plate

Apple Blossoms

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The apple blossoms this spring were everywhere… perhaps it was the wacky weather or the fact that spring seemed to take forever to get here, all I know is that everywhere I looked, the flowers were blooming.  The tree in my own front yard brought a smile to my face every time I returned home.

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Life inspires art and as I sat down to create new work, the apple blossoms collection began.  Using an actual twig from my tree, assorted hand carved and purchased stamps, I “drew” my clay pictures taking inspiration from shapes of my molds.

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Once the clay was bone dry, I used my watercolor underglazes to add color to the images before loading them into the bisque kiln.

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Out of the first kiln, the collection was glazed and loaded into the 2nd kiln to add functionality to each piece.  At each stage, the flowers welcomed me and provided a memory that symbolized spring, rebirth, change, peace, beauty and more.

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My new collection is currently installed at the Dedham Square Artist Guild.  The work has a wonderful feel and quiet beauty that although functional, stands alone as ceramic art.  There are 6 pieces in this group … 2 small square plates, 2 small oblong trays and 2 larger square plates.  The Guild is open Wednesday – Saturday 12-6, Sunday 11-2 in Dedham Square.

Neverland

The Dedham Square Artist Guild teamed up with the Dedham Parish Players for the February/March Artist Challenge.  Together they chose “Neverland” as the theme.  The Opening Reception is Thursday, February 26th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

Neverland Plate

For my entry, I decided to repurpose one of my wheel thrown stoneware plates that had been glazed in a clear gloss with a foamy rim.  It was a blank canvas to experiment with.

IMG_3190The Challenge: 

“Neverland…Fly to Neverland with Peter Pan and see what we find…fairies and mermaids, pirates and crocodiles, and children who live forever. We’re paying tribute to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan from Neverland. Of course, Neverland could mean something completely different for you…show us!”

Opening Reception: Thursday February 26, 6pm to 8pm 

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Exhibition Dates: February to March 31, 2015

This exhibit is being produced in conjunction with the Parish Players newest production of “Neverland”. Their performances will take place in late March. Visit the Parish Players for more information on how to purchase tickets.

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This Challenge was open to all artists, working in any medium, who work/reside in eastern Massachusetts.

The show is exhibited in the lower gallery at the Dedham Community Theatre located at 580 High Street, Dedham, MA. The theatre is a community hot spot.  It shows new releases every day of the week, including one’s that recently won oscars!, in a movie hall in the center of Dedham Square.

IMG_3198For my entry, I used the image of a star to represent Tinkerbell’s magical fairy dust. I created a hand-cut stencil and gold enamel paint  to embellish the surface of one of my wheel thrown stoneware plates.

I designed the plate as a functional piece. The stars scatter across the plate rim outside and around where food will be. They float like Tinkerbell’s pixie dust to create a magical moment.

I imagine the plate to be used by a young child who believes in the magic of Tinkerbell and dreams of Peter Pan and his adventurous life.  It is the parent or caregiver who is rewarded with the underside of the plate… IMG_3199

When I was a child, our family had a wonderful set of Peter Rabbit bowls that we used for breakfast cereal.  I loved imagining Peter Rabbit creeping into Mr McGregor’s garden or Peter playing with this sisters, Mopsy and Flopsy.  I always ate all my cereal to see the hand-painted scenes at the bottom of the bowl. For my Neverland plate, the reward is a finished meal and the opportunity to turn the plate over.

Fairy tales are for children or those young at heart.  They delight us and take us to an imaginary place.  As I worked on this challenge, I was reminded that being playful and dreaming is something that adds value to life.  As adults, we can learn a lot from the children in our lives.

IMG_3201In my imagination, when I flew to Neverland with Peter Pan and Wendy, I enjoyed watching the children learning to fly, the magical fairy dust that took them on their adventure. It was the thrill of something new and unimaginable that one can only dream about.

I imagine my “Neverland” plate to be hung on a wall. On special occasions, perhaps when it is snowy outside and there is a warm fire, the plate is taken down and placed in front of a young child to eat a comforting meal with a caregiver who will tell them a story.  The story will be of adventures in distant lands. When that child goes off to bed, the caregiver will wash the magical plate and return it to the wall to hang, a constant reminder to enjoy the magic around us.

