. Although, I am very involved in the utilitarian side of ceramics right now...I am wondering if I have let my other clay dreams wander too long in the corners of my dusty brain. I am feeling a need for something a little different right now...just not sure what it is...ever get like this a little pre-mid-life crisis?

The above image is a piece I finished this summer...I thought I had finished it before, in fact you can see it in my blog archives back in March ...but now, I am sure it is finished. Below is a paragraph that I wrote several years seems to fit this piece "utt(dd)erly" well. The quotes are from my exploration into the possibility of new sculptural work. Above are a few details to enlarge.

The Necessity of a hybrid object that spans the gap between reality and concept as well as between pottery and sculpture becomes clear. Because it is from this "in between" space that mends the existing disparity within the medium of ceramics and eliminates any hierarchy. It is also important to understand that the term "function" means more than just an object's utilitarian aspects and that there is value in more than just an object's "usefulness". I believe this understanding of ceramics is not one that shirks its traditions and histories in favor of trends, but rather, re-imagines the past much like we as humans do, fragmentary and incomplete, leaving room for new interpretations that expand the medium.

" is obvious that our dependence upon things has something more than their utilitarian value at its base. From birth to death, we draw all sorts of emotional sustenance from them ."

- Salman Akhtar, "Objects of Our Desires"

"Even to begin to represent the past, we must recreate a collage of recollections, which overlap and collide with each other."

- Janelle Wilson, "Nostalgia: Sanctuary of Meaning"

...more to come?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Bunch of Random Chizzz...

That's right, this is one of, if not possibly, the MOST random conglomeration of things strung together to create a single blog post I think I have ever done. I'm almost proud of that fact.
So, let me start with a couple pics from the Saxonburg show...The opening was well attended and Christy Culp, the person who put the whole show together, had a local winery involved in the catering, so they had a large variety of wines on hand...that never hurts. It was a really beautiful evening and my 8 year old daughter Kate and I, hitched a ride with fellow clay exhibitor Josh Floyd. Kate shot most of the pics ...Thanks for putting together a nice little show Christy! Here is a couple pics from the show as well as the one above...that's me trying out some of Christy's mugs(wine in one hand) and that's Josh Floyd giving the thumbs up to some of his own work in the show!

The next day I enjoyed using my cool new mug I bought at the show the night before from Christy. I also made a damn good batch of very fresh and slightly "diablo" spaghetti sauce. Speaking of mugs, I bought an O-riginal Michael Kline mug too. I purchased it online through his etsy shop...from his etsy kiln opening the Friday before our show opened. I should be getting it in the mail any time now. Having been a long time(relatively)reader of his blog, I felt it was about damn time I at least get something from him...I am anxious to see and handle the work in person...dorky clay guy...I know.

And totally not related to any of the above, I would like to direct your attention to some new blogs on my blog roll. There are a couple new clay blogs as well as some non-clay blogs...hey, its good to look at other things besides clay...I swear. "Wall of Paul" is written by a friend of mine, Paul Tatara, with whom I worked with at a record store down in Gainesville, Florida during the late 80's. He went on to write screenplays and movie reviews for CNN...his blog covers various themes in Pop Culture...very funny writer and so worth checking out. I have also recently been in touch with an old friend whose blog, "Oinky Pig" is now featured in my roll and even better, I have a video clip to post of that same friend, artist, singer/songwriter, attorney at law, political activist, mystic, and folk hero...another fellow Gainesvillian, Mr. James Cerveny. Please enjoy the unofficial official video for James's own "Buy Bobby a Fresca"...his quiver is chocked full of funny, disturbing, powerful homemade folk songs. The bonus here is, I think all he is wearing is that towel...and once again I am wondering about the connection between ceramics and soft core porn.

AND to add to my post of unrelated items...Fall is just around the corner in my neck of the woods, I can see it and feel it these days. Before I know it the Potter's Studio Tour will be on me...October 16 and 17...I will be spending my days that I'm not at IUP up in the studio. More to come about that soon...until then, check out some new work I am posting in my etsy store!

PS.(yet another disconnected piece) That's Max, my dog, sitting out in my yard by a bed of nasturtium and morning glory in the top pic...thought he deserved the exposure. What the is my blog.