Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thor meets Ceramics

Meet Thor. Yes, I see everyone rolling their eyes, but I think my hammer is very appropriately named. Hammers are a very vital instrument in the Ceramic industry. Why you say? Well…I can’t tell you how many pots I’ve seen that were tossed in the woods near a kiln or thrown in the garbage, only to be fished out by some unsuspected stranger who thought it was their lucky day to happen upon great artwork that was free. We all make mistakes, artists included. Just to make sure it can't be used, we break our pots.

I once read an article about an artist who charged an obscene amount of money for his reject pieces. A lady who was touring his studio wanted a particular bowl that he no longer had in stock. The lady said, “But sir, you have four more of those bowls right there underneath your table.” He said, “I promise you wouldn’t want those. If you give me some time I will make some for you that will be better than those and a third of the price.” :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fantastic Ceramics

This week's fantastic ceramics award goes to Charan Sachar.

I am teaching a workshop this summer at SCAD called "For the Table." So far our projects have consisted of candle holders and serving dishes. For our final projects, I wanted them to make salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes. While researching examples of butter dishes, I also found that there is a definite lack of well crafted, handmade butter dishes out there; however, I stumbled upon this great find through Etsy. These are pretty incredible. Charan makes these highly decorated forms that are reminiscent of henna tattoos and Indian designs. Check out his Etsy to find some more images of his work.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"I'm sprigging in the rain..."

I've finally begun to use my sprigs ( says: small molded decoration applied to a piece of pottery before firing). I'm going to make a dinnerware set with these, decorating the rims of the plates. I'm not too sure yet how the cups and bowls are going to turn out, but I dig the plates so far.

I finally have air conditioning in my studio! I'm so excited. Last night I worked out there, and it was such a weird experience not being attacked by bugs and to actually feel the difference in the summer air as I stepped outside. Josh is supposed to attach insulation to the roof of the building today. I'm hoping that this will cut down on the amount of energy it takes to keep the studio cool, because our power bill for this past month was astronomical.

Also, in other news, I received the nicest rejection letter for my entries into the Strictly Functional Pottery National Show. So nice in fact, that I considered going to Lancaster, PA to see the show and hear a lecture by Mary Barringer. As the juror, she included a second letter explaining her choices. I seriously read these things twice because they were so encouraging! I remember my first rejection from a juried show. My attitude then was quite different from what it is now. I lacked confidence in my work (and probably in myself at this time) and because I did, I got so upset that my work wasn't chosen. It's so funny and ironic how anger and insecurities go hand-in-hand. Now, I feel confident that my work is growing and headed somewhere. I realize that it hasn't reached it's full potential but that's okay, because I am still learning and working hard.

I've been submitting to a lot of shows lately, and it's a lot of money and I haven't gotten accepted into most. But with the rejections, comes logical thinking...what type of theme was the show?...who was the juror?...what did the person see that I didn't? Rejections make me reevaluate how I am creating my work and make me think, "Okay this is a good idea, but how can I make this better?" With my understanding of what is happening in contemporary functional ceramics, rejections/acceptances give me a gauge of where my work falls. Obviously, I have a lot of work to do, but I never expected this to be easy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fantastic Ceramics

This week's fantastic ceramics award goes to Doug Peltzman. I'm a little wary about posting images of other artist's works in my blog without their approval (I don't have the 411 on copyright laws), but I've posted my favorite image of his work. ::crosses fingers:: Hopefully, my good intentions will not go unnoticed.

Things I really enjoy about this work:
-his intense attention to surface design
-his bravery of quilting many different designs on one piece
-his unique spin on the functional forms (super cool handles)
-how modern and clean the work looks without being slip-cast

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Blogging and Shipping Experience

So I've been expanding my knowledge of blogging this past week. I've gotta say, some people are pretty hard core. I know that I will never be a consistent, everyday blogger (nor do I aspire to be), but I was motivated to amp up my game a few notches. So I've decided to start including a few technical and artist-of-the-week blogs. I know that the technical things will probably be boring to anyone not fanatical about Ceramics, but oh well.

On other news, I got into a show! The excitement was pretty grand, until I realized, "Well shit. How am I going to ship these things?" The show, "Dining In: An Artful Experience," is at 18 Hands Gallery in Houston, TX. This will be the farthest my work has ever traveled from me. Actually, I take that back. I did ship some commissioned pieces to Manitoba that made it, but somehow this stresses me out more. I've seen bad shipping, and I'm kinda terrified.

In other words, I went a little overboard and constructed a crate. I got my dimensions, bought some 3/16" hardboard, 2" drywall screws, wood glue, and 2"x2" balusters. (If you want the details, I'll definitely hand over the recipe for great crate making, but I don't want to overwhelm people just yet.) I'll put some photos later, cause it's pretty nice; however, it probably weighs 30 lbs on its own. Let me go check that. Yup, 33 lbs WITHOUT the important stuff inside. Now if I had submitted to a crate making contest, I think I would have won, hands down.

Anyways, my boss tells me that shipping companies make these things call double walled cardboard boxes. Who knew? (All the while, I'm thinking some pretty nice things like, "You mean you didn't think to mention this before I spent my valuable time and money on a crate?!?") So, I take my merry self over to FedEx (because I've had better experiences with them) and buy a box that costs $10.50. Talk about faster and easier. So to wrap this up (haha, get it?), these are a few major secrets that I've learned over the years and very recently about shipping functional ceramics:

*Always double box your pieces. Meaning, secure your pieces in one small box, then suspend the small boxes in a larger box filled tightly with packing material.

*Try to avoid putting heavier pieces in the same box with lighter, more delicate ones (aka, slip cast work).

*Never pile loose packing peanuts into the second box. The gallery will hate you. Make "packing peanut pillows" by filling plastic grocery bags with the peanuts. I've found that Target bags are amazing because they are thicker than regular grocery store bags. ~Suggestion given by Jessica Broad

* Sometimes having your package scheduled to be picked up from your residence is cheaper than dropping the package off at the company to be shipped from there. You can check rates on their websites. ~Suggestion given by Yves Paquette

* Functional work should be shipped as "dishes," not artwork.

Armed with all of this knowledge and a much lighter 20 lb package (with everything inside), I am going to ship this bad boy next week and see what happens.

Over and out.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I updated my website a few days ago. Visit the portfolio if you would like to see the images of my newer pieces.
Other updates: I applied to three shows and I am waiting on notification of whether I was rejected/accepted (hoping for at least one!). I dropped off a fair amount of bowls and mugs to my gallery yesterday; she seemed pleased about the work, but I don't think the owner is rather happy that I no longer put bugs on my mason jars. I was admiring the paintings in the gallery while she was helping a customer, and I can see why people/tourists would want them. The painting are beautiful, iconic images of Savannah, and as a tourist visiting the first time, this town can be quite captivating (thus impulse buys of Savannah artwork?). Mason jars with cute little blue butterflies on them are right up there on the Southern charm scale, but I want my work to be more whimsical than Southern. My goal is to get into grad school with my portfolio not just to sell. Don't get me wrong, the money helps, but I need to find a good balance of what sells and makes me happy.
I've taken yesterday and today for myself, so tonight it's back to the grind. I feel like my portfolio is headed in the right direction, but I still have a long way to go.
Happy 4th everyone!