Peter Reynolds, Cheryl Doucette, Kerry Hawkins, Fred Smith, Alice Donaldson, Cindy Mootz, and more have artwork in this show.  Please stop in and see what we have imagined in art!

Custom Work ~ plates

custom work

sample plate for custom work

Custom work begins with trust. A customer seeks an artist out as a means to translate their vision into something tangible.  Success depends on two parties sharing the same vision.  There is no doubt about it: custom work is the toughest thing out there. With ceramics, other factors come into play… cracking, kiln issues, glaze problems and the biggest one – the client doesn’t share your vision and is unhappy with the final product…. BUT, this is a happy story!

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plate with creamy white edge

The journey for a set of six plates began some time ago with the sample on the right not the sample on the left. 

As I reflect back on this experience, I am reminded about a personal quest to translate my own vision into the tangible. Umpteen years ago, I was re-modelling my kitchen and choosing a tile. I really struggled with the decision and ended up going with a white novelty tile surrounded by solid white tiles. A few years later, I was in a neighbor’s kitchen and noticed that she had the same novelty tile in her kitchen, but each tile was a different color.  I thought to myself, I should have chosen those tiles; they seemed to say so much more about who I am. 

How does my story relate to this order? …. Sample one is safe (the white tile choice), but sample two is personal (the colored tile).  Either choice works.

A custom order is all about understanding a request and translating it successfully.

When I understood what was really sought after, I went from sample one, a white plate with a foamy white rim wheel thrown with white stoneware, to sample two, an earthy nutmeg colored plate wheel thrown with a mix of different stoneware clays to incorporate speckles.  Sample two was in fact a better choice and one that came as a happy surprise to my client. Once the sample was approved, the artist becomes the potter and the hard labor ensues.

wheel throwing plates

wheel throwing plates

plates after bisquet fire

plates after bisque fire

plates after glaze fire

plates after glaze fire

plates sanded and washed

plates sanded and washed

The vision was shared by the customer and the journey was a success.

 

Tax free Weekend Countdown – featuring Potters Place Gallery

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Two wheel thrown mugs with red heart stamp on exterior and peachy interior by Lisa WB Walker

Potters Place, a not for profit school and cooperative pottery studio, is home to 23 working potters and 5 clay instructors. I’ve been a member of Potters Place for 10 years. We share kilns, make glazes, plus all the things that go into running a successful cooperative studio.  Each year, we host two open studio events (fall and spring).  Year-round, we have a small gallery on site where customers can come by appointment and purchase direct from the potters of Potters Place.

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Wheel thrown and hand trimmed 10.5″ plate with matching bowl. Pieces are sold separately. Stoneware by Lisa W B Walker.

Potters Place is located at 127B Old West Street in Walpole, MA. P: 508-668-0363. Hours: By appointment.

Boston Globe reports:

BOSTON — The annual sales tax holiday in Massachusetts would be held Aug. 16-17 under a bill released by a legislative committee of conference on Wednesday evening.

The sales tax holiday was included in an economic development bill, which is among the last major pieces of legislation being considered before the legislative session ends for the year on Thursday.

Rep. Joseph Wagner, a Chicopee Democrat and chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, said that sales tax holiday “is significant for the Commonwealth’s economy.

Above pictured pottery by Lisa W B Walker are featured with other pottery created by Potters Place members currently in the Potters Place Gallery.

Trips inspire collections ~ MFA with Cousin Betsy

photoAfter a long time emailing, cousin Betsy and I finally got together for a visit.  We met at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the perfect place for two artists to reconnect.  We looked at art; we talked about art; we talked about family.  It was a perfect day.

IMG_9623It took me a long time to process this visit.  I finally settled on an image of a carved panel on the front door of the Huntington Avenue entrance to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I felt it symbolized what had happened that day and where a door had opened.

IMG_9627My interpretation took the form of a large square plate with three smaller plates.  The image of the door panel is carved into the clay, the center is painted and dots are like compass points. Little crisscross bowls complete the Betsy Collection.

IMG_9628When I think about this day, the first image that pops into my head is seeing Betsy by the doorway. She turns to me and I notice how blue her eyes are and then how excited I am to to see her. We opened the door to the museum and the art surrounded us.

