Sunday, November 30, 2014

You Got Hmmmm

I've been thinking a lot about how the idea of function influences how I view what's sitting in front of me.
I know for a fact, that if a work is seen as "craft" or "functional", it's no longer eligible to be judged as a medium of Art.
I totally get it...
There's a whole lot of functional crap out there made by all of us.
To be clear though...
there is also a whole lot of crap paintings, sculpture, jewelery, glass and "what not" out there at any given time.
To dismiss functional ceramics out of hand just seems like somebody is just clearing the field.

So if a canister essentally becomes a "Doorstop" by giving up it's function,
does it become a candidate to be seen as Art?

I've started firing the lids onto a handful of what I consider Top Notch works that are coming out of the studio.
I think it's valid, but honestly, it really hurts.
Pots are pots.
But after talking about it with my kids, it's quickly coming down to presentation.
This means basing works and formally presenting them as formalistic sculptures.
The up-side is that by adopting this perspective, 
Now all bets are off.
Go Operatic.
Go Big.

Playing the Angle

Yeah, yeah, yeah...
I know.

I have to play with this cliche of form. 
There's just so much possibility.
Cliche or not, this is just round one.
It's been pointed out that the surface and form working together just makes everything "Busy".

 I think I agree...
I think.
Maybe it's just a matter of content.
When I stop and think about it,
  the aggressiveness of the surface might nicely support the "Cock Fight" motif that I've been wanting to play with.

Kick'n the Corpse

 I want to say "Thank You" to everyone who chimed in to help solve my body bloating problem firing this cone 6 Cassius Clay body off.
Simply slow firing to cone 5 worked very well.
My white liner didn't mature at 5 so I refired to 6. I was wondering how this would work out, but the body did just fine in the refire. 
Unfortunately, the liner glaze went south.

This was supposed to be a toasted marshmellow glaze.
Strike two...
I'll post the Marshmallow glaze once I figure out WTFH happened.

I actually kind of like the effect of the messed up liner.
Personally, I enjoy something joltingly different, and because the claybody is perfectly fine. I'll just grind and sand the interrior and lip to see how this changes the works' grace.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Been revisiting the sketchbooks, entertaining myself by seeing if I have gotten to a place where I can actually make what's been designed.
When I'm in my Happy Place, I draw without thinking whether I could, (or better yet whether I should), make what's running through my head.

Lord knows how much is self-censored in the name of marketability in our studio.
Hell, just getting a photograph of bare clay black on black work is daunting. That alone is usually enough of a reason not to contine making a series of work.  
Issues of shippability due to scale and proportion really don't help at all either.

But I like 'em.
I like this path.
I like seeing these ideas move through from rough sketch to finished work.
I like feeling the surface. feeling it's weight and balance.
How they play with space and profile.
Figure and balance.
I like exploring each piece and enjoying playing with skills that I've incrementally built up. Playing without a thought given to accountability to a mythic market..

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cup: The Intimate Object X

Since grade school, I've vigorously held to the idea that, "just getting chosen to remove my butt from the bench and get a chance to participate in the game at hand is my personal victory." I quickly got used to being on the loosing end as well as the winning end pretty early on. I did quickly figure out that I didn't like being part of the middle of the pack, and because of that point, I tend to romanticize preforming at a level that lets me find myself among the varsity team.  

 And what an amazing team it is this time.
So much talent,
so many diverse visions,
so many passions.
It's a wonderful cross section of contemporary studio ceramics.

I can't help but be honored to just be part of the choir.
The Charlie Cummings Gallery really raised the bar!

I really enjoy just getting to share my work.
I need it to be seen, but if I could ask for anything, I would ask for anyone that enjoys seeing my work, invest in a purchase...
I promise, you won't be disappointed.
Money really does help validate the work in the eyes of the galleries, These are the Gatekeepers that I'm hoping that will ultimately help let me inside the gate.
For me, this isn't about money or prestige.
The activity of my studio is about creating a conversations and connections, and without realizing either of these two activities, the function of my studio stumbles.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

KVIE Art Auction 2014

I feel very strongly that one of the most important roles a craftsman can fill, is standing up in the community that I live in and taking responsibility in helping lifting that community up as an Artist that serves rather than a artist that expects and takes.

I seriously am rubbing Budda's Belly, making a wholehearted wish to get a better handle on how to actually do this with the limited time I have available for projects large enough to make an impact.
As part of the working poor, all I can offer is my hands, my talents, and my heart.

