Monday, October 08, 2007

what a great day!

I really enjoyed my day with Ruthanne Tudball. Besides being a fabulous potter she is a lovely, charming lady! And generous, too. The above are some pieces of her work that she bought to show and to sell. Then she demonstrated making each of these pieces in great detail. So here is a little outline of the evolution of the charming bottle you see on the left.

She throws a nice bottle.
Then squeezes it between to small masonite boards.
With her 'cheese cutter' she cuts her classic swirls into the soft clay.
She adds a 'kick' in the skirt...
and lugs for 'arms'.
Voila! Here it is!
It is so exciting to watch someone work with clay who has such confidence and such an alive relationship with the clay. She does all sorts of manipulation of the clay while it is still soft on the wheel--no time letting it set up and no use of a heat gun to dry it out. She stresses that she is not working with wet clay--she does not add much water as she works--but soft clay. Yet, in spite of all the handling of the soft objects there is no indication of that handling--no finger marks or indentions in the clay other than what she wants there!

Her opening piece was my favorite--though I do love the bottle:
I am sorry it is not a better shot--it is such a graceful form! Ruthanne talked about the value of drawing for any artist--it trains one to see. She does life drawings--has for years--and in August had her first showing of the drawings. She did not draw with the intention of showing her drawings but just for her own development. Can't you see the dancer in this pot!


doug fitch said...

Looks like a great day, she's such a clever potter, thanks for sharing these
Best wishes

potterboy said...

I'm so glad you went and enjoyed it. That's a great photo sequence.

She is great and so are her pots. It's the use of water in throwing that would stop me making this way. I find it difficult to throw without lots of water, although I am beginning to pull with sponges sometimes if I need to. Combined with general clumsiness, I wouldn't stand a chance. Her movements must be so sure and graceful - I guess it shows in the pots.

I had meant to go and see the drawings - the gallery isn't terribly far from me. Do you draw? I am hopeless at it, although I have a go sometimes. She is right though... it's those details and the balance of dimensions that make a pot - some would call it design but I think it's more than that.

And yes - I see a very elegant dancer in that pot - a real old-fashioned glamourous dancer from the 1930's.

Sister Creek Potter said...

I could not resist trying my hand at making the dancing bottle. Well, mine looks like a badly crippled dancer! Poor thing.

I don't draw--like Andrew I think that I 'can't'! But I am inspired to try my hand at it regularly. I'll start with a flower or rock. Ruthanne described a class she was in that provided dancers for the artists to sketch. When an artist saw a position they liked they yelled 'stop' and the dancers froze in that position until released by the artist to continue the dance. Maybe that is where the graceful dancing bottle comes from. Gay

Ron said...

Hey non-drawers. I have always loved to draw but I don't really think I am particularly good at it. Last year a friend told me about Danny Gregory
and I got his book The Creative License. It got me drawing more, with a pen, for myself, and at times I use drawing as a visual journal. Anyhow I recommend his website and book(it's all about giving yourself permisson to be creative). I'd like to get Everyday Matters also.
I drew some pears this morning!

potterboy said...

When I was 10, I won a prize for a picture I drew and it was entered into a county schools picture competition (which I didn't win.)

Unfortunately, 30 years on, my pictures and drawings still look like they were drawn by a 10 year-old.

So I've ordered one of the books he recommends in one of his videos. I have always attempted to draw, but I shall make an extra effort again. I like all the paraphinalia associated with it - it's just one feels so self concious about it all.

It's a nice site though - I shall explore it more when I get time.

Ron said...

I think kid's drawings are the BEST! I love to draw with my non dominant hand sometimes. These are especially kid-like if you use a crayon.

chaetoons said...

Awesome work. Was impressed with the heigth of the pieces.
Gay -- did you happen to find out what kind of clay Ruthanne uses?
I'd be most interested to know, especially as she seems to get such tallness in throwing it without adding coils to the top.

Sister Creek Potter said...

Chae, I think it has to do with skill not clay. Because she lives and works in England--this workshop was in Texas. Here she was using "Balcones White" from Armadillo Clay. At home she mixes her own clay. She remarked that the Balcones felt like throwing with putty! You could not tell that she was having any trouble with the different clay--she is something of a master--in my opinion! She rattled off what she puts in her clay but it was too fast for me to catch. Sorry! Gay

chaetoons said...

Thanks for the information Gay. I appreciate it.

Lee Love said...

Ruth Ann visited Mashiko during my apprenticeship. My friend Euan toured her around. He gave me one of her pieces she fired in his kiln and I keep it in our entry way. She gave Shimaoka one of her pieces and he set it in the dinning room, right between a Hamada and a Kawaii. I never seen him put a living potter's work there before. And lots of folks give him work.

Another interesting thing: Just before I graduated, a potter came what what used to be East Germany, near Dresden, on scholarship for a month. He did wet faceting and expanding like Hank Murrow did. He said he learned wet faceting when he was in Israel. Ruth Ann did a workshop there previously, and he saw a video of her wet faceting. He said he come up with expanding after wet faceting on his own. He used a twisted wire in a coping saw to facet with.

It is interesting to me how two potters can come to the same technique from totally different directions. This German potter's work looked nothing like Hanks.

Another interesting think about how Ruth Ann works: She said at the time, her workspace was very limited. So she single fired. She would take the work right from the studio as it was finished and put it in the kiln. That kind of efficiency appealed to me

Sister Creek Potter said...

I really enjoyed hearing Ruthanne tell how her process evolved from her limited circumstances. Perhaps that is what makes a potter's work uniquely their own. It was a treat watching her work and seeing what she produces. Gay