Pavlov’s Dog

Is everything the result of conditioning? All of our actions. All of our desires?

“The Kiss” The first of the slipped collaborative greenware yunomi are drying on the wareboard waiting for the kiln. Jessica Fong provided both the forms and the kiss stencils. I chipped in the flowers and pieced the composition together.

Why would a person habitually make art?

Attention?

Money?

Escape?

Control?

Small cut paper flower stencils.

Does it start with someone making us feel special and significant as a result of something we did? Something that we just enjoyed doing? Does it make any difference when people encourage us? 

Appreciation 

Applause

Cash

Incentivize 

“The Kiss”

Is this our place to hide? A place inside ourselves. 

Isolation

A refuge 

A studio


Is this our way of holding back the chaos and creating something beautiful from it?

Note to Self

No big dollops of wisdom here, but… Don’t underestimate the importance of being yourself.
Not everyone can, nor should, sing the same note. A successful chorale needs a multitude, each doing their own parts to create the music that everyone is hoping to find. 


When viewing the world from the relative isolation of the studio, is easy to forget that each individual contributes to diversity, and diversity is only realized when each individual is true to themselves. An individual can both contribute to the good of the whole while still not subservient to the crowd.


My point is if the crowd is going to play the busy card, maybe it’s time to dial it back. If complex it the new thing, let them have it. Keep it simple. Your particular kind of simple. Just explore and play.


Enjoy the music.

Lick ‘n Stick

Just a quick Sunday night posting…


I couldn’t get a clean shot a few months back of these small canister against the white background and the way that I’ve got the photo booth currently setup, it’s easier to ignore the problem and not shoot work that’s giving me difficulties than it is to address the problem and simply change out the background. 


Well that ended (momentary) this morning when I had to set up the graduated background to shoot work for the up coming Omnuis Terra show in Portland. 

While it’s up, gotta let the monkey boy play and see if it solves the problems of washing out the top edges with glare. 

A Night In The Archives 

Goodstock Productions has been busy at work again. Anne Wilcox and Amy Sieffert have teamed up with Stockton’s Haggin Museum to pair up contemporary local craftspeople with works curated from the archived historical collections. Present and past are brought together for a night of friends, food, wine, discussions and live demonstrations.


Jess and I both were honored (bouncy is actually a better dicriptor) to have been asked to present by the organizers at this particular venue.

Photo by Amy Sieffert
 
The Haggin is a beautiful venue and I never would have thought that doing process demolitions with Jess in the foyer was in the cards.

Photo by Amy Baskerville
I don’t know how Amy and Anne decided that we might be a good fit for this event, but I’m glad that they believed in us enough to ask. Thank you very much for that experience. Keep up the great work 🙂

Compass Rose

Cut black construction paper stencils laid out flat to check the proposed design.

I’ve been seriously enjoying laying out these designs as a graphic that I can stand back and look at all at once. Tucking in a few sheets of construction paper in with the newsprint when taping up billets for sawing out has offered up a happy little joy to play with. 

Collaborative work with ceramic artist Jessica Fong. She’s provided smartly thrown and trimmed yumoni for me to stencil and slip.

The design, when it’s been executed on a leather hard yunomi’s skin provides, a muted surface that works well as a base for an overlying design, or left simply as it is… a subtle, beautiful design.

The piece above was fired in a soda kiln using a Red Shino glaze and the contrasting clay bodies worked together to create a surface that’s absolutely lovely to hold.

Ghost Flower

“Ghost Flower” is simple autobiographical graphic that encapsulates a low rumble in my mind. I have a wonderful flower in my life. We all probably do. Whether it’s a child or a loved one. Maybe a friend or a spouse, we all can think of one. Mine is my partner. She’s young, full of life, and uniquely breathtaking and beautiful. Like a flower… and I am the spent bloom, connected to her, watching her open as I age and prepare to fall away. Its not a source of sadness, it’s a place of joy. A joy spent living in the moment. The joy of getting to be part of Jess’s life.

