Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rememberance and exploration...

An Interview with Toshiko Takaezu from D.B.Long on Vimeo.

On March 9th another big clay influence in my life passed away. This year has taken Paul Soldner from us and now Toshiko Takaezu. If you see my work, it may be hard to draw parallels from me to her or even Soldner for that matter. But it isn't their physical work that I draw from, its their sense of exploration and personal philosophies. I do love their work and have admired it since I got into clay in the late eighties. It was people like these two and Volkous and Arneson that got my juices flowing back then. I came to ceramics searching for expression and a more tactile approach to art making than painting was giving me. Toshiko's large voluminous forms were very attractive to me and I felt they held a lot of quiet strength. The idea that these were essentially 3-d canvases to be glazed in an abstract painterly way further hit home for me. The surface of the work has always been one of my main concerns...wanting to be a painter in ceramics. The marks and colors of glaze and how they change in different atmospheres or in direct reaction to flames still holds great interest for me but these days so does the use of fragmented images. It is this kind of pairing that I am still seeking in the utilitarian work I have been doing this winter.

It is great to hear Toshiko talk in this video of "finding her own identity" and exploration. It is just those things that I am drawn to and continue to struggle with in my own work. Not "knowing" is frustrating but it keeps you looking for the answers. Right now I am not sure about some of these pots I have been making and I am continuing to push the surfaces further. But, I am suffering kiln issues at the moment...the electric kiln at Stoke Hole is firing a solid cone under and I need to now re-fire a load...urgh. Somebody needs Santa to bring some new elements. I will be schlepping my stuff from there over to the university's ceramic studio today to fire a good 04 in one of their electric kilns. While there, I will say hello to Nancy Smeltzer while she is firing the soda kiln there with everybody's bowls(including my dozen) for the Empty Bowls event scheduled for this coming Tuesday, 3/15, from 11 - 2 ...lobby in front of the Common Place Coffee Shop...Indiana, PA...if your around, please stop by.

So below are some shots of a few pieces that I am now re-firing...and then these and the rest will be getting another firing...018. I have wavered back and forth on the finish for these guys...that tends to happen to me after seeing the glaze. Does this happen to you ever? Seduced by the silky glaze, I wonder if I should fire again and again. It sure would be easy to just stop now and
say...done, here's a nice mug...but that's not what I am after. Then I wondered if, after the 04 decal firing with the addition of accent glazes, I was done...and I still say, not yet. I have recently purchased an obscene amount of 018 super-cheese kitschy bling...commercial decals. They will be my finishing touch...and maybe a little luster too. Well then, with some trepidation, forward I go...risking it...maybe it will work out...maybe it won't...listening to those that made remarkable work, like Toshiko Takaezu, and knowing that the world will miss her.

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