Omnus Terra

7 Australian artists, 7 American artists.

Gallery 114 

1100 NW Glisan St. 

Portland, OR.

March 21 – March 25 9-5pm

Opening reception Friday March 24th, 5-8pm

Australia and America face each other across a fast Pacific ocean. Two large continents, nations of the Pacific rim sharing a sea space. Omnus terra means all lands. Creating a dialogue connecting two cultures, two continents, two histories though clay. Australian Artists: Shannon Garson, Vicki Grima, Fiona Hiscock, Megan Puls, Jane Sawyer, Fleur Schell, Gerry Wedd American Artists: Joel Blum, Troy Bungart, Linda Fahey, Brett Freund, Michelle Gregor, Malia Landis, Crystal Morey

Canister by Joel Blum aka Zygote
I’m honored to be part of this exhibition at this year”a 2017 NCECA conference in Portland. Stop by Friday evening, introduce yourself, and enjoy the festivities.

Always looking for an excuse to make more new friends 🙂

Bloom

The Seduction of the functional arts is the possibility of overlaying the familiar with a sense of wonder…

I feel no need to apologize for being a functional artist. For decades, I believed that I was a more complete person when I was serving others in some way. Creating objects felt like the most natural way I could do just that. The fact that the things I made had identifiable value because of it’s usefulness, let me feel like I had value too. It’s a comfortable feeling and I still feel this way most of the time. It may be just something that’s in my own head, but I know that I’m not alone in this thinking. Outwardly, making objects that are beautiful for beauty’s sake is an activity that helps lift the spirts of others by giving people something beautiful to discover for themselves. Inwardly, it’s an activity that allows me to discover the beauty and wonder within myself. 

Isn’t this the purpose of art?

Doh! (take 2)

Finally pushing the gas kiln out on its maiden voyage. It’s a bit rough.  8 hours in and it’s at 1805 and slowly climbing. Not exactly the rocket ride that I prefer, but if the bus is moving, I shouldn’t complain to loudly.

That’s not the daily doh though. 
I spent a few hours cleaning the studio while the kiln started burning. It was as I dug into the (literal) pile of chemistry that’s accumulated in half the studio that I realized that, rather than using RedArt Clay in the Malcolm Davis Shino, I accidentally use PV Clay…. I KNOW!!! WTF!

So now, the only reasonably reliable glaze in my kiln is what is usually the most unreliable. Out of 38 pieces, 8 are questionable, (in this case questionable is good because I expect questionable in the course of any given firing), everything else is a complete unknown due to a gross miscarriage of attention (nobody enjoys being surprised by their own incompetence.)

I can deal with a kiln struggling to hit temp. That can eventually be figured out. But dealing with a series of stumbles is a serious pain in the ass. It may add to a persons (my) accumulative wisdom, but it’s hell on my self respect.

Fuck 

Doh!

Sometimes you have to accept a preordained failure to move forward, and sometimes you just have to admit you fucked up and see what happens next.


Well here’s a savage screwup. I’m  glazing on a tight deadline, so I apparently needed something additional to sweat about. Thinking I was using a magnesium Carbonate glaze that I have on hand, I realized after I glazed the exterior that I was instead using a bucket of thinned down magnesium Carbonate White Liner. A completely different glaze. Not having the time to wash and reglaze, the decision was made to let it ride and glaze over it with the thinned down mag carb. This is almost always a bad idea because the mag carb doesn’t play well with most glazes, but these two are tested out to overlap, just not to this extent.

The interior is glazed using PV glaze.

25 hours of work being thrown up into the air. Risk anyone?

Bottoms Up

We all are drawn to the stories that tell us about ourselves.

When we share our (visual) stories, we attract like minded others like bees to a flower.
Our personal story isn’t unique. It’s just relitivly uncommon to the world of studio ceramics.

It’s more love affair than production. Jess and I flirt continually though our collaborative works that populate the studio shelves. Happily, more and more, it’s what we are known for, a form of love poetry unblushingly shared, an overflowing cup that can be apportioned beyond our studio’s threshold.

Not to sound overly crass, but I definitely smile  when I remind myself what initially drew me into making tea ware with Jess. It was her sence of off beat beauty that she crafts her forms with. Her forms are distinctive. It drives me nuts, but my hand loves what she does. And while her forms lips are distinctive, rarely playing it safe, not buttery smooth and docile, instead, textured, sharp yet deliciously advantageous. But they it’s her feet that I enjoy the most… Jess hand cuts her feet. She always has, and as much as I try to mimic her touch, I fall short every single time. Confidence matched with skill translates into a high degree of craftsmanship that comes not just from a practiced hand, but a sense of aesthetic perception.

A cobalt slip stenciled over a blue underglaze
Cobalt slip stenciled over a Whilly’s tile slip
Whilly’s tile slip stenciled over black underglaze
 

 What Jess considers as “matter of fact”, I consider as amazingly beautiful. 

Having a wareboard of her forms to play with is a real gift. It’s a form of trust. It’s not about trusting me to make something beautiful, but trusting me to simply enjoy the interaction and the act of creating, finding the flow that comes naturally, and play without concern about any matters of loss. 
The joy of the interaction is our story (illustrated in the objects that we craft) and as time passes, we are finding more and more often that there are people like you that speak up and let us know that this is one of the roles of Arts and craft, to talk about love that resides inside our homes.

Joy, pride, love…

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.