Thursday, April 07, 2011

Well, guess the first thing is to say "Hi, there" to anyone who might drop by after my 2 month silence. I'm still wondering why I've been avoiding my blog. It was such a pleasure once. But now it feels like an unpleasant obligation. I've dreamed up lots of possible explanations: I'm dispirited, I have no studio work to discuss, I've become self-conscious about the hubris of having this blog in the first place.
I daily read the blogs of friends I have made through the blog world--so I feel like I am still in touch with them. But…I'm not!
So, whats going on? I went to NCECA--don't deserve it, I know, but I hope that it lights a fire under me! I did really enjoy it. I had not considered going until I got an invitation I could not refuse: my roommate from a former NCECA wrote and invited me to join her for NCECA. I had not seen her since that trip and could not resist the chance to be with her again. So off I went. And it was great. So many pots! Such wonderful exhibits. Pete Pinnell's talk was a treat. La Mesa is always very special--Santa Fe Clay does an incredible job putting that together each year. And I really enjoyed the exhibition at the Craft House--my kind of pottery. It does seem that 'sculptural ceramics' is eclipsing 'functional pottery' these days. Sculptural = art, functional = craft. Well, that is my own personal observation/opinion.
A favorite piece from La Mesa is by Betsy Williams of New Mexico:

Isn't that lovely!
I have spent a bit of time in the studio since my return--but no great news from there yet.
Today I spent the couple hours it took to watch the video that Brandon Phillips posted a link to today: panel discussion of Michael Simon's show there at U of Minnesota. I felt properly chastised for not putting in my studio time!
I think my BIG block is glazing. I could sit and throw bowls all day, all week. Or hand build little Japanese hermit huts. But then when I think of how to decorate/glaze I freeze up. I think this is partially the result of going off in two directions: low-fire earthenware and ^6 stoneware. I had done a lot of glaze testing at ^6 but now it has been almost a year since I've done anything with those glazes. Since then I've been working with earthenware and making minimal tests of glazes and terra sigillata. Feeling very insecure in both areas now.


Tracey Broome said...

Gay: Believe it or not, I have the same problem as you with glazing. That's why I turned to Raku and terra sig, it's more like painting and I am more comfortable brushing than dipping. If I dip a pot in a glaze it is a failure, not doubt about it, and it has always been this way for me. I have had some success with some commercial glazes, I like Coyote and Georgies, maybe give those a try, you can order them in cheap 4 oz sizes to see how you like them before a big investment. I am still searching for just one 04 glaze that will work for me, but they are all so fussy. If I find a good one I will let you know! Anyway, I have enjoyed your blog and your honesty and it has been fun getting to know you. Plus we would have never seen Winter's Bone if not for blogging with you, it's now my all time favorite movie!
Good to see you blogging again!

Sister Creek Potter said...

Tracey, thanks for the warm welcome back! As I've already confessed your blog is one of my 'must go to' each morning no matter what is calling me!

Judy Shreve said...

Hi Gay! So glad to see you blogging again. I agree that sometimes blogging can feel like such a chore. I've tried to quit mine a couple of times --

How fun to get to go to NCECA with an old friend. I would love to see all those clay exhibits - probably some of the best work being done today. I have also been listening to the Michael Simon panel -- also bought the book from the show (Evolution).

I've been lost for about two years - since switching from ^6. This year I have dropped out of two major shows I usually do because I didn't feel like my work was ready to be out there - I've felt like giving up clay on a lot of days. But I love the stuff -- and have pushed on -- and finally it feels like I'm starting to connect what's in my head with what I'm able to do -- whew! Clay is such a journey!

If I can help with recipes or a cheer over your shoulder - please email me. I'll bet if you just get in your hands back in clay -- you'll be hooked again! :)

Sister Creek Potter said...

Thanks, Judy. Last night, still thinking on my post, I realized that I have not made anything that I am proud of in a long time (since getting into earthenware?). There was a time when I took a lot of pleasure in looking at and showing my work. Perhaps I was looking with uninformed eyes--but I still like a lot of that work. I've gotta get back to liking what I make! I'm tired of chansing recipes! I have tons of recipes--and I've tested hundreds (not for the earthenware, though). The problem is elsewhere.

madpotter1 said...

Hi Gay!
Love those Betsy Williams dishes!

Glazing......... grrrrr.... hate it! Usually spend a day in fetal position on the couch before I jump in to that to mess. But still love the mak'n part :-)

good to hear from you!

Sister Creek Potter said...

Sandy, great news about Boston Craft! High time! And now you are off and running! Your blog is such a treat! Thanks for the encouraging note.

Judy Shreve said...

Gay - I loved the work you did when you got back from Spain!

I agree - after working at ^6 functional for ten years - functional earthenware just never seemed right. I was always disappointed and tossed over 50% of everything I made. And during that time I had to talk myself in to going into my studio. I was crazy!

Then I decided to quit making functional pieces and just see where earthenware would 'take' me before giving up on it entirely. Now I love what I'm doing - have design dreams and I'm constantly drawing in my sketchbook again.

I'm not putting any pressure on myself to sell or do shows -- thankfully I don't need the income. I'm still working with a couple of local galleries to help pay for my supplies. But I'm finally having fun again!

Now I create the piece - apply terra sig and then carve my design and add some underglaze. I bisque. The final surface treatments are with acrylics -- no more glaze issues! My boxes I'll fire twice and put a standard glaze on the inside before the cold finish. Now my toss out rate is about 10%.
Life is good again :)

Ron said...

Hi Gay, I'm glad you went to NCECA. It's good to see what's being done out there and to hear some good talks. Micheal Kline told me how good Pete's talk was.

I think glazing is really tough at mid range and low range. I rarely see anything that really knocks me out in those areas. High fire glazes worked well for me when I did that sort of work.

The pots I see in mid and low range that are exceptional seem to be pretty labor intensive or extremely simple. Weird sort of. Examples would be Linda Arbuckle and Joe Pintz. Linda's forms, glazing and deco abilities are amazing. Joe has a very individual sense of form and the simple monochromatic glazes he uses suits that work.

It's such a hard place to be and I wish I could be more helpful. I think it is important to like what you make and I think it's okay to be in the struggle with it. (Although it's frustrating as can be).

Well, I just wanted to chime in. Maybe we can talk about this some more when you are here.

chaetoons said...

Glad to see you blogging again Gay! Hang in there, the inspiration will come !!!
Heaps o Hugs

Vicki Wenderlich said...

Gay, keep posting! That's why I have you on my RSS feed-- no matter how long it's been you will always show up in my reader when you have something to say. And I always enjoy hearing it. Don't ever worry about how long it's been. This blog is for you, so post when you feel like it!

I feel your pain about glazing; wouldn't it be so much simpler if we could just throw and sculpt? One of the most beautiful things about work at the greenware stage is that we haven't scuffed it up with bad glazing yet :] The potential is intoxicating. And switching from ^6 to earthenware or back again is very frustrating. But I think you are harder on yourself than the rest of us :]

Anyway, I'm looking forward to your next post--whether that's tomorrow or two more months down the road!

Trish said...

Gay.. I just dropped in to see what you are doing..and found the current post which I did look at and thought (!!) I had commented.. It is great that I checked today, because I am feeling the same way at the moment.. I just posted on my blog about having sooo much work to glaze, but I would rather 'play in the mud'.. and here I am procrastinating again!..why, I wonder, too?? is my advice today - to myself as well -- try to do a bit every day..and see what happens. At least some glazing WILL be done..:)..happppy day to you. T.