Saturday, January 28, 2012

Exposed in Ceramics Monthly

Hello gentle readers and happy Saturday,

I would just like to toot my horn here a moment and let everyone know that the exhibition I co-curated with Jill Foote Hutton, Gallery Coordinator from Red lodge Clay Center, made it to the "Exposure" section of Ceramics Monthly. It appears in the February edition... hey, its not much but there is a picture and caption and it seems like its in good company. The exhibition "The Lowdown: Tales from the Margin" will be showing at the Red Lodge Clay Center the month of February as well.

As thrilled as I am that we were mentioned, let me add the names that were left out of the caption...Julie Guyot, Jason Bige Burnett, Carole Epp and Max Lehman...these names are in addition to those that appeared in the magazine...Nick Ramey, Alex Kraft and Melissa Mytty.

Also included in February's edition is a full article on Lowdown exhibiting artist Jason Bige Burnett...included in the article are pieces that are currently on view in our exhibition..."Static Platter" and "Bang -O-Rang Bowls".

It was actually my first look at Ceramics Monthly since they changed their format...for shame Mr. homefry...I know. But as chocked full of cool stuff as this edition was I didn't think it was all that different from the previous format. It seemed to me that CM changed up their direction sometime in the mid-2000's to better reflect a more academic pursuit of ceramics instead of the sort of "technical heavy" path they had been on. I, for one, was happy about this. I was writing my thesis for my M.F.A. about that time and was in need of philosophical/theoretical back up to better support my graduate school pursuits and I was happy to find it in my friendly and familiar CM. Now, I know that the articles were not always the best but they had gotten better and the good writing was not just limited to Glen R. Brown. My return to CM at a glance finds a fancy new semi-gloss/matte cover, new graphics but an abbreviated  "Call for Entries" page as well as shorter classifieds...less pottery studio real estate to dream about. Maybe that's not such a big deal but the tightly packed text from the "Exposure" section left me wanting to go back to the days where there was a little more content that explained what the image was about...although more visually modern, it is a bit of a cluster-fuck of a design. Also, in the meat of the magazine, I read what I thought was an article on Justin Rothshank which turned out to be a not altogether favorable review of a recent exhibition...going as far as saying "the handling of the material seemed awkward". I don't fault the alliteration loving author as much as the editor here but perhaps a "review" of this nature would be better suited in a separate section of the the "Exposure" section... Exhibition + Pictures + Review... now that = "Exposure".

Anyways, I mean it when I say I am thrilled that "The Lowdown: Tales from the Margin" found its way on to the CM deserves to....the wonderful work from these seven artists surpassed my expectations and I hope they gain even greater exposure at the next showing in Red Lodge. And even with my nit-pickings about CM, I am debating about re-upping my subscription. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Here ya' go...
I have to say, it is good to be able to just post some new pieces that are currently "in process". Check'em out...I have a dozen of these guys in a variety of sizes and shapes that also sport a variety of stamps, line quality and application of slip.
Once finished and fired to cone 5, the clay body will be a rich deep brown and I am currently debating glaze color right, tell me what you think...its your chance to stop being just a lurker(I know you are out there)...Do you like the smaller ones, the more cone shaped, the bigger one, the large decorative foot, suggestion for color choice? Thanks for looking and all comments are appreciated...even yours.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Its High Time...

And no, I'm not talking about your favorite magazine. Its high time I got back to getting dirty...and no, I'm not talking about your other favorite magazine...I'm talking about getting back to making art...making pottery...making something in my new space.
I have successfully set up a fairly decent work space in the basement of our new, old place here in Beaver Falls. I am not showing full pics of it quite yet...but here is a teaser...dig my fancy throwing stool!
It is not the rustic, picturesque setting of Little Mahoning Creek Pottery...I can not swing open the big barn style doors on the side of the studio space and let the outdoors in, but it is an OK space and there are basement windows(that do not open) that let a little light may be a bit leaky on one side...but that's the other side of the basement and the little river doesn't run through my stuff. There is plenty of room for me to make work and also to store work...and to photograph the work. Besides, every time I move stuff around in the basement I find cool my new stool, these super cool Star Wars balls(below) and vintage "lounge" items like funky 70's style beer glasses and an array of ash trays from all over the place. The kiln will be coming but first I need to plug that leak in the wall...small waterfall where the down spouts run into the ground. In the meantime I will be a kiln mooch. Hi Dan! Hi Nance! this is anything new?!

And recently, after reading others blogs, I do not feel so alone in the struggle to get back into making work. I do not know why its such a battle, but it is. Maybe its the new place or the wintry weather, maybe its the rust that has gath
ered on my brain after not making anything since October. I'm betting on the latter. But TODAY gentle reader, is the day...its high time I got back to making some work!

