Wednesday
Jul172013

Finishing Up at Red Lodge

The last week has come to a close. Over the weekend after force drying some still slightly damp greenware, I managed to get all my week into the bisque kiln and unloaded this morning, Tuesday 7/16. Everything came out perfectly and packed with appropriate amount of bubble pack, I am feeling better about transporting bisqueware rather than greenware.

I am really appreciative of being able to participate in this albeit, all to short residency. And this is the only shortcoming I would identify with the AIA program at Red Lodge. I was just barely getting started and before I knew it, it was over. I thought I understood this when I accepted Marko's invitation, but the reality of it does hit home when you are in the middle of it and it is over. 

The big picture is that I did get out of my studio working by myself or with an intern present, but it is not like working in another facility with other people. I wanted to work on a few ideas, and the reality, yes again, is that only one or two get attention. Really, just one. As I now work mainly handbuilding, everything is still new. Even using press molded pieces and perhaps some thrown parts as additions, I feel that I am just at the beginning of a learning curve in handbuilding. Its interesting to say the least. I reference my early ceramic education and wonder where was the handbuilding? Was it because the wheel held such a fascination to me? Was it because I did not show an interest in handbuilding. I'm not sure, but what I do know is that after so many years in this field, I feel that I am never too old to learn and explore.

I do want to thank Marko, Denny, Sam and Lewy for their companionship, criticisms, banter, Firesign Theater quotes, and the opportunity to work alongside you. And a big shout out of thanks to the Red Lodge Clay Center staff, Jill, Andy, Markus, and the resident artists Tanner, Alexis, Megan, Brittany, and to David, for creating such a fabulous educational facility with exceptional programming.

Images to follow once a better network connection is available. Driving today to the Bray!

 

Saturday
Jul132013

Our Second and Final Week

It is our last week and we are all pushing to get work completed with even some bisque fired. While the pace is certainly quickening, we do know that our time here as Invited Artists is soon to be over.  I'll post final images and comment on my two weeks of intensive work here at Red Lodge in a few days. I need to go back to the studio and work!

 

 

 

Marko Has finished the work on his collaboration with Lewy and his new series of Zombie Mojo Oil Bottles is taking shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denny is working on finishing the rim with lots of eye-balls!

 

 

 

 

 

Sam is working on the last parts of his fountain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for me, 2 new teapots are in the works!

Wednesday
Jul102013

Winding down the first week

There have been some great conversations between all of us, and a good deal of collaboration on many different levels. While my intentions did not include actual collaboration on work, what I find incredibly useful is the dialog that results from all of us working in the same space. And that dialog is very much a collaboration. At the close of the first week, Lewy was intensely occupied with building the wooden base for Marko's baptism font and continuing to learn to throw, Denny was getting ready to use the finished plaster drawing to pull a clay image, Sam was continuing to work on his fountain, and I am in the middle of finishing up two constructed vases.Marko is finishing his Baptism Font and beginning some Mojo Oil pieces. Lewy's laminated base for Markos's Baptism FontDenny showing Lewy the finer points of trimming


Jonathan's new constructed vase...yes with birds!

Denny's slab with imagery 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                               

 

CURRENT RESIDENT EXHIBITION


The exhibition at the Red Lodge Gallery is the current residents' Farewell Exhibition. "Catch and Release" features the work of Karin Solberg, Brittany Faye Helms, Megan Mitchell, and the collaborative pieces of Tanner Coleman and Alexis Gregg. 

Karin Solberg makes useable pottery that celebrates food, home, and community. Her surface and color palette are enhanced by tasteful brushwork fired in a variety of atmospheres. 

Karin Solberg

Brittany Faye Helms creates functional terra cotta pottery is displayed in various styles of wall shelving and small cabinets, emphasizing the importance of home and sense of place. There is a quiet and understated quality to her work with broad areas of unglazed terra cotta punctuated by bright glaze or slip patterning.Brittany Faye Helms

Megan Mitchell  develops surface imagery from direct silk screen on slabs of clay, and then forming them into functional ware by a variety of methods. Her imagery is derived from furnitire, architecture, and textiles. Combining glaze, ceramic stains and pigments, multiple layers of pattern are built up showing a rich depth of surface. 

