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


Studio Time: The Return Shelf

The Return Shelf. I dread it like looking into a mirror in the dark, opening a door to a room from which you've heard suspicious noise, or walking down 6th Street at 2 o'clock in the morning. You doubt something great will be there, but you also don't know how awful the surprise could be.

A while back I got my second return... my vessels from the pit fire in Tiburon. This is not such a scary return as a pit fire yields results that exceed expectations 99.9% of the time. And in my case, this was true. The vessels turned out beautifully with generous amounts of blushing red, nebulous white, and metallic black. I was very pleased.

More recently I had some of my 'cut-out' pieces returned to me. The result was disastrous. The clear glaze failed to flux over some of the white underglaze, the Hughs Red failed to mature leaving it a dusty plum color, the grey underglaze ran under the clear losing it's pattern, and the Hopkins White clay body failed to mature leaving it looking like bisque still where it was left raw. Oh, and the poor excuse for a white glaze the studio has to offer crawled over everything, not my pieces alone. The causation of this mess? A poorly fired and poorly functioning kiln.

The Return Shelf was somewhat of a mixed-bag experience as always.


Product. Seems a little like a dirty word when thinking about ceramic art. But when it comes down do it, ceramic design has straddled the space between art and product for as long as it has existed. It is the very nature of the material itself to inhabit the penumbral space between form and function. An extremely durable and affordable material, clay holds the potential for an infinite number of industrial uses, but the versatility of clay also lends itself to an ever-expanding vision of creative use.

I came across this line of commercial pottery, sengWare®, whilst searching for casserole dishes to highlight on my other blog, Everyday Object. The color and form of these pieces are striking and the collection is very affordable. It reminds me of commercial pottery during the mid-twentieth century- Russel Wright, Homer Laughlin, Vernon Kilns, Eva Zeisel, etc. Simple and clean lines, easily manufactured, and boldly glazed.

Personally, at prices like $13.99 (at Target) for a cream & sugar set, I want the whole collection. I might just settle for a casserole set and a pitcher at this point, however.


Tyler Lotz

This is absolutely filthy ceramics... by which I mean absolutely non-purist.

And I frickin' love it. (And yes, that is acrylic.)

Come on mudslingers... get with the program. We've been making things with clay for 30,000+ years. It's time for some innovation. It's time to experiment. It's time to let go of our 'purist' essentialism and see what this medium is really capable of. (I'm just a tad disappointed in the restrictive 'art' environment I currently inhabit.)

Images: Cultured, 2005 and Potted, 2005.


Studio Time: Sf State Update

I am grappling with the idea that a degree in ceramic arts is absolutely useless in the job market, regardless of how desperately I love the material. But... switching to the DAI department at State to get a degree in Product Design, though a much more practical degree, would possibly mean 2-3 years more in school than a studio arts degree which would keep grad school further at bay. What is a girl to do???

Post pictures of her current ceramic doodles, that's what.

Finished Product:

Work in Progress:

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