Monday, January 23, 2012

Art and Fear

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."
Sir Francis Bacon, English author, courtier and philosopher (1561 - 1626)

Art & Fear, Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Sayles and Ted Orland is one of those books that should be dipped into occasionally and chewed or to be swallowed and digested--whichever way is the most useful to you. It is the kind of a book that should be on hand in your studio, bookshelf or nightstand.

Here is the opening sentence:

"Making art is difficult. We leave drawings unfinished and stories unwritten. We do work that does not feel like our own. We repeat ourselves. We stop before we have mastered our materials or continue long after their potential is exhausted. Often the work we have not done seems more real in our minds than the pieces we have completed. And so questions arise. How does art get done? Why, often does it not get done? And what is the nature of the difficulties that stop so many who start?"

Very deep questions indeed. I plead guilt of many of these very things.

As you can see, this book is written by artists whose words resonate with other artist and with our particular and unique dilemmas. It isn't a book about "Art Or Craft". It isn't a book about airy theories or fluffy ArtSpeak.

If you are stuck or wondering or twisting and turning about your work, have doubts or need to hear a friendly and understanding artist's voice, this is a book to chew on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Today, during my cruise through bookmarked websites, I ran across this image of a pair of Wedgewood ewers.

"Skinner Auction house in Massachusetts lists them as: "Pair of Wedgewood Solid Black Jasper Wine and Water Ewers, England, late 20th century, from the St. James Collection of limited editions, each with white relief, including the Sacred to Neptune water ewer with figure seated atop the shoulders and holding the horns of a marine monster below the spout, and the Sacred to Bacchus wine ewer with figure seated atop the shoulders and holding the horns of a ram's head below the spout, each with printed and impressed marks and in a limited edition of 50, ht. 16 in."

The estimated auction price is $2800.

I'm the happy owner of a large blue jasper water pitcher with sprigged classical figures, early 20th century and a black jasper tea set of the same era--the one with the 'widow' on the lid. Both are wonders to look at through magnification.

I can only imagine how wonderful these ewers are.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year


It's been a while.

We finally got our winter house back just before Christmas. Just enough time to dig out a couple of topiary lighted trees, put a wreath on the door and a ribbon on the house numbers. That was it.

The rest of the time was taken up with moving back in and sorting everything out. Imagine unpacking boxes someone else packed up for you.

When the flood happened, all our things were quickly moved out of the house, packed up and stored away by the recovery company and the contractors came in to remove drywall down to the studs, doors, carpets, cabinets--everything attached to the walls.

It's taken six months to restore the house. Our insurance paid for most, but of course, we did not want to re-install the old stove, sink and microwave. There were things about the house we didn't like. Wall-to-wall carpet for one, so we elected to pay for new tile floors. There was a desk in the kitchen that was a store house for miscellaneous tools, polish, cleaning supplies, so I had the carpenter rework the space to make a utility closet and a home for my old rainbow vacuum. A hall installation of upper and lower cabinets which were not useful became a beautiful new linen closet.

The whole house had to be painted, so we selected soft tones of a buttery yellow, a soft blue and very light green.

Most things that were water damaged that could be repaired were fixed. We did lose some pieces of furniture, most of which were covered by insurance, but our rugs (not the wall-to-wall) didn't fare so well, so we are now living in a house with no curtains or rugs to soften the sound. Pretty echo-y at the moment.


We're getting there.

My studio is semi-unpacked. And I still have a lot to attend to before everything will settle down so I can once again concentrate on clay.