Rabbit Run

It worked, but only as a basic proof of concept.

Rabbit Run

 

 

The kitchen crit this morning after this test came out of the kiln went straight to the point… “There’s too much white space around the image that doesn’t serve the design. When viewed next to the brown of the rabbit, it just doesn’t work.” I can’t argue with the honesty of a teenager willing to put a voice behind what they are seeing. 

The practical solutions could be to use a cobalt wash under the glaze to bring the values of the object and background closer together. Or maybe try a thicker application of glaze… Or (and this is my favorite solution) get gold luster firefly or stars made. 


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Walk Away

Just walk away. Find the work with new fresh eye’s. Eyes that aren’t clouded with expectations. Comparing work with the daydream that originally fueled the process can be counter productive. As a craftsman, discovering the work for what it IS rather than what it is not is challenging. It takes practice to learn to forget a work. Discovery at a distance is relational. It’s a treasure hunt of emotional triggers and tools of transformation. Let go and enjoy the depth and beauty of the world that’s been created. 

Spring Swallow 2018 (backside)


Akar 2018 Yunomi Inventational

 Akar Yunomi Inventational 2018
I always liked being part of the chorus. Everyone’s differences in voice adds depth to the whole. It’s easy to believe that most of us prefer adding to the beauty of something larger than ourselves rather than pouting when we aren’t in the spotlight. This show, the Akar invitational, has been my favorite annual exhibition since Kyle Houser and Jim Gottuso turned me onto it (and the whole idea of Yunomi and Chawans. Thanks guys!) 10 years ago, back in 2008. Back then, the same as now, 200 functional ceramic artists each contributing 5 works… that’s 1000 pieces. As soon as I saw the first exhibition, I felt like a compass inside me spun and found a direction. I wanted to someday be asked to be part of this event.


TuleFogThis year will be my 2nd time, the difference this go-round is that Jessica Fong and I are exhibiting our collaborative work together under the FetishGhost banner. I’m pretty excited! It’s proving to be an impressive lineup and just to be an asterisks in the exhibition notes is all its going to take to make me smile.   
I’m happy with the work that we submitted. A year of experiments and working through the problems paid off. The work is everything I was hoping it would be once it was finally in hand. 

Plesantly tactical 

Nicely sensuous

Still, now that the problem solving is done, the biggest risk that we’re taking now is a risk that could very easily leave the work hanging unclaimed… 

We decided to honestly price the work. 

It’s priced to reflect the real costs of making the it. 

It reflects its actual value.

We just needed to be content to show it proudly without relenting to the temptation to undersell it in the hope of gaining the validation of a red dot. (To be clear, I still would like that dot though.)


There’s more at stake than our ego or dollar signs; honest pricing is about valuing the work that’s being done. Sold or not sold, it has a value and before anyone else can be asked to respect that, we need respect the work ourselves first. Our craft is one of the very few gifts that we have to give to the world, it stands in place of us, to undervalue our gift cheapens what all of us are offering… 

Our best selves.

Be yourself and sing with the choir.

 

Changes part 2

Monkey in the cockpit.

It was almost 20 years ago that this was a thing in our house. My first child was a year old and he and I would play a Nintendo 64 video game called FireFox (more specifically, I would play and he would climb all over me while I played). The challenge was this… Could you do it? Could you fly a spaceship at warp speed and still kick butt with what was essentially an monkey let loose in the cockpit with you?

I Loved that challenge.

7 weeks into full sobriety. 49 days. 

At the last check-in I mentioned that I had a concern about the people around me not really noticing the change, but still unconsciously turning away. In the spirt of acknowledging that by looking for any confirmation of this could easily produce a self-fulfilling prophecy, I’m nervously dropping the subject and moving on.

 

This check-in quickly touches on my concern that sobriety may affect the work. Cleaning up by stopping smoking weed happened years ago now. Do I miss it? Fuck yeah I do. I don’t miss it everyday, but there definitely are moments I feel like a kid looking through a candy store window knowing that I’m not allowed back in anytime soon. Cleaning up was a change, both for the better and with consequence. The pro is that I’m no longer burdened by the constant hailstorms of ideas… the con, I’m no longer burdened by the constant hailstorms of ideas. It’s subtle… but relevant. Despite this, the change wasn’t too bad. I found that there was still enough activity inside my own head to play with while keeping me pleasantly busy. Eventually I came to enjoy the clarity of mind that lets a person follow a thread without the constant temptation to jump over to a new thread that was just passing by.

 

Sobering up though, is entirely different. This time, it’s not about how it affects the generation of ideas, it’s about decision making and how risk is embraced. Simply put, with a drink in hand, it’s pretty easy to say “fuck it” and make a decision, after all, with enough experience, all decisions really do seem to prove relatively equal when heading off in a general direction. The booze just made it easier to go with the flow. The unexpected perk was that occasional wild decision actually helped keep the process interesting, and strangely enough, amazing progress often came directly from the chaos of the unexpected. Following this brand of logic, it’s only natural that one of my big concerns therefore is, that without that particular monkey in the cockpit, where will innovative development come from? 

49 days into this new reality, not sure how reasonable the logic of this stance is though.

 

With this in mind, I’m pinning this note to my cork board…

Yes I am/was an addict, but I want it noted that while I was definitely a addict, I was a functional addict… ie, I was addict that made a habit of getting shit done. I’m a practiced decision maker and I don’t have a problem making decisions. Being sober isn’t going to change that, and definitely not for the worse. I don’t need 2 shots in me to make a decision. I don’t need a pint in me to stand by my decisions even when shit goes belly up. Knowing that things generally will be worked out as they go through the process, lets me trust myself. Still not everything works out and that’s totally ok too.

