autumn higgins

You know when you see something and you just know it's special, it's good.  I bought a cup of Autumn's a couple years back at CCACA, and I'm glad I did.   She was wry as wry could be, she made me laugh to myself.  Just take a look at her narrative...wry.

She was a stand out then; her work speaks for itself.  Keep an eye on this one.  She's only going to get better and better.

Go HERE and see much more of her work.  

on the horizon

working on some new things.  Actually, lots of new things in the pipeline, here are some;

I will be at the Treasure Island Pop Up Flea this weekend, March 24 & 25.  If you are in the Bay Area, please make a note of it and come by.  I'm on the main floor booth 230.

I will have a piece of sculpture work in the Skyline Ceramics Show at CCACACalifornia Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art in Davis !

May 5th I'll be at Fourth & Clay for the one day only SPRING SALE !
I suspect there will be cookies and maybe in the afternoon a celebratory margarita?  I can't be sure, but what I am sure of is what great and talented company I will be in.  Please come by !  Do it for yourself, do it for your mother ;-)) - it is the perfect place to get your mom a special gift.

I got the green light for Bazaar Bazaar's Maker Faire on May 19 & 20 in San Mateo!

Phew.  I need to get to work.

Kevin Snipes at Clay Mix - Part II

Kevin uses a porcelain clay (mostly one he makes) however, when he does use a commercial clay he chooses a cone 5/6 groggy porcelain body.  He is a hand builder the process he uses to construct his form is pretty basic.  I mean that he cuts the shape, uses a dowel to help get the slabs in position to be able to put them together - he bevels the edges, scores, slips and then reinforces the joints on the inside.

That's where it starts.  He did talk about how he spends a long time building the pieces and ensuring the integrity of the piece because he does spend so much time drawing/illustrating, he doesn't want to have seams splitting or cracking.  So, diligence is the word on that.

In a workshop setting it's hard to actually build like you would in studio because there simply isn't the luxury of time.  So, you can imagine the process of Kevin trying to show, with porcelain, the sped up version.  The truth is he couldn't.  But, he could talk about it.  He spends a lot of time on the details of building the piece and he spends even more time cleaning up the piece.

So the first half of the day was spent with a lot of conversation and watching him get his basic shape built in order to work on the illustrating/drawing part after the lunch break*

There was a lot of discussion about whether the drawing he may be thinking about in his head (which may not be fully realised) dictates the piece as he builds or visa-versa.  I think part of the answer is it's so much like a left brain/right brain commentary.  One simply cannot function at it's best without the other, but at different parts of the process one is in the forefront and then the other - of course, artists understand this relationship.  I think if you illustrate or decorate your work and have a fairly involved process in that regard - this is something that will make perfect sense.  However, it's not that easy to put to words.  He said that he often will simply focus on the construction and not spend much time on the story until the piece is ready for decorating.  It's often then that he will reproach the piece with the idea in mind of finding the story in the piece.  Michelangelo-esque; find the sculpture in the block of stone, find the idea in the shape and form.

Kevin did talk about how he uses Speedball Underglazes.  He uses Amaco underglaze, but likes and uses Speedball.  For the purposes of the workshop, he used Amaco.  He draws with a pencil an outline and get's the basic idea and lines correct of the figures and then he carves them.  He uses the basic mishima technique.  The decorating process happens at late leather hard.  He will paint on the colour , then draw some more illustration in the background to the figure and paint in another colour and so on.  He then uses a metal rib to scrape it off.  He told us that the drawing piece is lengthy.  It can take him sometimes 4 weeks to finish a drawing on the piece.  His approach is a very organic one and he does not force the narrative but allows himself the time for the story to fully emerge.

A word about his glaze.  I asked him specifically about his surface.  It's a glaze he has developed over a long period working hard to perfect.  It's his thing, and it's truly a beautiful surface.  He did tell us that it's super touchy and even a 10 degree difference or environment change can alter the results.

I'd say that Kevin has an architect's approach.  Attention to detail, clean, precise and then there's the story telling.  He is a master at it.   *We had to leave a bit early, so we missed some of the discussion about his surface technique.

I think the thing that is hard for me to convey is the experience of listening to him talk throughout the day, it makes a lot of his work, process, etc much more clear, it allowed a certain amount of reading between the lines.  As a hand builder, it was easier for me to relate to a lot of his thoughts and approach from that perspective.  In only spending some hours with him, we just got to skim the surface of his depth of narrative.  I think that's a long conversation. . .

