Playing With the Boy

Andor drew it. I’m attempting to cut it.

The block is done. We’ll press it tomorrow and see how it reads in reverse. Unfortunately I’ve gotten used to seeing it facing this way, (I’ve been suspecting that there’s a phycological underpinning that preferences which direction the movement of a composition flows. What do you think?) in my imagination, seeing the rabbit facing the other direction makes me reevaluate my enthusiasm and look toward the next project.


Cut cut Slice slice

It’s been a long week of impatient daydreams while heeding leaves. It’s an all day job that lasts from October to December, (one of the few downsides to being a gardener on a university campus filled with trees). The daydreams this week has been preoccupied by playing with linoleum blocks. It’s been refreshing to just learn something brand new. 

Linoleum block set up with the image transferred using graphite paper to trace the design onto the block. The lines have been reinked with a sharpie and then the whole block has been given a coat of red India ink.

Do I have unrealistic expectations? Yep, but for now, those are pinned up on a board. This week, it’s just been about getting a design down, start making cuts, and seeing what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t.

The black lines are what stays and the red shows us our cuts. If everything is left the color of the linoleum, it’s difficult(ish) to see the cuts that need to happen.
I’m enjoying that last part in particular, it’s the glow of the new relationship feeling that you get when everything really is new, it lets even failure feel like you’re moving forward and doing something meaningful. 
A computer printer copy is being used to key up the next block. The outline will be used to print the bones.

Cut, cut… Slice, slice

When registered properly, this block can fill in the bone outline. A separate block needs to be done for each color in the print. Easy right?

I’m keeping in mind a simple lesson that Jess pointed out to me earlier this week that applies to learning something new. If you are going to do something, commit to it. Even if you feel silly doing it, (especially if you look silly doing it) your commitment shows. Sometimes, it’s your commitment that is applauded and appreciated, not the results… and most of the time, that’s all that we really need.

Finished test print. I have to admit, the heart was filled in with a sharpie.


Take Away

What’s missing in this picture? 

Our kiln. We dismantled it two months ago in prep for the landlord taking this tree out, now it’s finally happening! 

We’re not making any plans that actually involve firing yet though. The tree men informed us that they won’t be hauling off the wood. The landlord told them that he was going to haul it all off himself later… I don’t think we’ll have access to firing anytime soon.

What’s the take away? It might be time to make a switch in the media that we invest our daydreams in.

Screening in Rather than Screening Out

Being yourself by doing more of what interests you is a sieve.

 We all come to the arts saying “Surprise me please”. Live up to the challenge! It’s a treasure hunt.  Let the sieve do its work. It doesn’t need to be about looking to see who got screened out, let your audience find you. I’m looking for who got screened in.

ps. It takes less energy to be myself and grow than it does to make myself into someone that I’m not. 

Where’s Waldo?

I am a Hermit crab. My shell defines me… My home, where I live, the people I see everyday, are more familiar to me than my own face. I reflect what I see and I become what I reflect. I am a Hermit crab.

My son is 3 weeks into a 5 week workshop at Arcosonti, a community in the Sonoran desert. It’s an experience that has special meaning to me because I spent 7 years at its sister site, Cosanti, working as a technical foundry artisan for Polo Solari. It was formitave to say the least… Design, aesthetics, social philosophy, substance abuse, friendships, marriage… eventually the first critter (the one that’s now sunk back into it all) fun stuff. I wore that place like a shell and I’ve carried it with me for 2 decades, I can’t help but wonder how it’ll effect him…

Explore vs Exploit 

One of the lessons this week that had impact was the notion that underlined a basic balance between two different roles that are at play in the studio. 

Explore: Play, explore, question , challenge yourself.

Exploit: Draw directly on the lessons learned from exploration to effectively disseminate ideas. 

Seems pretty obvious…

Explore: The engagement of curiosity and play in studio life. An artist’s willingness to explore reflects in a dynamic body of work that easily attracts new and returning eyes.
Exploit: The work that draws directly on the lessons learned from exploration to effectively disseminate ideas, shifting back and forth as nessassary to effectively feed and sustain a functioning studio.

Speckled buff stoneware base slipped with a Willie’s white slip, paper stenciled and redlined using a cobalt tinted Willie’s. Fired to cone 6 using a studio crackle and crawl glaze.

My hang-up is that I appear to prefer the chaos of “exploring”, all the challenges, the ups and downs, all the BS (I seriously suspect it’s a manifestation of a personality disorder. I need a certain amount of drama in my life to feel normal. Over the past few years I’ve  enjoyed removing a majority of it from my daily life, but it still shows up… TaDa!) Unfortunately, I don’t have the same problem with “exploiting “. I do my micro-batches of  8 to 20ish, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and then move on (aka. loose interest once the project is dialed in). It could be a side effect of working without any real goals aside from just making the work. I wish I had more interest in standing still long enough to effectively exploit what’s been explored, but I feel that I’m in a race to get ideas out of my system before I just can’t.

Making products just isn’t a priority at the moment.