“Ghost Flower” winter 2016-17

This black and white graphic is the silhouette of a stencil design for a small batch of yunomi and chawan for this spring. Getting a chance to see a design all laid out flat like this is pretty new and it’s easy to dream up how to make use of this to develop new designs and projects outside of clay.

Until then though… Bloom where you grow.

Liberty and Hope

Stenciling a work done in collaboration with ceramic artist Jessica Fong.

Like so many others the past few weeks, I’ve been sitting down to watch as a charlatan candidate prove himself to be a habitual liar and narcissist. 

I’m stunned… absolutely stunned with what’s happening. It feels like a bad dream. Those that argued for us to give him a go of it before we criticize seem to have already forgotten their original motives and arguments for wanting him in office, pulling on brown shirts and readying for a leveling of the field.

We are not leaving liberty to drown in ignorance nor are we willing to let hope die in fallow fields. 

We will stand in opposition to hate and injustice. We not be swayed. We will bloom where we grow.

Clogging the Machine 

There’s just too much stuff clogging up the machine… it doesn’t matter if it’s good stuff or not, it’s clogging up the machine.

2 years worth of odds and ends. A pile of unsorted stencils, begging to be used or be tossed.
Jess has started tipping her toe into the Minimalist Living movement (Konmari method), starting off by tackling the kitchen and the bookcases. She’s quickly filling up the back of her car with stuff for the drop boxes. No foul. No complaints.

Pulling an old stencil from an unused billet.

Now we are turning our attention to the home studio. After the shuttering of Jess’s shared studio space around the corner with Frank, there was a tide of materials that swamped our home studio. My teatering piles only added to the feeling of abandoned detris. So with March deadlines qiuickly approaching, we are clearing space by finishing projects and by sorting piles straight into the dumpster.

Finished greenware waiting ready to be moved indoors to dry.

We can’t really get started moving until the machine is free to move. It’s looking like it’s time to make hard choices.

Is what you are going to do more important than what you were going to do, or what you already did?

Flipme

I think that getting to spend a few hours holed up in a studio can make a big difference in anyones mood. (Ok.. just. me.)  Most of the time, the work that’s being done is purely in my head, it never actually gets made, (of course this imaginary work is usually the best work that I make 😉 And while the value of what’s being made is open to question, for me the opportunity to play and explore is not… it is  very much part of the celebration and joy of living a full life.

Collaborative studio chop that Jessica Fong and Zygote use to hallmark their works.

Patchwork Vision

When I was young, what I valued most was being given answers. 

As I got older, it that was the freedom to ask questions that I cherished. 
Now a half century into all of this, it’s the permission to look for the answers that’s my refuge.

I was rather uncomfortable with this project as I put it to bed last night. As it stood, it’s a rather busy white on white design with lots of empty space around it. Floating unanchored on the surface, it had possibility, but it wasn’t working yet either. As it stood, it plainly couldn’t be allowed to fail straightaway without challenge. 

My fall back strategy for finding an answer is easy… I was looking forward to a day spent mowing and edging the baseball field. Easy. The busy work always seems to give me the needed space to think.

As usual, the busy work didn’t disappoint. I ended the day with three possible solutions. Each untested, but simple enough. 

Solution A. I’ve heard that the standard Malcolm Davis Shino can be taken to cone 5 in a gas kiln. A few years back while working with the high fire kilns, it was found that an application of wax would produce red halos to highlight details of the design buiried in the glaze and worked really well. Common knowlage. Dramatic effect.

Plan B is to use newsprint image transfers to fill space blocked in by the stencils, making use of vintage gay porn. (This idea might need to wait a bit longer. I don’t think I have the right material to make this work.)

Option C takes a page from Kelly Lynn Daniels lesson book, laying down another layer of stencils and contrasting layer of Slip. I been meaning to try this for years, but hadn’t gotten to it just yet. It’s always has had huge potential to add a lot of significant depth to the work (and conversly, it adds time as well).

Today I’m settling for choices A and C, (although now that I’ve thought about it I’d prefer mash-up of all 3… Not yet grasshopper).