Dreaming of Spring and Dallas Pottery Invitational 2013

Did I mention what a terrible blogger I am? I’m currently catching up so I can stay on top of the spring pottery events this year. Last April, as per usual, I volunteered to help run the checkout area at the Dallas Pottery Invitational. The core group of artists is always interspersed with a fresh group of invited visiting potters. For more info on this year’s invitational: Dallas Pottery Invitational.

The famous Artstream mobile gallery made it to the 2013 DPI.

The famous Artstream mobile gallery made it to the 2013 DPI.

First on the docket, we have some cheeky pots by Andrew Gilliatt. Hailing from Helena, MT and the Archie Bray Foundation, this excellent potter uses technology to his advantage. His slip-cast pots feature strong formal lines with precise glazing and often humorous repeating decals, such as in the case of the hot dog shaped unglazed areas filled with tiny dachshunds.

Some of Andrew Gilliatt's glazed and decal-encrusted ware.

Some of Andrew Gilliatt’s glazed and decal-encrusted ware.

They’re all great pieces, but I bought the horse head mug shown in the photo above. Equestriennes FTW!

More cheeky pots.

More cheeky pots. Said wiener dogs and wiener shapes appear on the large bowl in the upper right.

Next up, please enjoy the work of core group potter Lisa Orr. A self-proclaimed synaesthetic, the glazes reflect a sort of frenetic energy often accompanied by the mixup of concrete concepts and colors in her mind.

Slump molds and sprigs forms pots, enhanced with riotous glazes.

Slump molds and sprigs forms pots, enhanced with riotous glazes.

Daphne and Gary Hatcher of Pine Mills Pottery brought a boat-load of pretty pots as usual. Gary’s somehow more masculine ware favors the kind of scale and simplicity commonly associated with a male-friendly aesthetic.

Lovely work by half of the Hatcher duo.

Lovely work by half of the Hatcher duo.

I’m especially crazy about the altered vases with the large swirls, and the giant faceted bowl.

A detail of some round-bellied vases.

A detail of some round-bellied vases.

Daphne Hatcher utilizes more complex glazing techniques and different ornamental forms. Her technique of wax-resist glazing copper red on top of a black base was one of my favorite go-to glaze applications in my college days.

The floral motif pieces exhibit the afore mentioned copper red/shiny black glaze technique.

The floral motif pieces exhibit the afore mentioned copper red/shiny black glaze technique.

The pattern variations always attract me to her lively pots. Those quiet little round boxes may still be my favorite form in her repertoire.

A colony of adorable boxes among plates and platters.

A colony of adorable boxes among plates and platters.

For the wood-firing set I’m pleased to present the work of Liz Lurie. Between sumptuous dark clay bodies, slips, flashy shinos, and earthy forms she finds a magic combination of elements.

My erstwhile pottery professor's lovely wife makes incredible wood-fired ware.

My erstwhile pottery professor’s lovely wife makes incredible wood-fired ware.

Employing frogs to secure flowers upright, the baskets always attract my gaze. The bowl with large ear-shaped lugs has a gorgeous form and great visual lift.

Another view of Liz Lurie's ware.

Another view of Liz Lurie’s ware.

Once a Dallas area potter, now Amy Halko calls California home. Utilizing porcelain with inlaid slip and glaze decoration, her cone 6 pots exhibit a strong aesthetic vision. During her time as an adjunct and special student at SMU I grew familiar with her work and have several iterations of her ever-changing work in my collection.

An overview of the back portion of Halko’s pots.

Invitee Doug Peltzman followed up a demo session at the Utilitarian Clay Symposium by hauling a load of his incredible porcelain pots to Dallas. His slow and meticulous process made me feel a little less crestfallen about the drudgery of decorating ware in my own studio. Runny glazes designed to catch on the periodic horizontal ridges punctuated by inlaid black line drawings cover his thin-walled vessels.

Meticulous decorations adorn Doug Peltzman's exacting forms.

Meticulous decorations adorn Doug Peltzman’s exacting forms.

I buckled and brought a large jar home from his available assortment of pots. It now houses candy and cookies in a place of honor on my dinner table.

Following a totally different aesthetic path, Hiroe Hanazono adores simple forms, muted glaze hues, and such mundane objects as cafeteria trays for their compartmentalized function.

Soft colored porcelain vessels on Hiroe's table.

