Archive for February, 2012

Dharma Bum…

February 25, 2012

While I was off to Birmingham and Mom was working, Sofia was staying with my very best friend Keith and in an effort to keep her occupied for 2 days + they made a trip to the zoo. When backs were turned, the bug stole a microbus Ken Kesey style…

We’re going down to Yasgur’s farm, gonna join in a rock and roll band…

Well this post is essentially about the Birmingham Art Museum but before I left for Alabama, the bug and I took a little trip to the Speed Museum here in Louisville. There was a painting show with some impressionist paintings but honestly I just wanted to see the two Chagalls on display. They had some local old pots that I had never seen out down there before and thought some people might like to see…

They also had a Noguchi that I hadn’t seen before and here’s the bug in front of Isamu’s piece…

And with one of my other favorite sculptors, Constantin…

So, on to Birmingham. There was a Vietnamese pot show at the Birmingham Art Museum and Sebastian and I went over during lunch on Saturday. I have to say that I was completely blown away by this museum. I haven’t seen a Jade collection that large since I went to the Freer in DC. But I digress. I intend to post some other non-Vietnamese pics soon but the following are strictly from that particular show…

I also created an photo album on Facebook to show all the pics I took and it’s here if you get a hankerin’.

Stars Fell On Alabamy…

February 21, 2012

One of my favorite Ella and Satchmo songs…

My buddy Sebastian and I traveled down to Birmingham this last weekend to attend the Alabama Clay Conference. It was a whirlwind weekend filled with ceramics, fantastic demonstrations, shows, museums and a great deal of pain. It’s 3 weeks and counting and my ankle is not better yet with the hematomata still hanging on. But I met some very nice people who tolerated my limping and hobbling around wherever we happened to be heading. The joke became that so many things were in walking distance… but one man’s walking distance is another man’s marathon on bleeding stubs. Of course, since no one knew me most people probably just figured I was a permanent hobbler. So anyway, the presenters at the conference were Lorna Meaden, Christopher Gryder and Sergei Isupov. It was a great combination of diverse artists whose work really looked good together in the exhibit of the presenters. Here’s an example of each starting with Lorna, then Chris, then Sergei…

All three presenters had compelling demonstrations and wonderful “slide” talks about their work. Lorna throws about every type of clay object known and had a wonderful facility with the material. Chris showed a unique and innovative process that is all his own and is successfully employing 3D modeling software in his work and of course, probably everyone is already aware of Sergei’s work. Here are some not-so-great pics of the presentation that I took from my seat with a zoom and they are all a bit blurry. There aren’t any of Chris as he was all the way on the other side of the stage from where I sat plus the cool stuff to look at of his would require someone to shoot pictures down into the molds he was creating. My main purpose was to try to get pics of Sergei’s piece in progress…



There were many funny exchanges between Sergei and Lorna as she would ask him a question and he would be so focused that he was oblivious that anyone was even speaking to him. I was amazed at how quickly Sergei’s piece came together and how quickly he painted it. He is a very funny person with lots of silly stories. My favorite was when he moved to this country, he said he only knew one word in english… really. <– no that's the word. Anyway, he said he would be places and people would talk to him for long periods of time and he would simply nod and occasionally say "really" or "really?" or "REALLY!" with different inflections (of course not knowing a word they were saying to him.) I also enjoyed the fact that he was very much a person who de-mystified the process and explanations of things. For example, he said that he was making dogs in his imagery because he didn't want to be held to the anatomical correctness required to do humans but people kept asking him what kind of dogs they were. So his solution was to make monkeys instead. He said no one ever asked what kind of a monkey it was. Anyway, it was a maelstrom of clay related activity and we had a very good time. I created a photo album on Facebook with most of the pieces that were at the "Heated Exchange" exhibit which was the show of the presenters' work. Click here to see the other pieces. This was my favorite piece by Chris Gryder (each tile is 12″x12″)…

