Back to Work in the Studio

Beginnings are tough but, even though it is Mother’s Day, we spent the day in the studio. This was not such a difficult decision because it is cold outside has been raining all day long, making any thought of gardening or yard chores impossible.

Pictured below are images of both Fran’s and my work - a loving cup vase from Fran and a collection of small cups from me. Fran’s piece is a new shape. It came about while making a bunch of cups - there were not too many left after our sale. My piece is coming from a commission. A grandfather is getting a collection of face cups for his nieces and nephews and grandchildren. he already bought some a wants some more. I made more than he wanted so he can choose which ones he wants.

It is interesting to look at clay being worked on at such completely different steps of the finishing process. I will smooth mine down a lot more and Fran’s is already almost completely finished.

LIAEP

I am very happy to announce that I just received a grant from the LIAEP Foundation to assist in Fran’s and my upcoming November residency at the Chateau Orquevaux. The Lighton International Artists Exchange Program is the “LIAEP” in this entry’s heading.

LIAEP was very generous to my request. Also, I am very happy to be included with a very distinguished and talented group of people who also received support.

Thank you LIAEP.

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Getting Back to Normal

This morning was spent taking down the “salesroom studio” and reassembling the “Studio studio”. As always, taking down was easier than putting up but, because we had to clean everything up as we converted the studio to a salesroom, the studio looks brand new.

We want to thank for all of the input, help and participation we had from our guest potter, Alan Willoughby and his wife Linda. It was a great weekend to work together successfully. Asparagusvalleypottertrail.com

Happy Pottery Trail Participants

We are getting ready for the sale and Trail in all of the major and mundane ways we can do. Here is a picture of the two of us holding signs. One can choose one or the other pair::

Francine's New Porcelain Sgraffito Vases

Francine got these two new vases out in time for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail. The skinnier piece is 13” in height, the stouter (but still elegant) piece is @12”.

Here are some views and details of each piece:

Work in Progress

Even though the clay is beige in color and the black isn’t as intense as it is going to be, the pieces drying on the ware give a pretty good idea of what they will look like when they are fired.

No April Fools Day images

These pieces will soon be high-fired and ready in time for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail at the end of this month. More to come !

These pieces will soon be high-fired and ready in time for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail at the end of this month. More to come !

New flower in the Most Recent Imaginary Vase

I was dissatisfied with the flower made for the latest imaginary Vase, so i made another one that was closer to the original print that inspired it. This is a quick photo of the change. I am happy that I took the trouble to re-think this piece.

this is the 3D side.  The height must be at least 30”.

this is the 3D side. The height must be at least 30”.

This is the 2D side.  Certain aspects of this piece suggest how to make the next Vases, such as making them in more sections.  I have tried this before without success.  This time I have a better sense of how to do this.

This is the 2D side. Certain aspects of this piece suggest how to make the next Vases, such as making them in more sections. I have tried this before without success. This time I have a better sense of how to do this.

More Studio Shots

Here are a couple of pieces of me putting the finishing details of a new “Imaginary Vase”. (#5?) I may make a new flower part for this piece. Its not that I don’t like the one I am working on but (although it is difficult to explain) I want to create something that resembles the original drawing/print I made for this piece. The current flower will be used on another piece or a re-working of this piece later.

One side of the flower part of the piece

One side of the flower part of the piece

I am “holding” the flower part in place because I don’t trust its being in place yet.  It was built separately and was propped up during the building process.  I also should be careful about the narrow neck supporting the flower until the piece is bisqued.

I am “holding” the flower part in place because I don’t trust its being in place yet. It was built separately and was propped up during the building process. I also should be careful about the narrow neck supporting the flower until the piece is bisqued.

Studio Shots

Here’s a picture of Francine working on an elegant vase. There is still a lot of finishing up to do - fine tuning a piece takes as much time as making it - but this complicated piece will be worth the effort.

This is a good view of all of Fran’s tools and the many shavings that are left from the sgraffito process

This is a good view of all of Fran’s tools and the many shavings that are left from the sgraffito process

The imagery on the vase reminds me of the details and complexity found in our large wall piece made for the Fuller museum in Brockton. This is where the Fertile Grounds exhibit will soon be opening.     https://fullercraft.org/fertile-ground-hilltown-6-and-the-asparagus-valley-pottery-trail/

The imagery on the vase reminds me of the details and complexity found in our large wall piece made for the Fuller museum in Brockton. This is where the Fertile Grounds exhibit will soon be opening.

https://fullercraft.org/fertile-ground-hilltown-6-and-the-asparagus-valley-pottery-trail/

New Platter

“Landbirds at Sea with Laundry” is a new platter. It is similar to a number of other platters that use this theme but the figures and elements are a little smaller, making the environment in which this drama unfolds seem larger. The glazed elements were more generously applied, creating a raised surface.

“Landbirds at Sea with Laundry”, porcelain, @ 20” x 9” x 1”

“Landbirds at Sea with Laundry”, porcelain, @ 20” x 9” x 1”

New Triptych

Pictured below is a new Triptych, “Birds and Laundry”, destined for the Fuller Museum’s Fertile Ground exhibit in April. The painted glazes in this piece are significantly “raised”, having a very clean, 3D look.

The piece is @ 36” x 11” x 1”. Porcelain, sgraffito, slip, painted glazes

The piece is @ 36” x 11” x 1”. Porcelain, sgraffito, slip, painted glazes

A visit to John Polak: New Images of Three imaginary Vases

I am showing three new pieces that were recently photographed by John Polak in his studio a few days ago. I am showing them as “front and Back” images becasue the pieces are so complicated and difficult to understand just by seeing one side.

I have already shown the first in this series and it looks remarkably tame and simple compared to these three “Imaginary Vases”. Someone remarked the other day that, because I am making them successfully out of ceramics they are no longer imaginary. That may be so but I still enjoy referencing the drawings and prints that preceeded these ceramic pieces.

This piece is around 23”x18”x6”, fired to cone 6

This piece is around 23”x18”x6”, fired to cone 6

Vase #3 is 22” x 18” x5”, itis fired to cone 6 using a new sculpture body. I sand-blasted this piece to tone down the glaze a little.

Vase #3 is 22” x 18” x5”, itis fired to cone 6 using a new sculpture body. I sand-blasted this piece to tone down the glaze a little.

This piece is@ 23” x 18” x 6”, stoneware sculpture clay, sandblasted

This piece is@ 23” x 18” x 6”, stoneware sculpture clay, sandblasted

Upcoming Fertile Ground Exhibit

We continue top et ready for the upcoming Fertile ground exhibitat the Fuller Museum. Some new work, intended for the exhibit will be photographed today by John Polak today. We will post the images after the session.

Fertile Ground: Hilltown 6 and the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail

April 13, 2019 – June 30, 2019
Reception Saturday, April 13, 2019, 4:00 – 7:00 pm

https://fullercraft.org/fertile-ground-hilltown-6-and-the-asparagus-valley-pottery-trail/

This is one of the pieces that will be included on the exhibit, Fran’s Birds with laundry plate.

This is one of the pieces that will be included on the exhibit, Fran’s Birds with laundry plate.

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.

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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.