Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Working Play"

"Working Play"


The idea of making a large scale sculpture out of paper that could go from flat to a three dimensional form in space is something that I've been wanting to realize for a long time now. A virtual "pop up sculpture" if you will. 



"Working Play" as it is titled embodies for me the combination of creative fun and hard work. It is approximately 7 feet tall x 4 feet wide and made out of repurposed corrugated cardboard.  The surface was painted with black and white acrylic gesso.  The subject matter for this piece was my son's room and boy does he have fun stuff to play with.  From vintage Fisher Price to the latest and the greatest in toy design.  And I can't forget all his artwork and books, books, books.  this space was such a rich resource for me to pull from.




Above are 7 views that circumnavigate the sculpture from left to right.  I'm essentially walking you around the piece.



One of my favorite elements of the sculpture is the elephant toy container that my wife found for our son at a local antique shop. It's round polka dotted and fun.


I edited through my son's toy selecting and including only ones that he really loves and that are important to him.  I remember him banging on his mini piano when he was only a few months old.

I am so glad that I finally had an opportunity to create this piece of paper sculpture.  The time had finally come.

Now back to the clay!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Little Houses

~ little houses ~


Recently I was asked by the Anchor Art Space in Anacortes if I would be interested in coming up with an art project that would tie their current exhibit titled "Shelter" in with the town's rather large Arts Festival.  I said yes of course not having any idea what I would actually do.  I had a month to figure that out.



Little houses on the sidewalk, little houses in the gallery.....
On day one of the project I was stationed in front of the Anchor Space and I started making many little cardboard houses that would eventually be a part of something bigger.  I temporarily trailed them from inside the gallery out onto the sidewalk.  The biggest realization I had that first day was that wind moves paper easily.  Pretty obvious I know but I hadn't thought about it at all.  The next day I would be building a structure much much bigger out of cardboard and I would be doing it a block further down the street where the wind could be much stronger.



It was a beautiful morning on day 2 and I began by creating a foundation that was weighted on the corners and center.  I had broken down I'm not sure how many Seattle Pottery Supply clay boxes into uniformly sized pieces and cut slots so they could be put together like modular tiles.



At the end of day 2 I had about 3 feet of vertical wall built and I packed all the remaining materials inside, hoping that everything would be there the next morning.


Below is a detail shot of the interlocking flat panels.  I liked the texture the smaller key pieces created on the walls.



Inside the structure was a great add for Seattle Pottery Supply.


On Day 3 (the final day) I was pushing  pretty hard to finish the house structure.  Thanks to a couple of friends and their sweet granddaughters helping me cut slots in cardboard, the end was near.


After getting the roof on, the last thing to do was hang all the tiny houses from day 1, inside the big house.




This was quite the process of planning to preparation to production to documentation to finally deconstruction.  Which went extremely fast.  What took me 3 days to build took 15 minutes to break down.  I felt just like the big bad wolf.



Thanks Anchor Art Space for asking me to do a project.  I truly enjoyed the creative experience.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Pop Up Sculpture" for "Shelter"

~ Popping Up a Sculpture at The Anchor. ~


I was recently invited to participate in an exhibit called "Shelter" at the Anchor Art Space in Anacortes.
It gave me the opportunity to create something that I had been wanting to make for quite some time.
A large scale "Pop Up" sculpture made out of paper.


A great add for the Honda Fit.  My 7 1/2 foot tall sculpture packed completely flat and slid nicely into my tiny car.

After quickly unwrapping it the first insert created a stable base and the piece was free standing.

There were a few flat pieces to choose from but they neatly inserted into slots.
In no time at the most ambitious piece of sculpture I may have ever done was installed and ready to be seen.  A great big thank you to Eve Deisher for her careful pair of hands in helping with the set up, and her husband Lanny Bergner for taking the great photos of the set up.


 Don't forget to come to the show!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fairytales, Fantasy, & Fear


The Mint Museum - 75th Anniversary
The Mint Museum cordially invites you to a suite of events celebrating the opening of Fairytales, Fantasy, & Fear at Mint Museum Uptown.

