Posts Tagged ‘porcelain’

Spring Break Firebug/Toads…

April 4, 2014

It’s been a while so let’s get down to business with the really important stuff. The butt dictionary…

buttdictionary

It doesn’t have all of them but there’s a few new ones. It is currently spring break here in Louisville and we spent a couple days down at Lake Cumberland at some friends’ “camp”. I use the quotes there only because it’s nicer than my house. Here’s the view from the deck…

lakecumberland

A brief history… Lake Cumberland is actually the dammed Cumberland River. Years ago my friends purchased property on a bluff overlooking one of the many many arms of the lake that were formed when these “hollers” were flooded. The property is only a parcel where there are probably over a hundred lots. When my friends started building, a problem occurred with the dam and the lake had to be partially drained. It was supposed to be fixed and return to previous levels within a year or so but it apparently presented more problems to the Army Corps of Engineers than initially suspected and now it’s been 8 (I think) years and although the water level has increased finally in the last year or so, it’s still quite low. The good news as far as I’m concerned is that the drained lake put the kibosh on building of camps and we were literally the only ones there… not another human in sight save a few bass boats that tried to make their way up the creek that was once the lake. The first day we went down to the tributary in front of the camp and explored with the bug. She found toads…

sofia

sofia

And here’s a rare pic of Mom with the bug…

sofia

So it was a few days with no internet, no phone, too much food and much peace and quiet. One highlight for Sofia was the campfire. Just typing that makes me cringe with the realization that we are not spending enough time out in the woods. Anyway, there’s no bigger bunch of firebugs than potters and this may be where it all begins…

campfire

campfire

sofia

Another highlight that I didn’t get pics of was a small pond with, really, hundreds of mating toads. Under the surface of the water were wads of what looked like yarn but were in fact long strands of eggs. There had to be tens of thousands of them. In other news, we broke down and got an iPad which has allowed me to use instagram. I read that someone (I think it was Carol Epp) said at NCECA that instagram is the crack c0caine of social media. I can see why. I had tried it before with an old iP0d but the resolution was low and I didn’t like the picture quality. Needless to say, it allows me to post in progress pics without coming upstairs, downloading pics from camera to desktop, resizing in photoshop and then posting. Here’s a collection of some of the greenware I’ve been working on…

instagrampics

I’m happy at this stage of the process and am looking forward to seeing them finished. As always, there’s that one last hurdle and I’ve got a bunch of new color combos I’m itching to try out too. I was invited to participate in an Emerging Artists show in Houston at the 18 Hands Gallery. My friends Mattie and Katie in Houston went to see it and sent me this pic…

matt18hands

That’s all I have for now.

Nuke The Old Uke/Alabamy Clay…

March 1, 2014

The bug got a new uke. It’s a bit of a step up from her pink beginner’s uke and it’s wooden. Regardless of appearance, it sounds better…

sofianewuke

A friend told me that at the Guitar Center stores they won’t allow anyone to play “Stairway To Heaven” in the store. I’ve never been interested to learn it but this prohibition has inspired me to learn just enough of the intro to maybe one day get thrown out of the store. In other news, Sebastian and I traveled down to Birmingham for the Alabama Clay Conference. I was a bit remiss in the photography department but managed to get a few shots. A good time was had by all and I got to reconnect with acquaintances that are fast becoming friends. There was the big Alabama clay sale reception the first night, the presenters’ exhibition reception the second night and the big beer party/mug exchange the third night. I got lucky this year and got Megan Gulland’s stached mug…

meganmug

Here’s a shot of the commode that’s askew…

toilet

I see now that it’s at a hangle to allow a bit more space to step in and out of the shower but still it seems a bit of bad planning at the very least. Here’s some shots from the clay conference. I apologize for the quality of some of the shots at the exhibition. It was in a very cool space with big windows and although there was probably plenty of light during the day, it was quite dark that evening so many of the shots were just too dark to be worth posting…

beasecker

Mr. Beasecker throwing very precise pieces. Here’s some of his cups…

beaseckerpots

Gary and Daphne Hatcher presented also and had great stories of there idyllic pottery in Texas. Here’s Gary throwing…

garyhatcher

I didn’t get a good pic of Daphne on stage but here’s a piece (albeit dark) that was at the reception. It’s quite big and looked almost like cast bronze on the exterior…

daphnehatcherpot

Last but not least was Bonnie Seeman. I’ve always admired her work and after seeing her presentation at the end I am even more admiring. Here’s one of the pieces she was working on and then a couple that were at the show…

bonnieseeman

bonnieseemanteapot

bonnieseemanbigbowl

I also got to see 4 of Curtis Benzle’s pieces. I always loved his work but had never had the opportunity to see any in person. They are so beautiful and delicate and translucent…

curtisbenzle1

I don’t usually hawk for others but I bought Mr. Sherrill’s new trim tool which I thought a bit steep but I have to report that I love this tool. If you have a foot fetish like me and spend too much time trimming, this is quite a fine tool…

sherrillsnewtool

Lastly, I’m experiment with something completely different and I’m not sure where it’s going or if it’s going but am quite excited by the prospects…

greenware

That’s all I have.

