Friday, October 24, 2014

Art is Love

We all have moments of enlightenment, some more profound then others. I suppose once again I have had one as a means to describe a true artist. This has always been a problem for me, how to get others to understand the mindset of a artist, and their passion.

I blame my sister for this predawn inspiration, once again she send me a video of some amazing Korean Potters doing their work, and the Love they had for their work was just as beautiful as their piece it's self. I know that feeling, I saw it in and wanted to run to get my hands in my own clay.

Art is a form of love, artist share with the world. Love for their Subject, their medium, the technique. However those passions are constant, many think of it as a drug in the system we always need more. However there is something I find only in True artists that make them shine when they are working, a type of love i have only ever seen in one other type of persons face. The parent of a newborn/child.

You see in the creation of a piece of art we are parents. We start with a simple act, for painters it's prepping a canvas, woodworkers it's cutting wood to size, for us potters it is wedging our clay. For me this like the moment of conception in a way. It has it's own quiet (sometimes not so quiet) beauty, in the act itself, the starting of a creation, all possibility.

Next the painter will make that first stroke, carvers that first cut, or myself that first touch to center the clay on the wheel. These are nearly all foundation acts, the paint stroke will most likely be covered, the cut will be replaced with a deeper one, and the clay will be formed, but these are the building blocks, the first touch of love we give our work. For many it is both daunting and exiting when we think about it, like a parent waiting for a newborn to arrive, not even knowing if it is a boy or girl. We know we want it to be a general form (like having 10 toes 10 fingers) however it's personality has yet to show itself.

We then start the hard part, of forming and working with our material. For clay pushing, pulling, smoothing, and strengthening. We put our heart in the piece, not for the later viewer, not for our clients or buyers. We do it for the pot, for ourselves, to put a small part of us into something that will go on and become something else.

For a potter the shaping is only the early stages. We then have to wait, almost let the piece grow, to fit into it's own skin. I imagine it is must like a parent watching their gangling teen learn who they are through puberty, hard not to step in now and then, but we have to let time do it's thing. Though we do step in, once they are strong enough to withstand some work we turn and flip the pot to carve it. We remove excess, add texture. As parents do when forwarding the education of their children, and teaching then values of the world, It refines, polishes and improves the art through guidance and care.

Then like a parent we have to let the one we made go through a series of hardships and trial by fire. The type of hardship and treatment making a difference to every individual. It is not easy for a parent or an artist to watch or wait for this trial to end. There could be tragedy, or unexpected complications, there could be loss or surprising wonderful outcomes. No mater, once the experience is over those that come through the other end of the process are stronger by far, and brilliant with their own light and colors that would never have been seen without the ordeal. They can withstand heat, and water, time and are far stronger then they may appear.

As artists we have pride in out creations, sad for those that do not make the full transformation. We as artists make the change with them often, and see things we can learn from often, however we have a soul of out heart in each one.

When I give or sell a piece of my work to someone I am not only giving them a piece of potter. I am offering them my child. Like a father at the alter giving his daughter away to her new life. I hope they care for it, and treat it well. I know they will never fully know all that I have put into every form I create, they will never love it as I do. Though like a parent I know it must go on to the next stage of it's life, and not be held away from the world for my own reasons.

There are moments for shear pride however, when we see our creations, perhaps by chance in a place of honor, on display or as an item of treasure. In these moments I know a pride not in just myself but in the piece I see for what it has become.

That is the Love of an Artist.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Glazes for all

There are few things that are a given in the world of art, however one has always been the case. Clay and Glazes are the lifeblood of pottery. Talent and vision are the body of this art, however clay and glazes are the thing that runs in all potters. I myself have found that over the years I love the making and altering of glazes to meet my needs far more fulfilling and economical then using commercial glazes and clays. Having studied a good amount under wonderful professors in school and later on my own I decided it was time to make something I saw the world was missing. 

For years ceramic artists have been able to find recipes in magazines here and there, books and now on the internet. However I had yet to find a database that held more then a handful of recipes that were free to all.

True each potter has their own magic and personal recipes (I know I do) however I wanted to have a foundation for all to share knowledge and be able to experiment. 

For the last 14+ years I have been collecting recipes for clays, glazes, and other useful materials. I would like to officially introduce this database. Though I one day hope to make it part of it's own website at this time it is found on my own, and add photos soon. Until this point I can only add links to images. Yet all of that is on it's way.

I would like to welcome all glaze and clay makers to see what I have collected over the years and try out a few recipes. Note many of these are Very old, not all are food safe however I would not like to see these recipes disappear. Too many techniques slip away due to disuse so I did not discriminate.