Please feel free to contact me about this work at 
and/or get a rather secretive idea of what has motivated this series of works at my new Blog
Licks, Love, & Luck...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Image Transfer and Carving

This is just a hint at why I smile...

Hard Lesson

The hardest thing I've had to learn over the course of this year is the value of stopping believing in someone that I love in order to force them learn to believe in themself. 

Unfortunately that someone was me....

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Peeking in Our SideDoor

It ain't pretty folks, but happiness ain't always what you've been told what it'd be...

FireFlies Bones & Angels

Rolling through the mill...

Bones and Angels

My kids have spoiled me rotten with their lessons. 
I watch them draw and fill space without expectation or worry about someone elses rules. 
Lines can wander, have secret meaning...
They can play...
They don't tell you what to see, they suggest meanings without being direct.

Mine the gold where we sit...
Isn't this what we went to school to learn?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lucian Freud

I don't see why all of our worlds are placed so separate from each other...

Clay can be the world, a cathedral, the interior of the mind...
a snap of a life, and experience, an emotion pushed up like a flower or a boil..

But without meaning,
without intention...

it's just another pot.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


In my mind's eye Picasso lives large...

It's plain to see a lot of us are Haunted by the myth of the maker... a maker that sacrifices everything for his Expression.

It's a myth that's not meant to be lived up to. 
It's a myth that grants us permission to live our own myth.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Too Common to be Extraordinary

A supply run turned into a side trip to the Crocker Art Museum.

It's a great space to reflect in, I imagine its what a library must feel to a writer... permission, talent, and potentiality all set out like a buffet on a table in one manicured space.

I hadn't talked with Jess much about why I wanted to go, (who  needs a reason to go the the museum anyway?), but I've had conversations running through my head regarding Art vs Craft. One of the bigger thoughts swimming around in my head is,  
"Is there any real difference between Art and Craft?... and if there is, what exactly is the difference?"

I wanted to set myself back down in front of a few specific pieces in their Pasific Island collection and start thinking this through. The work has haunted me since my last two visits. Sitting in front of the works, I keep looking for the story thread in the beautiful nonsense of pattern and artcitecture of the objects. Neither of which relates to the world I live in and that alone seems to elevate the work into a category labeled "mythic".

Is it Art? Does it speak to my soul? Does it have meaning? Does it change my perspective?

I can't answer the first question, but for me at least, I did find myself sitting and thinking about much more than the carven shield on the wall in front of me, so my answer to the rest of the questions is "yes".

Is it Art?... That's always the question... Painting, wooden mask... shrug

The Crocker had a new exhibit up of Quilts up too. This was what i needed to see.
In my house, quilts carry a lot of meaning. 
My mother is a quilter. 
Not one of those "I'm going to make a quilt this year" kind of quilters, but one of those obsessives that makes a few amazingly detailed, beautiful, complex works every year.

With the hundreds if hours that's poured into each one, what does she do with them? She gives them away to her Loved ones, friends, family, new babies... She shares her gift of time attention and talent not to make a profit but to serve the life with beauty.

Is it Art?
I still don't know...
They definitely speak to me, but maybe it's how it speaks to me is the difference.

Art speaks as a oracle, a shaman, a saint, a revolutionary, an intellectual, and often a train-wreck, but of late, the Art world seems to disqualify those that speak to us as Mother, or Laborer, or Uncle Bob.

We Cherish the quilt... We Value the Art.

Maybe it's "too common" to be extraordinary. 

Maybe it's too comfortable to be anything more than "decorative".

I do know that the potential that we all live with each and everyday is boundless and what we need, more than anything, is permission to sing.

... and No... I didn't find my answers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Follow the Leader

Playing one of my favorite games again with my studio partner Jessica.

Some how we found ourselves being allowed access to the front of a classroom again.

This is a special treat for me. There are so many magical places to take people inside their own heads by way of Art. 

It's about sneaking in the larger ideas about how we see the world as makers into the lessons on process.

Tag-team teaching is so much fun! 
Love playing Follow the Leader!

Go team Fun!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Garage Sale!

It's the relaunch of PortCity Mud! 
This time on Etsy!

Jessica Fong has been busy, busy, busy around here sorting through boxed work, re-shooting photos, and writing, and posting work up to a new Etsy site

We're running a "garage sale" on the site, running through June. This discounts orphaned works found squirreled away in dusty boxes.

I'm not going to shy away from saying that there's a lot of fun work that's finding its way in to postings.

Check it out and be on the ground floor supporting a new special start-up.