When you can’t host a sale for customers, the next best thing is a private video tour of new work. I set up a sale on my back porch and using my phone, give a talk (make sure the volume is on and up!) about my new summer collection and spring Barbados Collection. As all the sales I planned for were canceled, it has been since February when I have had the opportunity to share my vision for the work that I am creating. All pieces are for sale and can be purchased directly from me. I provide contactless buying options, curbside pick up, delivery and shipping. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any of the work.
Last week marked the start of virtual hand building classes on Zoom. Oh how I have missed interacting with students and teaching clay to adults! In week one of a two part workshop, we worked on a coil pot; part two will feature hand built fruit to sit in the bowl. In this class, students can use real clay and have been given the opportunity to have it fired. All this is happening at Mother Brook Arts in Dedham. A new group of classes will be ready for sign ups soon. Click here for more information on Mother Brook Arts ceramics program. I will be offering one, two and three day workshops.
The COVID19 Pandemic and quarantine impacted my art. My ceramic homes represent my neighborhood.
One of my neighbors, a nurse, organized a “first responders” event in April. She emailed neighbors to ask for help in recognizing the health care workers in “Cloverland” (the name we use when referring to our Westwood, MA neighborhood). She asked for money to purchase restaurant gift cards for these families, to create signs of support, and help to decorate these homes with lawn signs, chalk signs and balloons. It was a huge success!
In the middle of July, some of these signs are still standing – through hard rain and wind storms – just like these health care workers. It takes a village… and my art reflects this life that is.
To see more work from quarantine, click here.
Who says you can’t learn about the amazing world of ceramics virtually? I’ve just finished up a week of teaching pottery in a virtual camp to young students. We’ve had some clay projects and some 2 and 3D paper projects to explore ceramics and how they teach us about different cultures. The above screenshot of middle school students’ artwork shows the beautiful designs they came up with as they imagined themselves creating tiles in Florence, Italy during the Italian Renaissance period. Using the medium of their choice on paper, they emulated decorating a tin based white slip covered earthenware tile to learn about majolica. They also learned how trade from Spain brought the process to the country and the way it functioned in society.
If you live in my neighborhood, you might have seen me working away out in my garage. It’s where my kiln is and a great place to be when the weather is warm and the clay is low fire brown. I’ve just managed to fill my kiln to run a bisque fire for the first time this season. The pandemic really affected my creativity and I’ve just started to emerge from quarantine with ideas for some new work. Stay tuned for class updates, pottery to purchase and a lot more blog posts!
Teaching teens pottery is a different experience from teaching elementary aged students even though there may be only a small age difference. Teens in middle and high school have had many more life experiences. They have acquired more creative tools. Their work has time to develop with a daily interaction with clay. Here is a look at what they created in our week long class this summer.
Teens explored building castles using coils and slabs. From left to right: clay is used to create buildings; castles are glazed in bright colors; artwork is finished with a glaze firing in the pottery kiln. Below are a few more finished pieces.
Once the students were familiar with architecture, they started their second project: architectural tiles.
The results were very unique and exciting to see. Starting with a clay slab, the students used their imagination to take the next steps. They then moved on to glazing and the tiles were fired.
For the final project, the students created a functional piece. They began with a flat two-dimensional slab of clay and turned it into a three dimensional mug. The theme was animals but some decided to move away from topic and create an original piece.
It’s always a great experience to teach clay for Newton Community Education! Check out my post on what the elementary aged students created during their weeks of summer pottery class.
I had a great summer teaching pottery to kids in grades 2-5. They were fun and creative and seemed to really enjoy the experience of working with clay. Here’s a look at some of the projects we worked on in Week 1.
Coral Reefs: before with wet clay and after with colorful glazes.
Here is a look at the projects we worked on in Week 2:
Pinch pot animals, sea creatures or fish (and the cookie monster!)
Covered jars in the form of a favorite dessert.
