Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the botanical paintings of olaf hajek

Olaf Hajek is an illustrator whose work never ceases to amaze. Full of magic, his colors and textures are a wonder of visual storytelling. In February, a very first monograph of his paintings will be published by Gestalten Books. It's called Flowerhead. How appropriate.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

intricate, and open, spaces

Yesterday I visited a surprisingly spacious new gallery at 47 Bergen Street in Brooklyn, NY. Located in an old, freshly renovated  warehouse building, Muriel Guépin Gallery is a treat. The openness of the space, and the friendliness of the staff, encouraged me to spend quite a lot of time there.

I  examined the work of Joan Lurie, shown above, for quite some time. Ms. Lurie works with porcelain and paper clay. The forms start out on the wheel, to be built upon with layers of paper clay and then cut into to create windows into the interior. Porcelain is notorious for not doing what one wants it to do, but Ms. Lurie has developed a technique that thoroughly controls this finicky material. Her works are a study of architectural and organic spaces. The surface is a soft, skin-like matte white glaze with small crazing. I was quite taken in.

I was mesmerized by the work of Paula Overbay, whose layers of color and dots took me  on a celestial journey.

The work of Arpie Gennetian Najaran, a fellow RISD Alum, is what originally brought me to the gallery. Her collages of original drawings, string and found printed matter are full of light, dance, and joy. Thank you, Arpie, for leading me to a wonderful exhibition.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

xo bowls

It’s not too early to think about Valentine’s day, and I’m preparing by making some “xo” dessert bowls. They will come out of the glaze kiln in a few weeks, just in time for Cupid.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

soap type

I love the way letter forms look stamped into these hand-made French blocks of soap. Soap reminds me of clay, I have been wanting to stamp "gleena" into my pieces in a similar way. To do that I need to find thin type that will easily press into the clay without altering the form. Perhaps a laser-cut plastic stamp will do it?

Photographs courtesy of Savon de Marseille

Monday, January 11, 2010

a very big mold

For the past few days I have been casting from a new, very large mold. It was made for me by Silvershell Ceramics, in New Bedford, MA. The mold is so large, I am unable to lift it, and have to "roll" it along the 2x4's to be able to empty out the porcelain slip (liquid clay). It takes five gallons of slip to fill up this mold.

The cast piece emerges as mold parts are removed one at a time.

The mold is made up of three pieces, two sides and a bottom.

The original vase is on the left, I hand-built it with coils a few years back. The black lines indicate the seams for making the mold pieces. The cast vase is on the right, slightly smaller, but in every other way exactly the same. As water evaporates from the clay, the piece shrinks. It will shrink again in the firings, ending up about 10% smaller than the original by the time it is glazed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

a wintry tasty vacation

Just got back from a mini vacation at mom and Mark’s house in Cleveland, where it snowed every day. The wintry weather was a perfect excuse to stay in and enjoy mom’s amazing food and beautifully set table. It was a much needed retreat.

home-made gravlox and pickles

baby spinach salad with persimmons, apples, tangerines, and raw almond slices

sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon, baked on top of puff pastry dough

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

ethereal ceramics by helen felcey

Helen Felcey creates beautiful, organic pieces made primarily out of slip-cast bone china (porcelain) or basalt. She allows the material to move in the firings, gently guiding it toward the shapes she intends. Lovely.

Monday, January 4, 2010

galerie besson

Galerie Besson in London exhibits the work of some of my favorite ceramists, here are a few whose porcelain work I find especially inspiring:

Margaret O’Rorke

Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye

Priscilla Mouritzen

All images are from Galerie Besson

Saturday, January 2, 2010

looking for inspiration

After a hectic holiday season, I feel quite burnt out and in desperate need of inspiration. I found the surprising work of Jean Sonnet via ladyanndeborja’s blog. I am ever attracted to multiples, and Jean Sonnet’s work satisfies that fascination. My goal is to make sets in the next year, not necessarily of the same piece, but items that work well together, like the things below. Photographed by Pierrick Verny.