Saturday, October 25, 2008

OBAMAWARE: Potters speaking out & helping out

Click on any image for a 360 view and detail shot.
Pictured: Obamaware by Beth Lo, Janice Jakielski, Julia Galloway, Jason Walker, Ayumi Horie, Garth Johnson, Shoko Teruyama, Michael Kline and Andy Brayman.

A direct quote from Kristen Kieffer's website on the subject:

"Pots That Can Take the Heat: Obamaware! Ayumi Horie invited 27 great ceramic artists from around the country to make work for an online exhibition and fundraiser featuring Obama-Biden specific pots in limited editions. In just seventy-two hours (10/19-22, 2008), the sale and auction of these highly thoughtful, collectible and poignant Obamaware pieces raised $10,000 in donations for the Obama/Biden campaign.

“Potters often talk about the intersection of art and everyday life and functional ceramic’s power to impact people on a daily, intimate basis. Through Obamaware 2008, we [expanded] this dialogue by generating a timely conversation and by supporting a candidate who is brave enough to promote a hopeful, humanistic paradigm.” –A.H."

An interesting article by Sarah Archer about pottery’s history in politics and action: Kitchen Table Politics: ‘Obamaware’ Campaigns for Change, One Mug at a Time

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bike Culture in Carrboro

Back Alley Bikes: Best Bike Shop. They sell only used bikes, with no ridiculous Lexus-Bike showroom, they've got affordable repairs, awesome music choice and a gnarly old couch to lounge upon. The shop is manned by Jason (in the top picture), Rob, and Ben (in the second picture). With honest opinions, friendly faces, bikes with character, militant bike stickers, and down-to-earth people, the place feels like a bike shop should.

Then there is the Recyclery. It only took me so long to put this post up because I kept forgetting to take pictures of this place. I would go each week and get caught up with the bikes and forget to shoot. Every Sunday from noon to five, as long as it's not raining and it's above 55 degrees, the barn (shown in the last image) opens up. Inside and out is some sort of bike graveyard, full of bikes and bike parts waiting for the right owner to come by and bring them back to life. A lot of community children come by, volunteer 10 hours (or are supposed to), we help them repair or pull a bike together, and they take a bike home in exchange. Other people can do that, too.
Inside the barn are all the tools you'll really need to work on a bike, and between all the people there is all the knowledge and experience you'll need to work on a bike. From what I can tell, there are two "head guys", but the whole thing is free form, who organize it, Rich and Chris, whose last names I don't know. Chris's mom works the sign in desk when you walk in (shown above).

If you've the inclination, you can work on your own bike project, the Blue Urban Bikes Project, help a kid fix up their new bike, or you can do general volunteer work. The first time I went I took apart supposedly recalled bikes with frames sawed in half, but all new components. Strange, but it was great. I wasn't attached to the bikes, so I could just focus on taking things apart! Take it apart and you'll learn how it works.We've got wide bike lanes! (It's Carrboro!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh the things you learn...

Surgeon General's latest finding, though it's been tracked through the years, the real effects of it haven't fully been grasped until this past decade. Here is a time based model of it's progression:
Wal-Mart's Disease

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The "Live Free or Die" Never Dies

I am a full fledged North Carolina Resident.

My health and auto insurance is here, I have a residence here, I belong to the local Co-op, I will vote in the NC elections this November, I will file the 2010 US decennial census at my NC address, and, the most defining factor of my residency, is that my car (after much unrest) now has a "First in Flight", red, white, and blue North Carolina license plate (NC only has one plate per car, not two).

After an incredible summer at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, I left on the morning of August 11th. By Wednesday the 13th, I had arrived at 203 Blueridge Rd, Carrboro, NC - my new home. It's taken a week, but it's finally home!

Long story short, I am here as a master's candidate in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Classes started on the 19th of August, and it's been non-stop since then. The people are amazing. I haven't even begun to scratch to surface of who all these people are. Still, DCRP has a reputation for being one of the most social masters programs on campus, so I'm sure I'll get to know them all.

Still, more stories and more pictures to come. Live Free or Die is still my motto, and the Old Man is still alive and well.

Until I can show you all my new living situation, here are some images from the Watershed archives.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The End of an Era

My apologies for not posting in such a long time. Originally I wanted to write once a week, but I seem to have a hard time writing once a month.

Much has happened since the last time I wrote, as is expected. However, as a summary I'll say the Green Art Show made it's debut, I taught clay lessons to other 600 students grades k-5 with my fellow resident Daniel, I was juried into the Infusion 10 x 10 teapot show with Fong Choo in St. Louis, decided to go to grad school for City Planning in Chapel Hill, North Carolina come August, signed a contract to be a studio manager at Watershed for the Sumer Visiting Artist Residencies, and a dear friend has moved away from Maine.

As we are nearing mid=May, the residency is coming to a close. We are cleaning up our studios (or moving them down to the factory where the summer studios are) and the people that we've lived with for eight months are all leaving to do exciting and indubitably amazing things. One is getting married, another is going to get more famous than she already is, and another is going back to a teaching position in Thailand.

Though it's sad to see everyone go, we are still enjoying our days together over great food (as always), and as it was Dan's Birthday today, good margaritas, too.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 1st: The Clay Art Center

Here is a much belated update on the opening on March 1st at Port Chester.

The show can be viewed at the Clay Art Center's Online Gallery.