IMG_9630The Betsy Collection was complete when I received an email from the Museum of Fine Arts this spring announcing MFA Director Malcolm Rogers’ retirement.  Notice the carved door panels. He’s ready to exit from these doors.

02. Malcolm Rogers opening doors (2) small crop.showcase_2I’ve been a member of the Museum of Fine Arts for at least 25 years.  I’ve watched the MFA move from the only game in town to having to compete with the contemporary ICA and stoic Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, just to name few of the Boston Giants.  The transition was led by Malcolm Rogers and he succeeded in ways that make me proud to be a member.  The carved door panel appears symbolic as the place where Rogers with leave from; for me, it is symbolic as the place to enter and begin anew.

“A Table Shared” thanks to technology

“A Table Shared”, the theme for this fall’s Potters Place show and sale, inspired me to think about the conversations we share at our family table based on the answers to, “What did you do today?”

Thanks to technology, namely skype, our family can include our college student in our Sunday dinner discussions. At least a check in around dinnertime each week that allows us to ask, “What did you do today?”

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This is the first year someone in our family has gone off the college. Working through the transition meant creating in clay. The process yielded a table setting for two. The collection is symbolic for the conversations I wanted to have but knew I would have to wait.  The image that inspired the surface decoration came from a carved wooden panel in the high school’s newly renovated dinning area… yet another food and pottery connection.

I started with two plates (pictured above), playing around with the pattern using an under glaze black pen on white clay with a clear glaze. It feels serious and playful at the same time.

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Then I threw a pitcher on the wheel (to fill two hand-carved tumblers). When I decorated the tumblers and pitcher with a final dip of glaze, I included a wash of blue to give the decoration a bit of color.

bowls

A big 10 cup serving bowl will look beautiful filled with a leafy green salad. Smaller bowls mimic the decoration of the tumblers to create a drinking vessel and one bowl set.

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An oblong platter serves food to the table, like bread or an entree for two.

dishes

Square dishes are perfect for appetizers, bread or dessert.  They even make a great coaster.

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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I look forward to many family meals, sharing the table (without technology) and spending more time answering the question, “What did you do today?”

Top photograph of two plates is by Dave Bradley Photography

Table runner in bottom photograph is by Iris Sonnenschein

Join me tonight for the artist reception at Potters Place annual show and sale.  Doors open at 5:30pm on Friday, November 22nd and close on Sunday, November 24th at 4PM. More info at www.pottersplace.info.

Lisa W B Walker Fall Newsletter

Lisa W B Walker Fall Newsletter

New Pottery is ready to go out to local galleries and be featured at events this fall season!

Here is a look at where my wheel-thrown hand-built pottery can be found and purchased:

Galleries:
Custom Art Framing/Gallery 9 located at 45 Central Street, Norwood
Dedham Square Artist Guild Cooperative Gallery located at 553 High Street, Dedham
Cristina Hurley Gallery located at 554 Washington Street, Canton

Exhibits:
Westwood Land Trust – “Capturing Art in Nature” – Tuesday, October 22nd 6-8 PM
at the Westwood High School, Westwood, MA
Dedham Square Artist Guild/Artist Challenge: “Making Waves”
Exhibit remains up at the Dedham Community Theater through October 17th

Events:
Powisset Farm Pottery Sale – Saturday, November 9th
Potters Place Show and Sale – Friday, November 22nd – Sunday, November 24th
Powisset Farm Pottery Sale – Saturday, December 14th

Classes:
The Dedham Square Artist Guild and the Dedham Community House have a partnership to get to know the artists through classes and workshops.
I have listed clay classes for kids/teens for this fall. Follow the link to sign up! http://www.dedhamcommunityhouse.org/programs.html

5 minutes of fame…
I was recently featured in a clay blog review for my posts on “Spinning Tops” as well as “Making Waves”. Here is the link:
http://www.potterymakinginfo.com/news/clay-blog-review-september-2013/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=clay-blog-review-september-2013
(follow me at http://www.lisawbwalker.wordpress.com)

AND thank you to Dave Bradley for the beautiful photograph of my plates!
Happy Fall to all! Lisa

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Any updates or additional information can be found on my website http://www.lisawbwalker.com as well as listed on the sidebar of this blog.