Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Well Practiced Awkward Dumb Effort

Ahhhh, time to once again ring out the another year gone by with one of my personal favorite activities that the kids and I have turned into an end of year tradition... "Smash Pot Day".

Gotta love it. Here's a quick thought from this years swing...

“Celebrate today’s success… because there’s always a very good chance that tomorrow you’ll wake-up and realize it all just amounts to a well practiced, awkward dumb effort.”

Nothing puts a period at the end of a sentence like the swing of a big’ol hammer.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

RJ’s Flashing Slip

50% Grolleg Kaolin
20% Calcinated EPK
30% Neph
.50% Yellow Iron Oxide
2% Kentucky White Glaze Clay

Use on bisque.... dude... it's the bomb.

Secret Studio Sale Part 2

I made mention of this last week... If you've been eyeing a something special in my FetishGhostEtsy, this is a good opportunity to pick it up 20% off the posted cost. Either pick out what you want and don't pay until I re-invoice you, or click on through and I'll refund you the difference through PayPal.
This sale includes the silver! What's in sale is limited to what's in the storefront, so grab what you have your eye on fast and early.
This sale will be running the 27th through the 31st and it's all first come first serve.


Home Sweet Home

Well the frenzy of the season is past. It went by like a freight train this year and, like most years, I was reluctant to go anywhere near the tracks. My kids made darn sure I at least leaned into the wind and waved though.
The picture above is part of a new project that was started this week. It was originally just meant to be an exercise, an excuse to stretch my fingers out over in wordpress with. Along the way it turned into portfolio of sorts for my BoneOrchard line of teaware.
It's an invisible store front kind of thing.
It's still under construction and feels a bit clunky. Click around if you have some time and let me know what you think. There's a tab on the sidebar for suggestions or comments.

It's at

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blu & David Ellis

Here's something off the beaten track...

My kids and I have a favorite subject in our discussions about art and how it fits into the context of our daily living. Here in Stockton California, the public visual expression is basically limited to Tagging. A quickly scrawled name in paint pen. Lame.
While I am not an advocate for graffiti, I am an advocate for style and grace and I miss the days of listening to people bitch about, what was in hindsight, actually an amazing act of self expression. Luckily we live close to San Fransisco where mural art and old school graffiti are still going strong. Blah blah blah... I've getting off track. I went nuts when I first saw the work of these 2. If you haven't seen it before, it'll blow your mind.
Here is an amazing look at the cooperative play of David Ellis
and Blu

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Souper Supper Bowls

Had a bit of a set-back this week… I opened up the basement door Monday morning to find 2” of water in my kiln room. I run an old electric Paragon so this kind of gave me a bit of pause. But that’s another story…

This post is just a few shots of some of the bowls that are in process for the TideWater’s Souper Supper in February. 3 of the galleries artists provided me with a taste of their art work that I could sample. I used the samples to create decals for firing onto the glazed surfaces of a bunch of this year’s bowls.
I'd like to take the oppertunity to give a special thanks to contributing TideWater artists, Sarah Lippincott, Denny Ah-Tye, and Gay Lynn Saunders. Thanks for your help! I really hope you like how they come out.
These are prefiring shots, they should be out of the kiln Monday afternoon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Secret Sale

Well… part 1 of my “Secret Studio Sale” is officially over and I really want to thank everyone for such a wonderful reception for RedGateStudio’s first secret studio sale. We managed to raise enough funds to rent a local gas kiln for a special firing of reduction work this February. Thank you everyone! This is going to be a lot of fun!

Stay tuned this week for part 2 of my “Secret Studio Sale”. This will be for my bone inspired silver and spooky clay works...

Licks, Love, & Luck…

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Burn’n For Joe

It’s been months since someone last let me fondle the valves on a gas kiln. Except for last spring’s excursion into soda firing with Matt from MossBeachCeramics, I’ve been exiled exclusively to electric firings for the last 4 years. Since then I’ve learned to enjoy worshipping the coil, but hey, I love the flame…

This week, the local community college ceramics professor, Joe Mariscal let me burn one with his new studio tech in their old Alpine updraft. I had forgotten what pandemonium an
undergraduate classroom could be like at the end of a semester and I was given the opportunity to find out that a community college classroom is quite a bit crazier. As nutty as it was, it was totally worth it. They were looking for someone to help push through a reduction firing and viola, I’m still a burner at heart.

