Thursday, August 27, 2009

Opening Reception Tonight - Rock Hill, SC

I'm honored to have had two pieces selected for the

Public Reception & Awards:
Thursday, August 27, 6pm .... That's tonight!

If you cant make it to the reception, the exhibit runs through September 18th.

Rock Hill, SC is located about 25 miles south of Charlotte, NC.

Outburst, Earthenware clay and cast glass, 37" x 34" x 2"Heart's Ease, earthenware clay, 33" x 20" x 1"

If you're able to swing by the show, could you take pictures for me? Wish I could be in two places at once!


UPDATE - September 1, 2009
I just found out that my sculpture "Outburst" (pictured above) was awarded Third Place! What an honor!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Education is for the Soul

Yesterday I started a post-baccalaureate program in Ceramics at the University of Florida. It's a one year/two semester program for students interested in developing technical skills, aesthetic sensibilities, and personal concepts.

My decision to go back to school was based on several factors.
  • Technique - My work has shifted from being predominantly glass to predominantly clay and I'd like to further develop my technical understanding of materials, process, and techniques.
  • Community - After working alone in the studio for the past couple years, I wanted to work among other artists sharing ideas and engaging in critiques.
  • Artistic Development - I felt like it was time to get out of my comfort zone and push myself. I want to be asked those "hard questions" about my work. Why do I make the work that I do?
  • Opportunity - juried shows, lectures, visiting artists, art openings, network with other artists and professionals, etc.
We had a great first class yesterday! Our instructor, Linda Arbuckle, is an amazing artist and is just full of information! I left class feeling energized and inspired. Our first project is due on Tuesday. We will each be giving a power-point presentation defining our concept of interest and showing sources/inspiration images that support that idea. Research! I love it! And have already checked out a rather large stack of library books.
Back to school also means a shift in my studio routine. While I will continue to blog, fill gallery orders, and complete commissioned work, I want to allow myself the time needed (and required) to get the most out of this program. This year is going to be more about process than product.

I'm looking forward to sharing this next chapter of learning, personal growth and artistic development with you.

"What sculpture is for a block of marble, education is to the soul" - Joseph Addison

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Glass - Kiln Casting and Slumping

Finished up these tile plaques this week. This series of 6" x 6" x 1" plaques incorporates kiln cast glass and slumping, so I thought I'd share a couple pictures of the glass process today.

Finished Wall Plaques
Unfired glass stacked into steel molds. The molds are lined with fiber paper so the castings wont stick. Yes, I use the same L&L ceramics kiln to fire both ceramics and fused glass, and it works beautifully! I do have separate sets of selves, and 2 different types of kiln wash (aka shelf primer) though.
Kiln castings after being fired to 17250F. Interested in my glass firing schedule?
Check it out here.
In my kiln, this firing is set to Program #5. The kiln castings after the glass has been taken out of the mold and cleaned up a bit. Each "brick" is between 1/2" to 1" thick. Slicing the cast "bricks" with a table top tile saw.
(My least favorite part of the process. So loud and messy!)But it's worth it! The colors and patterns of the glass castings are revealed after they are sliced open. They've always reminded me of geodes. Once I have the slices, they 're cut down to size with a hand held glass cutter/scoring tool. The windows are also coated with the same primer/kiln wash that is on the shelves. This allows the glass to slump through the clay opening with minimal stress and cracking on the glass.

The pre-fired, glazed tiles are loaded into the kiln upside down, with the glass covering the window opening. They are then fired to 1300oF.
This is Glass Firing Program #2 .
After firing, the kiln wash/shelf primer is cleaned off with a damp sponge and the glass is glued back in with 100% silicone adhesive.
Here's a tile without the steel backing.
Well, there's a very quick runthough of what I've been up to this week in the studio. If you have any questions about any part of this process, please just let me know. I'm happy to share info!


For those of you that like to plan way in advance...
Save the Date - August 22 - 28, 2010
All Fired Up! Experiments with Glass and Clay.

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Glazing - My Process

Hi there!

I've spent most of the week happily glazing away in the studio. Many more Mini Sculptures and Tile Plaques in the works! And while I've talked to many potters and ceramic artist who find glazing/decorating tedious, this is my favorite part!
After the clay has been bisque fired, I organize the work by size and style and then get to work labeling. (Those of you that know me are laughing at the words 'organizing' and 'labeling' - I know, I know, I cant help it!)
Anyway, using a pencil, I go through each piece, decided which glazes will be used where, and then write a code or abbreviation for the glaze in that spot. I have about 70 glazes mixed, but really only use about 35-45 of these on a regular basis. So there are a lot of codes, most of which would look like gibberish to anyone else!
Then I go through each glaze one at a time, applying it with a small #6 brush. It becomes a "glaze-by-number" and I'm able to sit back and enjoy my favorite podcasts (This American Life, or Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, etc.) or listen to audio books. (Recently I listened to and loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Thanks for the recommendation Betsy!)

I've found that listening to podcasts or books during the day passes the time extremely quickly, I learn a lot of information, it keeps my mind focused on positive things rather than worrying (see previous post) AND I'm able to get tons of glazing done! A Win-Win situation all around.

Do you have any routines, habits, or techniques that make "tedious" tasks pass with more ease and enjoyment? Or, any podcast or book recommendations?

Well, those ceramic tiles and Mini Sculptures are in the kiln now, so I should probably go check on them. Thanks for reading a bit about my process.