Universal Artist Statement/Polar Horcrux/Blog Anniversary/David Katz/Homework…

February 6, 2014

I recently went to an artist’s reception with a friend who is not an artist or craftsperson and afterwards he asked me over a beer if I had read the artist statement on the wall outside the gallery’s entrance. I said that I hadn’t and he expressed his view that it sounded like a bunch of mumbo jumbo and didn’t make any sense. I tried to explain to him that most of these statement end up sounding similarly because of a series of factors. The main one being that visual artists are not necessarily writers. Also, some people do not dwell on explanations for the things they make. I mentioned some other things but this was pretty unsatisfactory for him which led to the question of why are people writing them or why are they required to write them. I certainly do not want to enter this fray here as debates about artist statements online seems ongoing with the debate raging and covering the continuum from there’s no need and they’re absurd to they are absolutely necessary, etc. I only mention this because it reminded me of my long forgotten solution to this problem which I employed for the artist statement that accompanied my BFA exhibition. Since I used this successfully back in 1982, I figured I’d offer it up for anyone who may be struggling with writing an effective statement. Basically I plagiarized Earth Wind and Fire song lyrics. Fortunately for me, the temporary gallery director where my BFA show was exhibited was unfamiliar with the Earth Wind and Fire “lexicon”. So here’s a youtube of the song which wordpress won’t let me embed…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9GOkGu8qCs

The song is titled “All About Love” and if you think you might be inclined to use it as I did it is well worth the listen… just skip to the 3 minutes 10 seconds mark on the video. If you’re not that interested or simply don’t have the time, here’s post the pertinent quote that I lifted:

Now, I want you to stop whatever you’re doing.
Just stop.
Cause I’m gonna rap to you for a moment.

You know, they say there’s beauty
In the eyes of the beholder.

Which I say is not the fact.
’cause you are as beautiful as your
Thoughts, right on?

You know, for instance, we study all
Kinds of sciences, astrology, mysticism,
world religion, so forth you dig.
And like coming from a hip place, all these things help
Because it gives you an inside your inner self
Have mercy!

Now, there’s an outer self we got to deal with
The one that likes to go to parties,
One that likes to dress up, be cool
And look pretty, on ego-trips and all this.

Hey y’all, I’m trying to tell you,
You gotta love you. and learn all the beautiful things around you,
Trees and birds. and if there ain’t no beauty,
You got to make some beauty. Have mercy!
Listen to me, y’all!

So there ya go… problem solved right? In other news, we are in the midst of a week long polar horcrux. There’s a coating of ice on everything which is beautiful…

icytree

Here’s my poor little bent cedar…

cedar

The electricity went out two nights ago but fortunately it was only for 5 or 6 hours. Strangely enough, right in the midst of the polar horcrux, we had a 65 degree day on Saturday which seemed like a good reason to take the dog to the park. I figured it would be muddy but had no idea how muddy. Sunglasses had fun, happier than a pig in shite…

sunglassesmuddy

Also, my 5 year anniversary of the blog has occurred. Here’s the obligatory shots of Sofia from my second post ever through to a current one to show how much difference 5 years can make.

sofia1stpot

sofia_anniversary1

sofia_anniversary

sofia_1stpot

sofia_anniversary

Whilst on the subject of the bug, here’s what has become a typical example of her homework. Can you get the correct answer? (hint: Hamin’s going to have a long and difficult life)…

homework

This is not an isolated example. A couple weeks ago she had homework about fractions with the numerator and denominator labelled only they had the upper number labelled denominator and the lower one labelled numerator. And don’t get me started on the reading comprehension homework. The little stories seem to have been written by 3rd graders instead of educators. Finally, I went out to IUS last week to see some work by David Katz. If you get a hankerin’, head over to his website here. Here’s a shot with Mr. Katz present…

katz1

Here’s one with the man, Brian Harper, sporting his Jeremiah Johnson beard…

katz2

Apparently these yellow metal-looking parts of the piece were made in advance and the webs between were made with simple wet clay. I have to say that I was kinda blown away at these because I simply assumed (even though I was right next to them) that they were made of steel. I also thought that they worked well as stand alone pieces…

katz4

katz3

That’s all for now.

Why Are You Carrying That Empty Cup?…

January 27, 2014

I’ve kept tight-lipped about this for far too long so the time is finally here. Regular readers may remember this post about how movie and tv makers use stand-ins for the backs of actors’ heads in the infamous over-the-shoulder shots. I have since trained myself with limited success to not dwell on the foreground blur that’s supposed to be the actual actor in the scene only to transfer my observational skills to the most bothersome of all movie and tv nonsense… the EMPTY to-go coffee cup…

togocup

First off, we’ve all come to know the manner in which a cardboard cup acts when it either has a liquid in it or is empty. I, personally, have 55 years of this experience. Now that I’ve started noticing more and am completely unable to ignore it anymore, I don’t think I’ve ever seen movie of tv show that has the to-go cup with any liquid in it. Consequently, the scene breaks down because even the best actors can’t make the empty cup they hold to their mouth or set on the table look like it has liquid in it. I’ve even seen scenes where the actor takes the “last” swig and finishes the drink only to later pick the “now empty EMPTY cup” up and take a sip as though it were full again… continuity problems. I don’t really understand this problem as putting a couple ounces of water in the cup would not mean any more expense, would not present a hazard on the set if spilled and wouldn’t be something with alcohol or caffeine in it that would alter the performance. Last but not least, it’s disposable and it would be nice if every now and then the cup was handmade. Enough of that, how about the weather… please please please stop with the polar vortex. If I hear it called that again my head’s gonna explode… reminds me of weapons of mass destruction or trickle down economics. I know it’s not sexy but it’s just cold weather and it is nothing compared to what Shackleton and his crew endured. On the up side, we had enough snow in Kentucky that was packy enough to make a snowman…

