Posts tagged ceramics

For the most part, I am settled in my artist-residency at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, FL.  All boxes are unpacked, a work-flow is beginning to take shape, and pots are creeping onto the shelves…  Here is a peak into what I was up to last week:


One view of my studio set up at the Armory Art Center… with my wheel elevated to throw standing up and knobs and rims of a new jar series on the table.


My own take on a flower holder… based on a “Five-fingered Posy Holder” from Pennsylvania-German potters of the 1850’s.


A new series of jars… maybe for the soda kiln (!??!!?!!)

WPBaug09(H  u  g  e  tree along the bike path on the island of Palm Beach)

WPB2aug09(Intracoastal Waterway and Flagler bridge in West Palm Beach)


Opening Reception: June 6, 6-9 pm (First Friday)

The exhibition runs through June 28th…

Our regular gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm

(please visit to view more images of the exhibition…)

“Cups are one of the most used and most intimate objects in our kitchen. The connection people have with particular cups corresponds heavily with our memory of time spent alone or with others during our daily rituals of coffee or tea. Guest curator Lynn Smiser Bowers has brought together the work of thirty-six ceramic artists from around the country who each have their own individual approach to the drinking vessel. From sculptural works to a focus purely on function, at least one of the approaches is sure to captivate.”

Participating artists include: Lynn Smiser Bowers, Al King, Andy Shaw, Bede Clarke, Ben Stout, Brenda Quinn, Charity Davis-Woodard, Chris Gustin, Christa Assad, David Pier, Deb Schwartzkopf, Marie Deborah Wald, George Timock, Helen Otterson, Jose Sierra, Julia Galloway, Julie Johnson, Karen Swyler, Kari Radasch, Kevin Snipes, Kristin Kieffer, Liz Smith, Margaret Bohls, Marlene Jack, Matt Long, Meredith Host, Nathan Carris Carnes, Pete Pinnell, Rachel Euting, Richard Burkett, Ryan Greenheck, Scott Lykens, Stacy Snyder, Steven Roberts, Tara Dawley, and Tyra Forker

(Central pedestal, clockwise from top: Ryan Greenheck, Pete Pinnell, Kari Radasch, Liz Smith and David Pier)

(My contribution to the exhibition: “Highballs”, salt fired stoneware with iron inclusions and glaze)

(South end of the gallery, L to R: Brenda Quinn, Matt Long, Lynn Smiser Bowers and Rachel Euting)

(Two of my favorite cups in the exhibition… left cup: “Cat mug with guts” and right cup: “Cat mug with molecule” by Kevin Snipes)

(A group of some of my favorites from the exhibition. Right pair of earthenware mugs, titled “Legs” by Scott Lykens)

(Lower L to R: Charity Davis-Woodard, Andy Shaw, David Pier, Ben Stout, Jose Sierra)

(east side of the gallery)

(Clockwise from Top: Richard Burkett, Christa Assad, and Margaret Bohls)

(L to R: Debbie Wald, Marlene Jack, George Timock, Julia Galloway, Chris Gustin, Helen Otterson, Meredith Host…)

post graduation). Trolling through my photo library early this morning I found photos from the last events of the semester, indicative of the end. Sans studio, I am still working on correcting my messed up sleep schedule and reflecting on it all (being over). I am just about over my “chill-laxin” phase and realized, while at work today, that I have an itch to make some pots.  So until then… I’ll keep posting about my latest creative endeavors.

[The joy of the last cup glazed for the firing (and the last piece glazed at KCAI)…one of the many lasts that were commemorated. Thanks for reminding and helping me to take a photo Tara!]

[Salt Kiln packed with pots for the last firing of the semester]

[Salt Kiln stacks, post-firing. The right wall of the saggar box on the right collapsed sometime after the first salting, causing the front two stacks of shelves to rest against the wall.]