Soft colored porcelain vessels on Hiroe’s table.

Nesting smaller vessels in specifically designed indentions is such an ingenious solution.

Salt cellars with porcelain spoons.

Salt cellars with porcelain spoons.

Between thrown forms and hand-built ware small drawings appear on David Eichelberger‘s impressive pots. We celebrated his birthday here in Dallas during the invitational, hopefully staving off the homesickness for his lovely family somewhat.

Assortment of white pots.

Assortment of white pots.

The irregular lobed mugs have the sort of intimate size that keeps them flying off the table. Although I’m perpetually drawn to black pieces so I coveted the following vessels with their delicate hint of color punctuating the differing black surface textures.

Some of the black ware I loved so much.

Some of the black ware I loved so much.

Another recent participant at the UC Symposium, I was happy to see Kip O’Krongly and her concept-rich earthenware vessels. I couldn’t help but snag a bicycle dinner plate and ostrich bowl.

Re-visiting the awesome work of Kip O'Krongly.

Re-visiting the awesome work of Kip O’Krongly.

The carved yellow bird salt and pepper shakers are probably the most labor-intensive of her pieces.

An angry bird salt or pepper shaker.

An angry bird salt or pepper shaker.

Driven by the sometimes questionable relationship between large-scale agriculture and nature the pieces exhibit a precarious blend of hope for the future through returning to simpler lifestyles and resistance to such practices as using birds to detect poisonous gases, crop-dusting, and GMO foods.

A vignette of plates and cups.

A vignette of plates and cups.

The DPI always confronts me with an exciting new assortment of work so I can hardly wait for April to get here already! Stay tuned for my next installment, a recap of the Art of the Pot studio tour from last May.

Another spring treasure I'm waiting patiently for, local dewberries in a home-made cobbler. Cup by Liz Smith, plate by me.

Another spring treasure I’m waiting patiently for, local dewberries picked by my family in a home-made cobbler. Cup by Liz Smith and a small wood-fired plate from my college days.

Gallery Show, Feb. 2013

Sometimes I am a terrible blogger, sorry about that! I had a weekend gallery show in Dallas, the Wine and Art Show, in early 2013 for which I built two enormous display blocks. It turned out pretty well, I only made two sales but getting into a gallery again felt great! Plus the exposure never hurt anyone.

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Here’s my gallery reception ensemble. Ooh la la!

The dress was designed by one of my favorites, Eva Franco, with a vintage red eelskin purse and Fluevog pumps.

Me and my mister with one of the pedestals during the reception.

Me and my mister with one of the pedestals during the reception.

The linocut on the wall behind us was created by a good friend of mine, also named Amy. See more of her work here: Petite Menagerie on Etsy.

The other display block, adjacent to a fantastic weaving.

The other display block, adjacent to a fantastic weaving.

I was fortunate to place my other block in the midst of some gorgeous fiber art.

Here are the pieces I selected for one surface.

Here are the pieces I selected for one surface. That’s my bio on the wall.

The other assortment.

The other assortment.

My father helped me build these enormous gallery pedestals in the barn, which I then patched with wood filler and painted with numerous coats of stain-resistant white.

Time to break down and head home.

Time to break down and head home.

Better late than never, right?

 

 

 

Margaret Bohls Workshop Recap

The Craft Guild of Dallas typically hosts 2 visiting artist workshops annually in the clay department. This year the first visiting artist workshop featured porcelain slab building with Margaret Bohls, who teaches at the University of Nebraska Lincoln alongside Eddie Dominguez and Pete Pinnell. I have been darting a lot of my thrown pots and trying to troubleshoot hand-building for such forms as oblong butter dishes and irregular shaped trays so I jumped at the chance to learn some practical techniques regarding how to execute said forms.

Some of Margaret's paper templates.

Some of Margaret’s paper templates.

To regularize her forms and maintain clean, straight seam-lines Margaret employs the use of paper templates based on squares or cylinders. Shown above are mostly bowl patterns. These are square-based with curved edges, and she usually drapes them over round slumps then adds a folded-over slab rim and flattened jelly roll for the foot ring.

2 days worth of demo pots.

2 days worth of demo pots.

