I came away from the SAC Cup Exhibit thinking about dividing my ceramic surfaces into separate areas for decorating. Two exhibiting artists: Maureen Mills and Rena Hamilton both used designs to create divided spaces on their three dimensional forms in a way that intrigued me.
Rena Hamilton’s wood fired tumbler
Maureen Mills wood fired tumbler
The design elements, the choice of clay and firing, and the resulting richness of the surface make for interesting and complex work. The work seems similar at first, but when researching the artists, their stories are different. The dividing space becomes design elements chosen for different reasons.
Maureen Mills, the director of the New Hampshire Institute of Art is a teacher, an artist and a published author describes her work in this way: “My work continues to explore the contradictions of delicate surface techniques combined with the strength of (certain) clays. When fired in a wood burning kiln, the surface can become almost obliterated with melting ash, yet the subtle quality of surface depth that is achieved continues to strengthen each form.” Rena Hamilton, lives and works in Flagstaff, New Mexico. She describes her work as being “rooted in the philosophy of a balance in opposites; masculine-feminine, work-play, whimsical-austere.” She says, “most of my work starts on the wheel and is often embellished with freehand scrolled drawings, slip trailing, stamping and underglaze transfer images and then fired in a wood and spray soda kiln.”
Maureen Mills’ tumbler in hand
Rena Hamilton’s artist signature stamp
Rena Hamilton’s delicate pink stained glaze juxtaposed to a masculine wood fired scroll
More posts about the Cup Exhibit can be found here and here.
Every year, I like to welcome in spring with herb markers and baskets. This year, the baskets worked well with my spring collection: Turks and Caicos.
I make my baskets by combining two techniques: wheel throwing and hand building. The baskets are thrown as bowls on my pottery wheel. This year I added a split rim for glaze pooling.
When the clay is setting up, I roll some coils and then stamp them with a basket weave pattern.
When ready, I squish in the sides of the bowl and attach the handles. I dry them very slowly over the next few days. Then finish them off with a pony roller and a push to indent the bottom.
The baskets are fired in a bisque before they are able to be glazed. I use a brown glaze to accent the pattern on the handle, then glazed them in my Turks and Caicos color palette of soft green and blues. Once fired for the second time, the baskets are sanded on the bottom and hand washed where I check for any imperfections.
The baskets are photographed, priced and added into inventory.
The baskets were delivered to the Dedham Square Artist Guild, located in Dedham, Ma just in time for my trunk show last weekend.
There are three baskets left and they are currently for sale at the Dedham Guild. Once in the Guild, you will find many things to fill your basket with – like handcrafted eggs by Cindy Mootz; Easter cards by Kerry Hawkins; jewelry by Melanie Guerra, Barbara Trainer and Jill Barry, as well as the first book by illustrator artist, Marietta Apollonio entitled “A Curious Alphabet for Curious People”, and so much more.
The guild is open 12-6 Weds-Saturday;11-2 on Sundays but THIS Sunday it will be closed for Easter.
Powisset Farm CSA week ten included tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and arugula – yum!
I made a favorite recipe for a college send off: bread and butter pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles – batch will last long enough to make it through a meal or two 🙂
Slice cucumbers on the diagonal – about 2 lbs
toss with salt and set in a colander to drain for 30 minutes
wash cucumber slices and set in a large shallow bowl
mix 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of cider vinegar together until sugar is dissolved.
Add celery seed and mustard seed – 1 tsp each to sweet syrup
Optional add ins are onions sliced and or celery sliced
Pour syrup over cucumbers so they are submerged in liquid.
Refrigerate overnight – sample in the morning before transferring pickles to smaller jars for storage in your refrigerator
The Food and Pottery Connection for Week 10 ~serve pickles in a favorite bowl from home.
This one was made by a collection of potters during the 50 bowls project at my cooperative studio. I love that so many hands were involved in its creation (including my own!). Knowing the farmers that grow the vegetables and the maker(s) of the bowl is important to our family and makes the connection personal and the very essence of home.
Thursday, May 2nd from 1-2pm, I will be hosting a clay workshop for students first grade and older at the Dedham Community House in Dedham Square. Students will create a bunny using low fire clay and their imaginations! The bunny pictured here was created in a previous class. Students will learn to make the body and head, attach eyes, ears, paws and a tail while giving the bunny a personality of its own! This is a wet clay class and students will not be painting. Instructor will clear glaze and finished work will be available for pick up at the Dedham Square Artist Guild.
This class was designed to take place duing early release Thursday for Dedham students in first grade and up. Sign up by Monday, April 29th on the Dedham Community House website at http://www.dedhamcommunityhouse.org/program-calendar.html?task=view_event&event_id=139
Dedham Square Artist Guild gallery opening reception for April Artist of the Month show features ceramicist Lisa W.B. Walker … with music by Band Gig from 6-7pm.
Lisa WB Walker
“My spring collection is quite whimsical with dots and flowers playing together on the surface of my wheel thrown and hand built ceramic art. Using underglaze paints, surface embellishment, and playful soft colors, the collection reminds us of youth and rightfully so as the artist reflects on child’s play as she watches her children forge ahead leaving childhood behind. Created in white stoneware and fired in an electric kiln, my pottery is durable, food safe, and dishwasher friendly. It is just as pretty hung on a wall as it is when accompanied by food.”
The gallery is located at 553 High Street in Dedham, MA