Monday, February 23, 2009

Homes and Altars

Last semester I focused on nostalgia and longing through images of my family and post cards. This semester I am trying to find my way out of the two-dimensional world of tile and into free standing three-dimensional sculpture. Coming from a painter's background, it is surprisingly difficult for me to think three-dimensionally, especially after a semester's work in flat tile. 
Right now I am trying to find an appropriate next step in my search to understand my past and my nostalgia for it. These architectural pieces are my bridge to that comprehension. They are representations of early renaissance frames, with additions of architectural remembrances of my home from my childhood. The idea that I'm thinking about is that of homes, especially past homes, which tend to fill people with a reverence long after they have left them. 

The Brain

The brain is a workspace designed by Oska architects as a place of inspiration for a film maker client.  The layout is based loosely on the form of a garage as a birthplace for innovative ideas.  What i enjoy about the space is the obvious encouragement to sit or pace and mull over thoughts.  And who would have known that the theoretical perfection of a glass box only needed books and a piano to become livable to a human? I'll take two, please.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Green Chair Project

I've been sitting on a collection of photographs that I took with my friend Mose Andre in the summer of 2002. The project was simple in premise: acquire an object from a thrift store and see how many different people we could photograph interacting with it. This evolved into a three day project of hauling a crappy green chair around the beautiful city of Spokane Washington, the results were well over a hundred portraits that reveal an unbiased sample of culture from the heart of the Inland Empire; we are no more than the sum of our parts.

fong choo

I went to Fong Choo's workshop at red star studios a few weekends ago. Watching Fong work was an incredible experience, and I absorbed an immense amount of information from him. I find that a lot of potters want to be secretive with their glazes, recipies, and techniques sometimes, but Fong is very open. Almost every other thing he was doing was a new tidbit to use in studio. His candid attitude made the workshop very enjoyable. I even had someone ask me how I could sit watching one thing for so long(two days in a row even), but really I was learning so much that the time flew by.

He started many philisophical talks about what all of us in the room might do if we found someone had taken our works and had them mass-produced; taking less time and money, and selling them for more. His attitude was that if someone started making "fong choo pots" that he would simply proceed onto the next thing, and leave the imitator in the dust. 

His attitude towards critique is also very genuine. He told us many times, "If you come into my studio, and tell me that my work sucks. I'm not going to tell you to get out, but ask why." He went through some of the gallery work at Red Star with us, and had an open critique about many pieces concerning spout placement, general shape, and lids of the teapots that were displayed. The workshop was not just a view into Fong's technique and way of working, but how he teaches as well. It was a very insightful experience, and I hope to study with Fong one day as his student, and not merely a looker-on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

First friday at the Belger

First Friday at the Belger featured the artwork of Robert Stackhouse, a K.C.A.I. graduate. These extremely large prints were water colored and then fixed on to canvas to be displayed. Most of the works included one of two major themes, A snake that he found in the 60's, and nautical themes inspired from a decrepid row boat he bought off a poor boy. Robert also builds large temporary sculptures to give him something to paint on. One of these large scaffolding type passage ways was erected on the campus of K.C.A.I. for two years while Stackhouse attended school there in the 1990's. I was pleased to have been able to see this show on the last night it was open, my favorite piece was the ice skeleton, a print that was inspired by a story Stackhouse read in National Geographic.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Potter's Tea Party - With a Workshop by Fong

On Friday, February 6 I attended the opening reception of Red Star Studios biannual show "The Potter's Tea Party". This show features the work of a variety of artists from all over the country. This show celebrates each artists' individual interpretation of the tea ceremony and its accompaniments. Some of my personal favorites include the work of Sam Chung, Jennifer Allen, Linda Christen, Gay Smith, Malcolm Davis and Elizabeth Lurie.

In addition to a great new show, Fong Choo also presented a two - day workshop for Red Star Studios. Fong Choo is a native of the Republic of Singapore and is inspired by his Chinese heritage and the tradition of Yixing pottery. He is currenlty a parttime professor of ceramics at Bellarmine University in Loiusville, Ky and a fulltime studio potter.

Fong Choo specializes in the miniature teapot form. These teapots are often no larger than 5x5 inches. While these teapots are small in scale, their whimsical nature and the attention to detail immediately engage the viewer. Fong demonstrated several of the miniature teapot forms for us. He throws quickly and with very soft porcelain. He does all of his altering when the piece is freshly thrown. He uses his own handmade tools to do all of these alterations and when attaching the handles and feet.

During the first day of the workshop he threw a total of nine mini teapots and finished five of them by the end of the day. He also showed us examples of some of his more "functional" work and threw a larger teapot, mug and bowl. I found it very interesting to learn that he trims the bottom of his bowls and even his mini teapots then throws a coil foot after the trimming process is complete. In addition to the large quantity of work demoed, he also discussed his business philosophies with us. Fong Choo originally majored in business before deciding to major in art. It seems that his business experience has played a large role in his success as a full time studio potter.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

POTS POTS POTS!!! (Click Here For SlideShow)

So this semester I get to dream of all the nice forms I want to make and all the different ways I can make them. A few things I did from last semester have carried over. One: Im going to try to make a nice cone 10 super white that is reliable. Two: I love slip casting. I love the endlessness of the forms that can be made and the consistency of casting. And I will be trying my hand at the plaster wheel this year as well.
But fret not, for I am a potter at heart. My wheel work is my number one right now and I am definately relying on that for a good variety of forms and experimentation. Also, as for my wheel work, I am working on my ability to make a consistent, strong form more than just once. I feel like this is important for a number of obvious reasons.