God I love that old kiln smell…

Friday, December 11, 2009

Secret Studio Sale Part 1

I've been waiting to run a small sale to offer up a few loose thoughts at a fairly steep discount. These are odds and ends that went unlisted, got buried and forgotten on a studio shelf, or were taken out of the storefront for an event and not returned to the line-up.
I'm not much of a believer in seconds sales, but I'm not keen on smashing the odds and ends just to create space for new works either. (I'm still working on how to manage a reasonable storage system for finished works. Coping with a real inventory of a thousand pieces or more ain't happening while I'm still a city rat.)
So with the 2 year anniversary of opening both of my Etsy storefronts quickly coming up on the 20th of this month, I'm running 2 secret studio sales. RedGate's sale started last night and FetishGhost's... well we'll see.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bathroom Fantasy

Ok, it’s time to come out and just say this… it’s about one of the magazines that’s hidden in the pile of reading material in my bathroom…

I enjoy reading Elle Décor …

So there it is, I’ve said it.
I don’t know how or why we started getting this magazine, it just started showing up… we are unmonied, fairly dirty behind the ears, and our vacuum cleaner hasn’t worked for over a year and my wife still hasn’t noticed.

I have to say, I’m not thumbing through these to read the articles. I enjoy leafing through the pages, fantasizing about the unobtainable in life. In this case, it’s about having a one of my pieces setting on a well dusted shelf or table top pictured in its gleaming pages or on a shelf sitting next to a book that no one has looked at.

Sigh…. Pure fantasy.
But I also know that if I actually achieved the unattainable and accidently found myself on these pages, I’d have to live up to the expectations that come along with that responsibility… consistent, steady, reliable, PRODUCTION.
Woof! It’s a good thing this is just a fantasy. I think I prefer the reality that I’m living. I thoroughly enjoy the studio life I have, but there’s a lot to be said for a good daydream…I think I'll just keep gluing my work onto it's front page.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Minor Fall From Grace

That's not good...

I'm not sure of the title that the Bruce originally gave this teapot, but "A Minor Fall From Grace" is the title that I surreptitiously handed this work this week. Local artist Bruce Cadman had brought in a few works for photographing. Usually this is a painless exercise...but this time I broke his newest work as I was taking it off the light table. Doh!

The "up-side" is that Bruce is a really nice guy, (a little strange, yes, but hey who am I to point?) and we had just gotten the piece fully photographed. His only request was to have a picture of it while it was still in one piece.

No problem...

Sorry Bruce...

P.S. Your wife paid me $5 to smash the peice, but now she won't pay... so I'm making this into postcards to hand-out at this weekends event...
Just kidding.

Monday, November 30, 2009

AgateWare Bowls

Still at it with the bowls... 52 more thrown and trimmed. I'm trying to get a good variety of surfaces in. Got a double handful of stenciled slips on the ware boards drying along with a bakers dozen of agateware and even a few plain ones.

Usually I kind of enjoy throwing out in the cold(ish) fall and winter months. Boil up a bucket of water for the throwing slip, put on an extra pair of socks and pull on the long underwear and voila... no problem. This year though, it's just humid enough to really slow down the drying and the greenware is getting a bit backed up.


Here's a spot of video that we shot while throwing the agateware yesterday. This'll be spliced into the stack of videos that we'll show in the background at the Souper Supper Event in February.
Let me know what you think, the feedback is really helping to move this project along.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cow's Tounge

A craftsman’s tools help define the craftsman. It’s still about how you chose to use it… but our tools help us leave the marks we want.

I’ve gotten more than a few notes asking what this thing is… it’s a wooden “cow’s tongue” or a "Gyubera". This is a bent convex wooden rib that is used to compress and form the interior of forms on the wheel. It’s a traditional Japanese tool, that's darn useful tool to have on hand. I’ve had this one for almost 2 years now and I don’t think it’s ever been put away.

Most supply houses carry these critters, but here's a special link to a fantastic suppler of Japanese clay tools.
Thanks for the tip Kitoi.