sofiaandbaila

This is one of the few occasions where Sofia allows me to take her picture anymore. The cold weather is hindering some progress in other areas, namely delivery of things from distant locations and as far as clay work is concerned I cannot use my garden hose to rinse clay from my sieve. Meanwhile, I’m making a bunch of cups. Here’s some shots…

greenware

greenware

Don’t Steal From JOM!…

January 1, 2014

Esta el 1 de Enero. I must agree with all the people (and apparently there were thousands and thousands) on twitter who are amazed that the United States is 2014 years old. Whew! I can’t believe we made it… hell, that’s almost as long as the earth has existed. Talk about narcissism, wow. I can’t believe also that somehow the United States got the world to use our country’s inception to mark their years by as well as ours. Along the same lines, I feel I must relay some holiday stories… of course the only reason I’m calling them holiday stories is because they happened in late December, nothing else. My friend and I have been frequenting a Thai restaurant for lunch periodically over the past year and (as I always do) I find something I like and settle on that item from the menu. The point being that we’ve been enough times over the year to have gotten all the wait staff to wait on us and the order always goes the same way. We order the dish and the wait-person asks how hot we want it. The scale is 0-5. My friend always says 0 and I always say 5. So a week or so ago we get a waitress that we’ve had several times and we order and it gets to the question and my friend says 0 and I say 5. She looks at me and says “you can go higher than 5 if you want”. At this juncture, I have to admit that I fell for it. I immediately perked up thinking to myself… hmmm, I wonder if it goes to 10 and how nice and hot that would be. So I ask, “how high can I go?” Inimitably, she says, “as high as you want”. Wow! Of course she is oblivious to the fact that this is the epitome of nonsense. I say, “how about 50,000?”. Apparently, this was too subtle as she giggles dismissively, turns and walks off. I guess I could belabor the point and parse the various layers of nonsense but I’ll leave it at that. On to the bank. I received a check from the xmas sale and it’s made out to JIM GOTTUSO… all caps. My deposit slip also has my name on it… JIM GOTTUSO, all caps too. The check was printed (on a printer) and upon closer inspection it was originally printed and said JO GOTTUSO and afterward someone took a pen and made the O into and I and added an M. So I endorse the back of the check dutifully ignoring my belief that signatures are such a bunch of horse shite altogether and present docs to the teller. So she looks at the deposit slip and flips the check over and pauses. She has a confused look on her face and I say, “What’s the problem?” “Well, it’s just that the name after ‘Pay To The Order Of’ has been changed.” I haven’t grasped the level of absurdity yet and say “well, my last name is spelled correctly which is unusual and you can see that it’s exactly the same as on my deposit slip.” She says, “yeah, but it says JOM”. So with all the non-sarcastic-ness that I can muster I say, “I have never in my whole life met someone named Jom have you?” “Well no.” she says. But she keeps staring at it and I finally say, “what would you like me to do?” She says, “on the back of the check above where you’ve endorsed it, you need to endorse it with the wrong name”. At this point I haven’t even broached the subject that it originally said JO not JOM and if I’m gonna endorse it with the original wrong name it should be JO not JOM so I tell her to look closely at the M and see that it was printed by hand along with the I that’s written over the O. She gets even more flustered and calls the manager over. I’m thinking, oh great she’ll clear it all up. The teller explains the whole thing (rather poorly I might add) and the manager says to the teller, “you’re right and you’ve done everything correctly”. She then turns to me and says that I need to endorse above the original endorsement with the wrong name. Then she leaves. I ask the teller, “what’ll happen if I just leave it the way it is?”. She says it might get kicked back. So… the endorsement detectives have spoiled my efforts at fraud. You see although I have never actually met another person with my last name (other than a very few relatives) and have only ever heard of very few Gottusos (actually only 1 before the wonder we know as FaceCrap… I mean book) the bank teller did prevent me from finding a man (in Louisville) named Jom Gottuso, stealing his check from a ceramic sale, endorsing incorrectly and depositing his money in my bank. Poor Jom… but it’s a good thing he’s being looked out for. And then there’s this…

subaru1

subaru

Can’t really do justice to explaining this wonderful occurrence but suffice to say I was behind this young dude, not going very fast and without a blinker he decided to take a U-Turn into a waiting area in front of the water company’s parking lot. In addition to not using the blinker, he swung wide right before turning left (which looked like he was turning right onto the road across from the water company). As he swung back across both lanes of the road he all but stopped before actually leaving the road so that when he had almost stopped, his front end was blocking the oncoming lane and his rear end was blocking my lane… and I skidded but not in advance enough to not hit him…

accident

I tried to explain to him as we waited for the police (that didn’t come) that the only two explanations for what happened were the one I just mentioned and that he was innocently making a left turn and I just sped up and rammed his driver’s side door. He swore it was the latter. Now I’ll admit that I’ve often been behind people and fantasized about ramming into them but of course, I’ve never done that. That’s enough of that. In other news I received a letter from a painter who informed me that my pot that he had purchased was now the subject of a recent painting…

painting

So there ya go, my bowl is in a painting. If you get a hankerin’, here’s Mr. Gary Drake’s website. Here’s some pots that came out of my last firing…

bowl

vase

vase

Colder Than A Brass (Singing) Bowl On The Shady Side Of An Iceberg…

October 28, 2013

It’s that time of year again. Trip to Des Moines, Halloween, Sofia’s birthday and this year the now infamous cross-country state championships. I traveled to my friend Ig’s house last week since he is visiting from his two year overseas trip. On the way there I stopped off in Champaign-Urbana to visit with Mr. Don Pilcher. I didn’t stay too long but got a peek at his new work which was very cool and we sat and talked for an hour or so. The trip to Iowa was filled with coffee, dinners with friends and long nights conversing on anything and everything. The last night there, Ig hosted dinner with good friends Loulou, Mark and Tom. Here’s a shot of my good friend Mark…