Smellentine’s Smellingtimes Schmellentine’s Revisited…

February 14, 2012

Some readers may remember my valentine’s day post from last year and this year I’m gonna go all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum. For some this story may seem a bit mean spirited but I assure you that the names have been changed to protect the “innocent”?, the statute of limitations has expired and, well… sometimes a lovely nugget of a story just drops in one’s lap and I’m alert enough to know one when I see one. In my previous life and job, I found myself in management (hard to believe I know). I had project managers that reported to me along with almost everyone else at one time or another. One such project manager… let’s call him Roscoe, was a real go-getter or so he thought, always scheming, making bad decisions and not knowing when to zip it. So, we had a big job going and Roscoe’s team had to work late one night and it just so happened that it was Valentine’s day. As I was leaving that day, I stopped him in the hallway to get an update and see how things were proceeding. He was clearly not his perky self so I asked, “Roscoe, what’s going on?, everything OK?” He said everything was fine but didn’t really sell it well so I persisted… “You sure you’re OK dude?”. He nodded yes but then added, “well, it’s Valentine’s day and I, I,…”. I interrupted him at this point and said, “Roscoe, it’s 6 pm on Valentine’s day and you haven’t gotten your girlfriend anything yet?”. He said yes. I said, “well, you better stop on the way home and get some flowers or chocolate and a card”. Then he proceeded to tell me something that made it clear that the problem was a bit deeper than that. You see, Roscoe had some kids and was getting a divorce and he had gotten together with this “girlfriend” who also had kids and they were living together and she was essentially taking care of his kids for him. Roscoe continues, “well, I’m thinking of writing a poem”. I replied, “you write poetry?”. He said no. I said, “dude, get some flowers and a card”. Now, here’s the kicker… he says, “I can’t get flowers or a card or candy”. I asked why not and he said, “I don’t want her to think that I like her.” Before I could say anything he kept on… “you see, I want to move out because I don’t really like her but I need her to watch my kids for a couple more weeks so that I can save enough money to move out”. “I have to give her something but I don’t want her to get the wrong impression”. I figured I’d just leave it alone. The next morning I ran into Roscoe early on and he looked really down. I said, “dude, you didn’t do the poem thing, did you?”. He nodded. I asked, “well, what happened?”. “She threw it in my face and slapped me”. I probed further… “well, how did you present it to her?, did you write it with pen and ink on a nice piece of paper?” (in my mind I was picturing calligraphy pens with swirly flourishes which was absurd for me to think). He matter of fact-ly reached into his back pocket and pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to me saying, “Here it is, I just gave it to her”. The paper was a ruled white piece of paper torn out of a medium sized spiral notebook that was haphazardly folded in half. I asked, “you gave it to her just like this?”. He shrugged and said that he had. I unfolded the paper and started reading. It was at this moment that I realized that I had something unbelievable in my hands and also that I would never be able to memorize it just standing there. One moral of the story is… never give a man with a scanner the poem you wrote to your girlfriend for valentine’s day that tries to let her know that you don’t necessarily like her. I asked, “you mind if I take this and look at it in my office?”. No problem. So without further ado, here’s it is…

So there you have it, complete with crossouts. Happy Smellentine’s. In case you can’t make it out here’s the text…

I move around alot these days,
I’m always on the move.
I’m in a kind of business phase,
where I’ve got a lot to prove.

When the day winds down, I think aloud
‘where will I go, what will I do’
I don’t have an answer yet,
but I do have a comfort,
Your calming presence, speaks to me,
your charm a heart-filled glee.

I move around a lot right now,
Sometimes it makes me blue,
Stick around a while with me,
I can always count on you.

3 Years Blogging Anniversary…

February 3, 2012

Well, it’s three years today that I started this blog… what a long strange trip it’s been. So, what’s with the crutches (what’s the plural of hematoma, hematomae?)…

Well, actually it’s hematomata, and I’ve got a doozie. It seems that just since I’ve started the blog I’ve had all kinds of mishaps and this one is just the last one. There was the time I fell off my bike and hurt my hip. There was the time I walked into the sharp edge of the coffee table and got a hematoma on my shin. The frozen shoulder of course. Plantar fasciitis and GERD, trips to the cardiologist and then there’s the general fading eyesight and memory. One might think that I’m accident prone when really I’m simply aging. Anyway, I’d like to have a dynamic story of how I sprained my ankle like… I was rescuing a child trapped under a car or saving an injured giraffe that had escaped from captivity but the truth is I stepped on the edge of a newly paved asphalt driveway and twisted the ankle. We were walking the dog and as I fell into the mud, I let go of the leash and Sunglasses ran off. Sofia was a bit behind me climbing a tree. As I lie there in agony, I was softly whimpering to the bug to go get the dog. She eventually succeeded and I limped home. The next day it was much worse. So, onto the anniversary. Blogging, as it turns out, has many positives surrounding it not the least of which is the connections to other bloggers and the ceramics diaspora in general (by the way, I’ve been very frustrated lately at my inability to leave comments on others’ blogs… anyone else having these problems?). One very cool thing that doesn’t get talked about that often is, that if you do it long enough, you can see a progression. In my case that would be two progressions. One is the progression of the work over the years and the other is to see my lovely Sofia grow. Here’s a pic of her on my second post ever…

So 462 posts later, here she is now…

Onward… some of my pots are up on the AKAR site. Clicking the first pic goes to AKAR, the rest enlarge…

In other news, my friend Terry and I had a not so epic rematch of our ongoing scrabble tourney. He started out by playing out twice and jumped out to a 200 point lead which I barely made a dent in after the next 3 and a half hours…

He played out 5 times during the game.