Friday, November 27, 2009

2010 Souper Supper Bowls

The kids and I am putting together a few videos for this spring's 2010 TideWater Gallery "Souper Supper" event in February. I've been clued in that many of the people around here think that I just spit these bowls out for this event. This is the first video for this years event and unfortunately I don't think it communicates the amount of effort that goes into this project. I know this particular video might be a bit repetitive, but I think it does nicely begin to convey the pleasant monotony of throwing 120 bowls for an event like this. Wot!

Mental note... don't speed-up the next video... it looks cool, but it makes it look too fun.

Impromptu Hiatus

I’ve been quietly running an impromptu to experiment the past 2 weeks. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s the calm before the storm, and maybe it just is what it is… but it looked like not sitting down with a cuppa joe (or 3) at the computer and sharing what’s been happening out in the studio doesn’t help very much. (We’ll play a bit of catch-up this weekend.)

The reason for this hiatus was a happy one though.
My parents were in town from Iowa for a visit and we simply don’t get enough time to spend together. Mom and I did get to spend a bit of time out in the studio working on this year’s bowls for the TideWater Art Gallery’s “Souper Supper”. (70 or so bowls done… 50 to go.) This is her 3 year helping me put through a load and I’m thrilled to have her in the studio with me. It’s a fun way to get together for a few days and it really special to share time with her doing something I love to do...

Thanks Mom!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Objects of Virtue Exhibition

"Objects of Virtue" explores the innovative ways in which artists use the sculptural and painterly qualities of clay to create varied and distinctive new vessels. As an amalgamation of surface, color, texture, and mass, clay in its fired state is potentially one of the richest art mediums. The concept of pots as “objects of virtue” is attributed to the late master potter Byron Temple, who championed the idea of potters as artists. With this exhibit, Bedford Gallery presents artists from across the country who share the idea that something as humble as a pot can have the import and mystery of a fine painting or sculpture. In every detail, from the shape of the vessel’s footing, to the finesse of a lid, to the overall shape of its body, the pots in Objects of Virtue demonstrate a concern for both beauty and function.

- Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions & Programs

Bedford Gallery is housed in the City of Walnut Creek's Lesher Center for the Arts, and enjoys being the largest community-based visual arts facility between the Bay Area and Sacramento.This is a beautiful gallery and arts center that shows what can arise from a community’s investment in a future of pride and vision.

The picture at the right is from the "Full Deck" Exhibition this summer... Totally cool show... totally.

What a treat!
I’m looking forward to finally getting to see what the exhibition juror, Julia Galloway, has selected for this show. Reading down the roster of artists that they pulled in nationally for this event, this’ll be a fun show to drop in on.

So many amazing things are currently happening right now in the field of ceramic Art, (notice the big “A” on that one) national exhibitions like these tend to be eye openers even for seasoned gallery hoppers and ageing studio rats like me. I’m very honored and happy, (giddy really), to have been selected to participate in the “Objects of Virtue” exhibition this year. (Alright alright, I did do an elaborate happy dance involving a few celebratory beers and a bit of hoot’n and holler’n.) I’m never quite sure what a juror is going to be looking for when they are selecting works for a show. I realize that there may be a stated theme for a show, but I also realize that as artists, many of us tend to shoehorn in just about any work on hand into a show’s particular theme. Whether we are fooling ourselves or not is beside the point. I tend to try to avoid doing this but in the end, I entered 3 works that I enjoyed from this year’s body of work that were simply still on hand. Luckily I felt that they truly met the theme of the show. (That is what we all say though.)

Out of the 3 pieces submitted, I was a bit surprised to find out that it was one of the Bone Orchard Chawan’s that was selected. I have to admit I’m full of question marks, but I’m comfortable with that…

Here are the other 2 that were considered but fell aside.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bruce Cadman

The 2nd ceramic artist that was involved in last weekends "Stroll & Jazz" on the Miracle Mile in Stockton, was ever amazing Bruce Cadman. (Actually I'm very happy to say he was more than just involved, he was the major motivator for this entire project.)
Thanks Bruce!!!
I'm always thrilled to be sitting next to Bruce. His ceramic work is very definitely unlike anything else ccurrently out there. It's imaginative, thoughtful, and full of obsessive detail. Yum! The best part is that I'm getting to watch an artist in a transformation period. His work seems to be very quickly evolving into something even more compelling and evocative. His MO is to only creates a small number of pieces a year, meticulously pouring over the details and putting them though a range of atmospheres in search of a finished surface. Judging from what I'm seeing in the studio right now, I'm really curios to see where he's taking his work this next season.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Michael Cammack

