I am so excited, once again, to pair up with The Cellar Door for Creating Community, this coming Friday, June 21 from 3:30-6:30 (here’s a map). Bryan and Karen of The Cellar Door have become fast friends, as my husband and I have discovered the fascinating and wide, wide world of wine. For all of us, wine creates the opportunity to form friendships and create memories over a shared glass and usually a meal. Bryan and Karen have been inviting their friends to share with all of us their other passions, in an effort to create an even stronger, more diverse community. And so, with Creating Community, I bring my wares to their weekly tasting, Friday Sips.
Since I’ve been on break from grad school I’ve gotten back behind the wheel and this summer’s theme is IMBIBE. I’ve got all sorts of vessels to make your favorite beverage that much more enjoyable.
If you love wine or if you are simply curious about wine, The Cellar Door Friday Sips is a fantastic way to wrap up the work week. Bryan has an uncanny ability to find wines to satisfy any palette, from the $12 Wednesday night bottle, to the spare-no-expense bottle for a special occasion (but honestly, he’ll probably have a superb recommendation that will save you $$). This week Bryan will have open a lovely array of dry, pink wines, one of my favorites during the summer season. Here’s what you can look forward to:
– 2011 Cameron “Saignee” Pinot Noir Rose
– 2012 Marquiliani Rose Vin de Corse
– 2012 Chateau Turrenne Cotes-de-Provence Rose
At this very moment two kilns are cooling, each full of potential show pieces perhaps destined to be on display in my first show in five years, Twist. While I’ve been included in several group shows, in addition to art & craft festivals and fairs, it’s been a while since I’ve put together a comprehensive group of pieces to show the world who I am as an artist. This show will include my favorite brushwork pieces in black/white/red (and maybe some new colors, depending on how one of my firings worked out!), in addition to some wood-fired work. I have high hopes for many of my wood-fired pieces, slowly cooling in the woods of SW Washington. I used forms and surface decoration techniques related to those I use on my electric-fired work, which will hopefully hint at the lineage which links the two bodies of work.
My work will be shown alongside that of sculptor Dan Alley, also a technician for sculpture in the Visual Arts Department at Mt. Hood Community College. This show, in fact, is to commemorate our terms as techs at MHCC (we’ve both just begun the second and final year of our term).
If you’re in the area, I invite you to visit Twist at the Mt. Hood Community College Visual Arts Gallery, October 31-November 21, with an opening reception Thursday, November 3, 6-9 p.m.
This year has been one of many firsts for me, including new shows and sales. Just yesterday I sent off a piece (actually the one you see to the left) to be included in the Strictly Functional Pottery National, an annual show out of Lancaster, PA. This past weekend I held a studio sale at the site of my first studio, Middle Mt. Pottery, outside Hood River, OR during the county’s annual Gravenstein apple celebration. While traffic was not as heavy as other special weekends in Hood River County, many loyal friends and customers came out to support me…it warms my heart so!!
Next month (9/29-10/2) I will be participating in the Local 14 Show & Sale at the World Forestry Center in Portland, OR. This is a fine art & craft sale put on by an all-women group of artists. I was juried in as a guest artist for this year’s show.
A mere week after that (10/8-9) I will be one of eight featured artists in the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center (in The Dalles, OR) for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act. During the day this free community event will include live music, art, living history, recreation, bike tours, local food & beer and more. On Saturday evening, the Discovery Center will hold the 4th Annual Vintage Evening of Wine & Art, a fundraiser for the Center. A piece of mine will be included in the auction. Check out this page for tickets and other information.
Two weeks after the Discovery Center event I’ll be loading Soulgama! Yikes, this is going to require a lot of pots…better get back to it!
Some years ago my ceramics teacher at the time encouraged me to begin learning to photograph my work. This was the early 2000s, and although it doesn’t feel all that long ago, digital cameras had not yet replaced 35mm, at least in the realm of art documentation. So I drove into Portland to find the film and other sundries I’d need, and I spent three very tedious hours fidgeting with lighting and camera angles only to come up with a handful of VERY mediocre photos. They were not suitable for anything other than nostalgia. Although, come to think of it, I think I trashed them long ago.
Fast-forward to 2011…Kodak stopped making slide projectors long ago and everyone and their grandmother has at least one digital camera (in their phone!). Technology now exists to give every potter the tools to take decent to professional-grade photos worthy to submit to any show. I now have a Canon Powershot with more features than I know what to do with (I really wish I could find that infernal owner’s manual), in addition to a pair of lights, a graded background, and a light cube.
I purchased the cube and lights as a kit from EZCube for around $200, about a year ago. The EZ Cube is a pop-up, table-top light tent, which diffuses light and reduces glare on the object being photographed. The lights that came with my kit are pretty decent, not professional grade, but I feel like I got my money’s worth. The cube comes with three pieces of background drapery, which are useless to me. They are wrinkled most of the time, but even with ironing they do not drape cleanly for a seamless look. When I moved into the private studio that came with my tech job, I discovered that my predecessor had bequeathed to me and the other tech a Varitone graded background. It’s much to large for my EZ Cube, so lately I’ve been using the Varitone with the lights, which came with diffusing covers.
Here’s what I set up today:
I don’t have a table large enough to accommodate the drape I need to create with the Varitone background, so I found a piece of chipboard in the kiln barn to create an extension to one of my work tables. I nabbed the heaviest thing I could find, a bag of clay, to keep it in place.
Next, I hung the Varitone from the ceiling with very long pieces of twine. The background is painted with a gradient from white to black (a marvelous tool for those of us who want to take our own photos, but don’t want to invest the time into learning how to do proper lighting) . I want to be able to change the curve of the background to increase or decrease the amount of black/white in the frame, depending upon the piece. I learned today that I need even longer pieces of twine to anchor behind the lighting…there’s just no room in there to climb up to the ceiling to adjust the backdrop!
I took photos today which I plan to submit to “Atmospheric Fired 2011,” at the Carbondale Clay Center. Once I got home to view them on my computer, I realized I still have more shots to take. I’ll go back in tomorrow to photograph a teapot to add to the mix. Many of the pieces I shot today just don’t look very good in my photos. I think that’s just the limits of my skills at this point, because those pieces look absolutely marvelous in person.
My other half flew out yesterday for a 6 day conference in DC, so I found myself with an open weekend. With 4 wood-fires in the next 3 months (holy cow, what have I gotten myself into…4 wood fires?!), not to mention all of the work I’d like to do developing a cone 6 line of my black/white/red work, I figured the best way to spend the weekend is making pots. To be honest, it did sound kind of luxurious, two days of making pots without any other obligations. 48 hours of focusing on exactly what I want…nice.
So, I dropped my hubby off at the airport at 7 a.m. and went straight to the studio. Earlier this week I had thrown the bodies for about 10 or 12 goblets, and they needed bottoms/feet. I’m really excited about them, since it’s pretty much a new form. I also made them specifically for the Installation display at Ceramic Showcase 2011 (www.oregonpotters.org/ceramicshowcase). They’re turning out great, with lots of character and a bit of whimsy.
I also threw the bodies for some containers. They’re all-purpose pots, but I see them as utensil containers or vases. Since yesterday was my 6th day in a row at the studio/work (i.e. commuting to Gresham and back), I took my leather-hard thrown pieces parts home to complete them. My husband and I live in a small apartment, but I have a little space for hand-building and decorating pots.
Below, you will find the fruits of today’s labor. I am quite fond of them, I must say. I’m especially drawn to the two on the right, with their low-slung bellies and stubbier legs.