Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Creating a "Wee Book"

Here I am with my latest creation of a "Wee Book". Measuring about 3 inches square, it certainly deserves its title. Inside are some fifteen images, relating the the theme of winter.
It is essentially one long page folded like an accordion, hence the name      " accordion fold". This book was a study in printing out text and assembling the images with words in a consecutive format.There were also lessons on using cutouts for design purposes, as in the cover you see.
I am a calligrapher, so using words from the computer is harder for me than just writing on a page. This is what is happening  today. I am trying to get into the twenty first century, even though I am more comfortable using  techniques from years gone by, when it was all was done by hand
My bookmaking often happens with a group of fellow artists in the book arts.  At the given workshop, we are all students, with one taking the turn of being the instructor. The level of competency is high with this group. It is inspiring and helpful to learn with others. Makes one feel less the idiot, seeing others in your same sense of confusion. 
Being a visual artist, I learn more by seeing things happen, rather than just reading instructions.That was one of my joys teaching classes in calligraphy, the kindred spirit of everyone learning.
So that is the story of creating this wee book.

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Raku Jar

This shiny "Green Raku Jar" is a piece in my  "Reflections " show, currently exhibited  at the Jerome Coop. Standing  tall, about 14 inches with its lid, it is a wheel thrown pot. Slabs of clay are joined together in an abstract pattern for the handle to the top.The inside is glazed.
I like using this modern design form in one of the oldest and most traditional forms of ceramics.
 Raku was first used by by Japanese potters back in the 1500s to make their ceremonial tea bowls.  Firing the piece to about 1000 degrees, the  pot was taken out of the kiln while red hot. It was allowed to cool in the air, or in a closed container with combustible materials, such as straw, paper or natural materials.Called reduction, this atmosphere will influence the final results of the glaze,often  creating lovely metallic colors.In the old days lots of lead was used.  We can't use that now, but oh did produce some lovely effects. 
Not much has changed in this process. I still bundle up with care, covering my face, hair, arms, legs, and eyes.  I  reach into a immensely hot kiln with tongs to  take out my piece. Then I thrust it into a covered trash can containing materials that catch fire, slam on the lid  and hope I don't hear any popping sounds that means it has broken.That is  success!  
The wonderful thing about raku is the serendipitous quality of the results. I can do everything right, yet there is  often that element of surprise with the results. I am pleased with this piece.