mark

Always a pleasure to hang out with Mark. Ig brought home a couple of Tibetan “singing bowls” which are hammered brass and are used in conjunction with meditation. We all played with the bowls for quite some time. To make the bowl sing, one must take the felt-covered rod with a handle and rub it around the rim much in the same manner that people rub their finger on the rim of a crystal goblet. Once the bowl starts singing, the pleasant ringing sound is sustained for a remarkably long time and apparently meditat-ors/ers try to match the tone to the pitch of their own OM sound. Here’s a link to a video of Ig and Ellen banging on the bowls, they’re upside down but it’s posted just to get an idea of the sound. Unfortunately, wordpress won’t allow me to embed these videos anymore (or else I’m unaware how to) so if you’re interested you’ll have to go to the following link…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqXHWN1Xg1c&noredirect=1

Of course, not being satisfied to simply bong the bowls and listen, I tried to have this all happen with it on my head and had trouble concentrating on the sound as I was sure the heavy brass bowl would topple off my top…

bowlhead

So after driving all day Friday to come home, Saturday Sofia and I had to drive to Lexington for the state cross-country tournament. I agreed against my better judgment. We left 2 hours early to arrive one hour early and after leaving the interstate to travel the last 8 miles on a two lane country road, we got to about 2 1/2 miles from the entrance to the park where the event was taking place and the traffic came to a halt. We inched along and made it to her school’s “tent” to sign in one minute after the race began. So that was bust and we headed back home. Here’s the bug… “hey, you lookin’ at me?”…

sofia

Later this week is birthday and Halloween and then a couple free weeks before the insanity of holiday bullshite. Before I left on the trip Sofia and I spent a bit of time at a workshop at U of L where Christyl Boger was demonstrating making figurative work using coils. Here’s a couple shots of Christyl…

christylboger

christylboger

Ran a bisque before I left and haven’t finished unloading it yet but here’s some shots of the greenware…

greenware

greenware

greenware

Until next time.

Diggin’ With The Clawhammer…

September 7, 2013

We all have our bright ideas and occasionally I get one that seems to make perfect sense and then when it no longer is efficient to abandon that idea, I realize that maybe it was really a very stupid idea. Over the years these ideas have fallen into categories. A recurring category involves digging. My basement is/was a disaster area with my kiln, shelves, boxes, peanuts, bubble wrap, raw materials, and about a half ton of clay. Of course there’s remnants all over the basement of other activities pursued over the years. This includes woodworking with all the assorted tools (planer, sanders, clamps, router, saws, drills, a plethora of hand tools and quite a pile of assorted hardwoods) and sculpture that includes bronze ingot, aluminum, welding supplies, micro-crystalline wax, wax working tools, metal chasing tools, etc. not to mention piles of driftwood and other found objects like disassembled old fashion typewriters and 2 disassembled pianos. So most of the accumulation (including the 2 pianos, hardwood, fulfillment supplies and on and on) was crammed up in the crawlspace. Fortunately, I don’t remember the days of awful capering around the crawlspace hauling heavy 20 foot lumber. So anyway, I decided it was finally prudent to admit to myself that, at 55, I will no longer be pursuing any of these old pursuits and waterproof and insulate the crawlspace, give away or throw away as much of the non-clay stuff as possible and make the basement a slightly more useful space. While insulating, my bright digging idea came to me and I decided that if I dug a walkway into the crawlspace after dragging all the detritus out that I could simply walk into the crawlspace and put my dry raw materials on the un-dug portion next to my walkway. This would make the raw materials impervious to moisture (if my basement still leaks) and free up actual floorspace. So there you have it… digging. It seemed like a good idea but unfortunately, the dirt in the crawlspace is like hardpan and a simple shovel will not work. As you can see from the next couple photos it looks like I had help from a sabertooth beaver when in fact I had to use my trusty estwing clawhammer (not my Framus clawhammer banjo) to dig out the walkway a couple inches at a time and carry the dirt 5 gallon bucket at a time out of the basement and into a wheelbarrow to deposit the dirt at the far end of the backyard…

crawlspace

crawlspace

crawlspace

And here’s a shot of it with raw material stacked on the sides…

crawlspace

Now if you’re thinking, hey what a great idea… ixnay on that. In the 90+ degree heat for days digging with the clawhammer, I felt like (a miner searching for a heart of gold) a creature whose only purpose was to take water into my body and sweat it out. But it’s done and it’s finally seeming like a bit of progress. In other news, the show I’m in out in Medicine Hat at Medalta is online here. Check it out if you get a hankerin’. Here’s the pieces I have in it…

medalta

medalta

medalta

Sometimes I hear people talking (that means I’m eavesdropping) and decrying the wasted youth of the generations of kids that follow their generations and saying there’s no hope etc. and that they’re not equipped to handle the crises of our contemporary world and of course this is all debatable for sure but sometimes I run into evidence that our world is in good hands after all. This is just such evidence and begs the question on most everyone’s mind… What does the fox say?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jofNR_WkoCE

