Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Beauty of Clay at the Everson Museum of Art

Earthenware Jar by Shin Sang Ho, 1987

This piece is so exquisitely beautiful, the details remind me of nature at it's creative best. No description of the decoration or technique used were provided, so my best guess is that the "florets" or "snowflakes" are slip paint or inlay.

Shin Sang Ho had a retrospective in 2007 at the Clayarch Gimhae Museum in South Korea which focused on, of all things, his tiles!

More inspiration from the Everson tomorrow!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Inspiration at the Everson Museum of Art

Earthenware bowl by Glen Lukens "Bowl with Death Valley Glaze" 1941

I'm not sure what to say about this piece, or more to the point, I don't know how to say what I want to. I couldn't walk away. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I wanted to hold it. I wanted to eat it. At least I was allowed to photograph it.....and that is a very good thing....thank you Everson Museum of Art.

With so many important and pivotal artists in the ceramic world represented at the Everson, I found myself overwhelmed by the presentation, and a little distracted, too. Pieces are crammed into glass showcases, with little or no personal space. Some of the work is centered behind the point where 2 sliding glass panes meet, not allowing a full unobstructed view of the piece at all. A lot of pieces are on a shelf so low I needed to sit on the floor to really get a good look. I would love it if every piece was displayed on its own stand and I was allowed to pick it up and hold it. I would also like to own the majority of pieces on display.....just so that I could touch them.

Inspiring and amazing, I'll post more photos all this week.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Victorian Tile Inspiration

To say that I find inspiration from Victorian era tile is a gross understatement. They are the canvases that have taught me the art I spend 10 to 12 hours a day involved with. And my favorite tile artist is Arthur Osborne, whose work I am happy to say, I've not only collected, but have had the joyful opportunity to reproduce for historic institutions around the country. Here's a secret that I'm finally willing to share - even though I've been reproducing tile for over 30 years, I've just recently decided that it's an art form that not many people are able to perfect. I'm not just a "copy-cat" - it takes real skill and sensitivity to recreate the look and feel of a tile carved by someone a century ago. I know it sounds like bragging, but it's not. I'm just learning how to say "thank you" when I get compliments for my carving skills.

So....Thank You!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 Sharpie Squad

I'm very excited to be part of the Sharpie Squad again this year!! Here's an except from the official press release -
OAKBROOK, IL: Sharpie introduced its 2010 Sharpie Squad this week, highlighting 20 artists, bloggers, and customers who have found creative uses of Sharpie products and who will serve as brand ambassadors.
The Squad members will blog, tweet, and otherwise discuss the ways they use Sharpie products while the company will "shine our social media light on them and really drive some eyeballs their way," said Susan Wassel, social media and PR manager for Sharpie.
The brand, which is working with AOR Weber Shandwick, will periodically provide squad members with Sharpie products to test or offer in blog or Twitter contests.
"This is consumer-driven," said Wassel. "Sharpie started out mainly as a labeling tool, very utilitarian. More recently, we were seeing all of these incredibly creative uses of the product -- nothing that we decided or pushed out from Sharpie, but really just consumer, organically driven."

Like it says on the back of my tile "I can't live without my Sharpie!"

Stay tuned for amazing Sharpie product give-aways...coming soon!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SaratogaArtsFest Tile

2010 is the year of the purple ArtsPass Tile! 

SaratogaArtsFest, now in its fourth year, will take place June 10-13 and will once again present a citywide celebration spanning music, dance, visual art, film, theatre, and literary art. The festival will offer some 75 events and activities at venues throughout Saratoga Springs. The full festival schedule and program details are now available at

The concept of using a piece of tile art as the admission pass was conceived the very first year, and the tradition continues. The logo was designed by Christianne L. Smith of  designsmith studio, and I was asked to create the tile, which changes color every year. Linda Schrade, beadkeeper and owner of Saratoga beads, supplies the beads and cord that the tiles are strung on.

You might not think it's a big deal to make such a little tile...but the number of times these tiles get handled add up to a LOT of work! First off, I have to carve the original design in wax, and pour a plaster mould. After the mould dries, a thin slab of clay gets extruded, cut to a manageable size, laid on brown paper on top of plaster boards, and the plaster mould is pressed (with my hand-press) into the wet clay slab multiple times. Then the individual tiles need to be cut apart and allowed to stiffen up a bit. Next, the holes need to be punched at the top of the tile for where the beads will be strung. After the tiles dry they need to have the edges sponged soft. Then they go into the kiln for the first, or bisque, firing. They get laid out on racks for glazing, and  go back into the kiln again for final firing.

Here is a kiln full of the 2010 art pass - in their full purple glory!

I hope you'll join the celebration this year!