It was really interesting for me as a hand builder.
Of course, I am doing little justice to Kevin, his work or his discussion.  It was a great opportunity.

Kevin Snipes at Clay Mix - Part I

Kevin Snipes gave an interesting and informative talk at Clay Mix in Fresno, Ca today.  I'll write more about his demo in Part II tomorrow.

But here's a little description, my experience, of his work...

Apart from what is widely discussed about his contrasting narrative, what struck me immediately is that his work is so rich.  Rich.  There is a surface quality that is a little like wax.  It has a softness, an encaustic look and feel, very subtle, very slight.  In this way, it's like no other work I've touched or seen.  The storytelling, the dynamic force of opposites, pieces missing, pieces added, activity, energy, attitude, it's all there.  It's swirling and busy, there is activity in colour and form, and yet its almost encased, even protected by this beautiful velvety shield.  I swear it gives the illusion that you are eaves-dropping on a conversation.

Everything he is giving in his work for the viewer to see and overhear, he is also holding back.

It's so great!

Clay Mix is a great space.  A clay studio, gallery, clay supply shop.  The work in the gallery is inspiring and well presented.   A wonderful, bright, open space- it was well worth the trip....

Ah, the trip!  The round trip to Clay Mix was pretty much equivalent to me driving from my house to Los Angeles - thanks goodness for the company of Tiffany Schmierer (we also were picking up some of Tiffany's pieces in the gallery at Clay Mix).

So, yeah, it was good,  but   put   a   fork   in   me....

I have pics of the demo and will post part II tomorrow.

Have I talked about Thaddeus Erdahl?

Thaddeus Erdahl

He has a post about this piece - it's going to NCECA.  Go check out his blog.  Prepare to be amazed. 

sticking in my head

Andrea Keys Connell blows my mind.  The first time I saw this work I was mesmerised and horrified and mesmerised and, well, haunted.  It left me feeling incredibly curious and putt off at the same time.  I was instantly connected to a story; whether it is one I am telling myself or the one she is telling.   I've looked at her work time and again and I continue to be moved by it.  One thing is certain,  I have never forgotten these pieces or Andrea's words about them.  Haunting is the word.  Haunting, in the most magnetic way.

go to her website; look at her work.  read her words.  seriously, it's worth your time.

Andrea Keys Connell

little foolin' around at cone 10

I like using scale pieces for test tiles.  To me, making a tiny chip is fraught with the same margin for error as small paint chips.  How to you make good decisions about painting an entire room on one tiny 2x2 chip?
Ya can't.  I apply that thinking to my work.  Maybe it's simply a lack of experience.  In that way, the larger piece is my security blanket.  Ok.  works for me.

all black mountain - temoku interior - you can see it bloated pretty bad on the bucket.  I've used it before and had very little problems with bloating?  Thickness?  In any case, I got some good info out of the exercise.

Black mountain with porcelain slip, carved with xacto (and the line quality held up pretty well) cobalt wash, and various amaco underglazes.  The chartreuse is a nice surprise.  I like the look on the black mountain, not too bright, antique-y, warn, weathered. pretty. I said...just collecting data.  


working's raining hard here in "sunny" California.  There is something very inspiring to me about rainy days, much the same way a very bright sunny day is inspiring too, as well!  Though, I do get so much more work done on a rainy day.

I am making new work for a show/sale I'm doing on Treasure Island March 24/25th.  This is a new event for me, so we'll see - I thought it would be fun and I'd reach a whole new group of customers.

new vases of varying size from 6.5" to 9" and some small plates ranging from 4" to 9" diameter.

Kevin Snipes

I am going to attend a workshop with Kevin Snipes this month.  I'm pretty stoked.  I have stayed away from workshops for the last year or so.  I needed some time to dive in to my own work without distraction.

But, when the genius' come to town; one must go!  There are so many things I find compelling about Kevin's work.  There's attitude there, and a serious intensity in his narrative.  That intensity juxtaposed to the quirky asymmetrical format of his forms.  The pieces have their own narrative on top of the narrative on top of a narrative both illustrated and most interestingly unspoken.

the mud fire website has a tight little write up on kevin.
mudfire; kevin snipes

here is the link for the workshop

I'll report back....