And for some reason, stupid wordpress will no long insert the video into the post but click it, you won’t be disappointed. Last but certainly not least here’s the bug bugging with her soldier costume complete with that damned British heraldic lion…

sofia_soldier

You Say Canandaigua, I Say Canadarago…

August 18, 2013

Haven’t posted in a while because I decided to try to get some of the long neglected household projects addressed. So far, I’ve fixed the roof, trimmed all the trees that touched the roof, put gutters on the front of the house, repaired the floor of the porch where the water was rotting the boards, made a vinyl skirt on the exterior along the foundation where water’s coming in, re-cemented the interior wall of the foundation and gave it two coats of dry-lok and now I’m in the middle of insulating under the floor on one half of the crawlspace. I’m running out of gas though and my wheel has been calling for me. Last week, Sofia and I made a trip to central NY that coincided with a surprise 50th birthday of my younger brother. He was, of course, surprised because his birthday isn’t for another month or so but his kids arranged it then because they have to go back to college. It ended up being like a mini family reunion as my Mom and sister made it up from Florida. I have to say since I really haven’t been in NY during the summer in many years that the place is breathtakingly beautiful and the weather was cool and dreamy. The highlight of the trip for the bug was taking my brother’s boat on on Lake Canandarago which I was surprised to find that it is so close to where my siblings live. The bug went tubing for the first time and swam in a frigid northern lake. Here’s some shots of the captain at the helm and some tubing shots…

cap'nbug

cap'nbug

Napping before the boat took off…

bug

And the main event…

tubing

Dad even tried it with a frozen shoulder…

tubing

As it turns out the Ommegang brewery is about 15 miles from the lake in Cooperstown so we took a little detour over there but unfortunately the tours and tastings weren’t for hours so we got an Ommegang frisbee and split. I did spend a day at my cousin’s home (the one that brews crazy amounts of beer). We drank much and had some lively conversation. So that’s about it for now. Oh, and anyone who’s interested in how progressive Kentucky is should definitely watch this video. I tried to embed it but it wouldn’t allow it so you have to follow the link. It’s well worth it though.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/522314

A Touch Of Burl…

August 9, 2013

When growing a new goatee…

goatee

One must always remain vigilant as to how close one might be getting to the Burl Ives snowman character on Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. This is especially of concern when one reaches an age where the goatee consists of white hair.

snowman

Forewarned is forearmed.

Might Need A Transplant…

July 11, 2013

I don’t usually weigh in on current events on this blog but some developments are just a bit too important not to at least mention. So it appears that now it’s possible to perform a “full human head transplant”. I’d like to leave it at that but I have way too many questions to stop there. First off, shouldn’t it be called a “full body transplant”? I mean if I needed a new head (there’s many acquaintances who would probably maintain that I do, in fact need one), wouldn’t the new head (you know, from the guy who just died in a motorcycle accident but whose head is still “viable” because he obeyed the helmet laws) come with its own consciousness and all the memories etc. of his life? I maintain that, at this point in my life, I’d rather keep the head I have and get a new body to go with it. Imagine a body without plantar fasciitis, frozen shoulder, bad eyesight, stiff nose hairs, etc. In fact, they may as well set up a list like an organ donor list. Maybe one could request certain types of bodies they would be interested in. For instance, maybe you don’t want to have a hairy back? Maybe one wants the toe next to their big toe to be longer than the two adjacent toes? Opposable thumbs? Definitely more muscular calves. So I’m kinda on the fence. If given the choice would I opt for the body of a Cirque du Soleil performer, Brad Mehldau, or fall back on an old faithful Rush Limbaugh. A hard choice for sure but it begs an even more perplexing question… without the donor body’s brain would the new me be able to do acrobatics, play jazz or talk out of my ass all day or do those activities require the old head. It’s a brave new world and I’ll have to contemplate these issues much more intensely to move forward. As long as I’m posting content from somewhere else, check out what the Japanese have given us lately…

Oh, what the hell, Sofia came home the other day all excited about how funny this video is, so here ya go…

In clay news, I have new work up at Schaller Gallery…

schallergallery

Last but not least, I got the kiln fixed and fired. This was a large load of new color tests. I’m ambivalent because I got some very satisfactory results but also had about 30 pieces that will be heading to the shard pile. I’ve been uploading to Etsy but it may take a week or so but I compiled this picture of the new color combos. Much info for me to digest but I’m pretty excited about it…

yunomis

Sayanora.

Thermocouples And Relays…

June 24, 2013

What’s this? Digging in the kiln guts again…

kilnrepair

I was firing off a bisque and I got a dreaded errd error code which according to the manual means that the actual temperature is more than X (can’t remember exactly) degrees away from the set point. Well, that cleared everything up right away. I guess all I had to do is get those two measurements closer together. After repeated “shazams!” and “voltos!”, I called the controller person who was extremely helpful and two days, two relays and two thermocouples later, I think I’m back in business. The lesson I’m taking away is, if I’m gonna replay relays, thermocouples or elements… I should just replace them all. Duh. In other news we had our beach vacation a week ago or so on St. George Island just off the panhandle of Florida. It was hot and although the forecast said that it would rain everyday, it never rained once. I guess the lesson I’m taking away from that is, don’t pay attention to weather forecasts… duh. Hell, I think I learned that lesson in high school. Anyway, the bug had a great time. She swims like a fish… at least 6 or 7 hours a day. Here’s some beachy pics…

sofia

sofia

sofia

sofia_dad

Then one day, this washed up on the beach…

dad

Not sure what it was but it had sand in it’s beard and squinty eyes. Hopefully, I’ll have a glaze firing soon. Sofia’s been drawing like gangbusters lately and I keep taking pics but I had such a backlog that I decided to put all the pics together into one big file (click to enlarge)…

sofia_drawings

Bike Crashing And Lettuce Pilfering…

June 1, 2013

Things are moving right along here in the very temperate Kentucky spring. This saved my life or at least kept me from having a serious brain injury…

