Tuesday, March 31, 2009

spouted bowls

For a very long time I did not have time to throw on the wheel. My full-time job did not allow for that kind of involvement. Throwing is a tranquil process for me, which spans a few days. The porcelain spouted bowls especially require a certain relaxed state of mind. The sides are delicate, and if I feel at all agitated, they end up a crumpled mess on the wheel. I suppose it is because my work reflects what is going on with me at that moment. I was finally able to sit down and throw these in the past few days.

Monday, March 30, 2009

happy monday

What better way to start off a week than with a dozen yellow roses, cut short at the stems, arranged in a gleena vase? It's going to be a good week, I can feel it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Speaking of balancing work and art, Maya Lin (of Vietnam Veterans Memorial fame) has maintained a careful balance between art and architecture throughout her career. She has succeeded in creating a remarkable body of work that includes large-scale site-specific installations, intimate studio artworks, as well as architectural works and memorials. Ms. Lin's website is also an interactive art piece.

Her latest earth works project is installed at Storm King Art Center. "Landscape is the context and the source of inspiration for Ms. Lin's art. She peers curiously at the landscape through a twenty-first century lens, merging rational and technological order with notions of beauty and the transcendental."

Maya Lin: Bodies of Water is on view in Storm King’s museum building through November 15, 2009.

Friday, March 27, 2009

don't miss

Maira Kalman, one of my favorite illustrators ever, is blogging for The New York Times. Check it out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

porcelain power

I would like to introduce you to three fantastic ceramists, making a living off their art, who I met on Etsy. Not only are they incredibly talented, they are also super helpful and supportive. I have turned to them with questions, and they helped me out tremendously. I am in awe of their attention to detail, and their ability to make clay sing.

I would like to start with Heather Knight. Her pieces are mesmerizing. Heather works with porcelain only, creating textures and shapes which remind me of underwater ecosystems.

Next is Stepanka, an incredibly prolific and versatile artist. She also works only in porcelain, and her work makes me happy. She is a designer, a painter, a sculptor, and she chooses clay as the canvas to show off her talents.

Whitney Smith keeps a fantastic blog that inspires me, makes me laugh, and provides a whole bunch of valuable information. She works magic on the wheel, throwing delicate porcelain pieces that are meant to be part of everyday living. Watch her dry-throwing demo here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

back behind the wheel

To get my hands back into clay, I sat down and threw a bunch of bowls. I have not worked at a wheel for a few years, and was happy to find that it is just like riding a bike. My hands remembered what to do. Here is the beginning of small bowls, they are drying a bit, and then will be ready for me to trim out the foot.
The final step in throwing a bowl is trimming the foot. It is during the trimming stage that the bowl's personality comes through. I generally like this part, unless I am unable to center the piece on the foam. If the bowl's sides are uneven, it is impossible to center, and the foot ends up all wonky, which could be charming, but mostly it's just frustrating.

There are many ways to secure the bowl upside down in order to trim it. After trying many different methods, I found the foam to be the most bowl-friendly. The surface of the foam grips and holds the bowl in place without damaging the sides or the inside in any way.

The foot is trimmed so it contrasts the fullness of the bowl. I am inspired by the proportions of Japanese bowls, the ones where the basin floats above a delicate foot.

Monday, March 23, 2009

a productive weekend

I am finally inspired and working in the studio. I have spent the past few months thinking about what to make, doing a lot of looking and absorbing of shapes, surfaces, textures, colors, patterns. My friend Claudia and I were talking about feeling guilty taking the time to think as opposed to make. I came to the conclusion that thinking is an important part of my process.

I carry the thing that I will eventually make around with me, turning it over in my head and dreams. It will manifest itself, but in its own due time. I have to admit, I found the thinking a bit frustrating. I had left my job to have more time for ceramics, and I wasn't doing it. Is it a case of getting what I want, and realizing that I do not want it after all? No, I just can't rush the creative process.

I am happy this weekend got me back behind the wheel, so to speak. And yes, I love having more time to make, and to think.

The gourd halves I picked up in French Guiana (here they are above, displayed at a market) are finally cast into a mold. Follows my mold-making process.

