Sunday, August 13, 2017

Le Chat in a Bowl

Here I am again in my white bowl series. Made out of high fired porcelain, this one has a specific name." Le Chat" is French for  the cat. French is a language I like to speak and carry it into my work, when possible.
I started doing my "critter" series a while ago. The cat is the perfect creature to abstract, because they all have a certain silhouette. Now with a dog, you are going to want to see the small breed, or the larger; the long haired or sleeker profile. A cat is a cat. I have recently begun to appreciate this animal as I am getting to know a couple as personal friends here in Sedona, where I live.
 You notice its unusual shape? Who says all bowls must be round? I make this by hand.The design is drawn in cobalt blue oxide, then covered with a clear, transparent, lead free glaze that makes it easy to clean. The color white you see is the actual clay. itself.
People often want to buy it for their pet to eat out of. Perfectly understandable. I also enjoy  that as I get to the bottom of the bowl, my cereal is peeking out between the ears or tail. Art that  makes  you smile. I like that.


Friday, July 28, 2017

White bowl with Pear

It is summertime in the high desert, here in Sedona. My white, porcelain  bowl, holding its ripe fruit, just seems to fit into the season and the mood of this late afternoon. The monsoon has just come. The air is heavy with moisture and it is getting darker outside.The light color of this bowl shows off not only its form, but what it holds inside.
This is part of my series of handmade bowls with a clear, shiny glaze over it.You are actually looking at the color of the clay itself! Fired to a very high temperature, this bowl can go in the oven, is food safe, and may last longer than us, if taken care of. 
The outside surface is intentionally textured to better show off the iron oxide stain I have added. As I tell people, "This is what makes the red rocks of Sedona , red."  I like the juxtaposition of the smooth interior and the rough of the exterior.The yin and the yang of my creation.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Visiting Victor Hugo

Here I am in front of Victor Hugo's  house. It is located  in the Place Vosges, a very nice little park area  on the right bank of Paris. It was late at night, after a very nice meal,  and the museum was closed. It was a thrill to me to be where this  writer, artist,  and poet of the nineteenth century  created some of  those works we know.
Remember  the movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"? This man wrote the book. I read Les Miserables as a young girl and it moved me then. Born in 1802, and living until 1885, he saw many changes in his country and world . His work touches upon the political, social, and artistic issues of his time. He served in the National Assembly and campaigned against the death penalty. A rather outspoken critic of what he deemed unjust politics, this man was not afraid to speak his mind.
Hugo is an artist I have always  respected. I found out he is buried in the Pantheon, on the left bank, near the Sorbonne.That was the area I stayed when I first visited Paris almost 50 years ago.  Life does go in circles.
 Now I am back in Sedona, Arizona, remembering my visit and thinking about what I will be creating next.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

How do Artists Sell their work in Paris?

Here I am last week at an art "exposition", over in Paris, France. I was staying in the Marais area, which is full of quite sophisticated art galleries. But this was something different. 
In a large room named Halle des Blancs Manteaux, 
 (Hall of the White Coats) there were some 60 artists exhibiting their work for the weekend. To do this, they had to pay the promoter about $1,000 euros each.  A euro is about $1.15 each. So we artists always seem to pay to show, it's just quite pricey there.
I had a fun time going around and talking with various exhibitors. Speaking French is a big help. We had literally stumbled onto this opening on a Saturday evening. It closed at 8pm in the evening. Maybe to  go to eat dinner.   They
do that later over there. Have you ever tried to find a restaurant serving food in Sedona after nine pm?  Believe me, it doesn't happen here in rural Arizona.
The artist with me is named Hortense Varillon and she had the most cunning images on glass, almost in a shadow box. I had not seen anything like it and we got to talking. Funny how some things are universal. "Are you selling", I asked and got a spiel about how difficult it is to sell art today . I found this the common complaint from other exhibitors in the Halle, and the level of work was quite high. I bought her a beer, since I was not the optimum art customer this trip.
So how do artist try to sell their work in Paris? They do  whatever they can do, just like us.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Native Sculptures

Here are my latest "Native Sculptures". They stand about a foot tall each, and even though they are two separate creations, they like to hang out together. Such new pieces, they are still here in my studio display shelves.
As you can see , they are well dressed and bejeweled. Real Arizona turquoise on their neck and ears. From my study of southwestern and other tribes, plus  historical evidence, adornment is definitely observed by both sexes. I like using real stones, making them more authentic.
Their robes are likely blankets, which has long been a custom for outer wear. I have taken artistic license and my turquoise glaze seemed  appropriate for my desired results. 
These were constructed as large clay slabs, built around a loose form. High fire porcelain shrinks quite a bit, so you can imagine how tall these forms seemed when first they entered my kiln. I constructed their heads separately, and then attached them. Faces are always a challenge. How to create charater starting with a piece of the earth?
I feel my Native Sculpture  show their personalities.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Ceramic Tree

Some people grow trees in the forest, but me, I like to create them in my art studio here in Sedona, AZ. 
 This is a vase I made a while ago. There were two of them originally, similar, but each unique. Then, because I make my living this way, I sold one to a nice client who wanted a tree for her living space. 
You see, it is actually a vase, with a hollow inside that is glazed an elegant blue. Maybe it is the  sky reflected inward. You can use it to hold flowers, or just as a sculpture to enjoy.
This is a hand rolled piece, created from a slab of dark clay, which I inscribed with this bark pattern. It stands about nine inches tall. It is not  smooth, but has  texture, to which  I added an  iron stain for emphasis. As with all high fire clay, there is always the element of surprise, a variation in hues depending on where it was in the kiln, or how the kiln gods felt on that particular day . I have created a one of a kind ceramic tree.
But then, what in nature is exactly the same?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

"Cloudy with Lightening in Today's Windchimes"

Today is a cloudy day here in Sedona. It reminds me of this recent wind chime I created  for a client. He wanted lightening and clouds and all in blue. Here is the result. 
It was an adventure creating a whole new pattern for my porcelain  chimes. There is  the aesthetics of the creation; the shapes to create; the  cobalt blue color I paint onto into the bisqued clay pieces before their second and final firing. Because I fire these pieces to a very high temperature, it makes them stronger and the resulting sounds are sweeter.
Chimes have been around for a very long time. Since I work in clay, this is my choice for this creation. Every set I make has a unique design. Custom orders always add an incentive to expand one's abilities as a artist. They can also drive you crazy. This was fun.
I roll out my porcelain clay body into rather thin slabs of clay; create a pattern on the surface, then cut out the designs. While cutting out the clouds and lightening pieces, I was planning how to string the finished pieces on the fishing line. I love the tinkling sound created by  the different pieces lightly bumping  into each other as the wind moves them. Actually,  chimes are a form of a percussion instrument, just using nature as the artist to create the sounds.
So the final weather report for today: Cloudy with lightening inn today's wind chimes.