Bike_helmet

I was taking my normal 30 mile ride a week or so ago and this route passes by downtown Louisville’s newest “attraction”, a pedestrian bridge over the Ohio River with an enormous spiral ramp on the Louisville side…

pedestrianbridge

My interest in the bridge is that it would provide cyclists with a safer route to Indiana than the 2nd St. bridge which is not a bridge I’d take to get to Indiana on my bike. Unfortunately the Indiana side’s ramp remains unfinished. Months ago Sofia and I traipsed up the ramp and across the river only to find that the other side was closed still. Someone told me that it would be finished by late May so when I was riding by I thought I’d go up on my bike and see if it was finished… it wasn’t. As I came down the ramp (which wasn’t crowded) I approached two groups of people. Three were on my right coming up the ramp and three teenage girls were on my left going down the ramp. As I approached, the 3 coming toward me were closer to me and the 3 moving away were getting further away creating a gap which was more than ample to zig through. So I drifted to the left intending to cut to the right as I passed the closer group and as I passed them the girl closest to me moving away caught a glimpse of me in her periphery and panicked. She did that thing squirrels do when you approach them in your car. Fake left, then right, then left. Her eventual direction, of course, was into me and my handle bar snagged her purse strap. And down I went, smashing my protected head on the concrete as well as scraping my right shoulder, elbow, hip and worst, my knee. As I lie writhing in pain, the girls decided to pick my bike up for some reason and didn’t understand that my right foot was still clipped to the pedal. During the first 30 seconds or so, you know, when the pain is too intense to really speak… the girls are lifting my bike and wrenching my ankle because my shoe was still engaged. I finally managed to squeak out, “my foot is attached”. Oh they said and laid the bike back down and I twisted my foot free. As they walked away I heard one say, “that’s kinda dangerous”. I’m glad she survived OK. Anyway, no broken bones and no concussion or brain damage. Hurray for the helmet.

In other news, the bug is 4 days away from finishing the 2nd grade… hard to believe. Here she is making fairy houses at some school thingie…

sofia

Another thing they did at the school was plant a garden with a bunch of different greens. Since it’s the last week, each child harvested a bunch of greens to bring home… they were delicious. There was quite a bit left over and the bug’s teacher told Mom that if she wanted to take some of what was left to help herself because it was just gonna go to waste. So the following day, Mom walked Sofia to school and afterwards grabbed some romaine and collard greens. The day after that a woman at the school called her into her office to let her know that a different woman at the school had seen Mom “stealing” from the kids’ garden and took a picture of her in the act with her phone. Of course, this all got straightened out but we thought it amusing that someone would think we’d go on a lettuce pilfering extravaganza. Oh well. I’m done throwing, trimming, terra sig-ing and burnishing and am ready to begin shellacking next week. Here’s some shots at various stages…

greenware

greenware

greenware

greenware

That’s all I have… sayanora.

Cool May Day…

May 12, 2013

For my 500th post I’d like to start by kvetching about the endless “special” days… you’ve heard it before, Mother’s day, Derby Day, Memorial Day, Valentine’s Day, Thunder Over Louisville, Easter, Tie You Own Shoes Day, Walk Backwards Day, Clean The Camera Lens Appreciation Day, Grey Moustache Awareness Day, Hammer Toe Awareness Day, Dogwood Pruning Day, Don’t Buy Reading Glasses Day, Do These Make My Cankles Show Day, We Need More Days Day, Green Day, National Haircut Day, Integumentary Care Day, Peeing Outdoors Day, Clean Your Dashboard Day, No Deodorant Day, Train Graffiti Awareness Day, Don’t Give Me That Day, Busboy Day, Pepperoncini On Your Pizza Day, Ignore Facebook Day, Chase A Raccoon With A Broom Day, Unmarried Sister Awareness Day, Going Off My Diet Day, Throw One Back For Me Day, Ride Your Bike One-Handed Day, Swim With Long Pants On Day, Dig A Tunnel In Your Back Yard To China Day, Shoot At Aircraft With Your Homemade Potato Gun Day, Oh, Isn’t It Such A Coincidence That Two People In A Room Of Over 500 Have The Same Birthday Day, Drive Without Texting Day (actually that one got shortened to Drive Without Texting Hour because no one could do it for a whole day), Save Your Toenails In A Mint Tin Day, Sit Without Crossing Your Legs Day, Steal A Fork At Lunch Day… oh shite, the list goes on and on. Actually we are having the coolest spring weather in memory. It’s 54 degrees as I type and it’s May 12th. Anyway, went out to the mount last night for Amelia Stamp’s opening reception. There was a lot of nice work. Here’s a bunch of pics…

stamps

stamps

stamps

stamps

stamps

stamps

stamps

stamps

stamps

Here’s Amelia herself on the right with Joy…

joy_amelia

Last but certainly not least, here’s the bug with a strawberry the size of an apple…

sofia_strawberry

I finally have gotten back on the wheel after months of shellacking. Some greenware…

greenware

greenware

Emerging…

April 25, 2013

Well I guess the issues have been delivered by now and the cat’s already out of the bag on FB so…

gottuso CM

I’m very excited about emerging and want to thank Ceramics Monthly for selecting me. One of the interesting things about this is that since one of the criterion is having less than 10 years in the game, I would assume that most of the emerging artist are relatively young. In my case, I got a late start and only started at the ripe age of 46. I’m not saying that 55 is old but it is well past the time when one realizes that they can no longer play the “hey, I could possibly only be halfway through my life” game. At 46, it was absurd but not necessarily impossible to live to be 92 but each year makes the game more ridiculous. My only point is that I feel a certain irony that this emerging artist is submerging simultaneously. So I sit at the wheel with my 4.0 reading glasses, aching feet and frozen shoulder and wonder how long after emerging before the submerging takes over and my pieces become smaller and smaller and blurrier and blurrier. Anyway, I’m honored to be chosen and hope the my work can continue to emerge and my health can continue to resist submerging. Thanks for all the well wishes! Here’s some new yunomis…

