March 2011 Archives

circles of march

small-circle-1.jpgI remember when I was a student at Antioch University in Columbia Maryland  I would tape newspaper to my wheel head and paint perfect circles as I turned my wheel on and off and held my hand steady. I was chasing an idea of perfection.

Recently I was pursuing the question of how to express an idea visually.  At the end of my day in the studio I cleaned off the plywood table,mixed up my black glaze and  I dipped my fat skunk tail brush in  black glaze and let it run until the drips slowed down and ran my hand across the bowl so that I got a line of drips  and an asymmetrical circle on a series of white bowls.

When I revisited painting circles it was a moment of re-examining an old idea. I think of my work as being like traveling along a gentle upward spiraling path. I make a loop and revisit ideas and by the time I come back to them I have traversed a big circle and I am looking at the idea from a slightly different angle. It is not pure repetition but readdressing old ideas with new vision experience and hopefully insight. I am not just documenting answers but always chasing a more interesting question.

visual clues

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I have been working on panels to exhibit my landscape plates.When I focus on an individual plate it's like I am laying in the grass with a macro lens looking at each blade. When I laid the plates out on the panel it was as if I began to see through a window onto a field. The plates have drawings behind them so that when the plates are in use there is still something visual for attention. The drawing also serves as a visual clue as to where each plate belongs. I have a photo series of these plates on evidence, my tumblr site, and they cycle into a cool animation.

I have updated my website this week with  galleries of woodfired, earthenware, and whiteware -- all listed under <pottery> on the main page

grass-plate-close-up.jpg Above is a close-up of  the drawing; below is the inspiration for this series of plates & drawings.


vernal equinox 2011

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Today's welcome factoid is that there were twelve hours and eight minutes of daylight. Here in Virginia the crocus, daffodils and forsythia are cooperating with the idea of spring.

Now that the days are  longer I don't find myself walking after sunset quite as often and the night sky inhabits my imagination with a different cast.

horizon-plate-small.jpgThis plate, from a recent gas firing, was inspired by night snow. For those of us weary of winter the vernal equinox marks a shift in balance and new beginnings both in the garden and in general outlook. If only nature would cooperate.

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fence posts

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After yoga one day I snapped a photo of a fence post with torn wire fencing  and the Naples yellow field behind was cut by the pale blue winter sky. I didn't see the connection then but as I drew from my image I saw the correlation to my plates.

 The last few afternoons I have walked with my camera looking for the intersection of bare tree trunks and the fields beyond. The sky weights the hills down. These colored drawings are becoming clear fodder for my slab plates.

landscape-plate.jpgUrban myth has it that when Bob Dylan first heard the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, he only made it through the first few songs. He turned it off afraid his own creative process might be influenced or blocked by the inspiration of the Beatles. I find that I need to look at lots of stuff. I need the stimulation of other artists and visions to translate and focus my own ideas. My motivation grows by seeing other versions of excellence. I remember being inspired by Sean Scully's paintings when I saw them at the Met a few years ago. He opened my eyes and heart to brushy stripes of resonant color.  I am revisiting my horizon plates and interrupting them with fence posts, tree trunks and window mullions.

Last weekend I was also very taken by  a series of images called Sunday walks and Shower songs by Leanne Shapton the former art director for the op ed page at the New York Times. If you have time you should check them all out.