Many Thanks to Leigh Mickelson, who is in charge of the gallery at the Clay Art Center. She has been a blessing. She was great when we were setting up the show, providing tools and materials, advice, and even assistance. In facilitating the sale of work, she has been on top of the game, and in organizing the de-installation of the show, she's been flexible and courteous. It's been amazing - really everything a gallery should handle for the exhibitors, Leigh and the staff at the Clay Art Center have done and more. Needless to say, I was impressed. Also, my friends Jacqui and Jon, from Syracuse and Ben, from Junior High, who are all living in NYC these days came out for the evening.

The following day, Aran, Krisaya, and I arrived at Worcester, where I parked my car for the weekend, to see this:

When I left Worcester for North Carolina, it looked like this:

My mom gave me compact snow shovel years ago for my car. Somehow moms always seem to know what you're going to need well before you think you'll ever need it. It's one of those phenomenons of life.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tea for Worcester

A selection of teapots from the Worcester Show. Many more were on display...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Worcester Krikorian Gallery

I'd like to thank all the people who came out to see the show despite the snowy weather, Ben and Jen, Timothy Ballan, Joanna, Phil, Erica, Jared (who I met there but grew up right next to Watershed and now lives with my friend Erica), Zohar, Whitney, and Kelsy. All the residents of the Worcester Center for Craft (who are all very sweet, interesting, and talented people), the staff, some board members and family members also showed up.

The Worcester Show was very handsome. In fact, so awesome that the Watershed Website should read, "The Mission of Watershed is to provide Bad Asses and Rock Stars time and space to work." With just a day or two of set up and a day of light arranging, the show fell together beautifully. The Worcester space is a nice open one with wood floors and an ample supply of spot and flood lighting. We residents gave an artist talk prior to the scheduled opening to introduce ourselves and the the stories behind the work.

I was showing a collection of Cone 6 salt-fired porcelain Teapots and cups with forms referencing full bellies, hips and shoulders; figuratively decorated functional work; and an installation of sake dishes that took the most time of anything else of mine in the show. In short, it is 360 2inch sake dishes arranged in an 11.5' x 2.5' tapestry, sewn together, and hung from the ceiling and off of the wall.

To explain in depth, my work prior to Watershed was about self narrative, and stories that were reactionary to things going on outside myself. It was very emotional. When I arrived at Watershed, I just wanted to work. Falling back on what I was comfortable with, I tried making things like my past work, and that just didn't happen. The pots felt contrived, and thus dishonest, and thus ugly. I want to make neither dishonest nor ugly things. They felt hollow, with no substance to back them. Still filled with the desire to create, yet no emotional flood to draw from, I ended up working more abstract. I wanted to step away from the emo stuff anyway.

What started as a little project with designs on sake dishes ended up exploding into something of a whole other scale. It spread from the designs to a study in scrolls and clay as tapestry. I soon realized that really wasn't what the piece was about, but knew I had to finish making the piece first, and would analyze it later. Upon its completion, I found it was a self-portrait. There is a quote that architects reference, "When architects of old left their schools to begin building the things they designed, they planted ivy along the base of their building, in hopes that as they grew older and hopefully became more skilled artisans, the ivy would grow to cover up their old mistakes." The piece has become about the realization of old mistakes and personal flaws and covering them up. Taking the metaphor of the ivy another step, if it it's allowed to grow and cover the building unchecked, it weakens the structure and it falls apart. Thus, the idea of covering up the mistakes of the self is a self defeating one. One must first realize the act of covering up before one can uncover and fix the mistakes underneath.

After four months of working in rural Maine with five other people, you kind of get inside your own head. I have realized certain things about myself since being here that I am growing from. The piece served almost as a mandala in the sense of small things making a larger whole, the time element the the construction of the piece, and meditation on the self and the relationship of the self to the world surrounding. It also left the surprising and delightful shadows on the wall, the tinkling noise when tapped, and the appearance of a simple and meditative piece, regardless of what it has come to mean to me. As Lorna Meaden once said, "No surprise for the maker leaves no surprise for the viewer." This piece was filled with little surprises for me.

I am by no means suggesting I am a flawless person. I am not.

All in all there has not even been a moment to breathe between Worcester, the return home and the preparations for the Port Chester show. It was exciting to return home to empty shelves and wet clay. With other things coming up, I've a week to work wet, three days to fire, glaze, and then fire again, and then the pots are off to Port Chester.

Hoping to see many more of you at the Port Chester Opening March 1st... Peace.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sake For Everyone. Forever.

It starts with a night on the wheel in a new place where I didn't feel at home, and thus didn't know what to make. I throw four little sake dishes out of a local Watershed clay, decide I don't want to make anything else until the residency starts, and they sit for a month unfinished. Eventually, they get fired in a salt kiln and I end up making over 800 of them. I actually have no good estimate on how many there actually are, but that I will figure out before the show in Februray.

There are two ways I'm thinking of organizing the hundreds of dishes, and the image above is just one of those ways. In that one, I'm playing with pattern, textiles, and functional clay, all rolled into one. The dishes are going to be sewn together to that they can hang freely in space, so that both "top" and "bottom" of the dishes are visible. Though they'll be hanging, they will be tight enough to still translate the pattern and direction of the design as one cohesive unit. In the other one, I'm playing with the idea of the mandala as a representation of time, meditation, the microcosms and the macrocosms of the universe through the arrangement of a multitude of smaller pieces. Read up on mandalas, they're beautiful things.

These two will be at the Worcester, MA show in February!