Everything you see above was created with darted slabs, except for the vase which utilizes leather hard slabs joined together. The pitcher spout has a squared off v-shape template, while the teapot spout template resembles a whale tale, as Margaret pointed out. The handles are created by rolling slabs up like a jelly roll, then slapping them on a work surface that is slightly moistened to flatten to the desired handle shape. Note: flatten with the seam-line up or you’ll smoosh the seam out of existence! They are surprisingly beautiful whether as a lug handle on a tray or more stretched out on a taller form. The back center bowl features the jelly roll handle as a foot ring, instead. Margaret credits Lana Wilson with showing her the jelly roll handle technique originally.

For darted slab pots all edge and lip treatments must be done on the flat slab before assembly when it’s about 1/2-way between freshly rolled out and leather hard. Be careful to rib both sides of the slab often during working them and you may wish to stretch and thin the slab prior to cutting out the template. Shape the lip before cutting out the darts or cracks will form in the corners as you manipulate it. Seams are created by overlapping the edges so thin and smooth the edges of the darts accordingly. Scoring and slipping is recommended, followed by carefully pressing the seams together until well-stuck without running your finger over the edges themselves. You can go back in with a sponge and fingernail combo to clean up the seam when it’s closer to leather hard, so don’t worry about little imperfections or you might overwork or damage the edge. Margaret typically cuts out the base after the walls are assembled by simply tracing around the base of the pot on a slab, then carefully pressing the edges up onto the wall with long, smoothing thumb strokes.

Working with a textured slab to create what Margaret calls bumpy ware.

Working with a textured slab to create what Margaret calls bumpy ware.

To create the grid pattern, Margaret carves plaster them presses freshly rolled out slabs into the texture, being careful to smooth the backside to compress it and minimize cracking. She then lays it face-down on foam to raise the areas between grid lines, and as you can see doesn’t touch areas that get cut out as darts. After darting and assembling all pieces, plus adding pulled handles for decoration and feet, rims, coils, and sprig molds, this form becomes something like this:

A bumpy ware vase from the artist's website.

A bumpy ware vase from the artist’s website.

The lattice base is usually constructed with earthenware. She also fires the vase on wasters so the feet don’t get caught on the kiln shelf as the vessel shrinks, which would warp the whole form.

My trial pots from the 1st day, re-using the same template for all 3.

My trial pots from the 1st day, re-using the same template for all 3.

I churned out three pieces between demos on the first day, from a paper template I generate with three darts instead of four. One of the darts is tied into the full length seam-line as well. Due to uneven drying rates in the clay lab, two of these cracked insanely but here they are for posterity. I like the process and for some reason I’m able to really cover some ground working with slabs. Other than the fact that porcelain is really finicky about cracking and the method creates a lot of waste I really enjoyed the process.

A bottle vase with handle. The handle dried first despite being covered with a small piece of additional plastic around the handle.

A bottle vase with handle. Despite being covered with a small piece of additional plastic around the handle, a massive crack rendered it unsalvageable.

On the second day I made an oblong rounded rectangular tray with surface texture and handles on each end. It cracked also, but I patched it and wrapped it carefully so we’ll see what happens. At least I can snap a reference photo before destruction if it fails. I also constructed a medium-sized square bowl with an added jelly roll foot ring. So far no issues with that one.

My demo pots from the third and final day.

My demo pots from the third and final day.

On the third day she demonstrated the foam texture method so I constructed this tall canister jar. I also hammered out a giant butter dish with a press mold of my own design, both textures based on a Japanese kimono textile pattern. The lid flange for the jar is on the bottom part, which according to Margaret helps keep the walls from warping since the top of the lid usually keeps that part from shifting.

Butter dish aerial view.

Butter dish aerial view.

Although I was tempted to trace Margaret’s templates, all of my pots came from paper pieces I cut myself based on her techniques. I used bisque and leather tooling stamps to create most of the textures other than those on the walls of the jar.

I added three of her gorgeous black slab-built pots to my collection.

I added three of her gorgeous black slab-built pots to my collection.

At lunch on the first day of the workshop demo participants pulled numbers and selected pots via lottery. I went more overboard than usual with this haul, but each piece spoke to me and I love the sumptuous black glaze. I can’t believe it’s not reduction! (pun intended) But yes, these are fired in oxidation. I already acquired one of her square slab-built dinner plates from AoTP last year, also.

Here's another view of the pitcher, yum!

Here’s another view of the pitcher, yum!

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and learned a ton of new techniques to bring into my home studio. Thanks, Margaret Bohls!