One of this weekends 3 featured PortCityMud artists on the Miracle Mile in Stockton, CA. was Michael Cammak. He's ceramic work is fun and light hearted despite the references to some of the world most infamous faces. Michael creates larger than life busts that are instantly recognizable for who they are despite the whimsy of his characterizations

The more I'm around this body of work, the more I appreciate his approach. I've been watching the reactions of the pedestrians as they walk past the windows. They drag their eyes along the glass looking at every one's work out of the corner of their eyes as they pass by, but when they hit "The Heads of State" grouping they pass by... stop... and back pedal and get a good look at the heads. Never fails... They walk away smiling a crooked little smile.

I'm still working out why. We'll definitely be taking this up later at the groups "philosophy" session at the neighborhood pub.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stroll & Jazz on Miracle Mile

Avenue Autumn Showcase
Stroll & Jazz Concert Friday, November 13th
The night starts with a stroll on Miracle Mile at 6:00PM with gourmet hors d’oevres and fine wines.

This is going to be tons of fun!This is our first outing as PortCity Mud and we’re excited! We got brought in on this project at the last minute, but we have been looking for just this sort of event to goof around at so we were prepared… well kinda.
We had the pedestals on hand already. (We enthusiastically made them a few months back in prep for a storefront gallery project.) We had artists lined up. (That’d be us. Our ugly mugs are posted on the side here.)

This is an evening event, so with that in mind we decided to make use of the impressive amount of glass in the storefront with a projected video shown directly onto a sheet in the window to go along with the exhibition. We sat down with a few beers and tested it out last night with lots of success. It really got people’s attention.

So we’ll be at the old Wells Fargo Bank Building at 1906 Pacific Ave with an exhibit of ceramic arts, video demonstrations shown in the store front glass, along with live demos and wine inside. The event starts at 6:00PM.

Glenda the Good

A really quick shout out to one of my favorite local artists…

Glenda Burns

She a multi-talented artist that excel’s in painting and ceramics. Her use of color in both media is reminiscent of the Fauves movement from the turn of the last century. My favorite aspect of her work is that it’s as fun and uplifting to be around as she is… Both brighten a room and cheer me up.

Guess that’s a darn fine mess of peas.

If anybody is in town, her opening is 4- 7pm Saturday the 14th at the Goodwin gallery on the Miracle Mile in Stockton, CA.I’d love to see you there.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

B/Witched Yunomi

Alright, alright... I know, I know, but I needed a few of these for the holidays and they dissappered too quickly last month. This is a small run of 15 tounge'n'cheek yunomi created using toner decals that have been fired into the glaze.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Winding Down

These 4 cups were part of a small series of 13 stenciled works that were mixed in with 25 vanilla glazed cups that I pushed through for decals. This small series was intended to revisit and retest of some of this years glaze experiments. Nothing too crazy, but glaze combos and applications that seemed to work well at the time and needed restating. Looking back over the year, I'm really happy how the relation of the form, the foot, and the lip has really progressed into a consistently beautifully balanced object.
I love how this series has turned out. The red stoneware really warms up the White Liner glaze...

This is the second time through this experiment with a black slip and Amber glaze. I love the interaction of the Amber and the White Liner at the rim. A thicker application of the Amber glaze will make these jewels.
I've been falling in love with my simple white liner glaze again. I wasn't really happy with the predictable thin & stable application of this glaze over the cobalt slip stenciled work, but I've grown fond of multiple dipped and poured layers. The design shifts just slightly, but the surface is rich.

This is the yunomi that the kids and I filmed being made last week. I like how it came out of the kiln, but I well aware it's not to everyone's taste. It has texture in abundance. It's been made to be a tactically beautiful cup... a cup that not only functions as it should, but as an object that's a joy to hold and explore with your hands and eyes.
It really is something special.