some of the work i was pleased with from the last firing. this work was heavily influenced by my summer in japan and further informed by the amazing workshop by bryan hopkins that i was lucky enough to assist with this summer at arrowmont.
getting ready to fire up the alpine. i have an evaluation at the end of next week. lots of experiments in here, colored clays, feldspar inclusions and tessellating tiles. yay.
new connectors arrive tuesday. electric car kiln eats it. i get to help fix it. uf ceramics’ birthday gift to me.
one of the grads here is planning to fire up the wood kiln soon. in preparation we’ve gone on some wood hauling trips.
also present was u.f.’s tech ray. he’s taking the bottom photo. and also, about a million cockroaches. bananas!
well, i’m settling down in yet another temporary home. i guess i’m starting to get good at this. anyway, i am now in gainesville, fl doing a year of post-baccalaureate studies at the university of florida. gainesville and uf are both quite nice places. really a breath of fresh, oxygen rich air after philadelphia. philly is a amazing city but i am amazed at the unconscious sigh of relief i breathe when i look around and see so much green. proximity is much improved. i’m back to an 8 block (ish) bike ride to the studio which is sweet. this is a much bigger program then i’ve ever been a part of so space is limited, there is a snap of my work space above. this decrease in personal space is more than made up for in the huge and wonderful community, faculty and facility.
my favorite piece of equipment, at the moment, is the test soda kiln. it’s a small soda kiln that shares a chimney with a regular sized soda kiln(very similar to the soda kiln at the clay co.). it’s just one shelf (12×24) deep and you can stack 3-5 up depending on what your making. it’s firing away right now. very excited to see what comes out.
i put some finishing touches on my first sculpture. coiled a bit on a second larger sculpture. last week i mixed up a batch of porcelain and stirred in a blue mason stain to a portion of it. today i made a couple of wall peices out of it. i also sprayed some test tiles. just testing some raw materials: custer feldspar, nepheline syenite and gerstley borate in the baby kiln.
i’m excited to see what they look like and to put some tests of the blue porcelain in but tomorrow is shaping up to be another snow day. ehhhh…..all this snow.
well, i’ll post some more pictures later this week or next.:-)
my last night at the clay company was spent doing the 8-midnight shift with j. at midnight matt said we might have as little as 45 minutes left so i decided to stay until the end. approximately 5 hours later we shut the anagama down. it made for a pretty delirious day at work, but it was worth it! here are a couple of pics i snapped between side stokes.
i found it really amazing to watch matt and don work. they seemed to know what was happening inside the kiln at every moment. or they would open up a peep hole and glean a ton of information. when i fire the little soda, i’m never FULLY confident that i know what is happening. in the anagama with multiple stoke points and all kinds of dynamics going on inside i was totally blown away by their extreme knowledge, confidence and control. amazing!
am i turning over a new leaf? no, not really, but i did delve into the new year making some functional work. the residents at st. pete clay (and a few others) are doing a shot glass exchange. i’m running around with a chicken with my head cut off with moving preparation and working as much as possible but i took a few hours on jan. 3rd to make some shot glasses. you can’t really tell from the images but they are just a little bigger than a large shot glass. i had to bring my operation inside to the kitchen counter because it was absolutely TOO cold to work outside.
the cups are currently roasting away in the annual anagama firing at the clay company. visiting artists don reitz, matt long and john ballisteri are captaining the firing. i was disappointed to have to be so much less involved than last year, but thems the breaks. i signed up for a stoking shift on saturday with some of my favorite girls (wilson, marlena) and we were kicking it old skool around the anagama. i have no idea what the p10 porcelain will look like wood fired, but hopfully it will be nice. i even lined them with shop clear. i felt like a real potter!
actually the kiln won’t be opened until after my departure for philadlephia, but i’ll happily await my first mail in philadlephia: a package of shot glasses from every resident 🙂
i have another shift coming up tuesday night which promises to busy and HOT and side-stoke-tastic.
it’s a bit of a bummer to be on the periphery of this exciting event, but what a nice way to say good bye!
the above picture is of some tiny sculptures i call the saskunei seeds. saskunei means “no worries” in the fukushima dialect of japanese. in late 2007 i attended a sweet kiln workshop in mashiko, japan. it was my first time to fire woodkilns and we fired 4 kilns in 4 days. one of those kilns was the saskunei smokeless kiln built by kusakabe masakazu. months later i would get to visit him at his studio in fukushima, two times and spend a couple of weeks there total. while i was visiting his studio, i made the sculptures above. pretty soon after that i returned to the united states for good. on the way back i had a layover in atlanta, which i extended so i could visit my good friend and potter kelly sullivan. she works over at an awesome studio/gallery mudfire and during the visit, i got to do some work there. i made some monster sculptures and more of these little seeds, which she fired and glazed after i headed back to florida. over one year later, on a trip up to bowling green, ohio, a friend and i stop in on her and after all this time i get to see the finished peices. when i returned to my studio in st. pete, i decided to make a some more of these little guys, as favors for the folks who purchased work from my exhibition. i’ve given a lot of them out as little gifts, but kept at least a few from each batch, and i’ll keep making them.
which brings me to the next stop on this train line, philadelphia, pa. i’ve “graduated” from my residency in st. pete and in january i’ll be moving up to philly. i started this blog to write about the good times, struggles and process of the clay life and hopefully the next year will bring more to write about.