Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Creativity for me is not a smooth track, a steadily flowing river.
It is torrent and and stillness; raging flood and and draught.

In my heart of hearts, I think the quiet is just as important as the intensity of working.

But the quiet worries me. I feel guilty within it. I wonder if I'm playing hooky. Granted, I've got a lot on my plate at the moment.

And when I have no control over this absence from work, as in being away from home or attending to something that suspends my studio work, I feel no dig at my conscience.

But when I choose to avoid the studio and busy myself with things like, reading or vacuously watching some kind of mind-waste on TV, THEN I worry.

Nose to the Grindstone, Me

Is it because I grew up thinking I should be productive and fill my days with useful, practical, productive work? Certainly no one pressed this ideology on me; it was/is of my own making. In the past, I have thought I needed to be productive every waking moment. Not just art, but in everything. For instance, if I sat down to watch television, I should be doing something with my hands.

I couldn't just sit at the beach, I had to improve my mind. I read instead of relaxing. Lay on a pool float? Nah-swim laps.

Busy hands and busy minds. Definitely not the imperialistic idea that idleness was the right of the privileged class.

A friend of mine who grew up in Europe and knew how to really relax and enjoy it, used to chide me about what she referred to as my "Puritan Tradition" problem.

Maybe she's right.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weird and Wonderful World of Clay

Wonders never cease when it comes to what some manufacturers made out of clay. Here's the great-great grandson of William Copeland, Spode's original business partner, demonstrating a china footbath.
I'm sure this is decorated with either blue and white or sepia colored transfer prints.
Just look at the lugs on the thing. Must have weighted a ton when filled with water.
Anyway, this photo appears in "Spode and Copeland Marks" by Robert Copeland, printed in the U.K. and available at a pricey $170+ through various used book sellers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Looking at old and new work

Coming back to my alternate studio after a 6-month absence, I looked at my work from the past year.

The first thought was, "I must make bigger work." It suddenly struck me that my previous pieces are rather small and I wonder, "Why did I not see this before?"

Lately, I have been making much larger work. The living area at the other studio is larger with pure white walls and lofty ceilings. Could this be having an impact on my work?

The paradox is that the studio I just left is small; my regular studio here is large.

I threw a lot of pieces there. I sat them out during the day, but carefully put them in sealed boxes at night in order to slow down the drying. A big bisque firing awaits when I return.

I'm also trying an experiment--I had about 100 lbs. of various clays that I put into a large plastic container. I poured water into it and sealed it up. We'll see if it kept the clay moist.

This guy is pretty large--about 14 inches tall. I put it in a 10 gallon bucket overnight to keep it from drying to quickly. I threw it with no base because I wanted to form it into an oval and slab-roll the base to fit.

And this one is even taller.

Even these bakers are as large as the batts.
I had to fill in the places where the batt pins showed on the
bottoms, so the bakers are about 10 inches in diameter.

They'll shrink, of course, about 10% by the time they're bisqued, then glazed and fired again.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Once, while I was in college, a professor said, "The more you learn about a subject, the less defined it becomes."
"Whaaaat?" I thought. "That can't be true. The more you know about something the more you should be an expert on it. The more you should be able to pin it down. Expert knowledge leads to a point, a finite amount of information and precise definition," my mind screamed.
Well, now I think he was right.
The end result of study and search into any field, the more fuzzy it becomes. It doesn't result in a point; it results in a fan. The more variations you discover and the more interlocking happens with other areas of study.
So, it's almost like the more you know, the less you really know. Like going from a tunnel to a hall, then a small room, larger rooms to an dense jungle to a forest to a plain to a beach to an ocean to the air.
I hope when I die, I will finally know everything.
If you're interested in the many different ways thinking happens, might be a good jumping off place. I know I plan to mine this site for a while.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Akar Yunomi show

There is a dizzying array of yanomi up on the Akar site:

20 pages to peruse.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Arfs and Crafts 2010

Arfs and Crafts will be coming up.

The show opens at The Art Stop, Tacoma, WA on April 15th.

Artists from all over the area make and contribute pieces for sale to support the Prison Pet Partnership Program and Assistance Dog Club of Puget Sound.

Dogs are rescued from animal shelters around the Northwest and taken to be trained as service and assist dogs by inmates of the Purdy WA Women's Correctional Institute. The trainers are inmates who have worked hard to earn the position. Under supervision of professionals, these inmates care for the dogs and train them for their future lives.

The Prudy program has received national acclaim and was featured on a 1997 PBS documentary on service dogs. To date, only one of the many women who have finished their sentences and participated successfully in this program has returned to prison.

The focus of the show is pet dishes, functional, fanciful, funky and fun. Past entries range from the practical to cast bronze sculptures of dogs.

There have even been soup bowls and plates for pet owners.

The show opens during the Third Thrusday Artwalk, April 15th. Artwork will be sold at silent auction through Saturday, April 17th.

The Art Stop is located at 940 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402.

Friday, April 2, 2010

White Pear Salt Shaker - How it works

Interesting glaze experiment. The stem is underglaze black. the top 1/3 is transparent glaze. The bottom 2/3rds is Coyote Creamy Matt.

Very subtle.

I applied small points of black for interest.

It's not quite there yet, but getting close.

View of the bottom.

It was waxed for firing, but I set it on a stilt anyway because I wasn't sure how stable the Creamy Matt would be.

You can see the funnel for the salt that leads to the internal cavity.

The salt comes out through the tiny hole at the top of the cone shape.

This is how the shaker works:

A cutaway view of the hollow pear showing it with salt inside.

The thing in the center is like a funnel.

To fill an empty pear with salt, turn it over and pour the salt into the bottom funnel.

The salt all goes into the top of the pear.

After no more salt will go in, gently turn the pear over. All the salt will fall to the bottom around the funnel.

The salt comes out when the pear is shaken straight up and down.

The salt flies up into the top of the pear shape, then falls back down into the bottom section with some of it falling through the hole at the top of the funnel.