Monday, June 10, 2019

the Little Goddess

Here is my little Goddess necklace. She is the smallest version of the much larger clay sculptures I have created.I thought this might be a more affordable and playful version for collectors.
  This lady is about four inches tall,including her hair. She is made of smooth, burnished porcelain and then pit fired for that magic color.
 I even created all the beads that are   beside her. Two are the same burnished low fire style, but the tiny beads are high fired porcelain and stained with iron oxide. She is a real Sedona lady!  
Hanging on a cotton cord gives her the flexibility to be a choker or flow into a longer version. I wanted to keep the whole organic feel to this jewelry creation.
I have always liked to sculpt the female form. Often I prefer to create in a  more free form, even a bit abstract, so you, the viewer, can interpret her through your own eyes.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Un Petit Bowl = a small bowl

Un petit bowl.  A small bowl that just came out of my last firing. The French have a nice way of saying small, but the word bowl stays the same. This is what I named this particular creation. I love that it can fit in the  hand that made it.
You can see the decorative coils I have added to the edge. Why not create some interest? This is a high  fired porcelain clay body, which means it can be heated in the stove or even microwave. Naturally, it is totally food safe.
The white color you see is the actual clay showing through a clear glaze. I use this color scheme often, as I think it shows off the form and highlights the contents. 
I added an iron oxide to create the contrasting color on the outside, where I have added an organic pattern. Living here in Sedona AZ, we look up at he red rocks which are colored by this oxide. Inspiration from the outside in.  I like the juxtaposition of the smooth inside and the textured outside. This is a theme I use on most all of my handmade pieces.
Today I share with you, le petit bowl. Comments are always appreciated by this blog writer!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Reitz Ranch

Here I am standing in front of the large wood burning kiln at Reitz Ranch. This was the former home and studio of the well known ceramic artist Don Reitz.
 I was fortunate to have known Don, in the casual way that clay artists see each other and talk shop.We both lived in the Verde valley for a long time and our paths would cross. He was a very funny man and really liked conversation. I took a workshop from him years ago, and as the wheel was turning, Don was talking.Neither stopped for long. He liked to work Big.He was probably best known for his salt and wood firings.Hence these kilns. 
He can be credited as taking ceramics from the  world of craft into fine art, along with his peers, such as  Paul Soldner, Peter Voulkas, Dora DeLarios, and Michael Frimkess. I knew the latter two artists from my days in Venice, California.
Now Don's legend lives on. Another ceramicist, Sheryl Leigh Devault and her husband, Ted, have bought the ranch and intend to continue the world of clay to those who are interested. I feel Don would like this concept.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Goddess Figure

Here we have my latest Goddess figure, all smooth and sensuous. She stands about 14 inches tall, including her lovely hair. 
I have always been drawn to the female form. Working with clay,  I prefer a certain abstraction in my  design. Everything does not have to be exactly like our bodies, and everyone is unique, to be sure. It is the concept and the different imagery with which I like to work.
This lovely lady is made from my preferred  clay body, porcelain.That is especially useful  when it comes time to burnish her to a fine sheen. I use horsehair for her decoration, and made a little beaded necklace for adornment.
The  first firing is in my regular kiln. Lastly comes the pit firing, using  wood to fire. The results are full of  surprises. I am happy with the play of dark and light browns; the bronze tones; the hint of metallic flashing here and there . She's a Goddess, and  she does what she wants!

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Art of Japanese Stab Bindings

Here are the gorgeous books created at a workshop I recently taught on the Art of Japanese stab bindings, using hard covers.
Mine are the two on the bottom left with the green trees, and under it, the cover with the fishes swimming. As a calligrapher, I got into making books by hand.That was the technique used long ago, before the printing press. Everything made with care and precision, the book and writing, both  art forms.
My other book on the top right has  the purple and green flowers. This has a more complicated form of stitching. Look at the contrast of the thread on the brown  cover in front,which really shows the finished pattern. A lot more complicated than just two holes! These are experienced book makers I am teaching, so it is always a challenge to know more than your students.
Japanese stab binding has a long tradition, and were usually made of rice paper. Each hole has to be sewn at least two times, front and back, to complete the pattern. The sewing is always begun other than the first two holes to make the knot less obtrusive. For this lesson, I chose the hard covers, mat board covered in decorative paper.The six hole design is a real challenge. Therein lies the art!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Art of Playing

Here is one of my latest creations I call  "Words on Clay". A ceramic plaque, using porcelain clay as my canvas, with words  in a somewhat calligraphic  script. I use a small brush and cobalt blue oxide to create this image on the clay. It is   then covered with a clear glaze, and fired to a high temperature. It could last longer than I do, as it hangs on a wall.
These are not my words, but those of the noted Irish play write and author, George Bernard Shaw. He live to almost 100, so he had many pithy writings. Since we are in a new year, this quote seemed to be a fitting message to myself, and others. 
It is a brand new time, 2019; another step in this progress we call life. With all the challenges in today's world, maybe it is good to remember to take the time to play  more. 
For me, this can happen when I am in the studio, writing out my words on clay, or when I am travelling and play is the destination. Now, if I can just remember to live each day as if I am on that vacation...And you ?