yunomis

It’s Not Like Me To Brag But…

April 23, 2013

Well, I’ll keep this short because boasting is almost universally considered in bad taste but sometimes I think one needs to toot one’s own horn. So here goes… it just so happens that our kitchen faucet is the same exact kitchen faucet as the coach on Friday Night Lights has in their kitchen…

faucet

How many people can say that? Look at that faux brushed nickel surface and the way the water comes out all bubbly on the broccoli. So in case you think I’m serious, check out our new band…

americandog

“She’s an American Dog”

AKAR Yunomi Invitational 2013…

April 19, 2013

It’s live!…

yunomis2013

Poached Pots And Other Delights…

April 15, 2013

Well, the year is slipping away it seems. I’m 55 now and taxes have been filed… so how’s that for accomplishments. So there’s couple things I’d like to conflate. First, this is a picture of my dad who, it’s now becoming very clear to me, only lived one more year than I have already…

dad_peter

This picture was taken where he worked the night shift. He was in charge of annealing ovens at an industrial forge. I’m sure everyone already knows but I will belabor the example by saying that annealing is a process by which metal is treated (much like tempering) to achieve certain properties such as ductility or homogeneity. Back before computers this was done by adjusting ovens to critical temperatures, holding those temperatures and cooling at specific rates. I only mention this to make a comparison to electric (and now gas) kilns that only in the past decades or so have computerized controls on them. Again, before these controls, achieving certain effects such as crystal formation was a long row to hoe with many many trials and errors. This is not to say that those working with crystals have it easy but only to say that the computer firing profiles have taken away much of the trial and error and have allowed more people to work with crystals more easily. But I use a slow cool firing profile to achieve certain effects also (although I’m not so specific about what they actually are). So my point here is that technology keeps chugging along (actually I guess it’s screaming along now) and I believe we only really notice it in the areas of our expertise or interests such as our phone, kiln, car, etc. But I remember when I went bicycle shopping a couple years ago after not stepping in a bike shop for more than 20 years that just because I wasn’t paying attention didn’t mean that that same tsunami of technology wasn’t affecting everything, even in this case, bicycle design and manufacturing. So yesterday I happened to be driving at a time when I’m usually not in the car and “The Splendid Table” cooking show was on the radio. They were talking about cooking eggs and egg charts. I thought, what? a 3 minute egg, what else is there? And that’s when they when on to describe this chart…

Egg Chart

Actually, this is only a portion of the chart. And what more useful application for technology could there be? Apparently, these precise cooking practices for eggs are possible because of a device that can adjust the water temperature to with 1/10 of a degree F and hold it absolutely steady at that temp for as long as needed… like my kiln! I guess some chefs find the perfect poached egg to be quite elusive. If you’re a foodie or a cooking person, be advised that this chart refers to cooking eggs for 1 hour. The most interesting part about the egg cooking to me was that they mentioned that at a certain temp (I think it was 152 F) that the egg could me molded or rolled out… in other words, it could be sculpted. Like clay! Not sure what I’d do with a pinched poached pot but seems more interesting than trying to make a sculpture with an omelet. OK, well that’s enough of that. The yunomi show is coming up soon and I’m looking forward to that. I also have been processing photos from my last kiln load and will be uploading work all week. Here’s a couple already up…

beerglassbeerglass

I finally got a new photo cube and background. This time instead of a gradated background from black to 50% gray I got one that goes from light gray to white and although the background seems similarly gray in the final shots, I believe that actual pot in the pics looks quite a bit better. Here’s a yunomi I posted earlier but I reshot it semi-professionally…

yunomi

Last but not least, I made a new beer glass poster…

beerposter2013

Sayanora.

Feema Koola Ya Ya, How Arcane…

March 30, 2013

Sometimes as a parent, one looks at their child and may think… she looks like her Mom but I don’t see any resemblance to me. Could it be that she’s not mine? Then she’ll do something or say something or make a face and you think to yourself, oh yeah, she’s mine. The bug has a tendency to endlessly repeat original nonsense words to the point of distraction. And so it goes… feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya. This is reminiscent to me of kermikaw kermikaw kermickaw which she used to repeat while jumping on the couch. But that was when she was two and maybe at two she thought that kermikaw was a word but feema koola ya ya she knows are not words that have meanings but repeat she does. I have done this same thing most of my life and so I know that she’s mine. Maybe the phrase is an secret chant that reveals a mysterious truth… or arcanum, which leads me to this book…

arcanum

At the Alabama Clay Conference both Gerit Grimm and Kurt Weiser highly recommended this book (see, I was paying attention) and I usually do not base my reading choices on recommendations from people that I hardly know but I was captivated by the idea of a true story or subterfuge and espionage that revolves around porcelain. I won’t ruin the story (as if someone might actually go read this) but the pith of it is that when explorers brought porcelain back to Europe from Asia, the monarchies went apeshite and the white clay became literally as valuable as gold. To stop the flow of money to Asia, one monarch decided to use his alchemist to find the arcanum for porcelain so they could make their own. Arcanum also refers to the secret formula for turning base metals to gold and, as a bonus, the fountain of youth or immortality. Of course the alchemists never did turn anything into gold and I’m sure they welcomed working on the mystery of the formula for porcelain because it was actually possible. What follows is many years of conspiracy, espionage, back-stabbing, trial and error, war, etc. I’ll leave it at that and only add that the behavior of the monarchies and powerful of the time only confirms that the wealthy and powerful from any time period (and especially our time period) are and were bereft of any sort of consideration of the plight of the masses upon whose backs they accumulated their fortunes. And so another clumsy segue… I’ve been seeking my own arcanum of late attempting to add these feldspars, frits and other crushed up stones and shells to yield a glaze or two to my liking…

arcanum

My last big glaze test was a complete bust so I’m hoping for a bit of success this time.