...OK ...did it just feel like I should have stopped tapping away here and got down to my wheel? I agree it definitely did...I should have segued to the end but I do have a few updates to tack on...(maybe this is part of my problem)

After my last post about a generation of young people called "Millennial" and their addiction-like dependence on their electronic devices, I received a nice email from a person connected to a website called . It felt real and not just generated by some program. I'm always a little wary about this...but she provided me with a positive flip side for Generation Y and here it it baby. Hey, its only fair.(I can hear Jim Gottuso groaning from here...see his comments on last post))

I also posted 5 new items in my Etsy shop...ON SALE...that's right homies...I came across some pieces I had stuck away for a variety of reasons and decided why not just put them out there...I'm calling this my "WONKY SALE". All 5 pieces have a bit of an unevenness to the bottoms...they are a bit wonky. BUT they are also pretty cheap too...this mug pictured below is one.

Finally I will end with a bit of sad news...The Philly Street Cafe in Indiana, PA has gone the way of the Do-do. They gave it a good try and had a fair run but its tough out there for the small business. The cafe is where The Self Serve Pottery Kiosk was is now back in Beaver Falls searching for a new home. Click the link to learn more about the kiosk.

Now I'm heading down to my wheel to make some mugs...stay warm.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Are you a...Millennial?

...Better yet... am I?

Happy New Year internet. Here it is the end of the first week of the new year and it feels like Spring. Honest. Today it felt like Winter had completely passed over us in favor of an early vacation. The temperature cracked the 50 degree mark and although it did take a while to melt most of our recent snow, the sun did its best to make you think it was warmer. I wish it were true and Winter had indeed forgotten to rest its grey, heavy ass upon our shoulders until March, but I know better.

Although the day was pristine, I did have to spend part of that time inside...grading papers. I am just finishing teaching two online courses of Art History 101 in what is a very brief and intensive "Winter Term". Its an interesting thing teaching a fully online course. Its actual my 4th year doing the Winter Term and I have used components of online learning as part of my regular "face to face" classes. I started involving the online component to my 101 classes out of convenience. I made all the quizzes and exams available online and the students could take the test at anytime on a given day. This also was helpful in freeing up extra time...instead of wasting time sitting in class taking the test that time could be used doing something the test online automatically grades it's self and adds the grade to my class list...more time saved by not grading papers! Besides those, there are a number of other reasons for the online thing but I'm not interested in really making a case for it right here. I'm interested in talking about the person, the student who readily signs up for these courses...who does not hesitate, even if they have never taken an online course before.

I recently learned the term "Millennial". I think I'm a little slow on the uptake with this. Anyway, the term Millennial refers to a generation of people..."There are about 80 million of them, born between 1980 and 1995,"... "They multitask, talk, walk, listen and type, and text. And their priorities are simple: they come first."...They were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds. And if you persist in the belief you can, take your job and shove it."..."Characteristics of the generation vary by region, depending on social and economic conditions. However, it is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies."

Now, with this clearly defined, I understand why its often difficult to fully engage the college students. It is downright difficult to shock them as often takes a story about Vito Acconci masturbating in his performance piece "Seedbed" to shake them from their devices...and even then its a brief glance up from a deep, back and forth text conversation. But, honestly I cannot sit here and point fingers. Better yet, I'm asking myself...have I become a Millennial? Am I one through cultural assimilation? Can I be one even though I'm a Generation Xer with a healthy DIY mentality? ...Dear God what have I become!!!

Ehhh, maybe not. I mean, I have Facebook, but who doesn't. I do involve a good deal of technology in my daily life. I do not use a "smart phone" nor do I desire to use one...I do not want to be attached to my online world every waking second. However, I do write on this blog...have done it for a while now. The blog is pretty much a one sided conversation...its me shouting about me out in the cold, virtual, blackness of the internet. In many ways, I think writing a blog post is like putting out a new status on your Facebook page...just with pictures and a good deal more content.

And as Facebook changes its format once again in an attempt to stay fresh, my boredom grows and I smell the rotting corpse of MySpace still out there...somewhere in the online elephant graveyard...and I feel the need to get my hands dirty with clay. So maybe I'm not a "Millennial"...maybe I am just adapting to survive and exhibiting passive "Millennial" traits. I also wonder how those traits effect the work I make...more about this later.

Please take a few minutes away from your smart phones to watch the Pharaoh, a.k.a. Hen - Rock,a.k.a, Mr. Hennesy Youngman give a very funny and informative talk at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago on the subject "To Catch a Millennial".

Please silence all devices...and BTW(Millennial speak), if your wondering what that home cooked goodness is at the top of this screen might be...its my New Year's Day meal...A mixture of some down home southern good luck traditions...Hoppin' John Stew over Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits, drop biscuits and collard greens. you can go tweet about it...