Two New Pieces

It takes a while to make these pieces so I am surprised that I am able to show two new pieces not too long after the last blog entry. These both continue the theme of the Imaginary Vase and they are getting more complicated in construction and form. Both pieces were shot in the studio and do not have the advantage of good lighting but these were taken for documentation purposes and a comparison to the finished pieces later.

They are more or less the same size as the first piece (25” tall). These two pieces were made using a white stoneware clay and it was a little difficult getting used to working in another clay body. But I soon figured it out.

The first two images are front and back of #3, and the second two images are front and back of #4.

New Piece

I have continued to explore making ceramic interpretations of the “Imaginary Vase”. Posted here are two front and back images of a piece that is almost completed in the rough stages of construction. it is still drying slowly and not yet bisqued.

Imaginary Vase 2 is 25” tall. I made very specific drawings for this (silhouettes of the front and back) but had to think very carefully when it came time to join the elements from one side to the other. Decisions made somewhere in the first few inches of the piece affect the rest of the piece - a careless moment in the beginning creates unsolvable problems at the conclusion. While having some experience from the first vase, this piece presented its own problems but it also is larger and used a lot more clay. The piece weighs at least 50 pounds.

Vase #2 is sitting next to me while it is drying, while I construct Vase #3. #3 has similar proportions to the piece pictured here and uses a new clay stoneware body. I rediscovered that whenever any major or minor change happens in working in clay, there is a learning curve that has to be observed. I can discuss that later when I post a picture of the new piece.

Vase #2 has an interesting mix of geometric and organic, abstract and referential forms. It also has formal and fanciful elements. I am not ready to talk about the direction of these works but they do seem to synthesize very complex and serious sculptural forms with seemingly fanciful or simple subject matter. So far, I plan to make this piece more graphic, focusing on a black and white rather than blue and white color scheme.

New Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail Brochure (in the works)

This is the “front page” of the new Pottery Trail brochure. It was designed by Fred Crisp, who always does excellent design work for the Trail. His colors, organization get better every year. This “cover” is part of the proof that he sent out to the members of the trail. All of the little details will soon be worked out, the mailing lists organized and a new brochure will be sent out when the time is right.

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More images from Photo Session

As promised, here are two images from our John Polak session, this time showing two of Francine’s new plates.

Finished Piece

Fran and I scheduled an appointment with John Polak to take photos of a couple of new pieces. Pictured here is the first of my Imaginary Vase sculptures. This piece is about 20” high, porcelain, with slips and glazes. It is the first real attempt to convert some of the many prints and drawings of “Imaginary Vases” (pieces that would be impossible to build in clay) converted into three-D. Another piece will be starting soon. this time is one , rather than two pieces.

I will add Fran’s pieces shortly.

Front and Back images of Imaginary Vase #1. One side is relatively flat. I don’t know if I will stick to that requirement on the next piece. I do know that the next piece will be considerably more curvilinear.

Front and Back images of Imaginary Vase #1. One side is relatively flat. I don’t know if I will stick to that requirement on the next piece. I do know that the next piece will be considerably more curvilinear.

Early Christmas Gift

John and Rachael surprised us with an early Christmas gift - a 6’ x 2.5’ rug based on a design from one of my lino-blocks. It is currently located in the kitchen and it is a really striking object. John had to cut and paste the print to fit this format but it works out really well.

The rug’s colors are very vibrant. I think the translation of a small print to large rug was very successful. There were many prints to choose from and this particular print was a great choice - either as a one-of or as the first of many to come.

two very different locations of the rug, one at our house, the other in Brooklyn.

two very different locations of the rug, one at our house, the other in Brooklyn.

Finishing Touch

Fran took these pictures of me putting the final touches of my first 3D “Imaginary Vase”. It is two-sided, porcelain, primarily blue and white. The flower in front will be inserted, ) and is removable) upon completion. I forsee a lot many others made in this style and scale. I’ll post the finished piece when it happens. Christmas may get in the way of a speedy completion.

Upcoming Studio Sale (Part ll)

We are getting ready for this weekend’s sale in our studio. Some new works have come out of the kiln (Fran’s cups and my Blue and White under-the-sea sculpted cups). We will spend today filling in the empty spaces and re-arranging the items for sale. I am interested to see how people react to the blue and white pieces.

