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Find me more frequently for the time being at Folk-Art-Life.


Work in Progress

Okay, last post today, I swear. I just got back from the studio and wanted to show you some of the stuff I've been working on.  I really like the idea of the 'pinched' pot at the moment and of these 'pierced' rock shaped handles.  They are really fun to make and I like the juxtapostiton of the rough shap and the exact 'holes' and geometric patterns, plus if all goes well, the colors will be bright and pop against a light stoneware body. Then I might try a lustre on top, like maybe silver on the handles... we'll see.

One trouble I can't figure out is how to keep fingernail marks out of the equation. Can anyone help me out with that? The ridiculous thing is- beware TMI- I'm a nail-biter so my nails are kept impossibly short. I have no idea how to create that exaggerated pinched texture without getting nail crescents in there.

Any advice? Or general input?

Mug of the Month: March and April

Okay, so I got a little behind on this one... But at least I came through. My artisan mug collection is now four deep thanks to my most recent acquisitions. The first, a stunning liquid holder from my friend and studio mate-neighbor, the ever talented Scott Jennings.  He works impeccably in slab construction. And for working in a process that's all about flat he sure creates some voluptuous pieces. The particular style that I purchased reminds me of a blow fish, wave, coral-encrusted rock. Hence the lovely oceanic scene above. It fits though, doesn't it? 

P.S. The lip is a beauty on this one.

Next is my super-dooper surprise mug from the Molly Hatch workshop. I know, you're shocked I picked this as my April mug. It's beautiful. I am so inspired by her illustrative techniques and I love the pinched feel of this mug. It has what Molly refers to as 'evidence of her hand' and makes the piece all the more lovely.  I've been drinking from it night and day: Morning coffee? Check. Midday tea? Check. Evening wine? Double check. I want more!

Okie doke, we've got a Fourth and Clay sale tomorrow morning and a Gwendolyn Yoppolo workshop at the end of the month. A million bucks to whoever can guess next month's pick!

Wait. Did I say a million bucks? I meant kuddos. Kuddos.

Kuraoka Says to Know: Goro Suzuki

There isn't much I can say about Goro Suzuki except that he is probably the most famous Japanese potter, which is odd becuase you can't really find information about him very easily.  He is known for his contemporary work in the traditional Japanese style of Oribe which is characterized by the flowing green glazes and strong geometric illustrations.  I really like some of his work, like these stacked boxes, as well as some of his shino tea bowls, and while I appreciate his style conceptually, overall I'm just not the biggest fan.

Has anyone seen his work in person? Or know more about him? Please share. :)

(images via Lacoste Gallery)


Jonathan Adler Video

For some reason I just can't wrap my head around Jonathan Adler The Potter. I mean, I know he's like a legit for reals potter... but it's just hard to imagine him actually getting his hands dirty when he's surrounded by all his mass-produced tchotchkes. I won't lie... I like many of his forms and surface decoration, it's kind of hard to resist the mid-century kickback. This video, however, is proof positive that Jonathan Adler is indeed a member of our secret club. Though I am skeptical about the greenware shelves full of product in the background of the video. His dog is totally cute though, so that kinda makes up for the weird product placement.

via Jonathan Adler's blog

Diana Fayt

It's about time for another post about the Bay Area Pottery Posse. These ladies are truly amazing. Not only do they create delicious bodies of work but they have an unparalleled skill for marketing themselves which I greatly admire.

Onto Diana Fayt specifically, though... I can remember the very first time I came face to face with Fayts beautiful pottery. It was a few years ago and I had stumbled into a new shop on 16th Street between Valencia and Guerrero Streets... The shop was called CandyStore and generously dispersed throughout the quaint shop was the work of local artist Diana Fayt. I had just recently rekindled my relationship with clay and was falling in love the second time around (sometimes that's how it happens). Fayt's fantastic use of bold colors, sketchy botanical motifs, and wabi-sabi forms inspired me immediately. As I have watched Fayt's style delicately evolve I become more and more fond and inspired by her work and her business.  

I had the pleasure of meeting Fayt at Molly Hatch's workshop last weekend and she was just as lovely and perfectly relaxed as her work. Such a pleasant surprise. Though I have to say, few ceramists have ever proven otherwise, so it wasn't really a surprise, more a confirmation.  (We clay folk are just nice people I guess.)

Fayt has a huge body of work and there are many images I could share with you, but I decided to stick to one form, my favorite-- her Canteen Vase, to highlight the beautiful illustration work.  The artist's process is one she describes as self-developed and neither mishima nor sgrafitto. I can't figure out how she does it either but it's a great process however it works. I can't wait to take her workshop one of these days... Speaking of-- Fayt is offering a whole slough of workshops this summer, unfortunately none in the Bay Area, which you can find out more about on her new blog.

Fayt is also currently showing new work at Gumps San Francisco along with a few other Posse members including Josie Jurczenia, Rae Dunn, and Whitney Smith. If you can't make it, check out Fayt's Etsy shop instead and then become her fan on Facebook so you won't miss the next time she shows or teaches in your area.

(images via artist's etsy shop)


John Skelton

I love this pottery for a couple reasons-- One, the subtlety of the wax erosion patterns is so lovely and gentle. The patterns and texture are so simple but they add so much to the pieces. Two-- the wood-fired surface of his pots reminds me of all the things I love about a good shino: milky whites, blushing orange, and smokey trapped-carbon freckles. Yum. I think the two teapots are especially delicious. Skelton is also part of AKAR's 2010 Yunomi Invitational, so check him out there. Then check out hiss lovely library of video tutorials which include how to make a stacked box set, wax resist techniques, and altering a thrown bowl. How awesome of the artist to share with us!