[All of the pots on the top two shelves were ‘kissing’ each other. Most of the vessels separated with a gentle nudge or tap. My two large double lidded jars toward the back of the kiln were good and fused, but we unloaded everything out without a major incident. Using a wooden wedge and rubber mallet I coaxed the jars apart, after pulling the babies out of the kiln like Siamese twins during a c-section.]

[It was pretty amazing to see what happened in the kiln as the stack shifted. Considering the potential of disaster, it all worked out in the end. Overall the semester was about failure for me and was, perhaps, the most educational of all my semesters. Maybe it was not the best way to end, but, it was the ending.  And the completion of this four-year experience is not THE end anyways, it is more like a beginning.]

[This picture is a classic ceramics department group photograph taken annually on the last day of clean-up. It is specifically posted for Bryan, who talked about this particular moment all semester. Referencing last year’s photo… it is the day when it seems like everything suddenly turns a vibrant green overnight, particularly that tree in the background which always looks so dead during the year. The morning sun intensifies the moment as it creeps onto Warwick.  Another year has past]


[to view larger versions of the images above: just click the photos, you may have to give it an additional click once the photo opens by itself in the window.]

@ The H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute

16 East 43rd Street : Kansas City, Missouri 64111

April 19 – May 17, 2008 –>Closing reception: Friday, May 16, 6:00-8:00 pm

The 2008 Annnual B.F.A. Exhibition features work by nearly 100 candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Kansas City Art Institute, majoring in Art History, Animation, Ceramics, Creative Writing, Digital Filmmaking, Graphic Design, Interdisciplinary, Fiber, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture.

above: My contribution to the exhibition, Double Lidded Jar (after prehistoric fertility figures), installed in the 2nd floor gallery space

dimensions: (25.5″ x 10.5″ x 10.5″)

Artspace T.N.T. (The Noon Thing)

Friday, May 16, NOON

Graduating Art History & Creative writing majors will be reading excerpts from their contributions to Compendium 2008: The Survival Edition. I will be reading an excerpt from a research paper on Hans Coper & Lucie Rie. Copies of The Survival Edition will be available at the Artspace during the reading, $10 for students and $20 for everyone else. This year’s edition of the Compendium comes packed in a kit, and includes some things you might need to survive. Fourteen contributing authors are featured in their own individual booklets, an audio compact disc with 11 tracks of magic, and one of Phyllis’ favorite poems are stuffed in the tin along with some other surprises.

I frequently visit Deborah Schwartzkopf’s website (  Her website design is simple, not overwhelming the visitor with information.  Everything is clearly organized and easy to navigate.  Once a visitor clicks on her bio, statement, or contact page a strip of thumbnail images is on the right – these are great detail photographs of her pots.  The gallery page features an efficient way to display her work, the viewer does not have to wait for images to load and can roll their mouse over images quickly.  On the artist bio page, the viewer can find her resume.  There is no printable copy available and the different divisions of her resume are available as links, which take the visitor to a new page.  The font, text color, and layout of the website represent her work.

Another artist’s website I like to check routinely is Sequoia Miller’s Swimming Deer Pottery (  He updates his “Upcoming” page often with entries in his “Studio Journal”.  Having pages that are updated often are important to keep interested visitors returning to the site.  His design, color, font also fit well with his personality and work.  The layout and design do not overwhelm the work, I believe they compliment it.


On Friday Nathan invited me to put some pieces in a salt firing taking place in sculpture. The kiln was loaded and the door was bricked up on Friday, it candled overnight. The firing started on Saturday. By Saturday around 10pm the kiln had reached salting temperature. To salt the kiln, we organized two people loading the angle iron with salt as two others introduced salt to the kiln via the angle iron through ports on the front of the kiln door. 18 pounds of salt (below) was introduced in two rounds. The photo above is the kiln just after the first round of salting. It was a beautiful night to be outside with the kiln firing! With trees rustling in the breeze, angle iron & intense heat, I was reminded of the wood firings in Hungary at the International Ceramics Studio.


Sunday brought lots of anticipation as we awaited the opening of the kiln. Nathan and I checked out the Plaza Art Fair and distracted ourselves with the free wireless in the Plaza, waiting to crack the kiln. The first peek inside (below) was exciting, but it was waaaay too hot to un-brick any further.



