Arrowmont Utilitarian Clay Symposium VI

Arrowmont Utilitarian Clay Symposium VI

Finding peace and calm at the Arrowmont Utilitiarian Clay Symposium in Gatlinburg, TN, these little shrubs offered the perfect calm, complete with a bench nestled against the outside of the room where Gwendolyn Yoppollo was presenting. I found the Symposium to be incredibly stimulating, in a very good way, and meandered back up the Appalachians with many thoughts bouncing about in my head.

One of the thoughts is captured right here in the only photograph that I took all week. There are so many layers to what we do, as people who work with clay, people who make functional objects. What strikes me is how simple it is to see the layers on either side from where we are personally, and how we don’t often even notice the other layers. They’re outside of our view.

The gift of a gathering of makers of functional objects is that glimpse into the richness, the diversity, the spectrum of our clan. Thank you, Arrowmont, for creating a space for so many layers, so many viewpoints.

(And, yes, I’ll be posting weekly again, after a rich summer hiatus…)

Spring into yourself

Thanks for the Willy Wonka, Style Rookie...

“We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams.”  Say it out loud.  Say it again.  Go about your day reminding yourself regularly, and do it again tomorrow.  Be who you are, fully, magnificently, even mildly at first.  It gets easier with practice, and like Willy, plenty of time alone to develop just exactly who you are.   Say it one more time.  Good.

Spring Clay Club…or hands in the mud

(snagged via clamblog on pinterest)

There’s something about the new gang of Robins picking through the ground layers this week, something about the tunes of birds I haven’t heard for months, something about oak buds swelling, wood piles dwindling, and the sun staying a little longer each day…

Spring is near, which means that Spring Clay Club is soon to start.  Do you want to get your hands in clay?  For 8 weeks, the studio is yours on tuesdays and thursdays.  All clay is provided.  Your challenge is to explore, test the limits, try something new, practice matching your mind’s ideas to your hands abilities, show up and play.

Join us.  Starting March 13, 1pm or 6pm.

Here’s the link to the details on my website.  (smile)

(And I’m so looking forward to having you here…)

Winter stew

There’s nothing more soothing than homemade soup in the winter, which has me thinking about spoons, yep, ceramic spoons.  Thanks to Gwendolyn Yoppolo, Lorna Meaden, and Kenyon Hanson for their spectacular, thoughtful spoons.  Each one looks substantial, yet comfortable.  No extremely thin and fragile handles here…with clay, what’s called for is a little substance.

So, by all means, get ye to the kitchen for a batch of miso soup with greens, black beans with citrus, or pureed carrot soup with cilantro.  Kenyon’s ladles will help you get it out of the pot….

Cultivate chronic, low-grade ecstasy.

Heidi Bucher’s sculptures have been on my mind lately, as a meditation on costume, what we wear each and every day compared to what we wear for specific occasions. When and where would I try to pull this one off?  How about on a flatbottom boat floating down the Potomac River on a foggy warm spring morning?  Or certainly a parade.  There’s ecstasy in following creative urges, sometimes, and perhaps second-hand ecstasy in the urges of others.

The tie to these visual forms and what happens in the studio is direct, sometimes urgent. In cities, I’ll stop mid-stride to sketch a gesture, the line of strangers’ sleeves and hats, a twist of unexpected architecture. In this sub-rural area I call home, it’s the caves, rocks, tumbling down structures, and locals on these streets and trails.  The eye is constantly learning.  Vases a little heavier at the base.  Handles drawing from anatomy, or just off a bit, leaning and weathered.

Now to giggle…Heidi’s work also brings a zany, zesty love of the absurd, especially with the videos of her pieces walking on a beach.  Truly.  Watch this now, twice.

And to cool off a bit, this Humans of New York image, like a sweet glaze on afternoon teacake, gently calls to mind grapefruit, or cardamom. These incredible daily images of real Yous and Mes are the salve that keep my mind cool and collected, the ice in my ice coffee.   As Mardi Gras approaches, let the mask making commence.

the outer surroundings of the true self…

Stella McCartney designing for dancers, these stripes tickle my fancy

What we wear, when we wear it, how we choose and know what’s just the right shirt, pants, socks…these ideas are sometimes so second nature, and other times labored over for hours, weeks.  The above stripes would be my outfit of choice for every day, if I owned it, so perhaps I’m lucky that I don’t.

Alexander McQueen's Jack the Ripper barbed wire coat, with his own hair woven into the lining

Now, Alexander’s Jacket would be for going out, but regular. I sometimes think that barbed wire gets a bad rep, spikey and all, but how lovely of a pattern it makes, meandering verticals.  This whole piece feels perfect.

“I never liked the middle ground–the most boring place in the world.” -Louise Nevelson

So when I wake up in the morning, I call on my inner Louise, who did not feel right unless she had on her multiple sets of eyelashes.  What is my costume for the day?  Where can I push myself to express with this vessel that is my body?  How does this translate to the vessels that I make in my studio?  And just in case I get overly intense about it, Humans of New York bring me back down to this reality, this world we live in, where some days, I wrap a blanket around my head, layer up, and go about my business.  We’re all quirky…and we’re all ok.

Humans of New York, Unite!

Monday morning ice and tea

Advice to sink in slowly, on this icy, rainy, winter day.  Slow down; drink tea.  Make it in a teapot.  Take a moment, while drinking tea, to look at the teapot look at your cup.  Really look. Are you looking? Consider what you see.  Consider the memories you already have of these things, and the memories you are making right now.  Enjoy.

Advice to Sink in Slowly: Designers Share Wisdom with First-Year Students in Poster Series