A very cool thing about a Museum having something of yours in their permanent collection is that occasionally they will use it in a special show.  The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC has one of my ceramic sculptures and when an upcoming show titled Fairytales,Fantasy, & Fear was being curated they thought it would be a good fit.  Thank you Mint!  It sounds like a very interesting show to me and all three of these subjects have been a part of my work for as long as I can remember.  Below I've pictured the Piece that is in the show.


     On The Bridge,  29"x24"x17",  Whiteware, Vitreous Slip, Sgraffito.


I also wanted to picture a different piece that was made around the same time period but much larger (aprox. 48" tall).  I think it would be an even better fit for the show.  What do you think?  It's titled "Angel Nightmare"(originally "Dreaming of Angels"). Sometimes I change titles over time for various reasons.


         Angel Nightmare, 48"x 38"x 32", Whiteware, Vitreous Slip, Sgraffito




Saturday, February 18, 2012

Being Productive

~ Being Productive ~

There is nothing like a deadline to intensify the creative process.  A couple of months ago I had a number of opportunities come my way regarding showing my ceramic and paper sculpture.  I make a point of never passing up an opportunity so as a result I was loaded with deadlines.  I know that there is always a certain amount of stress involved but I think it is the good kind that can focus the mind toward a goal.  Above is an example of one of the very recent objects to come out of my studio stress tank.  It's titled "Radio Flyer Teapot", made with a whiteware clay body.   I apply a vitreous slip to the white clay and then use a technique called sgraffito to scratch and carve the imagery into the clay surface.  Finally when I am finished with the drawing the object is fired once to cone 1.


This piece is titled "Staged Cup" and is made in the same way.  Although these two objects refer to function they are not usable.  My slip gets really close to being a glaze but the clay that is scratched into is still somewhat porous and wouldn't well suited for use.


This last piece is title "Familiar Place" and the tallest of the 3 at 8 1/2 ".  Another thing that working with all of these deadlines looming has shown me is what I am capable of.  I generally do not work really fast yet what I admire in other artists is the energy that they often capture in their work due to their process.  I want that as well in my work but it challenges my very nature. Well, there's nothing like a good challenge.

All three of these objects will be in a show of ceramic sculpture at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park on Camano Island from March 3rd- April 8th.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NCECA Ponderings

~ NCECA Ponderings ~


I can't help myself when it comes to the excitement that I feel about NCECA  coming to Seattle in 2012.  I've been involved in ceramics and the teaching of it for over 20 years and I have sadly never attending the annual conference that draws some of the most talented and diverse people working in the medium.  It will be at the last week in March at to learn more about it or to sign up for yourself click here.  Maybe I'll see you there!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Mr. Sgraffito"

~ Mister Sgraffito ~


I have to say that I've had an idea for an image of myself in my studio.  I've been devoted to ceramics for the last 23 years but ever since I cheated on clay with cardboard I've had thoughts of working large once again.  When I say large I'm talking 4 ft. to 8 ft.   Not impossible to achieve in clay but the reality of firing any clay object of that size has many technical,  practical and philosophical concerns surrounding it.  


Ceramics is not a medium that I have any intention of putting on a shelf, but working in both the clay and the paper medium seems to be where my head is at these days.  I think I will work on smaller clay objects while getting crazy big with the paper works.


Sgraffito is a ceramic technique that involves scratching through an applied contrasting slip clay into the clay body beneath creating marks, designs or imagery.  I LOVE IT!  It's something I can't achieve in paper but who knows....maybe I'll figure it out.  


When it came to realizing the idea for these very unstaged snapshots there was only one choice for who the person would be behind the camera.  The phenomenal Kristin Theiss who has become an amazing photographer over the past couple of years taking probably 200 shots on any given day.  She has a way of putting the fun in "fotography" (or "photografun").  I think she nailed it.  Stay tuned for more adventures of "Mister Sgraffito" in his house of clay and paper.