Gabe, Nathan and I headed back over to the kiln a little over an hour later. The kiln was un-bricked and we finally got a good look at all of the work. The contents of the saggar box at the bottom of the kiln remained a mystery.


18 pounds of salt and a cone 11 down (it was the last one in the pack) provided some pretty amazing results. Homeboys were excited with their results, my pots were in the very back, out of view.


As the kiln was unloaded I got a better view of my vases that were in the firing. I had dipped one of my vases (back left in above photo) in a grolleg terra sigilatta, it turned out to be the best of the flashing slip options I tested in this firing. Grolleg TS surface is silky and smooth, I love it in salt or soda firing.

The saggar box ended up reaching a much higher temperature than they guys expected. All the cones in the pack located in the saggar box were flat and melted (11 was the last cone). Although some of their pieces were fused to the floor, a lot of them survived and are amazing. Check out Gabe and Nathan‘s blogs for more pictures of the firing!

In chapter one of The Persistence of Craft Paul Greenhalgh discusses craft in regards thirteen different issues. The points he made regarding gender and quality caught my interest.

Greenhalgh describes how gender has played a key role in crafts over the last decades. Crafts have been used by artists to explore the ideas of gender. In the 70s, feminist artists used their practice to change the perception of the role of women. I am especially interested in the way historians and makers have “begun to explore the way that craft objects of various types carry gender connotations.” Imparting a sexual identity on an essentially ungendered object. Although the domestic environment is naturally the woman’s domain, only within the last century have women taken over the role as “cultural producer.” Greenhalgh states, “in the last two decades, the demographic trends in some countries have seen a powerful shift whereby women have come to dominate certain practices.” This is something that I see happening now. A group show I recently helped curate will feature the work of nine women and two men. There are a lot of female potters who are emerging and successful artists.

As Greenhalgh was wordy in his thirteen different discussions regarding aspects of craft, below is his comment on quality and craft…
“Quality is an a priori condition of art. Art is the realization that material has the potential to be raised into a higher state. None of us should tolerate the absence of quality. None of us should tolerate the sophist verbiage that allow those who are against standards for political and economic reasons to equalize the world out into a cheap, uniform mediocrity.” (page 16)

At one point in his essay, Greenhalgh makes a connection between poetry and craft.

“The great poets are the ones who ready poetry.” (page 7)


Sundays are my favorite days to work in the studio, my goal is to always get up early and spend the better part of my day there.

This past Sunday was productive. I began working on the flask form. The two above are the strongest from the series. They are completely new to me but reminiscent of elements of form I have worked with previously. They have already given me new ideas. I am intrigued by their asymmetry, and plan to continue exploring it in flasks and other forms throughout the semester.

Here is a kiln shot of the second firing of the semester.

I wanted to test the use of a black underglaze under a grolleg terra sigilatta on the different clay bodies that I am currently using. I am satisfied with some of the results, especially the cup at the bottom of this photo.

A few of the pots I am not satisfied with, the glaze over took the images; Clyde or Morty, the sandblasting guns, may have some work lined up for them. Plus, I think it is time to move away from these drawings, as much as I love them.

Gabe had a tile and some chopstick holders on the top shelf that turned out really nice. The tile bloated in a couple of spots which creates a nice break in the repetition of stripes.

On September 6, I fired a cone 10 soda kiln with a neutral atmosphere. It was primarily so I could get some glaze and clay body test results. Julie helped me during the firing so she could learn about firing Badda Bing, and she got some great soda texture on her porcelain cups. We added one pound of soda ash to the kiln through a garden sprayer.

Results of my clay body tests, (l to r) red stoneware, dark brown, and stoneware with yellow ochre addition. I am happy with these results, especially the YO Stoneware in the soda.

Below are some glaze tests from this firing. They are on a different red stoneware body than the one I tested above. These three turned out the best, yellow and lavender have some potential.