Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Throwing on the Wheel

                                               Well, I am at it again, throwing on the wheel.I set myself a goal of a certain amount of items to make, and I am not going to make it.Why?  I am running out of clay for one thing. The second reason is  my body energy  is crying out for a break. 
There is such a thing as a " production potter". They sit at the wheel and throw an item in a few  pulls, as rapidly as possible,  and it is finished. Often paid by the unit, motion is money. Alas, I am not one of those creatures. I do like to be succinct in my motions.However, for me, it is about the details and  the nuances. The lip of vessel is an example. How does it relate to the vessel as a whole? Can it be simpler, or more dramatic? 
 I have been working on mugs again. Here is a picture of some finished creations, with a little bit of Sedona red rocks in the background. My studio is here among the red rocks. However when I throw, I keep my back to the beauty and my vision on the wheel.
There is a lot of the physical action in using the potter's wheel. It is actually the body that keeps the arms and hands centered. You push forward with all of you. This is why beginners find their hands wobbling and unable to  center the clay. The  forward motion comes from the core, not just the hands.
The other important factor is the spirit. Am I centered when I sit  at the wheel? I can do it now matter what my mood due to  years of experience. However, when the body and spirit are in harmony, now there is my joy 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Creating Beauty

This is the finished creation  using my alphabet named  Victory. There was a focus in the workshop.We were to   use  our  made up letters to write our own epitaph, our last words. My came out in poem form. The words are as follows:
                                              Creating beauty                                
                         Clay moving in my hands,
                                ceramics emerging.
                         Letters written in ancient patterns -
                          Paid to practice,
                                 following my inner muse.
                          Loving many, loved by you.
I loved  using the patterns of the black ink on the white page. Why make an opening line go straight? I like a bit of wave in my life. I guess I am assuming that those who read my epitaph are dear to me, and perhaps I to them.
 It is interesting to me what we all do leave behind. Certainly my creations, both in pen and ink as well as ceramics, will long outlast the mortal me. I like it that I can invent art forms that often  seem very beautiful to me and  others. I makes me feel, well, happy!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Inventing an Alphabet

Yesterday I attended a workshop taught by a lovely artist and calligrapher from New York, Jeanne Poland. The theme was to write out your own epithet using an alphabet you created.
 That wasn't a problem for me. A while ago, I had invented this alphabet you see.  I called  it Victory.There it was, nestled on a page in my portfolio, just waiting for me to use. This really made me analyze just what is involved when starting from scratch.
 In calligraphy, the capital letters are called the Upper case. A decision must be made as to  whether there will be  ascenders, the parts of the letters going above the line, or descenders, those strokes below the lines. This Victory alphabet  has only capitals. This is not historically unique. Look at the Uncial style from the 3rd century. It has that Celtic look you would recognize .
I set about to use  my own invention. I chose  a large, automatic pen with its  flexible nib. This  is really  a manipulated hand. I start out on the full edge, and then twist and come off onto the side edge  of my pen. This gives  that variation I want. I am actually using  the same strokes in different sequences, depending on the perimeters of each letter. An alphabet is really about patterns and rhythms. I think the Victory will always have a certain individuality. 
More to come... 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Words of Siddhartha on Clay

                                                                           Here is my latest creation   uniting  my dual arts of  ceramics and  calligraphy. I love to use the clean white porcelain as the " canvas" to my cobalt blue brush lettering. It is entitled "The Mind", and these are words that speak to me.What goes on in our heads can be  a powerful force in our lives.What we dwell on does often take on a life of its own. I like reading inspirational words that make me look inward. I hope other people might find a connection to my presentation. 
This quote is  attributed to a famous spiritual leader, Siddhartha Gautama,who lived a very long time ago in Nepal. Raised in wealth as the son of a king, he left that world to become a monk. Sitting under the bohdi tree, he was  searching for the answers to the problem of suffering to come.Finally came understanding and he became the Buddha, which means " he who is awake." 
What you think is important. What you see can start this process. Comments?