Monday, October 13, 2014

Wonderful Pots

It's good to take a step back every so often, and notice, not what I make, but what I love. It gives a very clear sense of a goal, where I want to develop as a potter. I'd like to share with you some of what I find wonderful.

I'm not sure if it is legitimate to show pictures from other people's websites without their permission, so here are just the links. Have a look:

Jennifer McCurdy makes wild, carved, unglazed, porcelain sculptures based on bowl shapes. My first thought, at first sight, was "this is what patience looks like". Far more than patience:

Jennifer Lee also works from patience, slow, lovely, thoughtful, calm bowls as sculpture:

Linda Bloomfield's pots are more commercial, functional dishes sold personally and through large companies.  I love the simpler forms and cool color:

Sotis Filippides starts with bowls too, though he specializes in rough clay surfaces:

What's with all the Brits? Just that I have the frequent opportunity, though my husband's annual British workshops, to go to England, and I visit potters.

How about a wonderful local potter?  Check out the work of Roberta Klein for elegant form and fabulous glazes/glazing: Look in the members list.

So what are the goals for me? To make elegant light smooth form, with glaze as a supporting element. An aesthetic goal; whether the pot has other functions is not the point  --  surprise.

Specifically, there's something heart lifting for me about bowls that start from a narrow base and flare upward lightly. Time to practice that.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Del Mar Taste and Art Stroll

Sound yummy? I expect to be there, with pots. It's in the middle of the street, the 101 in Del Mar south of 15th Street. Sunday October 5, 10-5.

 Come by, I'll bring an extra chair.

Monday, September 1, 2014

How about Salt Dishes?

Do we need salt dishes? I've always used salt shakers. But there are all sorts of wild salts available now, and half the fun of them is how unusual they look. Get them out of the shaker to see them.

 I got the idea of making salt dishes from a spice seller at a farmers' market; she uses them to offer samples of her spice mixes. Of course, not just for salt.

From the idea to a form that works takes awhile. I've found only some knob shapes work well with slippery gloss glazes on this small scale.

This one is too wide at the base; fingers slide off.

 I've found the spoons slide down out of reach in empty dishes; that may not matter for use, but it does for displaying the dishes for sale.

This one is long enough, and why not a twist?

And there's definitely a better aesthetic quality in 2 loosely fitting bowls (one for bottom, one for top), like the picture above, over a bottom and top with fitted  edges, like a jar.

That maybe an effect of the scale; too much edge , not enough pot.

The scale is fascinating. These are the first miniatures I've made since a class assignment. It sure feels odd to make them, like sewing doll clothes perhaps. The object is tiny, but the fingers are the usual size. It takes a very different touch.

Salt dishes also attract people who like miniatures, something I've not been very aware of. People buy them for salt and spices, and the bigger bowls for dipping sauces.  I started with these, more than 2 inches across, without spoons.

 But some people choose them because they simply love tiny containers, and little girls are enchanted. Salt dishes seem to be "adorable".

On the other hand, I had a dream last night in which someone was using my salt dishes to murder people, and the police came by to check on my materials. (In waking life, no I do not use poisonous glazes.) Doesn't this make you want one?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who Cares for Handcraft?

A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend with extreme contrasts in interest in craft work. On Sunday I took my pots to the Chula Vista Lemon Festival. It is a lively, friendly street fair, plenty of people (and dogs) of all ages, very few handmade objects offered for sale and very little interest in my pots. I just thought clearly I don't belong here, at least to sell pottery.

The day before, I went on a bus trip to LA with CASD, Clay Artists of San Diego. We stopped at Aardvark, which sells a great variety of tempting ceramic supplies; the LA County Art Museum (LACMA); the Craft and Art Museum; and the Freehand Gallery. All these places are wonderfully devoted to the individual products of individual craftpeople and artists. The art museum was busy with people full of interest and opinions, kids, students, old people, an ethnic mix as wide as the Chula Vista Festival, everyone. The Craft and Folk Art Museum focuses on exhibits of a few artists, a wideranging gift shop and events encouraging local people to make it themselves, with their hands. And the Freehand Gallery is plain inspiring. Gorgeous handmade "functional craft", as they describe their choice. And Carol Sauvion, the founder and owner, also produced Craft in America, an ongoing marvelous TV series, traveling exhibit, book, and more coming. I'm a fan. Have a look:, and

What a contrast. I'm still thinking about it. At least, there is a substantial subset of people who love the process and products of hand work, who want to make and to see and use them. Some of them go into art museums. Others (defined by the medium evidently) are folk art, craft, do-it-yourself. What about Stoney Lamar's fascinating wood sculptures at the Craft and Folk Art Museum?

He describes himself as a wood turner, using machine tools, but clearly making art, not just beautiful bowls and the like.

 So, it doesn't have to be hand-without-machine work. Perhaps I really mean self-and-body work in the making of things, so that the results are individual and personal. That's art I suppose, even if the products also have some other function.

I've been struggling with the meanings of art and craft and the purpose of making pottery by hand in  the industrialized world. Except in a few barely industrialized places, nobody needs handmade pots for practical reasons. I seem to need to make them, to live in my hands. And people who like and choose handmade things maybe share this.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Around San Diego in August

Really around. I'll be spending Sundays at art sales. Please come by if you like.

Sunday August 3
Chula Vista Lemon Festival on 3rd Ave, 10-5

Sunday August 10
Art in the Village, Carlsbad, 9-5. I'll be at the south end of the show area.

Sunday August 24
LeucadiArt Walk on the 101 in Leucadia

With new pots of course.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Teapots Again, and They're Fun to Make

I haven't made teapots in several years. Starting from a class assignment, in a handbuilding class I took this spring, I've rediscovered the fun of these shapes.

They're not so hard to make anymore. Teapots are a standard challenge for beginning potters, lots of parts to make and relate; I'm past that stage. Here's what the latest ones look like.

That one's just a picture; I put runny glaze on the top (that brown plus white combination) and sealed the top to the pot above the spout. Maybe I'm not past the stage of having difficulty with teapots.

I'm liking their friendly roundness, with a bit of cute.

Want to see some inspiring teapots, not my doing?

 If you want cuteness, these two have it. And the ones in the next picture are definitely art, in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

So much to try!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In the Coronado Art Association

I've been enjoying finding wonderful potters as we traveled in France, in places I was told to look, and in others we happened upon. Potters everywhere. Locally, too there are skilled and inspired potters everywhere. And other artists. The Coronado Art Association is one of many such organizations of local artists. It's centered in Coronado, open to any one in the San Diego area who passes their jury's scrutiny. It's largely composed of painters, also a few potters, photographers, jewelers, wood carvers... They  -- we --  show and sell our work in Spreckel's Park in Coronado, on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, 9-4. What a pleasant way to spend a sunny Sunday. I'll be there most of these Sundays for the summer.

Come by and I'll share a chair. Have a look at what the others are showing. The quality is generally very high; you'll see what's to your taste.

Influenced by the beach as well as the park, maybe, I've been making magnets, like these.

And tried out these little shell shapes as cabinet pulls. It works. Want custom cabinet handles?

There seems no end to the possibilities, in ideas and applications. And so many people making it ourselves, or playing it or performing it ourselves. Who fits this image we hear about so much, of Americans as dull couch potatoes and spectators?