Megan Mitchell

Tanner Coleman and Alexis Gregg collaborate on large scale ceramic sculptures and focus on public art installations. Their company AnT Sculpture and Design LLC has worked in 6 different countries and completed 12 large scale permanent works at four international museums, two schools, and two public parks.


Tanner Coleman & Alexis GreggThese current residents are preparing to leave Red Lodge and beginning to navigate their role as producing ceramic artists through teaching appointments, travel, or residencies in other countries. Congratulations on completing your residencies at Red Lodge and best of luck as you continue to pursue you careers as ceramic artists!!

 

 

Sunday
Jul072013

Red Lodge "Artists Invite Artists" Residency!

 

The First Week July 2-7, 2013 (more or less!)

I am priviledged to have been asked by Marko Fields, a Plinth Gallery exhibitor (2010 solo exhibition, and 2012: "Faith, Magic, Love and Death: Cautionary Tales of the End Times") to participate in a short term residency at The Red Lodge Clay Center . Joining me are master luthier and guitar player Lewis "Lewy" Ronken, ceramic artist and educator Denny Sponsler, and Sam Philpot, a former student of Marko and Denny. We are well into the first week of this residency, and it has been a very interesting and fascinating experience for me. 

My agenda was to continue making my handbuilt and assembled teapots, but that soon changed as some of my drawings began to move in another direction. Still constructed of handbuilt and thrown parts, these larger container forms will again emphasize patterning on the slabs and incorporate press molded and thrown parts. I am also taking time each day to make plaster slip casting molds  from a rubber master I made  before I left Denver. I need these to start making the 216 slip cast modules of my accepted entry into the NCECA/Arvada Center "Earth Moves" exhibition. YIKES!! I have lots of work to do upon return to Denver!

There is quite a degree of back and forth with the other artists, and learning from them often occurs during many impromptu discussions, punctuated by a great deal of Firesign Theater quotes! Fireheads Unite!!

Marko and Lewy are collaborating on large piece, Denny is working on a large ceramic fountain with symbolism embracing compassion and tolerance of racial and ethnic differences. Sam is also building a fountain as he hones his wheel skills. I am also fortunate to experience an incredible educational facility consisting of the downtown gallery, and studios, an easy drive from the Red House. What an incredible asset to the entire ceramics community. I look forward to meeting the Red Lodge Staff and long-term residents  to hear their stories and participate in that ongoing dialog! Thank you David Hiltner and Marko Fields for making this possible in so many ways. 

My blog posts will be continuing on a frequent basis when and if time permits, but I will keep you updated. Alternatively, you can follow my adventures here in Montana on FaceBook!

 

My travel companion, Ajax the Springer Spaniel!The long and winding road with my pal Ajax to talk to!Up through and across Wyoming

Red Lodge, Montana, 576 miles and 13 hours later 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a very long and arduous drive for me, complicated for sure by the extreme heat. Even with the AC running full blast it was hard for me to stay cool, let alone my best pal in the passenger seat. Frequent water stops, frequent boredom and food stops, and what seemed like an eternity for me, I arrived at the Red House, lodging provided by the Red Lodge Clay Center very late Monday evening. On the agenda for Tuesday, the following day, was orientation at the Red House and Studio with Markus Urbanik the facilities and proramming coordinator.

The First Week July 2-7, 2013 (more or less!), continued....

So the rest of this week I felt just a bit out of sorts in getting to know and work in another studio. Intuitively sure it is easy, just get to work! Well while there are sure similarities between one pot shop and the next, I found myself spending more time time just trying to find out where things were, what is the correct procedure for such and such, and getting the lay of the land here at Red Lodge. After getting my mold materials organized in the plaster area I began to make working molds from my rubber master, settling on 2 or 3 each day, with the total for the length of my residency about 20 or so which should put me right where I need to be to start casting the modules for the installation at the Arvada Center.