Also note I have not made all of these, only a small percentage. I will not ask any subscriptions for this database or fees though would love for artists to share their samples via photos. I will link to your image on the recipe and credit the artist with their name or web address.

At this time I have a large portion of my collection posted online, though I am adding often, and would again be happy to add any recipes and the name/website of those that send a new one to me. So far over 1200 glazes and variations are posted along with hundreds of Clay Slip and other Recipes. This is based in Google Drive at this time for the ability of all to see it free with minimal software issues.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Festival Time! Socialize and Share!

Yes the time of year is here that I am always exited about.

Festivals and Shows are nearly every weekend again and that means Fun for me. It also means I get to meet more of my fellow artists including potters. While I many not always fit in with my normal Ceramics crowd I am always happy to meed and get to know those in the area, and those from out of town.

Each person I meet  I feel adds to a bit of my art be it from inspiration of their work or their spirit. For example this past weekend I had a good time at a local event that allowed me to spend time with one potter a Crystal/Jewelry artists and a number of Wood Workers that inspired me to new heights.

My Ceramics friend was local as well, though our paths had yet to cross. He too makes his own glazes and we exchanged ideas. His style is drastically different from mine, though his lines are wonderful and he has a wonderful eye. He seems to have a natural instinct for when and how to add Relief to the surface that I have always been uncomfortable with. He has inspired me to push myself in future and do more of my surface carving on my utility work rather then only my sculptures.

A number of wood workers and I spoke a great deal on the different techniques required to make a similar item on a Wood Lathe as on the Potters Wheel, bringing back a project I had in mind of working with a wood artist or learning on my own and having some mixed media pieces that will be wood and Stone to show two forms of natural yet controllable art. I have been sketching out projects and will me working up a sires I hope to try soon.

My wonderful neighbors were Crystal Jewelry Makers, making amazing products out of jewelry and creating rainbows out of lights. Their work inspired me to look at my glazes and work on a glaze that could be affected by the light in a way that would replicate the spirit of a prism. Also it was discussed how there are two ways for an Artist to react to other artists of the same type. Many take the road of "Competition" be it friendly or otherwise, it is natural for us to compare and try to defend what we see as our territory.

While I have always thought of my self as the other, an eternal Teacher and Student. I try to step back and remain humble in my work. While it means describable things to me my techniques  are those that were perfected of the centuries not in my lifetime. I do not hold back "trade secrets" to make my own work seem more unattainable. I share my knowledge and try to gain more as I go. I find when I remind myself I did not invent these pieces I stop and see that those around me have work very different from mine in look, function, style, origin. These are the things that keep us from being on competition, and those that are looking to purchase from me are interested in my style, while if they would like the other style they will shop with my fellow artists. I have found over the years it is my spirit and style that draws people to my work, along with my craftsmanship and function. So when people as me how I do a technique I am happy to share without fear they will take my idea and be competition. Inspiration is a good step weather it is my own or some that I share with others.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Form and Function

New Year New Inspiration

Well with my new Studio, and a new year I have started finding myself working in a new way. Thinking more about the relationship and symbiotic relationship between the vessel and the material inside.

Teapots, Honey Pots, Salt Shakers, Plates, they are all utilitarian and have been taken advantage of for years to the point we no longer see them. However their form and usage as started to give me a feeling of truth. They do not hold back what they are, they do not strive to be more then they are, only to be the best of what they are.

They may have a surface beauty, though it is only really a make of the maker, while the form is the true beauty, along with the way that it fulfill it's purpose. A teapot that is not functional is lovely to sit on the mantel but then the truth of the piece is gone forever, while it LOOKS like a Teapot, it will not work as One
While if you were to make a piece that is Functional with a small amount of decoration and alteration, though can and still is used, this pieces holds far more beauty for me then the showpieces on the mantel or in the museum. For it is a Living Piece in that it is interacting with not only people but also the material that gives it soul.

An Pot can sit on an stand, mantel or in a corner, but until it is filled with the ashes of a loved on it is not fulfilling it's purpose as an Urn. A reciprocal for those we wish to keep close, while replacing the ill feelings of loss with a beauty in form and decoration.

Their for I am going to be starting a new line of work that revisits a topic from my past, Inner Space. Only rather then talking about my own inner spaces as I did in that Show I will be looking at the form and function that the inner space of pieces creates. Join me on my quest for a better understanding of what makes each piece have it's own Soul.