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.


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!

Urban Acres Holiday Market, 2013 Version

I’ve been welcomed to set up some pottery for sale yet again at the always awesome Urban Acres Holiday Market near the Bishop Arts District. Along with my myriad porcelain pots, Amy Riley will be presenting her lovely linocut prints and Amberly Hejny will have perfectly festive kitsch goodies in felt and the like, probably along with some other local artists and businesses. The event runs from 11 AM until 3 PM this Saturday, 12/14/2013, and is located on the patio so dress warmly to peruse the wares and possibly pick up some locally grown, organic, and/or grass-fed food items.

Address and business hours:  1605 N. Beckley Avenue, Dallas TX 75203, full Saturday hours from 8 AM to 6 PM

For more details on our smashing venue: Urban Acres website

Or check out their blog for the latest: Urban Acres blog

You can even see some teaser photos from last year’s event: 2012 Urban Acres Holiday Market

Also: Amy Riley’s Etsy shop

Hope to see y’all there! 🙂

I do have a ton of pots listed on Etsy if you can’t make it, to see them you can click the link under my Where to Buy tab. Which will of course be temporarily unavailable but only for the duration of the sale.

Cyber Monday Sale for 20% Off in my Etsy Store!

The title says it all! In honor of Cyber Monday and because I’ve just added 25 brand new listings to my Etsy store, I added a 20% off discount code for any purchase through this Friday, 12/6/2013. Please enter the code “cyber20” at checkout before completing payment. I will be adding more throughout the week, as well. 🙂 Check out all of my handmade porcelain mug, bowls, serving ware, jewelry, etc. just in time for your Christmas shopping needs or the equally enjoyable act of self-gifting at Alazan Ceramics on Etsy.


11 Fresh Etsy Shop Listings!

I’m gearing up for all those Christmas shoppers who want to support independent craftsmen and shop handmade! In the interest of making as many options available as possible I’m going to be listing most of my inventory over the next few weeks. Check out what’s already up on Alazan Ceramics on Etsy and I’ll let you know as I add more.

Here’s a teaser photo of my pottery display from the most recent Fall Sale & Show.


Craft Guild Sale and a Cup Show

I have officially been accepted again as an artist for the Craft Guild of Dallas 2013 Fall Show and Sale! I’ll provide more details as the event nears, but mark your calendars for Oct. 31st through Nov. 3rd.

2013 Fall Show Postcard_Page_1

2013 Fall Show Postcard_Page_2

I am extremely excited to announce another new development! One of my submissions, a pair of sprigged liquor cups, has been accepted by juror Ben Carter to the Amelia Center Gallery‘s 6th Annual Cup Show: Form and Function at Gulf Coast State College. The show runs from Oct. 18th to Nov. 7th. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the accepted pieces, too. Hooray!

Harbor Artisan Market, etc.

Hey pottery fans, sorry about the long hiatus! I am officially back on the show circuit, and my next event was just added for this coming Saturday, Sept. 21st. I will be displaying primarily pottery with some jewelry for sale at the inaugural Harbor Artisan Market and Art Festival at the Harbor in Rockwall, TX. The hours extend from 10 am – 6 pm and this event is running in conjunction with a regatta. In addition to up to 50 artists there is plenty of free on-site parking, eateries, shops, a Cinemark movie theater, and a lovely view of Lake Ray Hubbard. The event will likely be bustling (they had ~3,500 attendees last year) so plan accordingly. Hope to see you there!

For more details: Events & News at The Harbor Rockwall

Also, save the date for my next established event, Nov. 1 – 3 for the Fall Sale & Show at The Craft Guild of Dallas in Addison TX. Link here: Craft Guild events and homepage

P.S. The reason my production has temporarily slowed down is to allow me to focus on building my gas-combusting kiln. Here’s a photo of the 8′ x 10′ concrete pad I will be building it on, shortly after completion!


Next on the agenda? Pickup the remainder of the necessary firebrick from the Houston area in Oct-Nov.

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