(images via artist's website)


Workshop Review: Molly Hatch

The Molly Hatch workshop at Fourth and Clay was wonderful this weekend. I learned a few tricks that I think will help me in transferring my own designs and patterns in the future. I realized a lot of the 'construction' tricks that Molly uses are tricks I keep up my sleeves as well and this made me feel grateful for the wonderful teachers that I've had so far... it was a nice moment of quiet affirmation about my own techniques.

Molly was so lovely, down to earth, and sharing... It was such a treat to pick her brain about her work and hear about the concepts behind her creativity. All the inspiration she draws from textile patterns hit so close to the heart and made me feel a little more motivated to figure out a way that I can marry my own passions in art as Molly has done with drawing and clay.

the top-secret wine cork tool 

I won't spoil the workshop for any of you... in case you ever get the chance to take it yourself, which I would highly encourage. She shared so many lovely (and practical) secrets including glaze, engobe, and clay recipes. One small secret I will share is the wine cork plus needles scoring tool trick.  I've known of this little DIY tool for a while, but never made it. After watching Molly use it, it was the first thing I did when I got home. With this little bugger all you gotta do is dip it in the water and score. The needles hold more water than a toothed rib or fork and don't gunk up like the commercial scoring tools. It's a one step scoring process that creates the slip as you scratch the clay-- awesome.

Molly building an 'envelope-giftbox-coffin' vase... 
we couldn't figure out the proper term.

Molly tracing her designs through her template onto the tile...

 Molly scratches the transferred depressions a little deeper...

 The mishima pattern after being filled with 'ink' or very thin slip...

Molly 'paints' her designs (normally after bisque) with special 
engobes that mimic some qualities of oil paint...

Molly was also having a show at a local shop, Lola, that we took a detour to see... It was lovely to see her work in person and be able to fondle the pieces a bit. The mirrors (not pictured) were absolutely lovely and the frames she creates for her pottery transform quaint little tea cups into striking wall sculptures. If you ever get the chance, you must see her work in person...

 a mounted teacup
a pitcher perfect for iced tea

a teapot

 even the underside of the teapot's lid has a lovely detail

For more about Molly's workshop check out Linda's post. Her photos are fantastic and she shares a few more images of Molly's work as well.

Lastly, I wanted to say, the ladies at Fourth and Clay-- Josie, Rae, and Christa-- are so incredibly lovely. I'm so glad they opened their beautiful studio and welcomed us all in to partake in such a great class. They are having a Sale next weekend that I am looking very forward to. I just might end up with several mugs for the month of May...

Off Subject: Carly Waito

 Aren't these oil paintings absolutely stunning. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get to see them up close one day... tightly crossed. Also, Waito is half of the Canadian design duo Coe&Waito, who, until recently, designed and produced a varity of lovely porcelain objets des maisons.

(images via hunter/gatherer)


On Etsy: Jeff Campana

artist's Etsy shop
artist's website
artist's blog

Why I like it: Because these forms and colors and glazing are all just so incredibly beautiful. As it that even needed saying. You should definitely read his blog, it's chock full of beautiful imagery, work in progress, and tricks and techniques. Killer.

(images via Akar, artist's flickr, and artist's  etsy shop)

Open 4 Discussion: Choosing Your Path

I had a lot of trouble falling asleep last night despite having had a great (and early day), a plentiful serving of Madmen, and just enough time to doodle before turning out the light.  It has become very apparent that I have one goal for this upcoming year. While it's nice to have narrowed it to one certain goal, the goal itself happens to be so humongous when I consider it that my imagination goes running to hide in a dark little corner of my brain.  

You see... I feel like my imagination and my creative energy are spread among too many venues. I love so many mediums and have so many ideas and my hands are naturally inclined to so many skills. I see a beautiful lace pattern and I imagine an installation of mossy netting with magical phrases hidden in a mess of rosettes, lattice, and filet.  I'm introduced to a new artist who creates the most beautiful texture on her pots and all of a sudden I'm pinching a new series of cups out with my fingers and they look wonderful and nothing like anything I've every made before. An embroidered self-portrait assignment throws me into a Willy-Wonka-factory-dream of patterns, colors, and textures. A collection of antique bottles inspires a series of art nouveau inspired perfume bottles, a fantastic workshop results in a set of whimsical and expressive masks, a new technique leads to a series of pillow saucers, and a glance back to the sculptural work I produced last semester rekindles a forgotten love. 

I feel like I'm constantly spinning the wheel of fortune and landing on a different prize every time. Which would be fantastic if I were interested in just collecting ideas... but I'm not. I look at the bodies of work from artists I admire and the cohesiveness tugs on the coattails of my thoughts. How are you going to get anywhere or become great at anything if you can't focus yourself, I hear. And then another voice, who cares, create whatever you want to. At the moment, however, the former is louder and more nagging. 

So my goal this year? Create a cohesive body of work.

I know it sounds kinda big and unrealistic and naive... but I've gotta. I'm getting closer and closer to 30 every year (don't laugh), and I want to have something so show for myself come my fourth decade. Heck, I want to have something to show for my senior project next year! So I've got one idea for how I'm going to attempt this--  Making a list. I know, I know... not a huge flash of genius but it's all I've got at the moment. I'm going to make a list of how many pieces I want done by the end of the summer as well as which forms. 

Ugh, even that seems silly when written down. 

Please help... I'm so unbelievably frustrated.

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