 

 

 

 

 

 

I started to make textured slabs and the components for the forms I would be making and putting them under plastic or inside of the "humidified" tote boxes that I packed my supplies in. As soon as I started to make these many forms, I knew that my original idea of making teapots would evolve into some complicated constructed vases. I certainly had no problem with this, as I well understand that things do change and evolve from an original intent. As long as an "intent" is still there, I can make work no problem. 

So the construction of this piece includes 2 large textured slabs that are slumped over plaster molds and then attached together, 3  press molded bird heads from 2 part molds, a press molded corrugated tube, also a 2 part mold, and a thrown collar/cylinder that is attached to the top and then enlarged. There are of course some additional steps, but making sure that all parts are of similar moisture content and joined securely takes timing and patience, especially waiting for that part for the Giffen Grip that was accidentally damaged by one of the residents! Grabber pads to the rescue! 

I spent some time thinking about organizing my time so that I could take Ajax out from the boarding kennel and spending some quality time each and every day. The nice folks at Red Lodge Veterinary Clinic allow me to take Ajax out whenever I want to. So the first few days, over at the town dog park, were just great with the exception of 3 lost tennis balls in the fast moving irigation ditch adjacent to the park! Now we go to the park right across the street from the Red House each morning for a well earned hour of catch, and then for a walk around town learning more obedience training with his new collar.

 

This is one happy puppy for sure. He is so excited when I come to et him every morning he is just besides himself! Jumps  into the car fro the passenger side, and of course right over to the driver's side! Do all dogs do that? He finally settles down once the window is open and he can stick his head out and get some of that fresh Montana air! He is just the ultimate ball dog. Like one ball is not enough to play with at once, he has to have two, and of course he can't fit both in this mouth at the same time! Set the water bowl out, he drops the ball in the water, takes a drink, and then takes the bal back in his mouth and pushes it against my pants leg. Yes I think all dog do that! Throw, fetch, bring it back, drop the ball, do you ball dance, get a drink, do it all over again. One good dog for sure!

 

Thank you Sam!Thanks Chandra!

 Wonderful pots are everywhere at the studio kitchen and the Red House. A shout-out to Chandra DeBuse and Sam Chung for their coffee cups every day, making my daily coffee experience here at Red Lodge mo' betta!

Sunday
Mar312013

NCECA Musings

NCECA is always a wonderful time for me. I have learned over many years that regardless of the conference theme and/or content, I will always find a few things that interest me and I will always learn something from just being there! There were several high points this year:

I was honored to be a participant on the panel "The Necessity of Community with co-presenters Steven Branfman, Macy Dorf, and moderated by Doug Casebeer. A great experience working with all of you! And yes, alot of work putting together that PowerPoint!

SP Editor Mary Barringer with Ron

 As a board member of Studio Potter, I spend time at our table talking about SP to conference participants. This conference SP was honored to work with Ron Meyers and feature a book signing to celebrate the release of his new book. Thank you Ron for working with us and for your imense contributions to our field as an artist and educator. 

Finally, for me, what NCECA is really about is connection. I am reminded clearly, visually, and oh so poignantly, at the opening ceremonies when we honor those who we have lost over the past year. Many of my colleagues and contemporaries who have touched me in my carreer. It is a reminder also of my own mortality. Every year I renew friendships and make new ones. I connect with others and learn about their lives and ceramic journeys over the past year. I marvel at the incredible quality and substance of some of the work I see, yet am disappointed also at seeing work that is so derivative, so plagiarized and uninspired! I find this quite unsettling. I am pleased in partaking of dialog and conversation with my contemporaries that is meaningful and from the heart.

Thank you NCECA, Dori, Kate, Candice, Marko, Josh, for another great conference! And before I forget, a huge shout-out to the great AV staff that made our Power Points look great and work flawlessly!