Monday, April 25, 2011

Back to Paul Soldner!

Hey guys, maintaining a blog is hard, but I'm doing my best to keep motivated for you all.

I wasn't really inspired to post today, so I'm falling back on an artist whose work I know really well. A picture of Soldner throwing was one of my first couple posts, but I really want to convey the diversity of his stuff.
Hope you like it!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Korean moon pots!

Korean moon pots are the largest thrown forms I've ever seen personally. They aren't necessarily thrown in one piece, though some are. The pure white porcelain was seen as the highest level of purity, and the imperfections that this theme shows clearly were prized as expressions of character.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beth Stichter

How cool is this?
She makes them solid, cuts them apart, hollows them out, then puts the pieces together.
And sometimes they get a little weird.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Busy day, but I said I'd keep passing ceramics on so I will.
One from Tina Gebhart, a clearly nature inspired vessel. Love that flower petal look, but I feel like I've seen it somewhere before this (not that its easy to do anything original in such an old field).

And, to keep with a nature-inspired theme:
Really well composed piece, the lid, handles and decoration all fit well with the defining curve. (Those are acorns on top, if you can't tell)
One from Matt Long. I'll try to have a real post later today, but here's something to look at!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm Back!

Alright, getting back into posting with a ceramics legend. Think Dale Chihuly kind of famous.
Jun Kaneko is known for enormous pieces (some are "dumpling shaped") with very interesting decoration.

The sculptures are dried for a year (apparently, didn't know that before reading that caption) and fired for about 3 months in a massive kiln (I think the room above may be the kiln. I'm not completely up to date on his process, but I had heard that he built his pieces in the same room he fires in.)

A "dango" finished. He has a background in illustration and you can really see it here.

Some big heads that he makes.

How can't you love that face?

Sorry one more time guys! I'll be back on top of the posts from now on!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I know I haven't been posting lately! I'm sorry!!! I've been having computer troubles the past few days and have been so busy with tons of stuff (which I may write a post about). Please don't abandon me! I'll be back to posting soon.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Getting into this experimental process pioneered by Rick Berman may end up a little complicated, so please ask for clarification if you need any. I'll try to keep things simple.

Two popular types of ceramic firing are raku and salt. Raku firing comes from Japanese tradition, but it has an enormous American following, and American raku has its own unique look. Salt firing has been around since potters realized using driftwood to fire their kilns could produce interesting, glossy glazes. The salt at high temperatures eats away at the clay and glaze, causing an "orange peel" look on a raw clay body (as well as on the sides of the kiln, making salt kilns very easy to pick out and making them exclusively for salt use).
Rather than try to explain this process, I'll leave it to its inventor, Rick Berman (note the saggar reference, and refer to my last post if you don't understand it). "At any rate, I built a small soft brick (scrap) updraft Salku kiln and corbled in the top with a 5-inch flue. The kiln measured 2-1/2 bricks across and about 15 courses high, roughly six or seven cubic feet. The whole kiln became a saggar, so we eliminated the potato chip cans. Now I'm tumble stacking tenmoku and ash-glazed pots with a half bag of charcoal all through the pots and I'm firing to approximately cone 10 in four or five hours. I use about 5 lbs. of salt and the pots are getting some beautiful black orange peel from the melting charcoal, and sometimes stick together so when they are pulled apart, some dramatic scarification is happening. Remember those nasty Japanese pots mentioned above? Well, with a lot of help from nature, I'm seeing surfaces now that I never thought were possible. Making pots is even more of a joy when you love the surface possibilities so much that you literally can't wait to see the next group of pots come out of the kiln. I am very grateful."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I found this image when looking for pictures for this blog and I knew you guys would like it too much to leave out. It was fired in a saggar, a container full of raw glazing materials which is placed inside an electric or gas kiln. I'll have more art soon, and I'll actually know the artist next post!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

So this is a little different...

I'll post another picture later today, maybe one of my own work, but for now I wanted to try something different.

I was recently visiting some cousins in Seattle (an amazing city, by the way) and my cousin, an Israeli man in his 70s told a story about how he went to a museum, saw a painter he liked that used geometric figures and lines, and decided he wanted to have the painting for himself. The story, which I suppose was intended to show his determination and ingenuity, continued with him trying to measure the length and height of the paintings, as well as where each line started and stopped. He was stopped by the museum's security, and ended up convincing the curator of the museum to allow him to hire a guard to watch him as he came in on a Sunday to measure the paintings. In order to complete the pieces, he had to construct his own machine to stretch the canvas and mix paints to exactly the correct shades.

My sister, an art history major, was furious when she heard the story. She was shocked that any curator would so easily allow a forgery to be made and hated that when he liked a piece our cousin strove to copy it, showing a complete lack of respect for the artist and the consideration he put into making an original work.

I wholeheartedly agree with her in this case, but it got me thinking about mimickry in ceramics. In a field where craft so easily melds with art, can forgery be called so easily? If a simple bowl is appreciated by another artist and he throws the same form and glazes it similarly, is he guilty of artistic plagiarism? I'm sure the answer comes in shades of gray, but I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A couple examples of classic pueblo pottery. The potter's wheel was never developed in North America, so all of these round forms were constructed by hand by spinning the piece on a piece of leather.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Here's another Tom Coleman piece, this one carved by his wife Elaine. Do you guys prefer this or the last post?
I'm lucky to have a teacher who is personal friends with the Colemans and has the formula for their characteristic celadon glaze. Celadons are a common decoration, originating in ancient Chinese pottery. The surface is shiny with a subtle crackle below the surface, and it pools really well in thick places, which supports those carved lines she uses.
A collaboration between Tom Coleman and Frank Boyden. Expect to see plenty of these two, especially more of Tom. Tom throws these forms and Frank adds the detail, similar to Tom's working relationship with his wife, who carves his pieces and glazes them in a characteristic celadon. I'll put up one of the Coleman pieces later today or tomorrow.
I had never heard of Ikuko Iwamoto before, but this is a really interesting way to do a simple vessel. Not too sure how you hold it though. What would everyone like to see on this blog? I'm a potter, so I'm sure many of the posts will be vessels and thrown forms, but sculpture is definitely of interest to me and I could focus on that, depending on what people prefer.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Should I get my BFA?

I'm strongly considering a Bachelor's in Fine Arts with a concentration in Ceramics. I know I have the talent for it, but is it the right life choice?
One from Merete Rasmussen. Really interesting design, looks like a combination between a windmill and a flower. Love the matte finish, as well.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paul Soldner at his wheel. Incredible size on these pieces.

RIP Paul.

First post!

A carbon-trap raku pot from Rick Berman.
There's an amazing texture on these pots, that's hard to see from the photo, but you can still see some of the interesting cosmic nature.