29 December 2009

More Ceramic Vases... Also Unfinished

The first form in these images is one of the forms that I referenced in my last posting as being a more simple and flowing direction of the folded vases. This particular one is Continental Clay's Grolleg Porcelain while the other was Continental Clay's B-Mix and so they will be fired accordingly. The bellied form being wood-fired with only the inside glazed and this one will be fired to gas to cone 10 if I can figure out how to salt glaze the piece without contaminating the kiln... three foot sagger perhaps?

While making it I payed very close attention to the shadows. I realize that the lighting will change depending on the pieces location but have done my best to take different lighting angles into consideration and keep it visually interesting from every angle. I have also payed close attention to creating a interesting silhouette from every angle (or so I hope).

The second vase is obviously much smaller with the intention of pursuing subtle strength. It is slightly  influenced by my knuckled work from two years ago but to a much smaller extent. Whereas those pieces had contorted necks with many folds which created the imagery of intestines (I like the sound of knuckles better...), this has incorporated just one knuckle so as to not overburden the piece visually.

28 December 2009

Progress... Current Ceramic Bottles and Vase

These are examples of my current ceramic pottery and sculptural vessels, though none of them are finished. The very top picture is the result of pushing what I have called my, for lack of a better name,  "folded and bellied" vases. This particular vase is approximately 2 1/2 ft and is both the largest and most emphasized of these works. I consider this still early in the forms development and have many ideas on where to go with it next.

Pushing these forms so far has, interestingly, directed my attention towards working simultaneously on very simple, but still bellied and flowing, forms that are reminiscent of this forms early stages but with much more maturity. I don't currently have any of these vases displayed on my blog but should soon.

The ceramic bottles are also early in their development though are obviously the product of my time in the ceramic's studio. I can't say that the pictures indicate the time or energy I have spent of them, but once they are finished they should come across quite differently. Once I have finished some of these completely I will make note of the process.

And no... I had no intention of advertising for Target.

22 November 2009

NCECA Student Juried Exhibition in Philadelphia

I received great news a couple of days ago... I had a piece accepted into the the NSJE/NCECA Student Juried Exhibition in Philadelphia this year.

I have been taking some time to look at the other students ceramic work and pottery who have been accepted and am really excited to have my work considered among such strong artists:


16 November 2009

A Few Changes

Please bear with me as I change my blog around... I am currently experimenting with different formats and it could be a mess for a few days.

23 September 2009

my first BIG pot

This is the first pot that I have done larger than 2'. It is considerably larger being a little over 4'. Larger pieces to come...

19 September 2009


The second piece is the culmination of my interest and research in reevaluating what functional ceramics is and can be. Despite its look it is bone-dry porcelain... unfired.

29 July 2009

For Functions Sake

These are some recent flour pots that I have been working on, soon to be wood and/or salt fired.

27 May 2009

Ceramic Jar...Beautiful and Gone

This Jar was near the vase pictured below, near the front of the last wood-firing in the Anabigama at the University of North Dakota. It is about 18" tall. It was a 12 hour firing and reached cone 12 in the front. Beautiful, simple, piece... but I know the person who purchased it will enjoy it.

26 May 2009

One of my newest works

I put a quarter at the base to show some scale. The piece was fired to approximately Cone 12, about a foot from the front of the kiln. I have a white shino on the inside, but the outside was left bare to take advantage of the shape and the flashing effects of B-clay.

05 May 2009

Spring 09 Final Wood-Firing

So these are a few select works for the Spring sale, and an image of all the work from the last firing (mainly with the exception of a few).

07 April 2009

Off to NCECA

Unfortunately I was unable to finish my last post before I head off to NCECA this afternoon. Hopefully I have time to post while there.... but that is unlikely. So expect by early next week!

04 April 2009

More to come...

I am currently working on the first, of what I expect to be many, postings in response to the questions I have raised, and some of the comments left. I hope that more comments arise in the meantime...

29 March 2009

Addicted, no...wait... obsessed with clay. That sounds better. Right? Questions Concerning Emerging Artists

I thought it would be worth while to look at the problems and difficulties of working in clay: how blind and unaware can our obsession leave us? Is hard work enough? How does the student get by financially? What is our place in the market? Should we even be concerned with the market, or simply academics, having chosen to pursue ceramics academically?

For those students who hope to pursue ceramics after their undergraduate degree, perhaps shortsightedly optimistic (art for art’s sake), whether hoping to get an MFA or land an apprenticeship with someone we admire, one must distinguish his/her portfolio, working with a manic fervor, or risk leaving school and joining the tide of white collars. Is our portfolio everything once we leave school? What about the emerging students/artists, naive of the reality that most of us will fold under the market pressures? What, if any, responsibility does the education system have for preparing us to enter the market (as opposed to academics) as a reality of viably continuing ceramics without the support of a system?