arcanum

I’m also working out some different terra sig colors…

arcanum

So here’s some of the test tiles and I’ll be firing them in a couple days…

arcanum

Last but not least, even though I’ve been sick I took Sofia to our friend’s home last night to participate in their annual pysanky-fest. I don’t associate pysanky with the Ishtar worshipping holiday that we now refer to as Easter (Ishtar/Easter), to me it’s just an excuse to make cool decorations on eggs. Here’s the bug hard at work…

pysanky

pysanky

pysanky

pysanky

I wish I was feeling a bit better and had more time to commit to some intricate eggage but it was not to be. Also, the UofL basketball game was on at the same time and you know how crazy everyone is about hoops. Sayanora.

(B)eer (G)lasses, (B)uddy (G)uy and (B)isque (G)oing…

March 7, 2013

Where to start… Mom and I had a rare night out the other night and went to see the one and only Buddy Guy. Jonny Lang opened for him so it was night full of greasy screaming blues guitar work. Buddy, at age 76, was fantastic. I’ve always liked his guitar playing and I have an acoustic album titled “Blues Singer” that is really my favorite and it shows off his singing prowess which is pretty great too. I never got to see him before and found him to be wildly entertaining in between songs also. Here’s a video my friend Jennifer took with her phone (there’s some cussing at the end so beware the kids)…

There was quite a bit more cussing as the concert progressed (which I enjoy) and Buddy seemed to credit hip hop for making it so he could be himself on stage and talk the way he does normally. Got a bisque going as I type this and hopefully can do a glaze firing next week. I went over to my friend Jeff’s the other day and he’s finally gotten some of his pieces fired. Here’s a bunch of pictures of the work…

jeff

jeff02

jeff03

jeff04

jeff05

jeff06

jeff07

jeff08

jeff09

jeff10

jeff11

jeff12

jeff13

jeff14

I have to say that one of the dudes strapped to each other in the chair looks like Henry Kissinger. So I was very happy a week or so ago to come home and find that Sofia had dug out the chess set. I taught her how to play and she seemed to catch on to it pretty good. Here’s the bug playing with Mom…

sofia

Of course I think she thought it would be like Sorry or Monopoly and that she might win right off the bat. I haven’t let her win yet and you know what that makes me?… a meanie. Anyway, when she came home from school the other day she was busy writing down some important notes and I found out later that she had some better ideas about how chess should be played. Here’s her rules…

chessrules

My favorite rule is that bishops actually accompany the king or queen when they move. Let’s see Bobby Fischer win playing the Queen’s gambit with those rules! The bug has also started doing these silhouette drawings…

silhouette

Last but not least, I’ve finally finished burnishing, shellacking, etching, shellacking, etching, shellacking, etching, painting terra sig thrice on a bunch of beer glasses (my aching back)…

greenware

Here’s some psychedelia for any of you shroom eaters…

psychedelic

Drei Deutsche Kunstler…

February 26, 2013

Last weekend my good buddy Sebastian and I made the relatively short trek to Birmingham for the Alabama Clay Conference. I went last year for the first time and was very impressed by the conference as a whole and especially the artists chosen to present. This year was very much the same thing with three extremely talented and personable artists. Although I’m sure it was not intended, there was a certain Germanic flavor to the conference with Gerit Grimm, Kirt Weiser and Dirk Staschke. OK, Mr. Staschke might not be of German descent but still all those hard Ks and Rs really sound that way. Anyway, it was a whirlwind of events starting with a large clay sale by Alabamans to a symposium put on by the Birmingham Art Museum which included lectures by Magdalene Odundo and Garth Clark amongst others to the artist’s reception at the museum to the pint exchange at the local brewery. Here’s a piece of Magdalene Odundo…

odundo

Here’s some shots of the artists’ demonstrations…

alcc

alcc

alcc

alcc

The following pic of Dirk was an accident but I’m posting here anyway because the flames of the logo on the screen behind him looks like there’s flames coming out of his head…

alcc

I wish I had a pic of Gerit Grimm’s piece finished but it was very blurry when I downloaded it. Regardless here’s her pieces that were in the museum…

alcc

alcc

alcc

alcc

Next up are Dirk’s pieces. The first one’s a bit blurry too and there’s a much better picture of it here. It’s a very large piece…

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alcc

Last but definitely not least are Mr. Weiser’s pieces…

alcc

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alcc

All three presenters were very engaging and funny. Being a Decemberists fan, my favorite story of Kirt Weiser’s was about the Archie Bray and that Colin Meloy (the lead singer of the Decemberists) is the grandson of Peter Meloy who was one of the founders of the Bray. So all in all, the conference was excellent all round. And as I’ve said before the Birmingham Art Museum is a stellar museum with a fantastic ceramics collection. I’ll post a few shots of favorites but if you get a hankerin’ go here to see all the pics I took at the museum.

bam

bam

bam

bam


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