The gourds are turned upside down on a plastic surface, and secured in place with plasticine. Wooden coddles are placed around the gourds, about one inch away from the edges. The coddles are secured to one another with clamps and kept in place with plasticine, which keeps the plaster from leaking out the bottom.

The plaster is then poured into the coddles. I use Pottery 1 plaster, made specifically for slip casting. Since I coated the gourds with wax before I cast them, they will pop out easily once the plaster has set. The plaster mold takes about a week to dry out, and then it will be ready for slip pouring. I cast four different sizes of gourds, to add to my petal bowls collection. Pictures to come soon.

Friday, March 20, 2009

sassy spring

The days are longer, the sky is blue, the air is soft. It's finally getting to be spring-time, and Orla Kiely's new collection is a true celebration of the season. I love her graphic bold patterns and vintage-inspired sassy bags. They make me want to go out there and conquer the world (economy be damned). She's an inspiration, that Orla!

BONUS Orla's vintage bags are on sale right now. Also, check out iloveorla.com for some serious Orla deals.

"The world of Orla Kiely is one where color, pattern, graphic control, texture and rhythm continually work and rework together. Orla has a unique, immediately recognisable design language, developed through graphic patterns that celebrate her optimistic spirit. As down-to-earth as her designs are popular, the key to what drives Orla is her fixation on the evolution of a signature style, devotion to quality and practicality." ~ from OrlaKiely.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

richard devore

"Whether DeVore’s work brings to mind worn, weathered skin or the roughened surface of a crater or hillside, it is the sensation or feeling evoked that is so significant. The objects DeVore references are starting points, the essence of which he captures through reductive and carefully chosen physical qualities. If one takes a moment to concentrate, standing before a DeVore becomes an intimate and breathtaking experience. It is possible to get lost among the folds, ridges and wrinkles of a single piece, all the while aware that it is a humble pot, made of clay and glaze, that has so transfixed you." ~ from the Frank Lloyd Gallery website

Monday, March 16, 2009

subtelty and simplicity

Lucie Rie's ceramics is the embodiment of subtlety and simplicity. Her forms breathe. A gorgeous exhibit of her life's work is now at Issey Miyake’s 21_21 in Tokyo, a place I have always wanted to visit. Some day. The exhibition was designed by Tadao Ando and features a pool of water on which the ceramics actually float.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

artist in her home: no.3

I live in a renovated mill which was built in 1912. The building started out as an underwear factory, then was a jewelry factory, then sat empty for a while, and finally was converted into condos five years ago. My loft is filled with light, due to the 20-foot-long and 6-foot-wide skylight that spans half of the ceiling. I love watching the light change throughout the day, it's magical when it is raining.

I keep the decor minimal, but like to surround myself with books and art. I collect paintings created by friends and family, but most of the ceramics in the collection is mine. I never quite figured out how to sell my sculptural work. Maybe it's because I don't really want to part with these pieces, they tell such an intimate story.

A few years ago I decided to create a mini gallery for the art in my loft, and commissioned my friend David Dilks to build deep shelves which could be easily adjusted to fit many different heights. Within the shelves, the pieces can be viewed individually or in context with everything else, an installation of one life's mosaic.

Collection of pots and bowls thrown on a wheel. I was experimenting with form and clay texture for a while. The clays I experimented with are pictured here: white stoneware, chocolate low-fire clay, and porcelain. My favorite: porcelain.

This installation is titled Skins, Shed. Each "skin" is made out of one white stoneware slab.

A white stoneware sculpture titled Repose, hand-built with coils.

Oil painting on wood by my friend Jennifer Inderland French.

Pencil drawing of my grandmother by her second husband, Gregory Marozov, done in 1958.

Acrylic paintings on wood by one of my favorite illustrators, Trisha Krauss.

Collage and pencil on canvas, by my friend Claudia Middendorf.

Friday, March 13, 2009

more polaroids

Speaking of polaroids, photographer Jen Gotch creates beautiful images with the standard Polaroid camera. You know, the one you point and shoot, and a picture pops out? Here are some of Jen's gorgeous photos, visit her website, it's super fun.