Sunday, April 25, 2010

Making a start...

Once a week Kenji (his hands above) and I get together and catch up on the week’s goings on while our littlies run around creating havoc together. We drink tea and talk a lot about what we’re up to in the studio. Collaboration is a frequent topic and over the years we’ve come up with numerous ideas of things we’d like to do together - but actually getting around to doing any of these things is another matter entirely! Apart from the Little People (sadly neglected for a long while) we haven’t made a lot of progress! So we were both quite excited today to have finally been able to organise an afternoon in the studio together to work on a collaborative idea we’ve been talking about for a long time. It was just a start, a chance to play around with a few things and to look at how our processes, techniques and ideas might be able to work together in a way that fits for both of us, but also in a way that pushes both of us a little. After a lot of excited chatter and some pushing and prodding and pouring of clay we dragged ourselves away from the moulds and tools and clay and slip and wandered around the corner to pick the kids up. It was short but sweet, and it might be weeks (or months) before we get another chance to play, but at least we finally made a start!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Musing About Mud

If you're interested in ceramics Carole Epp's blog Musing About Mud is probably the most comprehensive guide to what is going on in the world of ceramics - from artists and exhibitions to opportunities, grants, competitions, residencies, conferences and job vacancies. She has her finger on the pulse! As well as keeping up to date with all of this she also manages to make some pretty fantastic work of her own, which will be showing at Centre Materia in Quebec in May (16th-30th). So if you are in the area it would be well worth checking out. If not you can also see some of her work here and here. I'm lucky enough to have one of her figurative works. It both disturbs me and makes me smile every time I see it! I like that in an artwork.


Well now how did that happen? I took a blogging break over christmas and next thing I know its April! Oops.

I’ve been having a lovely time in the studio of late. I’ve spent the last few weeks mixing up glaze tests. I’ve been working with the same tried and trusted glazes for years. They’ve been perfect for the kind of work I’ve been doing (and there’s nothing like reliability when it comes to meeting deadlines), but I’m after something a little different. Not wild and crazy different, just different to before. So I dug out all my old notes on glaze chemistry, hunted down my dusty glaze text books, set up my scales and sieves, and donned my dust mask (which is always a good look, especially after wearing it for an hour or so when its just that weeeee bit too tight).

When I started studying ceramics I remember dreading the glaze chemistry subjects. Those baffling charts and calculations were a bit overwhelming to start with. But I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed it. Really, its kind of amazing what you can create by mixing up a few simple substances, and the possibilities are endless. So I’ve been having a ball getting back into it after all these years. All I need now is for a nice big gas kiln to drop from the sky and install itself in my studio. My trusty electric kilns are great, but electricity just doesn’t cut it when it comes to certain glazes. Ah well. Sometimes you just gotta work with what you’ve got.

I’ve also been working on some new wall tiles (pics above and below). I’ve refined the form a little, made them bigger (a whopping great 10cm x 10cm), and have been playing with inlaying different stoneware clay bodies into porcelain and combining it all with drawings and decals. There's a bit more work to be done on these, but as with most things I make these days…slowly slowly.

A few exhibitions coming up in the next couple of months (which I am shamefully behind in and starting to freak out about just a little bit!) but all going well I’ll have some images of new work to show you soon! And who knows, I might even blog a bit in between that!