Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ceramics Workshop: Ann VanHoey@Rae Dunn's Studio, Saturday, April 19, 2014

The first thing I noticed about Ann Van Hoey's studio practice is her constant cleaning of her tools in order to achieve the pristine, super smooth finishes of her clay bodies.  She starts with a hemisphere mold and stiff paper in order to make a template, which she constructs by fitting into the mold and tracing with a pencil before cutting two templates.  She opened a bag of Sierra Clay which she doesn't wedge but did pound with a fist to flatten before rolling out into 5mm slabs, one of which she flipped into the mold.  And she uses a rolling pin rather than a slab roller to slow down the process and ensure a uniform slab thickness.  Then she cut a second slab, scoring and slipping (just one side to adhere it to the other slab) and compressing further into the mold.  Lastly she eyeballed the bottom and cut from a slab without a template and compressed that into the mold too.  Click on the pictures below if you want to enlarge and see more details close-up.
While we waited for the bowl to dry to leather hard, I explored Rae Dunn's gorgeous Berkeley, California studio.  Who wouldn't want to come to work every day in such an airy, well-lit and organized space?  I too would be inspired to create beautiful vessels and objects!

I splurged and bought one of Dunn's vases above (the one with a screen print of one of her paintings and typography--a dictionary definition of botany and the word, nourish).  And Dunn's vases which I loved so much to me are so reminiscent of the vases that Nancy Selvin makes.
Back to Van Hoey's work.  I also took pictures of the vessels she brought from Belgium for her workshops here in the U.S.  Below are representative works that she created for various juried exhibits and competitions as well as that which she designed for a chef's kitchenware line that are mass produced.  Van Hoey's colored pieces were auto painted by Ferrari.  My own tiny collections of ceramics reflect this combination of expensive handmade one-of-a-kind with less expensive (but still aesthetically lovely)factory made.  And that balance of handicraft and also designing for wider distribution is what Rae Dunn seems to have also lucked on to, for she sells in her studio and in her Etsy shop her unique and locally made art while also designing lines for Magenta which are sold at Nordstrom.

Van Hoey's next demonstration was of her cups.  Only the demo was of Sierra Clay rather than the paper porcelain that you see above.  
 Next it was time to release her earlier demo of a larger vessel from the mold and demonstrate more of her overlap of darts in her signature bowls.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."
[MovieMaker Magazine #53 - Winter, January 22, 2004 ]”
Jim Jarmusch

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seymour the Octopus

Clay:  Sculpture Mix
Black underglaze
Cone 6 Glazes:  Val's Purple, Translucent Blue Green, and Clear

Before and after, I love how Seymour turned out. Well maybe I love a piece in the leather hard stage the most, but alas after the final glazing and firing, he stuck to the catch plate and then the weight of him fell off the plate during display and an arm broke.  Oh well.  I can't sell him now, but he's my prototype.  I totally want to make more octopi.  And this time I will mount them on a plate for hanging displays.