One of the pieces that will be shown in my studio is a collage of a print that was shown before on the blog. In this one I cut individual images and arranged them on a a sheet of paper as an entirely new piece. The images shown here are close-ups of the piece showing the textured surface and the layerings of the multiple block lino-cut. Two separate pieces are shown in close-ups.

More New Works

Here are a couple of new cups from the last firing. These are small slab and pinch cups. Some of these are front and back images. @3” high.

Shipping News

The weekend sale is over and we are currently shipping out some work. An interesting problem with being a two-person studio is having to box up very different types of work that have very different requirements. There are commonalities in shipping (bubbles, peanuts, double-boxing etc.) of course, but the two examples shown below indicate the differences more than the similarities.

Goodbye to “Robot on a Pilates Ball” teapot and “Birds at Sea with Laundry” platter. Safe travels.


Here are a number of cups that started out as a commission, specifically to match cups to an animal teapot. The first ones were too large but I eventually got the right size. These are around four inches high and are deeply grooved/sculpted enabling a good grip. They just have underglaze on the exterior and glazed interiors. Handbuilt, one of a kind, handle-less. The third picture shows the difference between the largest and the smaller sets. I expect that I may be making more of them.

Open Studio and Holiday Sale

We cleaned up the studio and had the time to take a few hasty photographs of the work. Here are a few images of the set up:

A Couple of New Pieces

It may seem as if the only thing I am working on lately is Prints. I have been making some new small items for the upcoming sale in clay: tiles, cups etc. but haven’t bothered to take pictures of them yet. But working and making ceramics and prints are happening at the same time. While I am busy completing work for the sale, I am also beginning to do mundane tasks like sweeping, and will soon bring in bases to set things up. I do not think that the studio will be as elaborately set up as we do for the Asparagus Valley show. Every year is different.

The following are two versions of a linocut, the first uses two blocks and the second just one. The third image is a collage. The pink paper is a sheet that was made for a print that was never completed. The surface has subtle markings, texture and color changes. The subject matter in these is imaginary vases and vessels. Each sheet has 24 images. The print is 21” x 28”. The collage is 30” x 22”.

Additional Images from the Photo Shoot

The following images come from the same photo shoot. It is good to see the variety and development of this these. Thanks to Francine, the photographer.

Results of a Photo Shoot

Here is a random assortment of the Blockheads linocuts. Some of these images have appeared on the Blog before but it is good to see them next to each other.

more etc

I am at a technical dead end here. I wanted to insert a portfolio of images but can only insert one image at a time. Difficult to do and choose. But I’ll eventually figure it out.

If photo sessions do anything, it surely is satisfying to see an entire body of work spread out in an organized way. Development, change, direction all become more obvious.

One reason for the effort is putting together a group of files for the Zea Mays flat file due in early December. I feel ahead of the game in this for once and the images look pretty good (thank you Francine). Some pieces are more difficult than others though such as the ones whose surfaces are reflective or shiny.



A number of the Blockheads series of prints were photographed yesterday. Most of them turned out to be of good quality. It was good to see the growth in technique and concept. Seen as a whole, I could see that the initial idea has developed and I am starting to get a comfortable familiarity with the theme and its possibilities.

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Last New Blockhead Image

This is a variation on the Blockhead theme but constructed horizontally. Rather than using a sgrafitto technique on the walls of the piece, I used old Lino Blocks to make impressions on the wet clay before using the slabs to make the pieces. I didn’t have a specific use in mind but the pieces could definitely be used for flower arrangements (with a wire support) or for fruit etc. centerpiece.

These pieces are a lot more spontaneous to make. I don’t have to carefully make and choose particularly shaped images to fit the edges anad planes of the piece but instead make a slab that has a particular texture/set of images that can be used almost like a decorated/patterned fabric.

@17” wide

@17” wide

This is a cut and paste created by John Polak so that we would have a horizontal image to use for the Pottery Trail.

This is a cut and paste created by John Polak so that we would have a horizontal image to use for the Pottery Trail.

New Birds & Laundry plate

This plate came out of the last firing, photographed by John Polak. This plate combines sgraffito technique for the rim, glaze and underglaze painting for the imagery. I’ve used a bigger variety in color and shape.

Birds and Laundry plate, porcelain, sgraffito, glaze, 14.5” x 1.5”

Birds and Laundry plate, porcelain, sgraffito, glaze, 14.5” x 1.5”