Anticipating snow, I’ve posted images of a selection of pots that are available at this year’s Milkhouse Holiday Show for you to visit my Holiday Show without leaving home. This shop will continue until Christmas with new postings. Click on the image of the pot for a closeup.
Grab a cup of tea and a piece of pear pecan bread (oh no, that’s only if you come to the studio.) Sit back and relax, watching to see if snow flakes are dotting the window as you gaze through my Holiday Show.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the pots, email me at email@example.com with the number of the item, and I’ll mark it sold. You can pick it up any time next week. The studio is open daily from 9am to 6 pm.
This summer’s classes at Milkhouse Studio began with a session on Pinch Pots. Slowing down, caressing the balls of clay in our hands, quietly pinching an intimate pot, thinning the walls, imprinting our fingers into the clay as a permanent record of our connection to this piece of our earth.
Quite naturally our conversation turned to Paulus Berenson. We read passages from his book, “Finding One’s Way With Clay,” and were again inspired by his approach to art and clay.
We were shocked to hear of his death on June 15th; he’s been so present in our hearts as we made our pinch pots. Thank you, Paulus, for your guidance and generosity of spirit. We celebrate your life and work. https://vimeo.com/62126411
Taken from Utilitarian III at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts:
Celebrate the Object.
Two Native American Quotes
“God gave to all people a cup of clay and from that cup they drank their life”
“Clay remembers the hands that formed it.”
“Throughout history, pottery has been a signature of man. It is an interpretation of material, form, and process. It is a lens that provides an aperture into the soul of the man and the times in which he lives. Each vessel shares a moment in the life of an artist and reflects the magical act of creation. What we do with clay identifies who we are.”
This past year I’ve done several group firings in the Norborigama Wood kiln at Chester Springs Studio .- a ridiculous amount of work for this old bod, but the results are certainly lively and seductive. I put a bunch of my porcelain ware, both in the wood chamber and salt chamber. The surface of the pots shimmer with life, and kept me coming back to this process, despite the labor intensity.
The firing lasts close to 24 hours, and all the participants help to load the kiln, fire in shifts, unload, and prepare the shelves and kiln for the next firing. Matt Wren guides the firing process, and we all benefit from his experience with the kiln, and judgement about the process.
I’ve been working with Nerikomi for the past 5 years, adding this disciplined design process to my work. Hopefully, sharing the methods I learned through the years will interest others in this process.
I’ve been very inspired by Curtis Benzle, Vince Patelka, and Dorothy Fieblemann. There is much information about their process on the internet. Their generosity in sharing their process on the internet has fueled a strong interest in adding color and design to my typically “quiet” pots.
My personal exploration working in colored clay began, though, years ago at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, admiring the work of Cate Fetterman. Cate made plates, and tables, lampshades and other forms in cone 6 porcelain. Cheerful, dynamic color work.
My 4 year old son and I made modest plates using her methods.
Reaquainting myself with colored clay, 5 years ago, and using Cate’s process of applying sliced colored clays to a slab of porcelain, and forming the slab into pots, ignited once again, a joy of colored patterning.
I then began to make colored slabs of clay, cutting the clay using pattern templates and constructing them onto plaster forms with dart and tuck techniques to make round vessel forms like teapots and vases.
Using methods I discovered from Vince Pitelka’s instructions on the internet, I began to make thin slices of nerikomi and apply them directly onto thrown forms.
Adding nerikomi porcelain designs to stoneware fired in the wood kiln has created a new dimension for this type of work. The warmth of wood firing combined with the delicacy of nerikomi is a path I want to continue to explore.
Reclaiming personal experience: experiencing something rather than just looking at a digital image. The Chris Staley teapot pictured below is so beautiful. How different the experience would be if I could use it: feel the smoothness of the handle, the weight as you lift it, and the warmth of the body of the teapot holding tea.
“Certainly in ceramics a photograph of a pot can have profound implications. Often it is slide transparencies or digital images that determine what art schools we go to, what jobs we get, or where we sell our work. And yet we know a functional pot isn’t really appreciated until it is used. As a young potter I was told that the quality of a 4×5 transparency was more important than the pot itself simply because more people would see the photo. When the eye solely experiences art, in this case pottery, we become an audience of viewers, which is much different than the full sensory experience of using a favorite cup. By using a cup we reclaim personal experience.”