Friday, November 25, 2011

Come to the Show!

Leading up to a show, life is always a bit busier. The vessels are mostly made, with a glaze kiln still firing as I write this, and one more glaze fire to do. Now the vessels must be priced and tagged, inventoried, wrapped and boxed. New business cards are almost ready. A few more show invitations must go out. After that, an hour's drive and a show setup, and then it’s just ‘enjoy the show’.

Come visit my booth and see what I've been up to, at the

show I am in Sunday, December 4th, at Nanuet Hebrew Center (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at 411 South Little Tor Road, New City, NY!

Becoming an artist bit by bit is certainly work. The learning-by-doing never ends. Ever and always, there’s room to improve. I’ve been complimented on my “talent.” While the early bud of talent took me a step or two along, the desire to learn and years of practice took over from there a long time ago. Willingness to work hard and develop skills became my pottery life. It is ongoing. I aspire, like the art potter Beatrice Wood, (click on her name to see a video of the amazing Beatrice) to work and develop my craft till I’m 105, and plain old talent sure isn’t going to get me there.

Pottery at its best has very little to do with what you do at a paint-your-own place. Nobody provides the “bisque” ready for you to “paint.” It has everything to do with taking an idea and a lump of clay, and following the idea through until a special object is created. Sometimes you’ve made something poetic. Sometimes you've made a vessel that needs to be part of a chain of vessels, where the first ones will be an idea with promise, and the last ones will be poems.

Hope to see you on Sunday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Way It's Supposed to Be

I think this is the way it’s supposed to be in a business. Busy, and varied.
Tureen (not pictured but it's a nice one!), Seder plate and teacups are drying on the rawware shelves.

Someone is creating a new, better business card for me.
Someone else is fixing a broken Contact link on my website (which, if you haven’t seen it in a while, is
I am discussing details with someone else about the space I will have at an art show in Nanuet, NY on December 4th.
Bisqued tureens with vinelike handles, and salad bowls with raised (shellac resist) designs cover the table in the glazing area as they await coats of glaze.

My electric kiln moves well along towards 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, loaded with glazed tureens and more. You can't see the heat, and it looks cold and prosaic in this photo,

but this kiln is the facilitator of poetic unions. When I put the pots into the kiln they wore coats of powdery dry raw glaze, but right now, every glaze in the kiln is molten stuff, insinuating itself in a close and gleaming interface with the skin of the pot it is clinging to. It's like the core of the earth, only cooler, with rock melting and re-forming.
And last but not least, the room where I display the finished pottery between shows is my next big project. It will turn into the Gallery Downstairs. With some de-cluttering, added lighting and shelves, paint and new flooring, and the addition of the work of a few friends to enhance the collection, it should become quite a nice place to visit.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If at First (2nd, 3rd, 4th) You Don't Succeed...

A customer asked me for really nice, big handmade tureens to give as wedding gifts. It’s been a long time since I made any, and since all I could make were small ones back then, I’m glad to have the challenge of making a new item.

So I made a group of big tureens over a couple of weeks. They really are the perfect serving pieces for soup, or your-mama’s-recipe chulent, or whatever hot food item you want to look extra nice and keep hot when you bring it to the table.

This took place in the last few weeks before the freak snowfall, when the leaves were changing colors and the gourds in the farms and markets were making their splashy debut. I thought of squash and pumpkins as I worked, and some tureens grew vines and leaves for handles.

I've applied handles for two dozen years and more. For some reason, I used (do not fear, this is a really isolated instance!) too light a hand when pressing handles onto two of the tureens. So these nice, curvy, textured handles began to separate from the pots. They were a bit too dry to fix, so I took them off completely, smoothed the spots where they were inadequately joined, and I now have two tureens that have a handleless, clean, modern style. Accidental design! The other, handled tureens will be easier to carry to the table, though. All in all, nine lidded tureens are drying, almost ready to go into the kiln.

Today I woke up with a seder plate design in my head. I think it could work this time. (Hope springs eternal!) Over the years, I’ve designed and tried at least five Seder plate versions with various levels of complexity, from way simple to image-heavy. Some were fairly nice but none, in my opinion, was quite right. THIS is the one. (I’m telling you, THIS IS THE ONE.) Try and try again. (If this one is NOT the one, I will try again.) I made the first one today, the trial run, all except for the little dishes and the graphics, which I plan to do tomorrow. The handbuilt plate is firming up, upside down on a piece of upholstery foam, on the slab roller table in the studio. Can't wait to turn it right side up tomorrow. Here's hoping I'm right about it being The One. Photos soon. And I hope to put up some new tureens on my website in about two weeks.