Make a decision, tackle it, assess the results, and move on. Drinking really doesn’t need to be part of the decision making process. Innovation didn’t come out of the drinking. It came out of a man who was drunk enough to let go and play without defined goals or an apprehension of failure. 

 

Going forward, permission is fully given to keep playing.

 

Innovation happens to those that make time to both play and do the work… so keep playing and doing the work. See how that goes before worrying about what’s being lost. Maybe I’m not loosing anything at all…

 

Settling Change (part 1)

I stopped drinking 28 days ago. It doesn’t sound like much when I hear it out loud, but those first few days weren’t measured in baby steps, they were measured in miles… Big… long… fuck’n miles. Still, I don’t think I’ve started my recovery yet. It’s gotten amazingly easier already, but I’m seeing a few troubling issues popping up as this plays out…

 

There’s a concern among some attempting recovery, we know that our behavior is going to change now that we’ve stopping drinking, after all that’s one of the reasons that we stop, to make a change… Right? But will I?… and who will I be? Will the people that loved me or found me interesting still want me around?… or will we just drift apart?

It’s not just a concern, it’s a real thing. People often like the medicated version of a loved one over the real and unmedicated version.

Just from passing observation, as a society we medicate our children and spouses all the time to make them more agreeable. Many of us found this as a workable reason, along with many other, to habitually self medicate ourselves into being someone that others would find more tolerable. 

I’m remembering that the child inside of me, that grade schooler and young teen, was a child who felt very alone, (Important: Key word here is “felt”) asking questions that didn’t get answered, desperate for intentional and meaningful conversations (totally without the skills necessary for just that) and obviously needing appropriate attention from those charged with the task. The fact was that I wasn’t alone though; I was in the middle of a caring and wonderful community. The disconnect was that my personality was wired differently than most of the others around me and I did not understand its significance. Its a very real thing and it has very real effects if and when it’s not addressed. It affected why I wasn’t connecting in a way that felt positive for me and despite being in the midst of a community, I really was, in many ways, very much alone.

 

Well that’s changing…. Maybe recovery starts with looking directly at this and digging into personal development, going back to that uncomfortable place where I left off and using my adult skills to start growing again? I need to find the mentors that can help me develop the tools necessary to become more at ease with the uncomfortable and possibly finding more people like me…. not the artists with a drinking problem, but instead finding INFJs that are learning to find their balance as INFJs.

 

Day Trip

Last week, I got a chance to spend 24 hours wandering San Fransisco with my studio partner; 24 hours of hiking, eating, exploring, drinking, loving our way all over the city. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the bond that we’ve created through living and working together. It was a nice reminder of what some of that bond is about. It can be about leaning into each other with trust. It can be about opening ourselves up to what each of us contributes to the games that we play… It can be about recognizing that as unique as we each are, it’s the relationship that that we create together that flavors our experience and the relationship that brings us so much joy. We create that relationship together.

It underlines the point, that as fun as it was, it just wouldn’t have been the same, fulfilling experience it was if it was done alone. All of the twists and unexpected turns that we each brought to the adventure would have been left unrealized if the other wasn’t there. Every momentary smell or taste that was left unshared would be all that much more fleeting.

I have a multitude or reasons that I cherish moments like this. I feel that I am a better me when I walk next to her. I am more open to the unexpected when I hold my partners hand, seeing her smile with me as we try something new. I am more open to change, more open to self growth, and possibly most important, I am happy to be myself when I am with my best friend.

Thank you for being my partner in life Jess.

Chasing Tail

Ran through another family collaborative project this week. Jess threw and cut a dozen Yunomi, leaving them next the wheel head to play with later. Andor and I reworked his SpringHare motif that he created for this winter’s collaboration, billets were cut, and blocked out onto Jess’s leatherhard forms.


The idea was to play with the image in the round, demonstrating how it can be used to tell ourselves a story… the circles (which are fireflies aka Love), the floral motif (spring/life), and the floating little death (symbolizing both the dream, and the race against death), all running round robin.


It will be finished off with a blueblack 50/50 stain and the new SAG matte glaze, fired to cone 6, and diamond sanded… That’s the plan.

Happy Pig

There’s an experience that, for 30 years, all the rest of the couples around me have gotten a chance to experience, but dispite being married for 25 years, I missed out on… The experience of being given a ring. 

It’s kind of a big thing, (It’s actually a huge thing) and having a partner that thinks that it might actually make her partner not only smile, but feel extra special by personally hand crafting a piece herself for Valentine’s Day… well that’s fuck’n over the top. 

You really are one of a kind Love. Thank you 🙂 I’m an extreamly happy pig.

Riding in the Sidecar

It the beginning of 2018 and I’m watching my partner stand-up and step into the local arts community to fill a roll. Jessica has taken the helm of the Elsie May Goodwin Gallery as its Gallery Director. Honestly, I’m proud that she feels that serving the community is a task worth doing, and I’m more than slightly impressed that she’s got the stamina, intelligence, and vision to actually engage with an established group and quickly begin to make the transformative changes needed to keep our community gallery up and running. 

This is a nice way to start the year.

Christmas Hare

Ended the year on working on the dinning room table in collaboration with the kids and Jess. 


Andor drew up the design. I cut the block. Jess printed it, and Nico inked in the background.

It feels pretty neat getting seeing a project like this roll all the way through to completion. Now on to the next one.