It’s always a great experience to teach clay for Newton Community Education! Check out my next post on what the teens created during their week of summer pottery class.
I had fun making these darted cups at Spring Fling at the Dedham Exchange.
My handmade pottery is for sale in the shop. Here’s what you’ll find while supplies last.
The Dedham Exchange is located in Dedham Square at 445 Washington Street. Their hours are Monday through Saturday 10am-5pm. More info can be found on their website: http://www.dedhamexchange.org
I am reminded of the “power of she” every year when I steal away for the weekend with my childhood girlfriends. This year, we included a trip to the Peabody Essex Museum to see the exhibit of Empresses of China’s Forbidden City. I was immediately drawn into the lives of these women and as curator Daisy Yiyou Wang said, “the broader reflection on the position of women in society and a sense of commonality and connection across time and cultures”
When I viewed the exhibit, I was already working on my spring collection. The peony was central to my theme. From the exhibit, I learned that Empress Dowager Cixi favored the peony, known as the “king of all flowers” and the flower of China, because the bloom signifies beauty and prosperity.
I found myself reflecting on women and the power of she. My spring collection widened as I chose an image that would live on and in the surface of my wheel thrown vessels and gave a second dimension to my collection.
The Pottery in Bloom collection and the Power of She collection become my spring collection together. Women have their own stories, shared in the company of other women. The power of she collectively creates strong, beautiful, feminine women who won’t be forgotten as these empresses might have been. The symbol of the peony bloom reminds us of their stories and of our own.
This collection will make its debut this weekend at Potters Place Spring Show and Sale, May 3-5. It is a small and intricate collection that begs to be touched as well as pondered intellectually.
Each year, my pottery studio, Potters Place announces a theme for its spring show and sale. It’s a creative prompt that sparks ideas for me and my studio mates. This year, the theme is “Pottery in Bloom”, a play on “Art in Bloom” that takes place at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts at the same time.
During the time the theme was announced, I was beginning my second of two drawing classes in Newton; a class is a perk of being an instructor for Newton Community Education where I currently teach clay to all ages. I was humbled and frustrated by the place I found myself when I arrived at my drawing class this fall, but by spring these two teachers had lead me past mental roadblocks and set me on the path of rediscovering my voice with skills that I could take to the clay surface.
I began working with a drawing of my hand holding the stem of a peony as a self portrait. The peony is the flower that blooms every year around the time of my wedding anniversary; it signifies the memory of the transition into a new role of wife and subsequently motherhood in a year that my children have left home. The negative space around the image in white is the silhouette of a woman’s shape. The pink of the peony, the gentle grasp of the stem, the soft form all suggest femininity to me. I worked on these two pieces at the same time, starting first with the bowl and moving to the plate.
When I look at the two pieces side by side, I see a bowl with an image on the left and a ceramic statement on the right. The bowl is a piece you might hang on a wall and contemplate in an intellectual manner. The plate is a form and image interacting as one. An only a utilitarian form can do, it invites you to interact by touch when the surface image draws you in. The two pieces together are a metaphor and entrance to my storytelling in this self portrait. Other pieces will follow to create a larger collection.
My process for creating these two pieces began with wheel thrown well made forms with a handmade swirl in the center to emphasis the human component of pottery. Once trimmed and in a “suede” state, I use a pencil to transfer my drawing. The lines are carved and then inlaid with green underglaze. Masters of this technique are Kristen Keiffer, Michael Klein and Julia Galloway, contemporary ceramicists who use Mishima in their work. Space is defined by layers of white and blue underglaze before the forms are dried and fired to bisque. Glazing has three layers and uses the characteristics of a clear glaze in conjunction with other glazes to enhance the surface decoration.
These two pieces are one of a kind and will be for sale at Potters Place Spring Show and Sale over the weekend of May 3-5. I think either piece will make the perfect wedding gift for a woman transitioning into the partnership of marriage, the celebration of a relationship.