Friday, November 20, 2015

Creating the Mountain Mug

Where does a clay vessel start? This is a picture of a mug I threw on the potter's wheel about three days ago. Right now, it is merely dried mud. Hit it with your hand and it will break apart. Put it into water and it will dissolve into particles of porcelain clay at the bottom of the bucket.This is called greenware, as it has not yet been fired in the kiln.
It is really two pieces joined together. There is the body itself. Then comes the handle, which must be attached when it is still damp enough to fuse the two pieces. The glue that binds ceramics together when still wet is called slip. Really it is merely  wet, mushy clay. You scratch and put this mixture  on the opposing  pieces, then join  them together. I always add  a little coil to give some strength. A good idea to cover overnight. Clay doesn't like to be rushed. 
Finally I take my carving tool and carve out my interpretation of  these mountains I see outside of my studio here in Sedona. Artistic allowance is always permitted.I call this my" mountain mug" when complete.
I have to wait now,  make sure it is completely dry, before I put it into the kiln. I can carefully hold it to my cheek to feel if it has  more moisture, which feels cold; when  warm, it is dry. Very scientific, n'est-ce-pas?
So here you have my creative process of making the actual mug. The end result will  take a while. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Art of Halloween

Here I am ready for a favorite holiday, Halloween. I love this time of year, the fall, and the excitement and fun of seeing how others invent themselves for this most ancient of occasions.                                                                This is not a new holiday. Some say it really hearkens back to the ancient Celtic harvest festival of Samhain. Carried forward to the he Christian observance  of All Hollowtide,which  starts on October 31st, with a three day observance dedicated to remembering the dead. This includes the saints, or hallows, martyrs, and the faithfully departed. In the 16th century, there was the custom of   going house to house in costume. The crved pumpkin would represent the souls of the dead This was brought to the new world by the Irish and Scottish immigrants.                                                                            I love the style of the Mexican observance, Dia de Muertas. I have been in Mexico at this time before and  found it to be very ancient in feeling. Everyone goes out to the graveyards in a  processions led by the priest. There was a even a really awful band . I remember in one very small pueblo, I was next the a grave and saw some bones sticking out. Death is not so very far away.                                                                My face is my canvas this year. First came the white face paint; then the black; then the color.  I am grateful for Adrienne's help in show me the path in this new media. I took this experience back  and was able to draw on my friend's face for the evening .As I looked around the room, I felt my canvas was one of the better, and I was immortalized by wandering photographers. But they never knew who I was, did they? Masks hide all.