Monday, May 28, 2012

I haven't been so good at the blogging this fortnight, but I have been doing some steady potting. Not as much maybe as I'd like or prefer, but a fair enough amount. Focusing less on producing oodles of product and more on producing high quality pieces. I feel like I'm doing alright.

I also got a new phone, which is really neither here nor there save for the fact that I now want to take pictures of everything via Instagram. And given my proclivity for not taking a real camera into the studio with me, this upgrade is quite exciting and hopefully I'll maintain my curating with greater success once the novelty has abandoned.

So here's what I've been up to, presented via the artfully filtered Instagram:
Biggie vase. Nice lip, that. Decent balance. Some weight in the foot, but that will come out.
A trio of large-ish bowls. Six-to-eight pounders. Focusing on getting the rounder shape as opposed to my traditionally vertically-oriented bowls.
This one was either a 10 or 12 pounder. Probably a little more clay in the foot than there ought to be, but a bowl this big has to have a solid base when throwing or it will collapse on itself.
Some test bowls. I need to be experimenting with some glaze overlays. Looking for dynamic reactions akin to my favorite, as seen here.  Only different.
This is a big'un. She'll get the IYFC Blue treatment.
A small forest of vases.
Whilst not in the studio, spent some time out at a Harry Potter birthday party.  That's perfectly normal activity for a bunch of late-twenty-somethings, right?
Finding "high art" in the mundane. I'm pretty sure that's what Instagram was created for, right?
"Local History," I call it.
So that's that. And also doing some non-ceramic planning for the Clear Lake Art Sail that is now 2 months away. Quite excited and looking forward to bringing my work home, so to speak. Put it on your calendar: July 28th, 9 AM - 4 PM, City Park, Clear Lake, Iowa.

So there you go. Have a wonderful week, y'all!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

Sunday, May 13, 2012

News and Pots

A brief bit of news before I get to some pictures and updates on my studio work over the last week or so.

I'm very excited to announce that I've been selected to be a part of the 35th Annual Clear Lake Art Sail on July 28th in downtown Clear Lake, IA!

Clear Lake is my childhood hometown and I always looked forward to the weekend of "Art in the Park" as it was called in those days, wandering the rows and aisles of tents filled with who knows what you might find. As such, I'm thrilled and honored to be heading back that direction this summer as a participating artist.  So now the work begins again.

It's been quite a while since I've done an outdoor show so I will be putting some elbow grease into updating my booth setup to accommodate, but I'm feeling good about the amount of pottery in my stock at the moment, and so I think the time between here and there will still allow for plenty of the summer experimentation I was looking forward to.

Which brings me back to my time in the studio this week.  Did some throwing last week, but most time was committed to trimming and decorating of bowls.  The throwing time was pretty minor however, and the only item of note was a set of vase/bottle neck studies - still an area of annoyance and importance in my work.  I decided it was time to put some effort into experimenting with neck/lip shapes and styles on something other than a vase that reflected a full effort. Instead, I could play around with the neck at the top of a centered cylinder and cut it off when I found a finished result.
The top results of my neck studies.
Of course putting it all together is another story. It's not just the lip/neck that counts, but the way it relates to the shoulders of a pot and the relative sizes and all the interplay. So still getting there. Seems kind of silly to be doing this kind of work, or I feel like it's the kind of thing I should have been doing years ago, rather than having infrequent moments of success and generally mediocre vase tops. I've always known what I was going for but never committed any time to working out how to get there. Better late than never, I guess.

Spent some time this afternoon trying to put these experiments into practice.
Vases! Depending on how these trim down, the majority may be keepers!
So, threw some vases. Also some other stuff. Here's an illustrated guide to the rest of the work.
All of last week's bowls. Or at least some of them.

Some big bowls this afternoon; 6-8# each. Going for a rounder shape vs. tall.
Some mountains.
I think that's a 9-pounder on the left. Vase on the right has a lot of potential, if nothing else.

And so that's that. It's still my intent to spend some time this summer working on bigger pieces. I'm also going to throw a handful of test pots to throw in with the next firing to explore new glaze combinations and potential bleed effects.  I'd rather do that sort of learning on little test pots than good 6 pound vases. So that's that.

Oh: and a very Happy Mother's day to my favorite mom, Anita Langholz (that would be my mother, if you couldn't figure it out). Always one of my biggest fans and favorite supporters, even if she is always nagging me for butter bells and sourdough bowls. I'm glad she's my mom and I love her very much. Not afraid to show it.
It's a few years old now, but it's probably one of the better pictures of me and Mom out there. Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekend Pots

Just a quick post with the photos off my phone over the weekend. Spent the better part of Saturday afternoon in the studio after running some household errands in the morning (+100 husband points). Mostly trimming, slipping, and decorating vs. throwing. I find that as much fun as it would be to sit down and have a throwathon all weekend, that usually ends in weeknight crams trying to get everything trimmed up before it's too late. I think it's a better policy for me to throw one or two nights a week for a couple hours - quick, clean work. Throw, get it off the wheel, wrap it up - and do the finishing on weekends so I can take my time with the trimming and decorating and other studio maintenance stuff. What throwing I did do was the result of fiddling with the lip of a tall vase that wasn't quite right. I made some progress but it lost the dynamic lines I was shooting for, so I scrapped it and started over. Much more pleased with the result of that one.  So there you.

These photos were previously shared on my Twitter feed - you can always follow me @EarthAndClay in all my shenaniganny goodness.
Designs (left); Ducks in a row.
Trimming (left); Pedestal Foot.
Getting closer with the lip there.
Finally got "Album Shuffle" to work on my iPod again so I had continuous music for the afternoon without having to clean my hands and switch it up. Playlist for my Saturday studio time included: MuteMath's self-titled debut; Sleeping at Last, Ghosts; the Black Keys, El Camino; Green Day, International Superhits; and She & Him, Volume 2

All in all a delightful mix and kept me focused. Except for that spell in the middle when the power went out in town. Found myself for the first time wishing I had a kickwheel as it was awfully hard to trim, throw, or do anything, really, in the basement without any lights or electricity. So I had to go outside and play with the dog for a bit. Power came back on after 30 or 40 minutes which was good because I had just about decided it was time to eat everything in the fridge before it went rotten and I was having a really hard time figuring out what to do with the eggs without a functioning stove and we've got a camp stove that could have scrambled them just fine but who knows if there's any propane left in the little Coleman tank so there was that. Like I said, the power came back on and everything was fine but it sure looked like it was going to get ugly.

So, Happy May Day, and have a wonderful week!