At times I feel my pursuit of an education borders on nihilism, consuming all my time, money, energy, and relationships. I channel my concerns into my work, telling myself that there is time for rest and relaxation after school. Here in the Midwest lies the motto: work, work, work and you shall succeed. But I ask, at what expense, the words of a struggling potter’s proclamation ringing painfully in my ear, “I wish I had taken some business classes”.

So I have asked question upon question, expressing fears and anxiety of entering the market and of working obsessively in clay. In the second part (assuming that this can be contained to only two parts), I will give my point-of-view, attempting to answer the questions I have asked, while hopefully referring to the comments of others.

Finally, I am linking an interview by Forrest Snyder with Alec Karros on Critical Ceramics to help stimulate the discussion of the emerging artist/students place in the market: http://www.criticalceramics.org/articles/haysta99/akarros.htm

24 March 2009

Arizona State University Ceramics Program Website Review Part 2 of 2

In light of NCECA I chose to start with Arizona State University: http://art.asu.edu/ceramics/. At a glance I feel the site is up-to-date, very tidy and visually appealing, reasonably easy to navigate, though not without its bumps, and provides all of the information a potential MFA student needs: request for info form; faculty and their work, as well as a quick bio; detailed info on graduate accommodations (studio space, number of kilns, etc.); gallery information; available resources such as libraries and collections; and a reasonable number of studio/workspace pictures.

All of the information is easy to access, presented on a static toolbar in the middle of the page. Clicking on one of the tabs, such as "Facilities", brings up a sidebar/sub-directory of information: CRC (Ceramics Research Center), Ceramics Studios, Galleries, Visual Resources, and All Art Resources. I like that each of these headings brings you to a brief, but explanatory, writing and usually provides hyperlinks to more information. Once you are ready to move on, there is no need to keep hitting the “back” button on your browser, you can just click the next area of interest on the toolbar.

Though they aren’t restrained to a single page, they do work within a standardized (within their Art Department) format. I think it is important to applaud their presentation, but now onto the few weaknesses I have found…

The most annoying thing I found was being redirected by the “Events” and “News” headings on the static bar. These tabs bring you to a “School of Art” page and to continue browsing the Ceramics Department you must click the back button on your browser. A small annoyance… Also, under the "Faculty" button I would like to see the faculty listed immediately in the main body instead of having to click on the sub-directory ambiguously labeled “Directory”. Lastly, but also surprisingly good considering how often this happens on the web, I found only one hyperlink that was broken, not directing you anywhere.

So that’s it. I think Arizona State University has a good, easy to navigate, and informative site. To wrap this up I would like to encourage any comments about my observations. If you find anything in addition to my writing or disagree, please comment!

23 March 2009

Arizona State University Ceramics Program Website Review Part 1 of 2

I have come to realize that the original proposal of evaluating Ceramics Program websites, with the hope of improving the information available to prospective students, isn't as simple as I initially suggested.

Considering that the Ceramic Program pages are usually embedded in the Art Department’s, their format is usually consistent with every other department. This can be problematic because if the format is lacking in general, what hope does any single department, like ceramics, have in setting up an informative and useful site?

I have found that despite the limitations of a general format (which I hope can be discussed in the future), some programs have utilized hyperlinks and/or pdf’s to add useful and pertinent content to their website which may not otherwise be there. These resources allow the program to break from the constraints of the sometimes single page provided them, or other restraints, to emphasize the strengths of their department.

To be continued…

I want to reiterate my hope that this can become a discussion… please consider Ceramics Program websites which you find of interest, and post your comments. Later today (I know I said this morning, but I want to be especially accurate when referencing particular sites) I will be posting my opinion on Arizona State University’s website.

Check back soon!

18 March 2009

Courting of the Graduate Schools at NCECA

With NCECA coming upon us in a few weeks, starting a blog which caters to undergraduate and MFA students seems especially appropriate. NCECA gives us the opportunity to impress our work on school recruiters – usually the professors themselves because Ceramics is still a small, comfortable, community – and potentially make or break our dreams with a stupid or intelligent comment; luckily there is our portfolio to save us from our mouths…. But what about those schools and students who miss out on this strange, time-honored, courting tradition?

Unfortunately too many programs have underdeveloped or poorly managed websites for the prospective student to easily navigate or acquire recent, even relevant, information. This is a disservice to both the school and the student who may not ever meet, despite great chemistry, because of this simple but seemingly overlooked issue.

I am interested in people posting examples of great, and not so great, Ceramics program websites. This is not an opportunity to criticize, but instead to help. To be direct, I hope this can become a resource for professors and professionals to reference for improving their programs through the constructive and cooperative efforts of today’s students.

Blog Discussion of Undergraduate Ceramics, Pottery and Schools

I am interested in creating a blog to start a discussion about undergraduate work around the country. As it will take me a few days to start the blog, I have decided to initiate it on my personal space. I hope I can gather interest and support for this endeavor, so please check back soon for my first posting.

06 March 2009

Spring 09 Wood-Fire

These works range in height from 1' - 2-1/2' and are representative of my current direction. Plus a cone 10 reduction piece I forgot to post earlier.