Utilitarian Clay Symposium Recap: The Conclusion

I am just going to present the remainder of my photos from the Symposium for your viewing pleasure. Most of these were taken in the Past Presenters exhibition, with a few final-day studio photos. Next on the agenda I’ll post about my experience at the Forrest Lesch-Middelton demo in Plano, TX last weekend. But for now, please enjoy the following photos!

A teapot by Mark Shapiro and an Aysha Peltz jar. I am the proud owner of this jar, which I don’t expect in the mail until mid-November.

A place setting by William Broullard. I found the design of this set particularly beautiful.

Check out this gorgeous Suze Lindsey candelabra.

Free-form pots come so easily to Nick Joerling, or so it seems. This incredible ceramic object was easily 2-3′ in length.

Two pitchers with totally unique surface treatments. Cynthia Bringle (if memory serves) incised her buff surface while Sarah Jaeger employed color and pattern.

One of Ellen Shankin’s glorious teapots.

Another acquisition for my budding collection, a Diane Rosenmiller berry bowl.

An elaborate, highly decorated jar by Michael Corney.

Atmospheric fired Bernadette Curran cup with a sake set by Ayumi Horie, incised through white slip to create drawings.

The Peter Beasecker heavy slab plate comes from a line of work called “string series.” I studied under Peter in college at SMU. I definitely like the adjacent nested vessels, but I can’t recall the artist and my margin cut off the label.  :/

Lorna Meaden watering pot with a large Linda Sikora jar in the background.

A. Blair Clemo plaster molds for pressing sprigs from which to handbuild vessels.

Some leather hard partial and complete demo pots on Blair Clemo’s table.

Leather hard Shawn Spangler pouring pot.

Greenware assortment of cups by Shawn Spangler.

Monica Ripley, about to demo her method of slip manipulation for her cut-rim plates.

A tureen body form by Blair Clemo, probably sprinkled with corn starch to inhibit sticking between lid and flange.

At the Saturday night party, my good friend and fellow SMU alum Brooks and I had to get a photo to commemorate the occasion. I found this silk dress at Buffalo Exchange, and as soon as I saw the blue and white Chinese pottery print I knew it would look perfect for the event. I had a fabulous time at the Symposium, and my studio work is still reeling from a fresh and much more ambitious approach.

Snack on a Plate

Here’s a light lunch I enjoyed on a Bernadette Curran plate. It’s difficult to make out covered in blueberries, apricot, grapes, and Manchego cheese, but the animal spackled on the surface of the plate is an impossibly broad-shouldered bull. I bought it for my husband because he’s such a shoulder-heavy fella, and what a generous guy to let me use it, too. 😉 Yum!

My food on a nice piece of pottery by Bernadette Curran.

In glazing mode…

I must say, applying glaze is my least favorite part of making pots. I am so meticulous and precise, that it becomes a sort of self-punishing process. I have developed a limited palette of my favorite glazes through trial and error, most of which might be mildly toxic in theory. So I always play it safe and do the extra work to line the pots with a very reliable clear, celadon, or black glaze.  Since I’m doing two glazes that division on the rim has to be just so: tight, clean, with minimal or no overlap. Which means tons of wax resist work and experienced pouring or dipping techniques which took me forever to learn. All of this = my personal hell. I know many potters who go the extra ten miles in their glazing (ex. Bernadette Curran, see photo below), but I am not that potter. I want the form, decoration, and atmospheric variation to do the talking, and for the glaze to be simple enough to highlight rather than hinder.

It’s worth the effort, though, because the more I put into glazing the better the results become. I strive to edit my extravagant taste down to what I believe is the essential elegant version, letting my visceral reactions to the work drive the decisions. I love satin surfaces that respond dramatically to atmosphere (be it salt or soda). Although black pot interiors speak to me, I have listened to my audience and the general preference is a beautiful transparent glaze to let the porcelain whiteness sing. Yes, I do the black liner some anyway. Then I choose to fire in salt or soda, so I can get that random magic to bring out the peaks and valleys of the form, and so much more texture (both visual and tactile).

I’ve gotten 1/3 of my current bisque batch glazed. I should have all of it ready in 2 weeks at most, which is good because I love firing and I’m ready to get another lot pushed through. Keep an eye out for an update on the upcoming kiln opening. Yay!

Here's a potter going the extra 10 miles with glazing. One of my favorites, always making killer work.